Illinois Jury Finds for Injured in Head-On Crash in Snow Storm; Gutierrez v. Palochko

Jose Gutierrez was driving southbound on Route 23 near Fossee Road in Ottawa, Ill., when his vehicle was hit by the front of the car driven northbound by defendant Palochko. Palochko’s vehicle crossed the center line and crashed into the front of the Gutierrez car. The crash took place on Dec. 23, 2008 in the middle of a snow storm.

Another southbound car traveling right behind the Gutierrez vehicle swerved into the northbound lane after the crash. That car, driven by David Reese, struck the front passenger side panel of Palochko’s car.

Gutierrez, 24, suffered a fractured sternum. Defendant Palochko argued that his car slid on the snow-covered roadway when he hit his brakes. He said he tried to straighten out his vehicle, but he spun into the southbound lane. Palochko is now disabled because of this crash.

Reese, the driver of the third vehicle involved, was dismissed from the case after he settled with Gutierrez in 2011. After the close of plaintiff’s case, the judge directed verdict on the issue of negligence in favor of Gutierrez. That means that the plaintiff’s case was essentially approved by the trial judge without a defense and the only issue remaining for the jury to decide was the plaintiff’s damages.

In deciding for Gutierrez, the jury found in his favor in the amount of $55,430, comprising the following damages:
· $20,000 for pain and suffering;
· $26,796 for medical expenses;
· $8,634 for lost income; and
· $0 for loss of normal life.

The attorney for Gutierrez, was Mark N. Wilson of Peru, Ill. The demand to settle the case before trial was $30,000 with an offer from the defendant’s lawyer of $22,000. The jury was asked to return a verdict of $75,000.

Jose Alfredo Gutierrez v. James R. Palochko, 10 L 190 (LaSalle County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling automobile crashes, truck accidents and injury cases for individuals and families for more than 36 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Bedford Park, Summit, Riverside, Melrose Park, Elmwood Park, Robbins, Calumet Park, Chicago (Calumet Heights), Chicago (Hyde Park), Maywood and Franklin Park, Ill.

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