Chicago Rear-End Collision Results in 222,000 Verdict – Castillo v. Chicago Transit Authority

As a personal injury attorney, you begin to see patterns in the types of injuries sustained as a result of certain accidents. For example, slip and fall injuries generally result in back, wrist, or ankle injuries. Likewise, rear-end collisions typically cause lower back and spinal injuries, as seen in the Chicago personal injury lawsuit of Joel Castillo v. Chicago Transit Authority, et al., 1343.

The plaintiff, Joel Castillo, was stopped at a red light in a Chicago intersection when he was rear-ended by a city bus. Like many victims of rear-end collisions, Castillo sustained injuries to his lower back. However, because Castillo was hit not just by another car, but by a bus, his injuries were perhaps a little more severe than most. Not only did he suffer from an herniated disc at his L5-S1 vertebrae, but also sustained a left rotator cuff tear.

Again, Castillo’s subsequent medical treatment mirrors that of most rear-end collision victims. He underwent physical therapy to try and improve the level of pain he experienced as a result of his rotator cuff tear and herniated disc. In addition, Castillo’s underwent epidural injections at the recommendation of his medical providers in an effort to relieve his continued pain.

But again, the fact that Castillo was hit by a bus and not a car can also be seen in his future plan of care – his orthopedic surgeon has advised that Castillo will eventually need to undergo surgery to repair his herniated disc. However, Castillo already has missed four months of work because of work restrictions following the rear-end collision. The surgery and its recovery will require him to miss additional time from his job as a construction supervisor.

The Illinois jury evaluating the extent of Castillo’s injury and damages needed to consider all of the evidence before it. This included not only his past medical treatment and missed work, but also the future consequences from the Chicago bus accident. For this reason, its $222,000 verdict included both past and future damages:

-$89,500 for past and future medical expenses;
-$70,000 for pain and suffering;
-$45,000 of loss of normal life; and
-$17,500 for lost time from work.

And while juries tend to find in favor of the rear-ended vehicle in similar rear-end collision cases, the guilty verdict in Castillo was not necessarily a foregone conclusion. The defendant bus company, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), had denied liability for the bus accident. At the Cook County trial it presented evidence that Castillo had made a sudden stop and that the bus driver was unable to avoid the collision. However, given that Castillo was stopped at a red light at the time, it would seem reasonable that the CTA bus driver should have anticipated that Castillo was going to stop, even if he did so suddenly. As in most rear-end collision cases, it seems reasonable that the CTA bus driver could have avoided the accident and was therefore liable for Chicago accident.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Chicago bus accident lawsuits for more than 35 years in and around Chicago, Cook County, and surrounding areas, including Schaumburg, Park Forest, Mundelein, and LaGrange.

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