Illinois Jury Verdict for $190,000 in T-Bone Crash Includes Claim for Physical and Psychological Injuries

On Nov. 29, 2009, Steven Freimuth was driving his Jeep northbound on Route 12 at the intersection with Molidor Road in Volo, Ill. As he drove through that intersection he was broadsided by the car driven eastbound by the defendant, Dina Goehler. Route 12 at that intersection was a four-lane preferential highway with the right-of-way, in favor of Freimuth, while Goehler, the defendant, had a stop sign at the cross street. It was claimed that she chose not to yield the right-of-way to Freimuth.

Steven Freimuth was a 30-year-old comptroller who sustained soft tissue neck and shoulder injuries, plus he claimed severe psychological injuries including major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder and suicide attempts.

The defendant, Goehler, 81, argued that Freimuth was driving too fast for the conditions and he chose not to keep a proper lookout while coming over a hill. The police report showed that Freimuth did not report any injury at the scene, that he did not display any physical injuries and that whatever injuries he had were resolved shortly after the collision. As far as his psychological injuries, Goehler’s argument was that they were not related to this crash.

Goehler engaged an independent expert neurologist, Dr. Kessler, who disputed Freimuth’s psychological claim and injury claims. Dr. Kessler testified over Freimuth’s attorney’s objections that she was a “behavioral neurologist” with vast experience at the North Chicago V.A. Hospital’s Department of Psychiatry.

Freimuth disputed Dr. Kessler’s contention that behavioral neurology is essentially the same field of medicine as psychiatry. The evidence showed that Dr. Kessler had earned over $2.7 million in gross income as an expert witness from 2007 to 2012, the vast majority for the defendants in cases, including $257,911 from American Family Insurance Co.’s staff counsel alone during that same period of time.

The jury’s verdict of $190,000 was more than the automobile policy insurance limits for Goehler. According to the report, the parties settled the case post-trial for $150,000, which was the policy limits of Goehler’s insurance policy.

Steven Freimuth was represented by attorney Mark P. Standa. The jury’s verdict of $190,000 was made up of the following damages;

$150,000 for loss of normal life; and
$40,000 for pain and suffering.

Before the trial, Freimuth’s counsel made a policy limits demand of $150,000, which in turn led to an offer to settle the case by Goehler’s attorney and insurance company for $14,000. At the conclusion of the evidence in the case, Mr. Standa asked the jury to return the verdict of $415,000.

Steven Freimuth v. Dina Goehler, No. 11 L 853 (Lake County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling intersection automobile accident cases, T-bone automobile accident cases, car crashes, truck accident cases, bicycle accident cases and motorcycle accident 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 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Chicago (Little Village, Lawndale, Brighton Park, Back of the Yards, Bronzeville, Chinatown, Pilsen, Little Italy, West Town, Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Hyde Park, South Shore, Chatham, Englewood), Stickney, Cicero, River Forest, Schiller Park, Des Plaines and Wheeling, Ill.

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