Cook County Jury Verdict for Driver of Motor Vehicle that Collided with Bicyclist

This case was brought before a jury panel twice. These were the facts:  On Sept. 6, 2006, Michael Lynn was bicycling on the sidewalk facing eastbound on the southwest corner of 33rd Street and Wentworth Avenue in Chicago when he was struck by the defendant’s car driven by James Miller. Miller had been driving southbound on Wentworth with a green light when he swerved to avoid another bicyclist who ran a red light on westbound 33rd Street.  This caused Miller to lose control, jump the curb and hit a tree.

Lynn, 21, who was entirely without fault, sustained a closed head injury, loss of consciousness, traumatic brain injury, four-part comminuted fracture of the left shoulder which was unoperated and bruises.

Lynn was taken by ambulance to Stroger Hospital in Chicago, where he suffered respiratory arrest, was intubated and was sedated in a four-day induced coma. 

As a result of the injuries to his head, Lynn suffered post-concussion syndrome and complex partial seizure disorder. Lynn was a college student at Illinois Institute of Technology at the time of the crash. He graduated with honors in 2008 and later earned a graduate degree. He’s employed now as an architect. 

The defendant driver denied he was negligent and maintained that the non-party bicyclist was the sole proximate cause of the collision. 

This case had been tried before in April 2010, which resulted in a defense verdict. At the first trial, the jury was given a special interrogatory which asked whether the other bicyclist was the sole proximate cause of the incident. In that case, the jury answered, yes.

Before trial, the demand to settle the case for Lynn was $1 million. The offer to settle by the defendant was zero. 

At the end of the first trial and after post-trial, motions were denied, and the plaintiff appealed, wherein the appellate court reversed and remanded the case for the new and second trial. In the first trial, the trial court allowed defendants’ closing argument to include improper and highly prejudicial comments regarding the other bicyclist, a non-party.Counsel for the defendant repeated three times asking the jury why a person such as the other bicyclist was not brought into the lawsuit. That was improper commentary resulting in the second trial, but with the same result.

Michael Lynn v. James Miller, No. 11 L 9889 (Cook County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents and car 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 37 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Bellwood, Chicago (Bronzeville), Chicago (Bucktown), Chicago (Humboldt Park), Chicago (Greek Town), Chicago (Canaryville), Northbrook, Palatine, Round Lake Beach, Skokie, St. Charles, Western Springs and Joliet, Ill.

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