$7.7 Million Jury Verdict in Improper Lane Change Crash

After turning right onto a northbound roadway, Victoria Waits Cofer’s vehicle was struck on the driver’s side by a fully loaded tractor-trailer that had just changed lanes.

Cofer, 56, suffered a brain bleed, abdominal injuries and multiple fractures. She died approximately 2½  months later. Cofer’s medical expenses totaled $500,000. She was survived by her husband and two adult children.

Cofer’s estate sued ABF Freight Systems Inc., which owned the tractor-trailer, alleging that the truck’s driver made an ill-timed and unsafe lane change, was speeding and chose not to keep a proper lookout or yield the right-of-way. There was no claim for lost income in this lawsuit.

The defendant argued that Cofer had turned in front of the tractor-trailer and that her death was attributed to natural causes, not this crash.

The jury did not accept the “natural causes” defense and signed a verdict for $7.7 million, finding that Cofer was 35% at fault.

The expert at trial for the Cofer estate was an accident reconstructionist. The defendant called upon an expert from the same line of work.

The attorneys successfully handling this tragic case for the Cofer family were Lee Gutschenritter and Richard W. Hendricks.

Cofer v. ABF Freight Sys. Inc., No. 2016-C-04965-5 (Ga. St. Ct. Gwinnett County, March 25, 2022).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling intersection crash lawsuits, tractor-trailer crash cases, wrongful death lawsuits, motorcycle accident cases, bicycle accident lawsuits and catastrophic injury lawsuits for individuals, families and loved ones who have been injured, harmed or killed by the negligence of another for more than 45 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Oak Brook, Elgin, Crystal Lake, McHenry, Gurnee, Highland Park, Naperville, Woodridge, Burr Ridge, Berwyn, Cicero, Burbank, Oak Lawn, Blue Island, Oak Forest, Olympia Fields, Mokena, Lockport, Melrose Park, Chicago (Humboldt Park, Hermosa, Belmont Central, Archer Heights, Douglas, Hyde Park, Kenwood, South Loop, Streeterville, Near North Side, Lincoln Park, Park West, Uptown, Edgewater, Andersonville), Lincolnwood, Lincolnshire, Glencoe, Evanston and Elmhurst, Ill.

Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.

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