In a large metropolitan area like Chicago it is not unheard of for a jury to return a $10 million or more personal injury verdict. Because large cities have large populations, the chances are greater that severe injuries will occur among that large population. However, in smaller districts, such as that of Warren County in downstate Illinois, the likelihood of a severe injury occurring are less. Therefore, a personal injury lawsuit like that of Warren County verdict, that results in a $2.5 million settlement can become the highest settlement ever reported in that county.
The facts surrounding the case arose out of a hit and run accident involving the plaintiff bicyclist and the defendant driver. The plaintiff was riding his bicycle on 180th Avenue near 90th Street in Monmouth, Illinois, a city located about 175 miles from Chicago. It was broad daylight and by all reports the conditions were clear. At the same time, the defendant was driving his parents’ Ford F-150 pickup truck.
The defendant hit the plaintiff from behind, causing fairly severe injuries. However, instead of helping the cyclist, the defendant driver left the scene of the accident. It was later revealed that at the time of the Illinois bicycle accident the defendant was driving on a suspended license. In addition, over the ten years prior he had received over 40 moving violations.
And while the defendant’s poor driving record does not excuse his leaving the scene of an accident, it does lend credence to the plaintiff’s claims against the owners of the vehicle, the defendant’s parents. In addition to claims filed against the driver for his negligence and part in causing the plaintiff’s injuries, the personal injury lawsuit alleged that the defendant’s parents were also negligent because they entrusted their vehicle to their son.
As in all personal injury claims, the plaintiff was seeking damages as payment for an injury and its associated costs. As a result of the bicycle accident, the plaintiff suffered a number of severe injuries, including a torn ACL in his left knee and fractures of his pelvis, ribs, leg, hands, and sacrum. In order to repair the extensive damage caused by the truck accident, plaintiff needed to undergo eight different surgeries. And while he was able to make a “miraculous recovery,” he was still unable to perform all his prior duties in exactly the same degree.
Instead of pursing the personal injury case to trial, all parties were able to come to an agreed settlement amount of $2 million. This not only included payment for the damages the plaintiff sustained following the bicycle accident, but also included a loss of consortium claim filed by the plaintiff’s wife. The settlement came from an insurance policy owned by the defendant’s parents and was deducted from their umbrella policy.
The $2.5 million represents the highest settlement award ever reported in Warren County, which is a credit to the plaintiff’s attorney, James M. Freeman. And on a related note, the actual driver is currently serving out a two year sentence as a result of the hit and run component of the bicycle accident. Leaving the scene of a crime is a felony and therefore subject to strict rules and limits.
Chicago’s Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois bicycle accidents for individuals and families for more than 35 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and surrounding areas, including Park Forest, Bensenville, Calumet City, Rolling Meadows, and Hoffman Estates.
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