Backing Truck Strikes Pedestrian, Resulting in $127,000 Cook County Jury Verdict

Sandra Gibbs hired the defendant Blu-Sky Industries to do work on a septic tank on her property at 30658 S. Ashland Ave. in Beecher, Ill. The Village of Beecher is located in Chicago-area suburbs in Will County, Ill. On Dec. 8, 2009, Gibbs, 31 years old at the time, stood in her driveway supervising the work as the defendant Blu-Sky Industries’ workers completed the project. She was walking back toward her house when a Blu-Sky employee, Jacob Courtney, began backing up his truck, which was attached to a trailer.

Courtney did not see Gibbs and hit her twice, causing her to fall onto the trailer with a direct blow to her outstretched right arm. The truck continued in reverse with Gibbs halfway on the trailer and halfway on the ground for 10 additional feet before the truck finally stopped.

Gibbs suffered a right shoulder impingement with a partial thickness tear of the supraspinatus tendon in the rotator cuff, requiring injections and eventually surgery that consisted of arthroscopic distal clavicle excision and subacromial decompression. A subacromial decompression of the shoulder is a surgery designed to increase the size of the subacromial, which is designed to reduce the pressure on the muscle. In order to make room, the surgery involves cutting the ligament and shaving away the bone spur on the subacromial bone. This permits the muscle in that space to heal.


In addition, she sustained a triangular fibrocartilage complex tear in the right wrist, which also required surgery in the form of an arthroscopic debridement and partial debridement of the triquetral ligament, plus an ankle injury that was placed in an air cast but resolved without treatment. Gibbs lost one year of time at her job as a transcriptionist. She now works as a teacher.

The triangular cartilage complex in the right wrist and the surgery related to the triquetral ligament was diagnosed by radiographic orthography, and some treatment is non-operative. In this case where the symptoms persisted, surgery was needed.

The defendants admitted negligence and agency of Courtney. They admitted that the shoulder injury and surgery were caused by the collision and conceded that she had $32,555 in medical expenses for the shoulder that were fair and reasonable as well as being necessary. However, the defendants denied that the wrist injury was caused or aggravated by the incident and denied that the wrist surgery with $19,868 in medical costs was related to this occurrence. The jury deliberated for 1.5 hours.

The attorney representing Sandra Gibbs was Jeremy R. Tiedt. Plaintiff made a demand to settle the case for $190,000 before trial and asked the jury to return a verdict of $229,423. The attorneys representing the defendants, including Blu-Sky Industries, offered a total of $59,102 in settlement prior to the trial.

The jury’s verdict of $127,555 in favor of Sandra and against all of the defendants was made up of the following damages:

• $32,555 for medical expenses;
• $40,000 for pain and suffering;
• $50,000 for loss of normal life; and
• $5,000 for loss of income from her work.

At the trial, the attorneys for Sandra Gibbs offered up an orthopedic surgeon as a medical expert. The defendants likewise used a medical expert, also an orthopedic surgeon who testified about the reasonableness and appropriate association of the injuries claimed by Sandra Gibbs.

Sandra Gibbs v. Blu-Sky Industries, Inc., d/b/a Free Flow Environmental, d/b/a Admobile of Northwest Indiana, Jacob Courtney, No. 11 L 5351 (Cook County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling truck accident cases, construction site injury cases, automobile accident cases and catastrophic injury 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 Rolling Meadows, Hillside, Brookfield, LaGrange, LaGrange Park, Berwyn, River Forest, Elmwood Park, River Grove, Schiller Park, Harwood Heights, Melrose Park, Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace, Western Springs, Hinsdale, Wheaton, Aurora, Romeoville, Bolingbrook, Joliet, Elgin, St. Charles, Chicago (Washington Heights, Pullman, Riverdale, Lake Calumet, Bridgeport, Bronzeville, Washington Park, West Town, Ukrainian Village, Wicker Park, Humboldt Park, Pilsen, Austin) and Cicero, Ill.

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