Articles Posted in Road Defect Cases

A Mississippi jury has signed a verdict for $1,250,000 in favor of a highway patrolman whose left leg was partially amputated in a motorcycle accident that was alleged to have been caused by two construction companies that left a low ramp across a road.

Highway Patrolman Marvin Henderson filed a lawsuit after he hit the ramp obstruction at night while returning from a gym. He was thrown from his motorcycle and his left foot and lower leg were crushed. Unfortunately, his leg was amputated below the knee eleven months after this occurrence. He now uses a prosthetic leg.

The ramp in question covered a conduit that the construction companies were using to move water and sewage across the road. The drainage system was blocked by barricades during the day but not at night when this incident took place. Henderson is now a highway patrol investigator.

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A lawsuit was filed against the Chicago Zoological Society, which operates Brookfield Zoo, on land owned by the Cook County Forest Preserve District. The case was filed by Kristine O’Toole for injuries that she suffered when she fell because of an alleged defect in the pavement.

The defendant, the Chicago Zoological Society, which is a not-for-profit corporation, moved to dismiss the lawsuit under the Illinois Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act, which includes a shortened statute of limitations — that being one-year rather than two years for the usual tort claim. The shortened one-year deadline applies to “any not-for-profit corporation organized for the purpose of conducting public business.”

The Cook County judge granted the motion dismissing O’Toole’s case because she had not filed the lawsuit within the one-year statute of limitations from the date of her injury that the judge decided applied. She took an appeal claiming that the defendant did not qualify as a “local public entity” that would impose the one-year statute.

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Walter Rutland, 49, was riding his bike in the right lane of a state road that had recently been resurfaced. He moved to the right to avoid a car approaching from behind him. The bicycle’s front tire came on to a drop-off between the newly resurfaced road and a fringe area that had not been resurfaced. Rutland lost control of his bike and fell.

As a result of his fall, he was hospitalized with spinal injuries; an MRI showed swelling at C1-7. He underwent decompression infusion surgery at C2-7, but the injuries resulted in complete quadriplegia. Rutland is now only able to walk about 25 feet. He requires a wheelchair for longer distances to move about. He also requires assistance with most of his daily tasks.

Rutland’s past medical expenses totaled about $700,000 and his future medical expenses and life-care costs were estimated to be about $4.5 million.

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