Cook County Jury Finds for One Taxi Driver Who Struck Another at O’Hare Airport – Said v. Barry

As a general rule, pedestrians have the right of way; however, this does not mean that the driver is always at fault. While car drivers have a duty to look out for pedestrians in a designated crosswalk, they do not have the same duty to watch for pedestrians on a designated roadway. In the Cook County personal injury lawsuit of Hashi Said v. Mamoudou Barry, 09 L 5973, the jury found in favor of the car driver, not the pedestrian.

Hashi Said was the pedestrian in this scenario. Said, a taxi cab driver, had parked his cab at a taxi holding area located at O’Hare airport. The taxi holding area is a designated area where cabs line up; it includes an area at the roadside where the cab drivers can socialize and take breaks. At the time of the pedestrian-car accident, Said was walking in the parking lot area when he was hit by a cab being driven by Mamoudou Barry.

The force of the collision caused the 33 year-old Said to sustain a left knee fracture and a tear to his left lateral meniscus. Said was out of work for ten months while he underwent three separate surgeries and physical therapy. And despite all his medical treatment, Said will likely need a knee replacement in the future.

Said filed a personal injury lawsuit against Barry, in which he alleged that Barry had caused the pedestrian accident by driving at an unnecessarily high speeds. According to Said’s theory of liability, if Barry had not been driving at those high speeds, then the auto accident would not have occurred. Said was seeking reimbursement for his medical expenses, pain and suffering, and payment of his $72,793 workers’ compensation lien.

In response, Barry contended that he was in fact traveling at a low speed and did not cause the accident. Rather, Barry alleged that the pedestrian accident was caused by the fact that Said was walking in the roadway. The accident occurred in a busy area where the taxi’s entered and exited the taxi holding area. Barry contended that he did not have a duty to look out for Said in the designated roadway; also, if Said had not been walking in the roadway that the pedestrian accident would not have occurred.

At the close of the personal injury trial, the jury was given a special interrogatory which asked, “Did Hashi Said fail to exercise due care at the time of the occurrence?” The jury responded in the affirmative and subsequently returned a verdict in favor of the defendant cab driver. Because Said was not in a designated pedestrian walkway, the jury found that Barry, and not Said, had the right of way. So at the end of the day Said was left with nothing, having turned down a $160,000 settlement offer for its failure to meet his $350,000 demand to settle.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois pedestrian accident lawsuits for more than 36 years in and around Chicago, Cook County, and surrounding areas, including Chicago’s Goose Island, Harwood Heights, Rolling Meadows, Yorkfield, Brookfield, Berwyn, Merrionette Park, Chicago’s Calumet Heights, and Forest Park.

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