People get into routines when they drive. For example, some drivers go into autopilot as they commute to and from work, following the same route and never diverging from it. Other drivers go with the flow of traffic and might not be aware of the speed they’re driving at. However, regardless of the routine you get into, most drivers are always aware of the color a light is as they approach an intersection. Yet in the case of Charles Comer v. United Quick Transportation, Inc. and Martrell Parker, 09 L 12120, both drivers involved in an intersection accident claimed to have the green light.
The accident occurred in June 2008, at the intersection of Kostner Ave. and 16th Street in Chicago between two buses. Charles Comer was driving a CTA bus along 16th Street, while Martrell Parker was driving a school bus along Kostner Ave. Both bus drivers entered the intersection, both drivers claimed to have green lights, and both drivers claimed to have been hit by the other bus driver.
While Parker’s injuries were relatively minor, Comer suffered from knee, neck, and back injuries. The damage to his right knee was so severe that he required surgery in order to correct his medical problems. In addition, Comer’s medical condition caused him to miss one year of work as a CTA bus driver. As a result, Comer filed a personal injury lawsuit against Parker and his school bus company employer in an attempt to recover for the damages he sustained in the Chicago bus accident.
Obviously, the easiest auto accident lawsuits for a jury to decide are those in which there is clear liability, or where one of the drivers openly admits liability for the accident. In these types of cases, the jury is typically only responsible for determining the award amount for the damages claimed. However, in the case where both parties deny liability, the jury must not only rule on damages, but also on liability.
Ideally, when both parties claim to have had a green light there would be some sort of eyewitness to testify as to which driver had the green light and which driver had the red light. Unfortunately, there was no eyewitness to the accident in Comer, nor any other type of documentation or evidence to clearly show who had the green light. Instead the jury was forced to rely solely on the two parties’ testimony.
Comer testified that he had the green light and that Parker drove his school bus into the intersection against the red light, thereby causing the Chicago bus accident. However, Parker claimed that it was Comer who ran the red light and drove the CTA bus into Parker’s school bus.
Somehow, after considering the testimony and evidence offered by both the plaintiff and defendants, the jury was able to enter a verdict. It awarded $175,500 to Comer for the injuries he sustained following the bus accident. The verdict award included:
$90,000 for pain and suffering;
$75,000 for loss of normal life;
$30,000 for medical expenses; and
$0 for loss time from work.
However, the reduced that verdict by 10% for what it deemed to be Comer’s fault in the intersection accident.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handing Illinois bus collision lawsuits for more than 35 years for individuals and families in and around Chicago, Cook County, and surrounding areas, including Park Forest, Calumet City, Elmwood Park, Stone Park, Northlake, and Harwood Heights.
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