$222,000 DuPage County Jury Verdict in Rear-End Crash

A car driven by Timothy Walsh rear-ended the vehicle occupied and driven by Joseph and Karen Skutas, husband and wife, in Downers Grove, Ill., on Dec. 7, 2008. Joseph, 60, sustained a full-thickness tear to his left rotator cuff and a partial tear of the right rotator cuff. He required acromioplasty and a mini-open rotator cuff with tear to his left shoulder. Both procedures were completed in February 2009.

In addition, Joseph underwent right shoulder arthroscopic surgery in October 2009. Joseph also contended that the collision caused a cervical spine injury and cervical myelopathy, resulting in C3-6 laminectomy and foraminotomy in October 2012 as well as a lumbar spine injury, which resulted in L3-5 laminectomy and foraminotomy in September 2013. Medical expenses for Joseph totaled $251,567 and lost time from his job was claimed to be $10,868. He also claimed $8,209 in property damage to his car.

Joseph’s wife, Karen Skutas, 54, who was the passenger in the car, suffered subacromial impingement syndrome in her left shoulder, which required arthroscopy and acromioplasty surgery on July 20, 2009. Her medical expenses totaled $54,678.

Walsh admitted he was negligent and the causation of the plaintiff’s shoulder injuries, but denied any causal relationship between the crash and Joseph’s spinal injuries and surgeries. The defendant’s lawyer suggested to the jury in closing argument a verdict of $140,000 to Joseph and $55,000 to Karen.

The attorney for Joseph and Karen Skutas was George N. Avgeris, who asked the jury to return a verdict for Joseph of $1,950,000 and for Karen $325,000. There was no indication of any offer before trial made by the defendant.

The jury’s verdict of $222,788 for both plaintiffs was made up of the following damages:

$157,458 for Joseph Skutas made up of:

• $70,00 for pain and suffering experienced;
• $20,000 for loss of normal life;
• $56,590 for medical expenses; and
• $10,868 for lost income.

As for Karen Skutas, her verdict was $65,330 made up of these damages:

• $25,000 for pain and suffering experienced;
• $10,000 for loss of normal life; and
• $30,330 for medical expenses.

At trial, the Skutas’s treating orthopedic surgeon, neurosurgeon and neurologist testified. The defendant engaged a medical expert orthopedist to testify about the nature and extent of the plaintiffs’ injuries.

Joseph Skutas and Karen Skutas v. Timothy Walsh, No. 10 L 1107 (DuPage County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling rear-end car crash cases, automobile accident cases, motorcycle accident cases and pedestrian accident cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Berwyn, Cicero, Bedford Park, Mount Prospect, Rolling Meadows, Palatine, Highland Park, Waukegan, Elgin, St. Charles, Aurora, Northfield, Northbrook, Oak Forest, Oak Lawn, Olympia Fields, Orland Park, Prospect Heights, Palos Heights, Skokie, Streamwood, Steger, Crete and Blue Island, Ill.

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