Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

Sam Eddins was 81 and used an electric wheelchair to get around. He was in the process of crossing a street at a crosswalk in a controlled intersection. The defendant Eileen Jagger was driving her sedan when she turned left and crashed into Eddins in his wheelchair. Eddins suffered injuries including head trauma, shoulder dislocations and limb fractures.

He was taken from the scene to a nearby hospital where he later suffered cardiac arrest and died. His medical expenses totaled $879,900. He was survived by 3 adult children.

The Eddins family sued Jagger and her husband claiming that her choosing not to keep a proper lookout was the reason and the cause for the crash and subsequent injuries and death of Eddins.

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On May 4, 2006, Thomas J. Diorio was driving westbound on Lake Street (IL Route 20) in Bartlett, Ill.  He was traveling at a speed of 35 mph when the defendant, Matthew J. Pattelli, rear-ended Thomas’s car near Park Boulevard. The crash caused about $2,300 in damage to the plaintiff’s 2005 Lincoln Navigator and $2,950 in damage to the Pattelli sedan. Photos of both of these cars were admitted into evidence by the court.

Diorio is a business owner. At age 58, he suffered a herniated disc at C4-5 with cervical radiculopathy, which is nerve pain traveling down the neck and spine. He also had neck pain, shoulder pain and headaches. His medical expenses were more than $29,000. There was no claim for lost time as Diorio had retired.

The defendant, Pattelli, 28, was drunk at the time of the crash. His blood/alcohol level was .199, which is more than double the Illinois legal limit for intoxication.

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On June 12, 2013, the plaintiff, Andrew Gunderson, 14, was riding as a passenger on an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) being driven by another teen, the defendant Cody Fanter, also 14. Cody was driving the ATV on a dead-end street in a rural subdivision in Athens, Ill.

Meanwhile, the co-defendant, Cody Ingram, was driving a Jeep Cherokee with two teenage passengers coming toward the ATV riders from the opposite direction. Andrew Gunderson contended that the ATV was traveling on the right side of the road when the oncoming Jeep came around the curb, crossed over the center line of the road and entered into their lane of travel. This caused Cody Fanter to suddenly turn to his left to avoid running into the Jeep. As a result, the Jeep broadsided the ATV in the Jeep’s lane after Ingram corrected his path of travel.

The Jeep’s bumper struck Andrew Gunderson’s lower leg and the force of the direct T-bone impact caused Andrew Gunderson to be thrown off the ATV. He sustained a comminuted transverse complete fractures of the tibia and fibula, which required an open reduction internal fixation surgery; plates and screws were inserted. Medical expenses for Andrew Gunderson totaled $108,162.

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Billy R. Richey filed a lawsuit against State Farm Automobile Insurance Co. to recover for his injuries under the uninsured motorist coverage of his State Farm Insurance auto policy. On the evening of April 5, 2008, Richey was driving his motorcycle on a rural highway in Dade County, Mo. Richey suffered extensive injuries as a result of this incident and sought uninsured motorist coverage. Insurance coverage was denied, which led to the lawsuit.

At trial, Richey testified that he was returning home on his motorcycle after visiting a relative. As he approached a bend in the highway, an unknown driver (referred to by the parties as the “phantom vehicle”) traveling in the opposite direction swerved into Richey’s lane. Richey stated that he could have either driven off the road or hit the oncoming car head-on.  Richey steered his motorcycle to the right to avoid the other car and upon leaving the road he crashed into a ditch and was seriously injured. The phantom driver left the scene.

A deputy sheriff found Richey lying unconscious partially on the roadway. Richey was charged with a Class A misdemeanor of careless and imprudent driving as a result of the accident.  The charge specifically stated that Richey drove off the roadway and struck a ditch and thereby endangered the property of another or the life and land of any person. He was also charged with having an improper license.

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Toni Dugan was insured by Nationwide Insurance Co. She was involved in an automobile accident with Chelsea Rainey who was insured by American Family Insurance Co. Rainey’s policy had a $100,000 limit, which American Family paid to Dugan and her husband, James.

The Dugans’ damages exceeded $200,000, and they made a claim under their own underinsurance motorist coverage through Nationwide. The Dugans’ claim against Nationwide sought $400,000 less American Family’s $100,000 payment. Based on the underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), the Dugans claimed coverage for 4 automobiles. The premium was charged on each of the four cars for UIM coverage of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per occurrence.

Nationwide denied coverage, contending its policy prohibited stacking of UIM coverage and filed a complaint for declaratory judgment. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment and the U.S. District Court judge of the Southern District of Illinois granted Nationwide’s motion finding that stacking was prohibited.

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Lizeth Pimentel, age 24, approached a bridge in Long Beach, Calif., while driving her SUV. The bridge was undergoing a seismic retrofit, which necessitated lane closures and led to traffic backups. As she drove onto the bridge, several vehicles in front of her stopped without warning. She lost control of her SUV, crossed several lanes of traffic and struck the bridge’s handrail, plummeting with her vehicle into the Los Angeles River 40 feet below. Pimentel was submerged in her vehicle for about 30 minutes, was in a coma for 8 months and sustained anoxic brain damage as a result of the incident.

Pimentel, who had been a clerk earning about $10 an hour, now suffers from permanent tetraplegia. Tetraplegia is also known as quadriplegia where there is a total loss of use of all four limbs and the torso. Compared to paraplegia, although similar, it does not affect the arms.

Pimentel and her husband filed a lawsuit against the general contractor for the project, Riverside Construction Co., the subcontractor that designed the project’s traffic control plan, FPL & Associates Inc., the City of Long Beach and the subcontractor resident engineer, TCM Group Inc.

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Rosalina Dionisio, 62, was driving home from work on the highway when her car suddenly lost electrical power. She was able to drive the car to the far right lane, but as she attempted to pull her car off the road, she discovered that the overgrown bushes took up most of the shoulder. That left her very little room on the shoulder and off the highway. Although she pulled off the road as far as she could, half of her car still was on the highway.

About 9 minutes after she stopped her car, another motorist, Stephen Taylor, moved into the right lane to exit the highway. Allegedly he saw her car ahead of him but failed to realize that part of the car was in his lane. Taylor’s car struck Dionisio’s car while travelling at 70 mph.

As a result of the crash, she suffered multiple injuries, including brain hemorrhaging, a spinal fracture at T2, fractures to her pelvis, sacrum, ribs and left humorous of her arm. She also had pulmonary contusions, a lacerated kidney and a torn left rotator cuff. Dionisio underwent open reduction internal fixation of the spine, pelvis and arm.

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John E. Mulholland Jr. was alleged to have chosen not to stop at a stop sign while driving on a secondary road. He died when his car crashed into the vehicle driven by Joseph A. Cohen, who was driving on the intersecting preferential highway.

As the trial judge was persuaded that Mulholland’s conduct was the sole proximate cause of the crash, summary judgment brought by Cohen was granted. That was the order in a lawsuit brought by Mulholland’s daughter against Cohen. Cohen was reportedly talking on his cellphone while driving down a steep grade at 50-55 mph on Route 3, south of Chester, Ill. He was driving a Dodge Ram 2500 pickup truck that was towing an 18-foot trailer loaded with a Bobcat T-190 skid-steer. According to Cohen, his vehicle, trailer and skid-steer weighed around 14,000 lbs.

Mulholland was driving a Chevrolet S10 pickup truck on Water Street headed toward the intersection with Route 3. There was a stop sign facing him at the intersection. Cohen did not have a stop sign of any kind.

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The Illinois Appellate Court has found no abuse of discretion where the factors were not delineated in an order when a Cook County judge dismissed a case because of forum non conveniens.

In this case, on Oct. 24, 2013, in Belvidere, Ill., there was a crash involving a car driven by Kenneth Kazort and a garbage truck driven by an operator from Advanced Disposal Services Solid Waste LLC. The garbage truck driver was John Padgett. Padgett was alleged to have backed into a driveway in order to turn around and move on to the next resident. When the garbage truck pulled out, Kazort, who was out of view, was blocked by “numerous large trees, a recreational vehicle, vegetation and other foliage.”

As the garbage truck pulled out into the street, Kazort’s car and the truck crashed into each other, killing Kazort. Malinda Ruch was appointed administrator of the Kazort estate and filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County claiming negligence on the part of Padgett and on his employer Advanced Disposal.

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On July 26, 2011, Lashaunda Carter was driving her car when she was involved in a crash with an uninsured motorist, Cortez Williams. Jasmine Carter was in Carter’s car and was injured as a result of the collision. Lashaunda was insured by American Access Insurance Co. Lashaunda’s insurance policy covered any compensatory damages Lashaunda would have to pay arising from bodily injury caused by her in an auto accident.

Under the terms of the insurance policy, American Access “shall defend any civil suit alleging such bodily injury.” The auto policy also required Lashaunda to give American Access written notice of any accident or loss as well as any filings in a lawsuit brought against her.

The policy stated that American Access would “not be obligated to pay . . . unless [American Access] received actual notice of a lawsuit before judgment had been entered in said suit.”

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