Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

Janet Pulver, 66, was several yards away from an intersection when a vehicle driven by Bennett Dunbar crashed into Pulver’s car head-on.  Pulver suffered serious injuries, including traumatic brain injury, and died only 28 hours later. She had been retired but was taking care of her grandchildren everyday. She was survived by her two adult children and grandchildren.

Pulver’s family and estate sued Dunbar alleging that he was driving recklessly and traveling at almost 80 mph in a 40-mph zone at the time of the crash.

Dunbar lost control of his vehicle, which crossed the center line of the highway and hit Pulver’s car head-on. The report of this case inexplicably stated that defendant disputed the plaintiff’s damages claim.

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The defendant attorney appealed from a Circuit Court order that reduced his contingent fee for legal representation in a motor-vehicle settlement case. The order had been entered in McDonough County, Ill. The plaintiff, the injured party, William K. Kelso, deceased, by his wife and executor, cross-appealed, arguing that the defendant attorney was, at most, entitled to quantum meruit recovery of his attorney fees.

Sharon Kelso, the plaintiff, and her late husband, William Kelso, were involved in a car crash in Arizona in February 2011. He died as a result of the accident, and his wife was seriously injured. The incident was the fault of the other driver, Shauna Nowicki. Nowicki was underinsured, with limits of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. The Kelsos had their own insurance policy with $1 million underinsured coverage through Auto Owners Insurance.

On March 21, 2011, Sharon signed a contingency contract retaining the services of the defendant Richard Beuke for her claim. She signed a second, virtually identical, contract on April 13, 2011, as William’s wife, to recover for William’s injuries. Beuke was a friend of the Kelsos’ son. Both contracts stated that Sharon was retaining Beuke to prosecute a claim or cause of action against Nowicki and/or others responsible for the Kelsos’ injuries (and his death) in the crash. The contract stated that Beuke and his law firm were being retained to “prosecute a claim or cause of action against Shauna L. Nowicki and Daniel Raymond Porth, and/or other persons or entities responsible for the injuries sustained by” Sharon Kelso (in the first contract) and William Kelso (the second contract).

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After a party, Vivence Bugilimfura drove seven of his friends home in his employer’s van. He had been drinking. He crashed the van into a concrete highway divider. All but one of the passengers who were in their early 20s were ejected from the van. Two of the passengers suffered fatal injuries, and the others’ injuries ranged from a bruised lung to multiple fractures. The medical expenses of those who survived ranged from approximately $26,300 to $496,100.

The lawsuit on behalf of the injured and deceased passengers alleged that Bugilimfura and his employer, All Citizens Transportation, were liable for the crash. The plaintiffs argued that All Citizens negligently entrusted the van to Bugilimfura, who had only recently received his driver’s license. The plaintiffs also maintained that Bugilimfura was driving while intoxicated. The lawsuit did not claim lost income.

The jury signed a verdict for the plaintiffs who were either injured or killed in the amount of approximately $15.4 million finding the defendants joint and severally liable. Essentially, the verdict means that All Citizens Transportation could pay the entire amount of the jury’s verdict.

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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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