Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

Donald Peace was driving to work in rainy conditions in the middle of the night.  As he drove along a two-lane highway, Keith Rock attempted to back out onto a side street, blocking several lanes of the highway. Rock was driving a tractor-trailer for Berkeley Scrap Metal.

Peace’s vehicle crashed into the Berkeley Scrap Metal tractor-trailer that was blocking the street; he suffered fatal injuries. He was survived by his wife and two adult children.

The Peace estate and family sued Berkeley Scrap Metal, alleging liability for Rock’s choosing not to keep a proper lookout when backing onto the side street.

Continue reading

Elijah Simone was riding his bicycle through an intersection when Bruce Jameson’s motor vehicle was turning left in front of him and struck him. Simone, 23, suffered a neck fracture at C6-7. The neck fracture required a fusion surgery.

Simone’s medical expenses were more than $474,000. He was an assistant at a pharmacy, and his lost wages totaled $15,000.

Simone sued Jameson, alleging that he made a negligent left turn.

Continue reading

Before the Illinois Supreme Court handed down its decision in Peach v. McGovern, there were differing Illinois Appellate Court cases about whether an expert was needed to testify about a photograph of post-accident vehicle damage before it could be admitted into evidence. The Peach decision held that expert testimony is not required to admit post-accident vehicle photographs and settle this conflict in the law.

In its holding, the Peach decision expressly overturned DiCosola v. Bowman, 342 Ill.App.3d 530, 538 (1st Dist. 2003) and Baraniak v. Kurby, 371 Ill.App.3d 310, 317-18 (1st Dist. 2007) and held that the proper analysis had been appropriate in the cases of Ford v. Grizzle, 398 Ill.App.3d 639, 648 (5th Dist. 2010), Fronabarger v. Burns, 385 Ill.App.3d 560, 565 (5th Dist. 2008), Jackson v. Seib, 372 Ill.App.3d 1061, 1071 (5th Dist. 2007) and Ferro v. Griffiths, 361 Ill.App.3d 738, 743 (3d Dist. 2005).

In the Illinois Supreme Court decision in Peach, the Court ruled that the question of whether the photographs were admissible depended on whether they were relevant, and that relevancy is tested in light of logic, experience, and accepted assumptions about human behavior. Peach, Id. ¶ 26 (citing Boykin v. Estate of DeBoer, 192 Ill.2d 49, 57 (2000)).

Continue reading

Jerry Troutwine, 46, was traveling eastbound on a two-lane local highway on a rainy and slushy morning. He was driving his employer’s vehicle.

Justin Nichols was traveling westbound in a dump truck filled with concrete when he lost control of his truck near a downhill curve. The truck’s brakes locked, and the truck crossed the centerline, colliding head-on with Troutwine’s vehicle.

Troutwine died as a result of his injuries. He had been a truck driver and mechanic earning almost $30,000 per year. Troutwine was survived by his wife and teenage daughter.

Continue reading

This was a case of a rear-end car crash in which the plaintiff, William Kevin Peach, brought a lawsuit against Lyndsey E. McGovern  stemming  from personal injuries he sustained in an automobile incident. The jury returned a verdict in favor of defendant, and the judgment on the verdict was entered.

The plaintiff appealed, contending that the jury verdict was against the manifest weight of the evidence, especially when the defendant was adjudged negligent as a matter of law. The plaintiff further asserted that the trial court erred in allowing the defense counsel, over objection, to present evidence pertaining to the relative amount of damage sustained by the vehicles. The plaintiff also argued that there was a direct correlation between the amount of damage to the vehicles, as depicted in photographs and plaintiff’s injuries.

In this case, the plaintiff was on his way home around 10 p.m. after visiting his girlfriend on the evening of July 17, 2010. As he was driving home, he had to stop at an intersection to allow traffic to clear. While waiting at the stop sign, the rear of plaintiff’s pickup truck was hit by another vehicle driven by the defendant who was also on her way home. The defendant claims she was fully stopped behind plaintiff, when her foot slipped off the brake. She further testified that the vehicle simply rolled into the rear of the plaintiff’s truck. The plaintiff, on the other hand, estimated the defendant’s speed to have been 20-25 mph at the time of impact.  He also noticed that the defendant was on her cell phone.

Continue reading

Anne Sholes, 53, a neurosurgeon, was riding her bicycle in a bicycle lane to work when a Solano County employee operating a box truck, struck her from behind. Dr. Sholes suffered a broken back and a fractured left leg and ankle.

She underwent multiple surgeries to repair her back and leg, including replacement of hardware. She then required extensive physical therapy, hyperbaric chamber treatments, and acupuncture. Dr. Sholes’ medical expenses totaled $270,000.

Dr. Sholes was earning $400,000 annually as a neurosurgeon. She returned to work as a physician advisor two years after the incident, but her salary was reduced to $75,000 per year.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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).

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading