$31,000 Illinois Jury Verdict in Rear-Ender Where Airbags Deployed on Impact

On Aug. 6, 2011, the car driven by Mi Suk Park rear-ended Patricia LaBeck’s car on Rand Road in Deer Park, Ill. The great force of the crash caused the Park airbags to deploy, caused LaBeck’s sunglasses to come off and prompted LaBeck’s daughter’s shoes and headband to come off.

LaBeck was a 40-year-old homemaker at the time. She was taken by ambulance to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill., where she was diagnosed with a concussion and lumbar strain/sprain.

She returned to the emergency room two days after the crash for severe dizziness and headaches. She had feared that she had suffered a more severe head injury, but the concussion diagnosis was confirmed.

LaBeck claimed several months of continuing low back pain that was not healing, and so she underwent a course of physical therapy in 2012, with self-management of the recurring flare-ups. LaBeck claimed $17,218 in medical expenses.

The defendant Park admitted liability. Park did not appear at trial and a stipulation to the facts of the occurrence was read to the jury. Park’s attorney disputed the nature and extent of LaBeck’s injuries, criticized her subsequent return to the emergency department, pointed to large gaps in her treatment and suggested the jury award LaBeck about $4,000, ($3,000 for the initial emergency room visit and ambulance bills plus $1,000 for pain and suffering).

The defendant expert, a rehabilitation and physical medicine doctor of osteopathy gave the opinion that plaintiff’s pain symptoms would have resolved in 8-12 weeks. The jury deliberated for 3 hours before returning a verdict of $31,718 made up of the following damages:

• $17,218 for medical expenses;
• $9,000 for past loss of normal life;
• $5,500 for past pain and suffering; and
• $0 for future pain and suffering.

Before trial, the demand to settle the case made by Labeck’s attorney Mariam Hafezi was $35,000. Ms. Hafezi asked the jury to return a verdict of $94,000. The offer made by the defendant Park to settle the case was $10,000.

Patricia LaBeck v. Mi Suk Park, No. 13 L 131 (Lake County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling car accident cases, truck accident cases, nursing home abuse cases and bicycle 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 Berkeley, Bellwood, Hillside, Yorkfield, LaGrange Park, Brookfield, Justice, Bridgeview, Crete, Libertyville, Hickory Hills, Blue Island, Calumet City, Harvey, Crestwood, Forest Park and Mount Prospect, Ill.

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