Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

In this incident involving a cab and pedestrian, three weeks after Express Cab Dispatch Inc. and Express Cab Company Inc. (collectively, Express Cab), leased Luis Leal a taxi cab, he struck a pedestrian, the plaintiff, Margaret Baumrucker.  She was walking to her job at MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, Ill. Although Leal was driving at a slow speed, he knocked Baumrucker to the ground injuring her left shoulder.  She had years of physical therapy and, according to her physician, the shoulder injury is permanent and likely will cause her pain and restrict some activities for the rest of her life.

Baumrucker sued Express Cab, alleging negligence and willful and wanton entrustment of the cab to Leal. Baumrucker sued Leal for negligence and argued that Express Cab acted recklessly by choosing not to thoroughly check Leal’s driving record, which would have shown that while living in another state he had been convicted of driving while intoxicated in 2000 and ticketed for speeding more than 85 mph in 2010. Express Cab conceded that Leal was negligent and Baumrucker was injured, but contested the extent of her injuries and the allegations that Express Cab acted willfully and wantonly by entrusting the cab to Leal.

After a jury trial, a verdict was returned in favor of Baumrucker and signed a verdict for $897,740.81, which included $397,740.81 in compensatory damages plus $500,000 in punitive damages.

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Mazda Motor Corp. appealed a judgment involving its Mazda 3 car. There were two jury verdicts that resulted from two product liability claims filed in Alabama. The lawsuits arose out of a crash involving a Mazda 3 driven by then 16-year-old Sydney McLemore, with 15-year-old Natalie Hurst as a passenger.

McLemore was driving 55 mph in a 35-mile-per-hour speed zone when she lost control of the car. The Mazda spun around and hit a light pole before coming to a stop and then burst into flames.

McLemore suffered third-degree burns covering approximately 15% of her body. Unfortunately, Natalie Hurst died from her burn injuries. The Hurst parents filed a lawsuit against Mazda and McLemore, asserting wrongful death. They also filed what was important in this case — a product liability lawsuit and claim related to the fuel tank of the Mazda 3.

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The plaintiffs in this case filed a complaint against the defendant insurance company, United Equitable Insurance Co., alleging breach of contract in bad faith when United Equitable would not pay the plaintiffs’ claims from an auto accident involving an uninsured motorist.

The plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment, which the trial judge granted. On appeal, United Equitable argued that the court erred because the policy required plaintiffs to unequivocally demand arbitration and appoint an arbitrator within two years of the incident, which plaintiffs did not do.

The appeals panel stated that the court erred in granting plaintiffs’ motion. The arbitration provision in the insurance policy stated that disagreements concerning uninsured motorist coverage and damages “shall be submitted to arbitration” within two years. A party sufficiently commences arbitration if the request for arbitration is unequivocal and made according to the terms of the policy.

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Shirley Malcolm, 89, was using a walker while moving through a retail parking lot at 1090 State St. in Lemont, Ill. It was April 28, 2016 when she was hit by the SUV driven by the defendant, Janice Kasper, as the car slowly backed out of a parking spot.

The impact knocked her down, injuring both of her hands. She was transported from the scene by an ambulance to Palos Community Hospital where she was diagnosed with a fractured left index finger and a fractured right middle finger.

Both of her fingers were placed in splints for eight weeks after which she required three and a half months of occupational therapy to regain the use of her injured fingers.

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Emanuele Secci was injured after his motorcycle was involved in a crash with the defendant Aram Tonakanian, who was driving a green and white taxi marked with United Independent Taxi Drivers‘ insignia. The jury found that Tonakanian was United’s agent, but not an employee. With that verdict, the trial court granted United’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) under the state’s code of civil procedure.

The appeal of that trial judge’s order resulted in an appeal where the appellate court reversed the trial court’s order and reinstated the jury’s verdict. In doing so, the appeals panel concluded that California law does not preclude consideration of controls required by public regulations in finding an agency relationship.

In this case, viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, Secci, the appellate court concluded that the evidence presented at trial was more than sufficient to support a jury finding that Tonakanian, the taxi driver whom the jury found responsible for the crash and Secci’s injuries, that he was United’s agent and thus, United was vicariously liable for Tonakanian’s acts.

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Jessica Ferrer and her companion, Katherine Winslow, were injured when a taxicab driven by Tesfamariam Okbamicael struck the two of them as they crossed the street. Okbamicael worked for Yellow Cab, which owned the taxicab.

Ferrer brought this lawsuit against Okbamicael and Yellow Cab alleging that the driver, Okbamicael, was negligent and that Yellow Cab was vicariously liable for the driver’s negligence under the doctrine of respondeat superior.

Ferrer also alleged that Yellow Cab was liable for her injuries suffered in the crash under the theories of direct negligence (negligence as a common carrier) and negligent entrustment, negligent hiring, supervision and training.

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A Minnesota jury has signed a $28 million verdict for the injuries suffered by a teenager who is now a quadriplegic after the car in which she was passenger was struck by a school bus. The crash occurred in 2009 when Paige Anderson was just 16 years old.  Another passenger in that car was killed in the crash.

The case was tried to a jury in Itasca County, which assigned 10% of the fault for the crash to the bus driver. The rest of the liability was placed on the driver of the vehicle in which Paige Anderson was seated. The attorney representing her said that both drivers are insured against claims like this, but the insurance coverage is substantially less than this verdict. The attorney representing Paige Anderson was Stephanie Ball.

“Awards this large are very rare in greater Minnesota, but this was a unique and heartbreaking case,” Ball stated, adding that the jurors’ verdict “recognizes the tragic injuries suffered by a young woman whose life was just getting started.”

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In this case, the quarrel was over setoffs for settlements that totaled $395,000 paid by two under-insured motorists who were claimed to have caused a crash that seriously injured Erin Tufano. Tufano was insured under an Illinois Emcasco Insurance Co. policy that provided $500,000 in under-insured motorist coverage (UIM).  A Cook County judge agreed with the insurance company’s argument that it owed only $105,000 based on the policy’s plain language.

The two insurance companies that insured the tortfeasors offered their policy limits ($100,000 and $295,000).  The Emcasco policy said the limit of liability for the UIM coverage “shall be reduced by all sums paid because of the ‘bodily injury’ by or on behalf of persons or organizations who may be legally responsible.”

By arguing that “all sums paid” provision of the insurance policy, Emcasco persuaded the trial judge that Tufano was entitled to receive only $105,000 in UIM benefits (a single $500,000 – $395,000).

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A 60-year-old Los Angeles, Calif., attorney was a passenger in the back seat of the taxicab driven by the defendant Abdulkhair Haq on June 28, 2013. The cab and the L.A. attorney, David Kenney, were traveling southbound on Michigan Avenue when they were broadsided by the westbound SUV driven by Tyranesia Johnson in the middle of the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Monroe Street in Chicago’s Loop.

Kenney suffered a mid-shaft fracture of the humerus of his right arm, which required placement of a permanent plate and 13 screws. His medical expenses were $69,800.

The crash was captured on video from the cab with both internal and external views. Kenney’s expert accident reconstructionist testified that the cab driver was going 44 mph before the crash which is 14 miles per hour over the legal 30 mph speed limit. The cab driver was also claimed to have not been paying attention to the developing traffic patterns ahead.

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Sam Eddins was 81 and used an electric wheelchair to get around. He was in the process of crossing a street at a crosswalk in a controlled intersection. The defendant Eileen Jagger was driving her sedan when she turned left and crashed into Eddins in his wheelchair. Eddins suffered injuries including head trauma, shoulder dislocations and limb fractures.

He was taken from the scene to a nearby hospital where he later suffered cardiac arrest and died. His medical expenses totaled $879,900. He was survived by 3 adult children.

The Eddins family sued Jagger and her husband claiming that her choosing not to keep a proper lookout was the reason and the cause for the crash and subsequent injuries and death of Eddins.

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