Three Car Rear-End Chain Reaction Results in $140,000 Cook County Jury Verdict

On Nov. 10, 2010, William Burke, an off-duty Chicago police detective, was driving eastbound on Foster Avenue in Harwood Heights, Ill., when his car rear-ended the car driven by defendant Marie Halling and pushed it into the rear of the plaintiff’s Jolanta Grzeda’s vehicle.

Grzeda was taken from the scene by ambulance to treat her injuries. She sustained cervical and lumbar strain/sprains with a disc herniation revealed on MRI films. She claimed $16,301 in medical expenses and $7,140 for lost time from her job for four months as a cleaning woman.

Burke disputed the nature and extent of Grzeda’s injuries and damages while Halling denied liability and contested damages.

The defendants’ attorneys noted that the trial judge originally barred vehicle photographs that showed only minor damage to the cars and vehicles in this collision, but later in the trial allowed the photographs to go to the jury and into evidence ruling that the plaintiff (counsel) “opened the door.” The defendants each had a liability insurance policy limit of $25,000 that covered this occurrence. Before trial, the plaintiff’s counsel, Tiffany Arrott, made a demand of $50,000 to settle the case. At trial, Arrott asked the jury to return a verdict of $53,824. The only offer was $9,491 made by the attorney for Burke. There was no offer made on behalf of Halling.

The jury’s verdict of $14,300 for Grzeda only was made up of the following damages:

• $11,000 for medical expenses; and
• $3,300 for lost time.

The jury’s verdict of not guilty was entered for Halling.

Jolanta Grzeda v. William Burke, Marie L. Halling, No. 11 L 12999 (Cook County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling car accident cases, truck accident cases and bicycle 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 Harwood Heights, Highwood, Highland Park, Bedford Park, Brookfield, Lincolnwood, Yorkfield, Countryside, Orland Park, Harvey, Calumet City, Blue Island, Oak Lawn, Oak Park and Des Plaines, Ill.

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