Bicyclist Injured at Intersection Gains Jury Verdict

On Jan. 26, 2011, 23-year-old Jerry Oswalt was riding his bike from one dog walking customer’s home to another, riding southbound on Sacramento Avenue near its intersection with Logan Boulevard. Oswalt claimed that he entered the intersection on a green light but was hit at the bike’s rear tire by the defendant’s eastbound car, which ran a red light. The defendant, Esther Fragoso, was claimed to have caused Oswalt to fall and strike his head on the road knocking him unconscious. When he regained consciousness, his head was bleeding and he staggered out of the intersection to a nearby grass median with his bike and laid down.

Oswalt, in addition to the concussion he suffered, sustained a six-inch cut to the right temple area above his eye, facial scarring, a tiny cortical fracture, right orbital hematoma, right knee pain and contusions.

Fragoso, 77 and retired, argued that she had a green light and that Oswalt went through a red light. She also said that her vehicle never made contact with Oswalt’s bicycle and that she saw him lose control of his bike on the wet, snowy pavement and fall to the ground.

The investigating police officer testified at the trial that he found no signs of contact or damage to the bike or Fargoso’s car.

Oswalt supported his contention that his rear tire was hit by Fragoso’s car through testimony from an independent witness. The witness did not see the accident but heard it (the sound of the crash) and later saw the bike’s back tire was unable to move when the EMT tried to roll the bike. The defendant argued that any damage to the bike occurred when the plaintiff wiped out on the slick road and it was not from Fragoso car.

The jury’s verdict of $41,420 was reduced to $27,613 or by 1/3 for the contributory fault assigned to Oswalt. The jury’s verdict was made up of the following damages:

• $18,750 for medical expenses;
• $2,500 for disfigurement;
• $5,000 for pain and suffering;
• $1,250 for loss of normal life; and
• $113 for property damage.

The jury was also asked these special interrogatories: “Was the plaintiff Jerry Oswalt contributory negligent?” Answer: “Yes.” “If you find the plaintiff was contributory negligent, was the plaintiff more than 50% of the total proximate cause of the occurrence?” Answer: “No.”

The attorney representing Jerry Oswalt was Bradley Skafish.

Jerry Oswalt v. Esther Fragoso, No. 12 L 2223 (Cook County, Ill).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling bicycle accident cases, automobile accident cases and truck accidents 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 Burbank, Bridgeview, Summit, Hodgkins, Brookfield, Glendale Heights, Riverside, Berwyn, Forest Park, Park Forest, Arlington Heights, Western Springs and Geneva, Ill.

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