Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

Shirley Malcolm, 89, was using a walker while moving through a retail parking lot at 1090 State St. in Lemont, Ill. It was April 28, 2016 when she was hit by the SUV driven by the defendant, Janice Kasper, as the car slowly backed out of a parking spot.

The impact knocked her down, injuring both of her hands. She was transported from the scene by an ambulance to Palos Community Hospital where she was diagnosed with a fractured left index finger and a fractured right middle finger.

Both of her fingers were placed in splints for eight weeks after which she required three and a half months of occupational therapy to regain the use of her injured fingers.

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Emanuele Secci was injured after his motorcycle was involved in a crash with the defendant Aram Tonakanian, who was driving a green and white taxi marked with United Independent Taxi Drivers‘ insignia. The jury found that Tonakanian was United’s agent, but not an employee. With that verdict, the trial court granted United’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) under the state’s code of civil procedure.

The appeal of that trial judge’s order resulted in an appeal where the appellate court reversed the trial court’s order and reinstated the jury’s verdict. In doing so, the appeals panel concluded that California law does not preclude consideration of controls required by public regulations in finding an agency relationship.

In this case, viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, Secci, the appellate court concluded that the evidence presented at trial was more than sufficient to support a jury finding that Tonakanian, the taxi driver whom the jury found responsible for the crash and Secci’s injuries, that he was United’s agent and thus, United was vicariously liable for Tonakanian’s acts.

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Jessica Ferrer and her companion, Katherine Winslow, were injured when a taxicab driven by Tesfamariam Okbamicael struck the two of them as they crossed the street. Okbamicael worked for Yellow Cab, which owned the taxicab.

Ferrer brought this lawsuit against Okbamicael and Yellow Cab alleging that the driver, Okbamicael, was negligent and that Yellow Cab was vicariously liable for the driver’s negligence under the doctrine of respondeat superior.

Ferrer also alleged that Yellow Cab was liable for her injuries suffered in the crash under the theories of direct negligence (negligence as a common carrier) and negligent entrustment, negligent hiring, supervision and training.

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A Minnesota jury has signed a $28 million verdict for the injuries suffered by a teenager who is now a quadriplegic after the car in which she was passenger was struck by a school bus. The crash occurred in 2009 when Paige Anderson was just 16 years old.  Another passenger in that car was killed in the crash.

The case was tried to a jury in Itasca County, which assigned 10% of the fault for the crash to the bus driver. The rest of the liability was placed on the driver of the vehicle in which Paige Anderson was seated. The attorney representing her said that both drivers are insured against claims like this, but the insurance coverage is substantially less than this verdict. The attorney representing Paige Anderson was Stephanie Ball.

“Awards this large are very rare in greater Minnesota, but this was a unique and heartbreaking case,” Ball stated, adding that the jurors’ verdict “recognizes the tragic injuries suffered by a young woman whose life was just getting started.”

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In this case, the quarrel was over setoffs for settlements that totaled $395,000 paid by two under-insured motorists who were claimed to have caused a crash that seriously injured Erin Tufano. Tufano was insured under an Illinois Emcasco Insurance Co. policy that provided $500,000 in under-insured motorist coverage (UIM).  A Cook County judge agreed with the insurance company’s argument that it owed only $105,000 based on the policy’s plain language.

The two insurance companies that insured the tortfeasors offered their policy limits ($100,000 and $295,000).  The Emcasco policy said the limit of liability for the UIM coverage “shall be reduced by all sums paid because of the ‘bodily injury’ by or on behalf of persons or organizations who may be legally responsible.”

By arguing that “all sums paid” provision of the insurance policy, Emcasco persuaded the trial judge that Tufano was entitled to receive only $105,000 in UIM benefits (a single $500,000 – $395,000).

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A 60-year-old Los Angeles, Calif., attorney was a passenger in the back seat of the taxicab driven by the defendant Abdulkhair Haq on June 28, 2013. The cab and the L.A. attorney, David Kenney, were traveling southbound on Michigan Avenue when they were broadsided by the westbound SUV driven by Tyranesia Johnson in the middle of the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Monroe Street in Chicago’s Loop.

Kenney suffered a mid-shaft fracture of the humerus of his right arm, which required placement of a permanent plate and 13 screws. His medical expenses were $69,800.

The crash was captured on video from the cab with both internal and external views. Kenney’s expert accident reconstructionist testified that the cab driver was going 44 mph before the crash which is 14 miles per hour over the legal 30 mph speed limit. The cab driver was also claimed to have not been paying attention to the developing traffic patterns ahead.

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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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