Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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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Ordinarily, a person who is injured must seek a remedy from the person who caused the injury. However, the doctrine of respondeat superior provides an exception to that rule, in that a principal may be held liable for the actions of an agent who causes an injury.

Edward Grinyov was installing dispatch equipment in taxicabs at the local garage of dispatch company 303 Taxi. Grinyov was injured when another taxicab driver backed his vehicle into him pinning him against the fence.

The driver of the other cab was bringing the car to the 303 Taxi garage following the directions of a 303 Taxi manager. Because of Grinyov’s injuries, he brought a lawsuit against the driver of that cab, the owner of that particular taxicab and 303 Taxi.

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Christopher Wardwell was employed by the defendant, Union Pacific Railroad Co., as a switchman and conductor. On Aug. 9, 2008, Wardwell was riding in a railroad van, going from a railway yard to a train in East St. Louis, Ill., driven by the railroad’s agent, Regina Goodwin.

The van was rear-ended by Erin Behnken’s vehicle. Wardwell suffered a severe back injury and can no longer perform his duties at work. He is now employed by the railroad as a security guard at significantly reduced wages.

Wardwell filed suit under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), 45 U.S.C. 51, alleging that Goodwin had negligently cut in front of Behnken’s vehicle and that Goodwin’s negligence caused the accident.

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Joann Wallseck, 77, was a passenger in a car being driven by John Wallseck on Feb. 10, 2014.  John Wallseck made a left turn on River Road and Camp McDonald Road in Mount Prospect, Ill., when their vehicle collided with the oncoming car driven by the defendant, James D. Murges, who was heading straight through the intersection.

Joann Wallseck suffered a traumatic brain injury, fractured right pelvis, fractured right clavicle, fractured right scapula and five broken ribs during the collision.  The defendant, Murges, claimed that he had a solid green light and denied liability. The defense for Murges also disputed Joann Wallseck’s claimed traumatic brain injury.

A third-party claim was made against John Wallseck by James Murges. The third-party defendant John Wallseck testified that he had a green turn arrow.

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On April 12, 2012, Jennifer Hawkins was stopped at a red light on westbound 127th Street in Lemont, Ill.  The defendant, 18-year-old Nicole Barrett, rear-ended the car right behind Hawkins, which pushed that car into Hawkins’s car. The force of the impact totaled the middle vehicle (a Chevy Suburban) and caused nearly $5,000 in property damage to Hawkins’s Toyota Matrix. The crash also resulted in $4,727 in property damage to Barrett’s minivan.

Hawkins, 35, filed this lawsuit against Barrett maintaining that the crash caused her to have neck and lower back sprains, a protruding disc at C5-6, cervical and lumbar facet syndrome, cervical and lumbar radiculopathy and aggravation of her scoliosis, or curvature of the spine. Hawkins underwent multiple facet joint injections, several nerve blocks and cervical and lumbar radiofrequency ablation treatment. She introduced evidence of $227,563 of past medical expenses and $6,589 in lost wages where she worked as a cashier.

Her treating physician testified that she was a candidate for a future spinal cord stimulator implant, lumbar fusion and continued interventional pain management treatment.

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On Oct. 12, 2010, the plaintiff Christina Marshall was driving southbound on Route 71 in Ottawa, Ill.  When stopped behind a line of backed up traffic waiting for a school bus to drop off children, the driver traveling behind Marshall slammed on his brakes and swerved his van onto the northbound lane to avoid striking the plaintiff’s vehicle. The driver behind the van, the defendant, Callie K. Steith, 27, also braked but was unable to stop in time and rear-ended the Marshall vehicle.

Marshall, 25, contended that the impact caused a herniated C5-6 disc, which led to an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion.

The defendant argued that Marshall made an unnecessary sudden stop, the view of Steith of the roadway in traffic was obscured because it was downhill, the crash was low speed with minimal impact and Marshall suffered only a neck strain.

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Petar Kuzmanov, 23 at the time of a car accident, was a backseat passenger in a car driven by Hristo Hristov. Lauren Weiner was in the front seat passenger side allegedly engaged in a sexual act with Hristov while he was driving. Distracted, Hristov swerved onto a grassy median. As he moved the vehicle back onto the roadway, it overturned, struck a guardrail and was hit by 3 other vehicles including a fully loaded tractor-trailer and a pickup truck.

 

Kuzmanov was comatose for several months after the crash. He sustained a traumatic brain injury, which has affected his speech and cognitive abilities. He now requires therapy and assistance with daily living activities. He also suffered an amputation of his left index finger, degloving injuries to his right foot and a fractured right femur that required surgery. His medical bills were $530,000.

 

The guardian for Kuzmanov filed a lawsuit against Hristov and Weiner, the drivers involved in the subsequent collisions and the owner of the pickup truck, alleging negligent failure to safely operate their respective vehicles. It was also claimed that the defendants were traveling at an unsafe speed and made other claims of negligence. The lawsuit did claim lost income.

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The Illinois Appellate Court has found that a rental car company, Enterprise Leasing, and the driver who rented the vehicle from it are not liable for a deadly drunken driving incident involving the rental car and the driver who was not the customer.

The Illinois First District Appellate Court dismissed the lawsuit filed by the estate of Laura Linderborg against Enterprise and David Soto, finding that they could not have foreseen the accident that eventually killed Laura Linderborg.

On April 2, 2012, David Soto rented a 2012 Nissan Altima from Enterprise. He parked the car at the house of his boss, Katrina Scimone, and left the keys there. Scimone’s boyfriend, Jesse Medina, took the car and drove it while he was drunk. Later that day he was involved in a fatal crash in Burbank, Ill., after colliding with Laura Linderborg’s car, killing himself and Linderborg, who survived for a while but died two months later from her injuries. Her medical bills totaled $1.34 million.

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A motorcyclist was riding behind a car driven by the defendant who was a car dealership employee. The defendant driver suddenly made a U-turn, causing the motorcyclist to catapult over the car’s hood.

The plaintiff motorcyclist suffered multiple fractures, including a wrist fracture that required surgery.

The medical expenses for the motorcyclist were $55,000. He was an automotive technician but is now unable to return to his job. He had been earning about $60,000 per year.

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Russell Sheaffer was a graduate film student at Indiana University. He was in California making a documentary and was driving in moderate stop-and-go traffic on a freeway. As he was stopped in the line of traffic, Thomas Mose, driving a tanker truck for NuCO2, rear-ended a vehicle two cars behind Sheaffer’s while traveling at about 25 mph. A chain-reaction impact occurred. The car behind Sheaffer’s rear-ended his car causing his seat to break. His car was then propelled into the SUV in front of him.

Sheaffer suffered multiple skull and facial fractures, including fractures to his jaw and sinus, and a traumatic brain injury. He underwent open reduction internal fixation of the jaw, and his jaw was wired shut for 8 weeks. The trauma and fractures caused Sheaffer to develop ischemic bone disease, osteoarthritis of the jaw, and deterioration and degeneration of the condyles and mandible. A condyle is the smooth surface area at the end of the bone forming a part of a joint. His past medical expenses totaled $141,900.

Sheaffer continues to suffer from chronic pain and he will require additional surgeries and therapies to treat jaw pain and other problems. In addition, the brain injury has adversely affected his memory and his ability to cope with his jaw injuries. Sheaffer still plans a career in filmmaking, but he is no longer able to function at the level he was accustomed to before this crash.

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