The plaintiff in a Lake County car accident lawsuit was awarded a $60,283 verdict for her injuries and lost time from work. The plaintiff in Pamela Paolinetti v. Demitry Yakovleva, 09 L 667 (Lake County), failed to complete all of the recommended medical treatments and was still experiencing pain. Consequently, the defendant challenged the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s injuries following the Illinois car accident.
The plaintiff, Pamela Paolinetti, had been rear-ended by defendant Demitry Yakovleva. Both Paolinetti and Yakovleva’s vehicles suffered significant damage, with both cars needing to be towed from the scene. Paolinetti’s injuries required her to be taken by ambulance to the nearest emergency room.
Upon arrival at the Lake County ER, Paolinetti was treated for neck and back pain. Further testing determined that the car accident had aggravated her pre-existing arthritis. Paolinetti’s doctors referred her for physical therapy; however, when her symptoms continued they then recommended cortisone injections. Cortisone is a steroid that is typically prescribed to relieve joint or muscle pain. However, while cortisone injections can relieve pain, they also carry the risk of multiple side effects, including joint infection, nerve damage, and osteoporosis.
Paolinetti ultimately decided against the Cortisone injections and therefore completed all medical treatment related to the car crash within six months of its occurrence. Even though Paolinetti was still in pain at the time of her discharge from physical therapy, MRIs of her neck and back confirmed that she did not have any herniated discs and that surgery was not required.
Paolinetti brought a personal injury lawsuit against Yakovleva for his role in causing her back and neck pain. While Yakovleva admitted liability for the Lake County car accident, he contested the nature and extent of Paolinetti’s injuries. In her personal injury complaint, Paolinetti was claiming not only medical damages for the six months of medical bills, but also entered a wage loss claim.
Prior to the car accident Paolinetti was employed as a bank teller. In her complaint, she claimed that the extent of her back and neck pain had caused her to pursue a career as a Tupperware salesperson. However, her claim for wage loss was only for two months away from her job as a bank teller and amounted to $2,278.
Prior to the start of the Lake County personal injury trial, Paolinetti’s attorney made a demand to settle for the maximum amount of the defendant’s policy limits, i.e. $50,000. However, the defendant’s attorney returned with a counteroffer of only $15,000. As a result, the car accident case proceeded to trial.
At trial, Paolinetti testified that she was still having back pain; however, she stated that she had resumed all of her normal activities. The defendant, Yakovleva, did not appear to testify at trial. However, since the defense was not denying Yakovleva’s liability in the car accident, it was not necessarily required for Yakovleva to be present to provide his own version of the events.
At the end of the trial, the jury entered a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, awarding her $60,238 in damages. However, the parties had entered into a high-low agreement for $15,000 and $50,000 prior to the start of the personal injury trial. Therefore, even though the award was $60,000; Paolinetti will only be receiving the maximum amount of her high-low agreement, i.e. $50,000. The $50,000 limit was decided on because it was the maximum amount of Yakovleva’s insurance coverage.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois automobile accident lawsuits for individuals and families for more than 35 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and surrounding areas, including Justice, Vernon Hills, Rolling Meadows, Naperville, Park Forest, and Darien.
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