Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

Margarita Martinez was crossing a city street in a crosswalk when Robert Lane, driving a van for the defendant Premium Laundry Corp., began turning left into the intersection.  The van hit Martinez, 79, and dragged her several car lengths.

Martinez sustained multiple severe injuries, including fractures to her ribs, spine, pelvis, and left tibia and fibula. She also suffered a lung contusion and a facial laceration.

She was rushed to a hospital emergency room, but she unfortunately died of respiratory and cardiac arrest within an hour of her arrival. She is survived by her husband, Mario Martinez.

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George Williams was on his way to an appointment when he entered a crosswalk in downtown Tacoma, Wash. He was in his 70s at the time of this incident.

Unfortunately, he was hit by a car driven by the defendant Sammy Cubean, who was distracted while looking for something in his glove compartment at the time of the accident.

Williams had various pre-existing health problems, including renal failure and heart disease. Because of this incident, he suffered a mild closed-head injury and fractures to his shoulder and ribs. His medical expenses totaled more than $219,000.

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On Dec. 4, 2013, the plaintiff, Keenan Lane, 21, was stopped at a red light southbound on North Greenmount Road about 600 feet north of Lebanon Avenue in Shiloh, Ill. At that point, a car driven by 63-year-old Anne Flahiv rear-ended Lane’s vehicle. As a result of the crash, Lane’s car was totaled, and he suffered injuries to his neck and lower back.

Lane’s treatment included emergency room care, visits with his primary care physician and physical therapist, as well as orthopedic treatment.

His orthopedist diagnosed peripheral tears in his lumbar spine and an annular tear in his cervical spine. He reported medical expenses that totaled more than $48,000.

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The issue in this case was whether Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. was liable to pay the default judgment of $4.6 million against its insured whose policy limits for this incident was just $25,000. The question then became whether the insurer’s conduct proximately cause the $4.6 million judgment against the insured.

Kimberly Perkins was insured by Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. for auto liability up to $25,000. While her car was being driven by Miquasha Smith, a 16-year-old with a driver’s license permit, it crashed into two parked cars. Smith was convicted of reckless driving.

At the time of the crash, Monteil Hyland was a passenger in the Smith car and was seriously injured. Monteil’s mother, Shannon Hyland, filed suit against Smith. Smith had no auto insurance, but was covered by the car owner’s insurance, Liberty Mutual. In order to be covered, Smith had to have permission from Perkins. Smith claimed that she received the car keys from Perkins’s daughter, Michiah Risby.  She said she gave the keys to a person named “Rob” and not to Smith.

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Thomas Dempsey, 78, was driving his SUV on a busy four-lane highway during a cross-country trip. He exited the highway to use a restroom. His car approached a line of stopped cars, but he was unable to take his foot off the accelerator and swerved his SUV onto a grassy median, which led the SUV to accelerate and hit a deep drainage ditch.

In turn, Dempsey’s SUV became airborne and eventually landed on top of a truck driven by plaintiff Boris Woodard. The impact caused both the Dempsey SUV and the Woodard truck to cross two lanes of traffic and roll down an embankment.

Woodard suffered eye injuries and bruising. Much worse and tragic was the witnessing of the injury and subsequent death of Woodard’s 25-year-old daughter who was his passenger. Anna Woodard lapsed into a coma and was hospitalized for nine days after the crash before she died. She was a student who had hoped to work in childcare. She is survived by her parents. Her medical expenses were in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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Marc Rene, 34, was driving his sedan northbound on a two-lane road. Patrick Chancey was driving a tractor-trailer owned by Pat Salmon & Sons of Florida when he pulled out of a truck yard and made a wide turn onto the roadway.  This caused the tractor-trailer to enter the northbound lanes, which resulted in a collision with the Rene vehicle.

Rene suffered fractures to his right hip and knee and a degloving injury to his right heel. He underwent hip and knee surgeries. It is anticipated that additional surgeries are needed. Rene continues to suffer pain from these injuries and incurred medical expenses of nearly $230,700.

He sued Pat Salmon & Sons and Chancey, claiming that Chancey chose not to yield the right-of-way.  The lawsuit did not claim lost income.

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In a personal injury lawsuit filed in Cook County concerning the pedestrian-vehicle collision that severely injured 2-year-old Angela Williams, the attorney representing Williams nonsuited the lawsuit in order to refile it with a jury demand. The plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the second amended complaint in April 2017 before refiling it days later, this time with a jury demand.

The same motion judge was assigned to the case. A month later, the defendant, Gregory Leonard, moved to substitute the motion court judge. The judge denied Leonard’s motion based on his interpretation of the Illinois Supreme Court case of Bowman v. Ottney, 2015 IL 119000.

Because the motion court judge thought that if he was wrong, it would hamper the progress of this case, he allowed the parties to file an interlocutory appeal. The issue on appeal was interpretation of Section 2-1001(a)(2) of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, which gives the parties the right to substitute judges once without cause before substantive case issues had been decided.  The Illinois Supreme Court in Bowman, held that the provision should not be used for “judge shopping” by plaintiffs.

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A Cook County jury signed a verdict for $1,100,000 for Martin Bader and his wife Julia. They sued Giovanni Melendez-Ortiz in 2015 when it was alleged that the defendant, Melendez-Ortiz, was negligent as he drove across the center line on Green Bay Road near Keith Avenue in Waukegan, Ill., and drove the wrong way on Green Bay Road. In doing so, Melendez-Ortiz crashed head-on into the Bader vehicle.

The jury’s verdict of $1.1 million was made up of the following damages:

  • $72,487.48 for past medical expenses;
  • $50,000 for future medical care;
  • $250,000 for past loss of normal life;
  • $250,000 for future loss of normal life;
  • $250,000 for past pain and suffering; and
  • $250,000 for future pain and suffering.

The total verdict reached was $1,122,487.48.

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Bert Jessmon and his father worked for a private trash collection company. They were on a route with Jessmon’s father driving and Bert Jessmon riding on the back of the truck. The Jessmons stopped on a rural two-lane highway and Bert Jessmon left the truck and began walking to pick up a trash can. At the same time, a W.A. Kendall & Co. wood chipper truck stopped behind the trash truck.

Elizabeth Smiley, who was traveling in the same lane, came upon the truck and stopped behind them. When Smiley confirmed that the oncoming lane was clear, she began passing the vehicles on the left. As she was nearly passed the chipper truck, the driver pulled out, striking her car. The Smiley car then spun clockwise striking and pinning Bert Jessmon between the car’s driver side and the rear of the garbage truck.

Bert Jessmon sustained severe crush injuries to both of his legs and his right leg was nearly severed above the knee. His femoral artery was severed and he began bleeding profusely. A bystander with Army medical experience applied a tourniquet while emergency responders were called.

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Donald Waterhouse made a claim for $100,000 in underinsured motorist coverage from State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. for the injuries he suffered in a car crash caused by George D. Robinson. Robinson was insured by State Farm, which settled Waterhouse’s negligence case for his $50,000 policy limit. The common fund doctrine might apply to the offset State Farm declared it would take (totaling $27,463) for the money Waterhouse received under his policy’s medical payments coverage.

When State Farm settled on behalf of Robinson, it sent a letter waiving its subrogation rights. But the correspondence to Waterhouse’s lawyer continued, “As of today, we have paid $27,463 under your client’s medical payments coverage. In the event that your client’s case goes into underinsured motorist arbitration, we will be taking this amount as an offset along with a credit of $50,000, which is deemed paid under Robinson’s liability coverage.”

In a motion to adjudicate State Farm’s alleged lien, Waterhouse claimed he was entitled to a credit under the Common Fund Doctrine – against the offset claimed by State Farm – for a proportional share of the fees and costs he incurred in obtaining the tort recovery.

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