Illinois Jury Finds for Driver in Rear-End Expressway Crash; Gavino v. Faught

Benjamin Faught rear-ended Luis Gavino’s car on southbound Interstate 94 in Deerfield, Ill., in the early morning hours of Oct. 3, 2009.  The impact caused the plaintiff’s car to spin several times and crash into a cement median strip.

Gavino, 57, sustained a posterior tibialis tendon tear, located on the inner side of the ankle and aggravation of pre-existing arthritis in his left ankle. This required surgery to the tendon and an ankle fusion. Gavino also had a neck, shoulder and back soft tissue injury.

The defendant, 22-year-old Benjamin Faught, admitted to consuming seven vodka drinks prior to the crash. He pleaded guilty to a charge of DUI. The defendant admitted liability, but evidence of alcohol intoxication was permitted pursuant to the plaintiff’s agreement to withdraw a punitive damage claim as part of the high/low agreement.

The defendant denied the accident aggravated the plaintiff’s pre-existing ankle arthritis and argued that he would have needed ankle surgery anyway. Defendant also maintained that plaintiff’s ankle injury and surgery were solely the result of residuals from a prior accident when he had been a pedestrian toll worker struck by a car on the expressway, which had resulted in multiple fractures and surgeries. 

The offer before trial was $5,000. The demand to settle was $100,000. The plaintiff’s attorney, Michael S. Cetina, asked the jury to return the verdict of $152,693. 

The jury’s verdict of $64,000 was made up of the following damages:

  • $8,000 for medical expenses;
  • $35,000 for pain and suffering;
  • $21,000 for loss of normal life.

The parties had entered into a $15,000 – $100,000 high/low agreement before the beginning of the trial.  The jury’s verdict was in the middle of that high/low agreement, so the verdict will stand.

Luis S. Gavino, Jr. v. Benjamin Faught, 11 L 779 (Lake County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling automobile and truck crash cases 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 Orland Park, Highland Park, Glencoe, Lincolnwood, Chicago (Edgebrook), Bellwood, Clarendon Hills, Palos Hills, Oak Forest, Calumet City and Evergreen Park, Ill.

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