$70,000 Cook County Jury Verdict for Rear End Crash at High Speed

On Sept. 8, 2011, the defendant 31-year-old Anna Tudzich, was driving a car that rear-ended John Dodaro’s car on southbound Harlem Avenue near 47th Street in Lyons Township, Ill. The 30 mph impact caused Dodaro to experience immediate neck and back pain and significant damage to his pickup truck and the defendant’s vehicle as well.

Dodaro was a 40-year-old carpenter who was transported from the scene by an ambulance. He alleged that the collision aggravated his pre-existing degenerative lumbar disc and caused a new onset of cervical pain. Dodaro had longstanding prior lumbar complaints and had undergone physical therapy one day before this crash. However, the plaintiff had no previous history of cervical complaints.

An MRI that was done in October 2011 showed herniated discs at C5-6 and C6-7 with a small herniation at C4-5. Dodaro underwent a cervical epidural injection in February 2012 and bilateral cervical facet joint injections in April 2012. Dodaro’s treating orthopedic surgeon said he would require future cervical spine surgery although future medical expenses that were originally claimed were withdrawn at trial.

The defendant’s expert gave opinion testimony at trial that Dodaro suffered only cervical and lumbar sprains, which would have resolved in 6-12 weeks with at most $19,922 in corresponding medical expenses related to this incident. The defendant also noted that Dodaro was subsequently involved in another traffic crash in May 2012 with a resulting increase in neck pain. The case was tried in a one-day summary trial and subject to a high-low agreement of $15,000 to $100,000. Cook County Judge James McCarthy’s pretrial recommendation for settling the case was $70,000, which was exactly the amount of the award given by the jury.

The demand to settle the case before trial was $100,000. The attorney for Dodaro, Daniel J. McDevitt, asked the jury to return a verdict of $193,234. The offer indicated by the defendant was an area said to be $15,000 to $29,000.

The jury’s verdict of $70,000 was made up of the following damages:

• $35,000 for past medical expenses;
• $35,000 for past pain and suffering;
• $0 for future pain and suffering; and
• $0 for loss of normal life.

John Dodaro v. Anna Tudzich, No. 12 L 10601 (Cook County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling automobile accident cases, truck accident cases and motorcycle 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 Deerfield, Buffalo Grove, Harlem Park, Glenview, Northfield, Northbrook, Morton Grove, Niles, Western Springs, Willowbrook, Clarendon Hills, Darien, Orland Park, Oak Forest, Chicago (Ravenswood Manor, Rogers Park, Roscoe Village, Rose Hill, Sauganash, Wrigleyville, Sheffield, Chinatown, Loyola Park, Lower West Side), Cicero, Evergreen Park, Fox River Grove and Lincolnshire, Ill.

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