Cook County Jury Verdict for Injured Senior Who Fell From Wheelchair During Transport to Doctor’s Appointment

A Cook County jury signed a $150,600 jury verdict for injuries suffered by Ruth Ratowitz on Oct. 17, 2011. She was wheelchair-bound and was being transported by Rich Township to and from her healthcare appointment at Ingalls Memorial Hospital’s Professional Office Building in Harvey, Ill. She was 67 years old at the time. The transportation program was sponsored by the Rich Township Dial-A-Ride Program for Rich Township residents.

The township provided the transportation in a van specifically outfitted with a Q’Straint Restraint System for the purpose of keeping passengers secure in wheelchairs.

The plaintiff filed this lawsuit against the Rich Township and its driver, Horace Morgan, claiming that they chose not to properly secure her wheelchair in the van for the return trip and was speeding and making sharp turns during the transit causing her to fall from her wheelchair inside the van where she suffered a fractured tibia.

Rich Township argued that Ratowitz was appropriately secured in the Q’Straint system and filed a third-party contribution lawsuit against Compassionate Care In-Home Services for Seniors and the plaintiff’s husband for their combined failure to make sure that she was properly secured within the wheelchair and seatbelt prior to turning her over to Rich Township and the driver, Morgan, for transport.

Defendants also argued that Rich Township had no duty to secure Ratowitz’s wheelchair seatbelt. It maintained that it had a duty only to ensure the van’s Q’Straint system was properly secured and her injuries were either the fault of the third-party defendants, that being Compassionate Care In-Home Services for Seniors and Ratowitz in choosing not to secure the wheelchair seatbelt prior to the transport or that the plaintiff herself, Ratowitz, disengaged the seatbelt during the transit. No post-trial motions were filed.

The jury’s verdict of $150,608 against Rich Township and Horace Morgan was made up of the following damages:

• $50,608 for medical expenses; and
• $100,000 for pain and suffering experienced.

The jury’s verdict on the third-party claim against the third-party defendants was not guilty.

The demand to settle the case before trial was $225,000. The jury was asked to return a verdict of $150,000. The only offer to settle made by both defendants was $170,000. The attorney representing Ruth Ratowitz was Kent D. Sinson.

Ruth Ratowitz v. Rich Township, Horace Morgan v. Compassionate Care In-Home Services for Seniors, Inc., No. 12 L 3261 (Cook County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling nursing home negligence cases, hospital negligence cases, medical malpractice cases and birth trauma injury cases for individuals and families who have been injured or killed by the negligence of a medical provider for more than 38 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas including, Arlington Heights, Chicago (Albany Park, Andersonville, Belmont Central, Back of the Yards, Austin, Chinatown, New Town, Morgan Park, Portage Park, Pill Hill, Pilsen, Sauganash, South Loop, University of Chicago, Wrigleyville), Chicago Ridge, Riverside, Blue Island and Morton Grove, Ill.

Related blog posts:

$1.15 Million Settlement for Death of Diabetic Nursing Home Resident

$1.28 Million Jury Verdict for Negligence of Nursing Home Causing Burn Injuries to Resident

Illinois Supreme Court Decides Arbitration Rights in Nursing Home Death Case; Carter v. SSC Odin Operating Co.