Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

images-1Billy 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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UnknownToni 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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UnknownLizeth 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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shoppingRosalina 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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imagesJohn 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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thThe 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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imagesOn 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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UnknownOn June 9, 2011, Giuseppina DiFranco, 50, was driving eastbound on Army Trail Road in Bloomingdale, Ill. DiFranco was rear-ended by defendant Constance Kusar whose car was then pushed into the vehicle in front of her car.

DiFranco, an administrative assistant, claimed that the collision caused her cervical radiculitis, thoracic outlet syndrome and soft tissue injuries to her neck, back, right arm and right knee. She claimed to have expended $29,111 in medical expenses.

The defendant, Kusar, stipulated to negligence but denied that the plaintiff, DiFranco, was injured or that she was injured to the extent that she claimed.

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UnknownGwendolyn Abasta was driving to an intersection when the traffic light turned yellow. Jose Alvarado was traveling in the opposite direction and turned left in front of Abasta’s car, which resulted in their collision.

Abasta struck her right knee against the dashboard and was thrown into the air bag. Abasta required emergency knee surgery and was treated for disk herniations, broken ribs and other injuries. She required four additional knee surgeries over the following three years plus epidural spinal injections. Her medical expenses alone were $460,000.

Abasta filed a lawsuit against Texas Automobile Leasing Inc. claiming that Alvarado was driving in the scope of his employment when this crash occurred. Therefore, Abasta sued the employer of the driver, claiming that employment relationship and agency. The defendant argued that the plaintiff ran a red light that caused the crash. Before trial, the parties settled the case for $1,750,000.

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th-5On Oct. 30, 2009, Filberto Meza, 37, was traveling eastbound on 25th Street at Central in Cicero, Ill., when his car crashed into the rear end of a stopped motor vehicle.  Juan Magana and Raquel Magana were driver and passenger in that car.  Juan Magana, 27, a custodian, suffered aggravation of a pre-existing herniated disc at L5-S1, his low back and sacrum.  He had been receiving treatment for that herniation during the previous year. He had undergone physical therapy and was scheduled to be discharged from care after his next scheduled appointment three days later.

Because of this crash, Juan returned to “square one,” which required additional medical treatments including injections.  Juan’s wife, Raquel, suffered soft tissue injuries in the crash.

The defendant, Meza, admitted that he was negligent, but maintained that both Juan and Raquel were not injured to the extent that they claimed.  At the close of evidence, the jury deliberated for two hours before reaching a verdict of $14,809.  $10,947 was the verdict for Juan made up of the following damages:

  • $10,947 for medical expenses;
  • $0 for pain and suffering and disability.

The jury returned a verdict for only medical expenses for Raquel Magana as well, which totaled $3,862.

The attorney representing the Magana family was Lynne Plum Buffey.

Before trial, the demand to settle the case was $15,000.  The only offer made before trial was $1,500.

Juan Magana and Raquel Magana v. Filberto Meza, No. 11 L 11285 (Cook County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been successfully handling automobile accident cases, bicycle accident cases and motorcycle crashes 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 Alsip, Arlington Heights, Barrington Hills, Brookfield, Broadview, Blue Island, Burr Ridge, Calumet City, Dolton, Elmwood Park, Melrose Park, Flossmoor and Willow Springs, Ill.

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