Sara Peretsky Jury Unimpressed With Injuries in Lake Shore Drive Crash; Peretsky v. Vy and Nguyen

Sara Peretsky, a well-known author of the V.I. Warshawski novels, was a passenger with her husband, the driver, on Lake Shore Drive when they were rear-ended by another car that was driven by the 16-year-old defendant, Vy.  Vy apparently lost control of his vehicle.  The impact caused Peretsky’s vehicle to spin and strike a retaining wall.

Peretsky, 58, is a novelist and writer who claimed that she suffered whiplash with cervical radiculopathy, shoulder, arm and hand injuries. Her medical bills totaled $19,850.

Peretsky claimed that her injuries prevented her from completing a manuscript on time, causing her to be forever behind in her publishing deadlines. She claimed lost income of $1,518,000.

Peretsky also alleged that Vy’s father, defendant Nguyen, was responsible for negligently entrusting his car to his 16-year-old son. The defendant’s attorneys argued that Mr. Nguyen was not responsible, and he was granted a directed verdict by the trial judge at the close of the plaintiff’s case. Therefore, the jury did not decide that issue of the case.

Vy, who admitted negligence for the crash, argued that Peretsky suffered no injury or that her injuries could not be proven to be the direct result of the crash. It was also maintained that Peretsky had pre-existing medical conditions. These medical problems were found to be normal, during medical tests that followed the crash.

The defense argued that the plaintiff’s claim for damages was excessive.  Her claimed loss of income could not be attributed to this incident. During trial, the evidence showed Peretsky continued to travel extensively and published other manuscripts after the incident. The defendant also contended that any damages for income loss would be based upon lost interest only and no more than $7,528.

At trial, Peretsky called her literary agent from New York, Dominick Abel, to testify.  The defendant called the president of the plaintiff’s publishing company and the vice president, her editor, as witnesses to establish that Peretsky continued to work.

The jury’s verdict of $3,021 was made up of the following damages:

  • $3,021 in medical expenses;
  • $0 pain and suffering;
  • $0 loss of normal life;
  • $0 lost time from work.

Sara Peretsky v. Viet Vy and Vau Nguyen, 08 L 1142 (Cook County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling car accident cases for individuals and families for more than 37 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Chicago (Garfield Park), Chicago (Logan Square), Franklin Park, Elmwood Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Berwyn, Justice, LaGrange , Villa Park, Wood Dale, Itasca, Clarendon Hills and Crestwood, Ill.

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