Oftentimes, when we think of life-changing truck accidents in Illinois, we think of rollovers or jack-knife accidents. However, a standard Illinois rear-end trucking accident can also lead to drastic changes to drivers’ and passengers’ lives. The case of the plaintiff truck driver in Shinaberry v. KA Bulk Transport d/b/a Klemm Tank Lines, et al., 06 C 5947, illustrates this point.
In Shinaberry, an out-of-state truck driver was struck by another truck in an Illinois rear-end trucking accident. The plaintiff was stopped at a red light when he was struck from behind by another Illinois truck. Following the accident plaintiff sustained some low back pain, which was initially diagnosed as a lumbar strain.
However, after the plaintiff’s back pain continued he was referred for additional treatment. It was at this time that he was diagnosed with a lumbar disc bulge, lumbar stenosis, and S1 radiculopathy. At this point, the seemingly simple Illinois rear-end collision caused the plaintiff to undergo surgery to repair his injuries, including a spinal fusion. After the operation the plaintiff underwent some physical therapy to improve his mobility.
After the surgery and physical therapy, plaintiff’s medical providers determined that he would probably not require any additional treatment and was released to light-duty at work. However, in order to return to his job as a fully functioning employee, plaintiff was required to undergo a functional work capacity evaluation. These evaluations are standard procedure and oftentimes required when trying to return to full-duty after any injury that limits an employee’s work abilities.
The plaintiff received bad news at his functional capacity evaluation, where it was determined that he would not be able to return to his prior job as an HVAC maintenance and repair technician due to his ongoing symptoms of back pain and stiffness. So as a result of the Illinois trucking rear-end collision, the plaintiff had now lost his ability to work.
The parties settled this case that was pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division for trial. As oftentimes occurs when dealing with situations similar to plaintiff’s, the loss of future wages was factored into the settlement in an attempt to offset some of the financial loses the plaintiff will experience as a result of losing his livelihood following the Illinois trucking rear-end collision.
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