$65,000 Cook County Verdict for Injury Suffered in T-Bone Crash at Intersection; Choragwicki v. Szkodon

On May 8, 2010, James Choragwicki was driving southeast on Willow Springs Road in Willow Springs, Ill., when the defendant, Marek Szkodon, was traveling southwest in his car on Archer Avenue and went through a red light. This resulted in a T-bone collision with the front of the plaintiff’s vehicle striking the passenger side of the defendant’s vehicle.

The plaintiff, age 52, claimed the crash caused cervical strain and aggravation of his pre-existing lumbar degenerative disc disease. Choragwicki was not treated by paramedics at the scene and did not go to the hospital after the crash. He first sought medical treatment three days later when he went to his primary care physician complaining of neck, back and left wrist pain.  Physical therapy was prescribed by his doctor. 

Plaintiff began experiencing radiating low back pain into his right leg for the first time several weeks after the crash. He did have  pre-existing degenerative disc disease, which was without symptoms prior to the accident. Plaintiff underwent 4 months of physical therapy, receiving one epidural injection into his lumbar spine in December 2010 and made a full recovery by January 2011 with no complaints since that time. Plaintiff missed 4 ½ weeks of work as a UPS truck driver. 

The defendant Szkodon admitted negligence at trial because he ran the red light, but he disputed plaintiff’s claimed injuries.  The defendant argued that plaintiff’s radiating low back pain was not connected to the crash because it first began 6 weeks after the occurrence and he had never complained of low back pain during the many doctor visits in the weeks following the crash.  In addition, the defendant argued that his physical therapy injection and time off work were not related to the occurrence, but rather were connected to his pre-existing medical condition. A defense expert, a rehab physical medicine physician, testified at trial that at most only cervical strain and lumbar strain resulted from this crash. The defendant’s attorney suggested a verdict of $12,000. 

However, the plaintiff’s attorney, Michael C. Mead, asked the jury to return a verdict of $90,000 at trial. The only offer made before trial was $30,000. The jury’s verdict of $65,013 was made up of the following damages:

  • $27,023 in medical expenses;
  • $7,990 for lost income;
  • $14,350 for pain and suffering;
  • $15,650 for loss of normal life.

James Choragwicki v. Marek Szkodon, 10 L 14126 (Cook County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling car and truck crashes resulting in injury for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 37 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Riverdale, Chicago (Hegewisch), Chicago (Washington Heights), Evergreen Park, Crestwood, Brookfield, Forest Park, River Forest, River Grove, Northlake, Palos Heights, Itasca and Harwood Heights, Ill.

Related blog posts:

Alternative Liability Rule Applied in Two-Vehicle Collision – Anderson v. Anderson

Jury Reaches $897,000 Verdict in Head-On Collision After Rear-End Impact From School Bus – Fuller v. Richmond Burton High School