Articles Posted in Car Accidents

The appeal in this case comes out of a jury’s verdict in favor of the plaintiff, Lanisha Blockmon, who was special administrator of the Estate of Walter Blockmon III. On July 11, 2014, Blockmon was driving on I-80 near the city of Country Club Hills, Ill., when his vehicle was hit from behind by the vehicle driven by the defendant, Jakobi McClellan. Blockmon died from his injuries. After his death, Lanisha Blockmon filed a 5-count fourth amended complaint in the Circuit Court of Cook County naming McClellan, Vector Marketing Corp. and Cutco Corp. as defendants.

Vector Marketing sells and distributes cutlery and other kitchen equipment manufactured by Cutco. The lawsuit alleged that in July 2014, McClellan, the defendant, was a sales representative for an agent of Vector and Cutco, and that at the time of the incident, McClellan was traveling between sales calls in his role as a Vector sales representative.

McClellan admitted that at the time of the incident he was using the mapping and GPS functions on his cell phone to check the location of his next sales call and to determine how late he was running, and that he was not looking at the road.

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In a divided First District Appellate Court decision, it was found that a private ambulance company cannot get the benefit of immunity given to emergency vehicles for a collision its medic allegedly caused. The appeals panel found that because the defendant, Joshua M. Nicholas, wasn’t transporting a patient in his Lifeline ambulance at the time he collided with the plaintiff, Roberto Hernandez, Nicholas and Lifeline were not immune from liability under state law.

The State Emergency Medical Services Systems Act immunizes ambulatory agencies and their employees if they’re providing emergency or non-emergency medical services. The Illinois Supreme Court in Wilkins v. Williams, 2013 IL 114310 held that “non-emergency medical services” included the non-emergency transport of a patient.

Nicholas was on his way to pick up a patient in Villa Park when he collided with Hernandez’s car on March 11, 2016 while exiting the upper lanes of Lake Shore Drive in Streeterville. As a result, state law did not “provide Nicholas or Lifeline with immunity from liability for any negligent acts or omissions which proximately resulted in damages to the plaintiff.”

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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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In this semi-tractor-trailer crash, the plaintiff, Angela Antonicelli, was a passenger in a vehicle traveling on Illinois Interstate 88.  Three lanes were closed for construction. Karl Browder was operating a semi-tractor and trailer traveling behind Antonicelli’s car.

The truck driver, Daniel Juan Rodriguez, was under the influence of cocaine and made an improper U-turn through the median and collided with Antonicelli’s vehicle, causing it to rotate.

The trucker, Browder, was unable to stop his semi-tractor and trailer and slammed into the Antonicelli vehicle.

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There have been multiple reports of deaths and/or agonizing, horrible injuries caused when motorists strike highway or road guardrails designed and manufactured by Lindsay Corp., the maker and designer of X-LITE guardrails.

The recent lawsuits filed in South Carolina and Tennessee allege that Lindsay Corp. was negligent in design of the X-LITE guardrails, which are supposed to absorb impact when vehicles hit them. Instead, the guardrails have been known to pierce through motor vehicles either killing drivers and passengers or severely injuring those in such vehicles.

In April 2017, a woman died in Spartanburg County, SC, when the SUV that her husband was driving went off the road running into the guardrail. On impact, the beams from the guardrail pierced through the vehicle’s exterior and frame puncturing all the way through to the backseat on the passenger side.

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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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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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