Typically, if a driver has received a ticket for causing a car accident, they will likely be found guilty by a jury. However, in a recent DuPage County lawsuit, the jury found in favor of the defendant driver even though she had pled guilty to a traffic ticket related to the auto accident.
The car accident occurred in May 2006 on 63rd Street in Downers Grove, Illinois. The plaintiff driver's vehicle was stopped at the time. And although the defendant driver began to slow down, she then incorrectly decided that the plaintiff's car had begun to move forward. Consequently, the defendant failed to slow down in time to avoid the accident and ended up hitting the back of the plaintiff's car.
The 53 year-old plaintiff then brought a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant driver, in which he claimed that the car accident had resulted in permanent medical problems. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed he was now suffering from myofascial pain syndrome, a chronic pain disorder. As a result, the plaintiff stated that he was left with constant pain and permanent impairment and disability; the lawsuit sought compensation for both his past and future medical expenses.
However, the defendant driver denied the nature and extent of the plaintiff's injuries. While myofascial pain syndrome can be caused by an acute injury, such as a car accident, it is typically caused by repeated stress to a muscle over time. Therefore, the defense not only argued that the plaintiff was not actually suffering from myofascial pain syndrome, but that if he was, that it was not caused by the car accident. Instead, the defendant argued that the plaintiff driver's pain was caused by a pre-existing condition.
If the defendant's claim that the plaintiff's injury was in fact caused by a pre-existing condition were valid, then the plaintiff would have no basis for his other claims of damages. In addition to claiming medical damages from the car crash, the plaintiff was claiming lost wages for the time he missed from his job as a salesman. His wife had also filed a claim for loss of consortium in which she claimed that the car accident and its subsequent injuries caused her and her husband to separate after 29 years of marriage.
Prior to the personal injury lawsuit went to trial, the plaintiff had asked for the defendant to pay her insurance policy's maximum limit of $1 million in order to settle the case. However, the defendant's highest offer to settle was just $25,000, which demonstrated just how apart the two parties were in terms of negotiating this issue. And despite the fact that the plaintiff's lawyer asked the jury to return a $1.34 million verdict in favor of the plaintiff and his wife, it returned a verdict in favor of the defendant driver. So even though the 55 year-old defendant driver had pled guilty to a traffic ticket for failing to slow in time to avoid impact, the jury found that she was not guilty. R.B., et al. v. J.G.,08 L 820 (DuPage County).
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling automobile accidents, motorcycle crashes, and pedestrian accidents for more than 36 years representing individuals and families in and around Chicago, Cook County, and surrounding areas, including Chicago's Roscoe Village, Glencoe, Vernon Hills, Glenview, Westmont, Lombard, Oak Forest, and Park Forest.
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