$52,000 Illinois Jury Verdict in Motorcycle Rear-End Crash

On Aug. 28, 2010, Peter Chilton was driving a 2009 Harley Davidson Road King motorcycle with his girlfriend riding on the back. Chilton was stopped at the red light on Grand Avenue at the intersection with County Road in Waukegan, Ill., when the defendant, Joshua Uhlir, who was driving his vehicle westbound, hit Chilton and his girlfriend from behind causing minor damage to the motorcycle.

Chilton, 55, maintained that the force of the impact caused his motorcycle to move forward and fall to the right side. In his effort to prevent the bike from falling over he felt a pop in his right shoulder. He did not immediately go to the emergency room or see a doctor and did not receive medical attention until he went to his primary physician three days later complaining of right shoulder pain.

Chilton sustained a tear in the shoulder, but he did not need surgery. He also suffered aggravation of pre-existing degenerative changes in his cervical spine.

At the jury trial, Chilton testified that he stopped riding his motorcycle after the collision because he was fearful of being rear-ended again. He has since sold his motorcycle.

The defendant, Uhlir, 24, argued that he was momentarily blinded by the sun and was unable to see Chilton and his motorcycle at the intersection. Uhlir admitted negligence at the trial. The defendant denied the accident was the proximate cause of the shoulder injury and denied that Chilton injured his neck to the extent that was claimed. A photograph shown to the jury showed only minimal damage to the motorcycle’s tailpipes. The jury deliberated 40 minutes before entering the verdict of $52,500 made up of the following damages:

• $17,501 for medical expenses;
• $25,000 for pain and suffering; and
• $10,000 for lost of normal life.

Chilton’s attorney, David J. VanderPloeg Jr., made a demand before trial of $70,000. The defendant’s counsel offered $21,000 to settle the case pre-trial. At closing argument, Chilton’s counsel asked the jury to return a verdict of $117,501.

Peter Chilton v. Joshua Uhlir, No. 12 L 209 (Lake County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling motorcycle accident cases, automobile accident cases, rear-end auto and truck accident 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 Melrose Park, Blue Island, Dolton, Harvey, Oak Forest, Crestwood, Darien, Oakbrook Terrace, Westchester, Hillside, Maywood, Franklin Park, River Grove, Chicago and Des Plaines, Ill.

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