349,000 Jury Verdict for Injured Driver at T-Intersection – Valdez v. Claes

As the holiday season approaches, drivers need to be even more aware of their surroundings. This added caution is necessary not only because of worsening road conditions as winter weather sets in, but also because of increasing traffic and distracted drivers. Whether hurrying to the mall to partake in Black Friday deals, or to grandma’s to partake in some pumpkin pie, drivers can be preoccupied during the holiday season. Therefore, it is increasingly important to be on the lookout and drive cautiously during the holidays in order to avoid car accidents.

The personal injury case of Alan L. Valdez v. Kevin Claes and Ricky Heidner, No. 09 L 63023, demonstrates what can happen when one or both drivers is not paying attention. The 2007 car accident occurred at the T-intersection of Bonded Parkway and Brandy Parkway in Streamwood, Illinois. The plaintiff, Alan Valdez, was driving south on Bonded Parkway and was then heading left onto Brandy Parkway. At the same time, defendant Kevin Claes was driving westbound on Brandy Parkway when his vehicle struck the driver side door of Valdez’s car.

As a result of the car crash, Valdez suffered a strain across his cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine areas. In addition, he sustained a bulging disc in his lower back, which ended up progressing to a herniated disc just two months after the intersection accident.

Valdez brought a personal injury lawsuit against Claes in which he alleged that Claes’s negligence caused the car crash and Valdez’s subsequent injuries. Valdez also brought a lawsuit against Ricky Heidner, the owner of the vehicle Claes was driving at the time of the intersection accident.

Both defendants responded to Valdez’s claims by asserting their innocence in the car accident and instead pointing to Valdez’s negligence in his own injuries. Particularly, Claes argued that Valdez was trying to make his left-hand turn around the corner at 40 mph and that Valdez’s excessive speed was the cause of the car accident. In addition, the defendant argued that Valdez struck Heidner’s vehicle and not the other way around.

However, the jury did not seem to give too much credence to Claes’s version of the events. It entered a verdict in favor of the plaintiff and awarded 90% of the blame for the accident on the defendants, while finding the plaintiff only 10% responsible for his own injuries. However, as a result of this decision, the original verdict of $388,765 was reduced to $349,888 after factoring in the plaintiff’s ten percent negligence.

The verdict of $388,765 (reduced to $349,888) was made up of the following damages:
$190,000 for past and future pain and suffering;
$101,163 for medical expenses;
$84,000 for past and future loss of normal life; and
$13,601 for lost earnings.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois automobile accident matters for individuals and families for more than 35 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and surrounding areas, including Morton Grove, University Park, Oak Lawn, Round Lake, Aurora, and Berwyn.

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