Articles Posted in Head-On Crash

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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In April 2010, the plaintiffs Rose Schurer and Andrea DeVivo were driving westbound on Lawrence Avenue in Norridge, Ill., when an oncoming van crossed the center line and struck their vehicle. The eastbound van was driven by the defendant, 56-year-old Pawel Pawlowska.

The plaintiff, Schurer, suffered four fractures in her right leg and ankle, which required surgery. The second plaintiff, 42-year-old DeVivo, sustained a fractured pelvis requiring surgery. She later developed arthritis resulting in a total left hip replacement.

The plaintiffs Schurer and DeVivo maintained that Pawlowska was acting as a volunteer agent of the Catholic Bishop of Chicago (Archdiocese of Chicago) at the time of the crash because he was driving to a church to perform non-profit electrical work with installation of materials he recently purchased using the church’s tax-exempt status.

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In the model years 2009 and 2010, Toyota’s Corolla has been targeted as a dangerous vehicle because of the electric power steering (ETS) system. In fact, two Toyota Corolla owners, one in New York and one in Pennsylvania, filed suit. The Corolla owners have alleged that the steering system’s defect caused their cars to drift out of control. The lawsuits claim that the steering system defect is a serious safety problem and that Toyota was aware of the problem but did nothing to fix it.

It was alleged in the lawsuit that the defect in the electric power steering system caused a driver to spin out of control on a highway, cross the center line into oncoming traffic before crashing into an embankment. The plaintiffs have alleged that the defect in the electric power steering system is significant and widespread, and they seek to have a class certified by the court.

Toyota, on the other hand, has argued that the court should not allow class certification nationwide because the vehicle shares no common problem. Toyota said the defect in the steering system affects only a small number of Corolla owners. Toyota also said it has reviewed the reports of steering problems and has found that the individual complaints may relate to the way steering feels to them or tire conditions on the particular vehicle.

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The Illinois Appellate Court has affirmed a defense verdict in a multi-vehicle crash on an icy Indiana highway that caused severe injuries to motorists. The big issue in the case was which state’s law should be applied at a Cook County Circuit Court jury trial.

On Dec. 26, 2007, Clifford Ruse, a truck driver for Harvey, Ill.-based Envirite of Illinois Inc. was driving eastbound on Interstate 80/94 in Hammond, Ind., when he was struck by an SUV whose driver had lost control on a patch of black ice.

Ruse swerved his truck to the left and hit the highway’s median wall. On impact, the container of mill dust in tow was detached from his truck and that container crossed into the westbound lanes of the interstate highway. The plaintiff in the case, Daniel Kovera, was one of several drivers injured when the container landed on their cars. In March 2008, Kovera and his wife filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill.

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On Sept. 10, 2007, Paul Ermel was driving a semi-tractor northbound on Route 47 in Sugar Grove, Ill., when the defendant, Zachary McVeigh, who was approaching in his car from the southbound, attempted a left turn. He was trying to turn on at Waubansee Drive, which is the entry for the Waubonsee Community College. McVeigh misjudged Ermel’s truck, thinking it was stuck and stopped as part of the construction work that was going on at the area. McVeigh turned his vehicle into the front driver’s side of Ermel’s semi-truck.

Ermel, 38, alleged that the impact of the crash caused him to sustain bulging discs or aggravation of pre-existing degenerative conditions in his cervical and thoracic spine, damage to neck ligaments, cervical instability and a cervical fistula. He required two cervical fusion surgeries. The first was at the level C6-7, and the second was at the level C4-6. His alleged medical expenses were $326,136. He also lost 10 weeks of work as a Teamsters union truck driver.

The defendant McVeigh admitted negligence but contested the nature and extent of Ermel’s injuries. The defendant contended that Ermel suffered only soft tissue strains, which resolved within 4 months. It was also argued that there was a 9-month treatment gap before Ermel sought further medical care, that he continued working full time and raced a stock car during this 9-month period and that there were no recorded complaints of neurological symptoms in his medical records until 1½ years after the accident.

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On Aug. 6, 2011, the car driven by Mi Suk Park rear-ended Patricia LaBeck’s car on Rand Road in Deer Park, Ill. The great force of the crash caused the Park airbags to deploy, caused LaBeck’s sunglasses to come off and prompted LaBeck’s daughter’s shoes and headband to come off.

LaBeck was a 40-year-old homemaker at the time. She was taken by ambulance to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill., where she was diagnosed with a concussion and lumbar strain/sprain.

She returned to the emergency room two days after the crash for severe dizziness and headaches. She had feared that she had suffered a more severe head injury, but the concussion diagnosis was confirmed.

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Jeremy Droege and his five family members, including his wife, his mother, and three children, ages 7, 5 and 3, were passengers in a car that was struck head-on by a truck driven by James Benson for J.B. Hunt Transport on Oct. 2, 2010. The Droege family was in a car traveling northbound on Route 29 in Sparland, Marshall County, Ill., when Benson’s southbound truck tractor, without an attached trailer, crossed the center line into the northbound lane and crashed head-on with Droege’s van near North Street.

Stephanie Droege, 32 and the wife of Jeremy, was the most seriously injured and remained hospitalized for 23 hours, while the other five plaintiffs were treated in the emergency room and released. She suffered cervical fractures at C-6 and C-7 with a closed head injury causing traumatic brain injury, leaving her at increased risk of epilepsy.

Jeremy Droege, 32, was the driver. He suffered a knee bone contusion and soft tissue neck and back injuries. His mother, Betty, 75, also suffered injuries. The three children, ages 7, 5 and 3, had only emergency room care but experienced emotional distress and nightmares after the crash.

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On Jan. 27, 2011, the defendant, 55-year-old Wayne Mallek, was driving eastbound on Signal Hill Road in North Barrington, Ill., during snowy weather. As Mallek went down a steep hill approaching a stop sign at Route 59, he realized he was not going to be able to stop in time due to the accumulation of packed snow on the road. Traffic traveling on Route 59 did not have any stop signs or traffic control devices at that intersection.

Mallek applied his brake hard, pumped the brakes and then swerved sharply to the right but his vehicle did not slow down or respond until he reached the intersection due to the steep decline.

As a result of that maneuver, Mallek slightly sideswiped a southbound box truck driven by the defendant Santiago Nava who was employed by Randolph Packing. Nava was in the scope of his employment at the time.

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On Feb. 27, 2008, Michelle Eells, 39, was driving eastbound on Route 38 toward DeKalb, Ill., when an oncoming westbound pickup truck driven by the defendant, Dustin Grinstead, crossed the centerline near Kishwaukee Community College and crashed into her vehicle. The eastbound vehicle driven by Wayne Domin, who was working for Sysco, was driving behind Eells and subsequently rear-ended Eells’s car following the first impact between Eells and Grinstead.

Eells claimed that she injured her neck, back and right arm and hand, which resulted in three surgeries. She had an excision of ganglion cyst on the right hand/wrist and injection for DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis, right elbow surgical release of radial nerve entrapment and radial tunnel syndrome and cervical fusion, which occurred in September 2010. Eells also claimed that she can no longer work as a dental hygienist and is currently unemployed. She had claimed medical bills amounting to $167,582. She also claimed lost time from work at $111,691 and future lost time.

Eells sought to hold the defendants Grinstead and Domin/Sysco 50% each at fault. Grinstead had an automobile insurance policy limit of $100,000. According to the law, if Domin/Sysco was found at least 25% at fault they would be jointly liable for all of the damages.

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