Cook County Jury Returns $28,700 Verdict for Rear-Ended Driver

On Feb. 19, 2009, Georgene Paz was eastbound on Palatine Road at Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights, Illinois, when she was rear-ended by 41-year-old Richard Ahlman. Paz, age 52, drove herself to Central DuPage Hospital right after the crash complaining of lower back and neck pain.

She continued to treat with her primary care physician and received physical therapy for lower back pain radiating into her right leg through mid-April 2009.

Paz argued that her  back pain and radiating symptoms continued and were ongoing when she slipped at work and landed on her rear-end in July 2009, which  resulted in another emergency room visit and more physical therapy.

A victim of some bad luck, Paz was rear-ended again by another car in January 2010. She went to the emergency room at a local hospital once again with an exasperation of low back and radiating right leg pain and reported that her symptoms returned to a baseline level after just a few days.

In March 2010, Paz  began a series of eight epidural steroid injections.  She also received multiple facet injections and ultimately underwent a radiofrequency ablation procedure, all of which she claimed were related to the February 2009 rear-end crash.  She also maintained that she had incurred $95,765 in medical bills.

The defendant admitted negligence, but argued that Paz’s back pain had resolved before her July 2009 fall at work.  A physical therapist’s report documented that all of the issues from the February 2009 car crash had subsided prior to the work accident. Any problems that she had after that could not be attributed to the February 2009 car collision and that only $3,705 of the claimed medical expenses were related to this incident. 

Before trial, counsel for  Paz demanded the policy limits of $100,000 to settle the case. The offer to settle was $10,000.  In closing argument, counsel for Paz asked the jury to return a verdict of $350,000.  The jury deliberated 3 hours before reaching its verdict of $27,700 made up of the following damages:

  • $3,705 for past medical expenses;
  • $15,000 for past pain and suffering;
  • $10,000 for past loss of normal life;
  • $0 for future pain and suffering;
  • $0 for future loss of normal life.

  The attorneys representing Georgene Paz at trial were Michael Cetina and Adam Kruse.

Georgene Paz v. Richard H. Ahlman, No. 11 L 11297 (Cook County, Illinois).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling automobile accidents, car crashes, bicycle accidents and motorcycle accidents for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Grayslake, Wheaton, Joliet, Cicero, Elgin, St. Charles, Geneva, Wilmette, Waukegan, Lake Bluff, Lincolnwood, Lake Zurich, Calumet City, Chicago Heights and Rosemont, Ill.

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