Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

Matthew Martin, 19, was riding in the back seat of a Mini Cooper driven by his friend, Raymond Consul.  As they drove a winding road, Consul chose not to properly negotiate a curve.  He lost control of his car, which traveled off the roadway and hit a concrete barrier.

Martin suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and fell into a vegetative state. In addition, he suffered a spinal cord injury that caused paralysis. Martin had worked as an automotive detailer before this unfortunate crash.  Through a guardian, Martin sued Consul alleging that he was negligent in driving 60 mph in a 30-mph zone and in failing to maintain control of his vehicle.  The plaintiff guardian claimed lost wages for Martin totaling more than $138,200 and past medical expenses of $530,400.

The defendant argued that Martin’s injuries resulted from his choosing not to wear a seatbelt.

Continue reading

Plaintiff Mary Carmichael was injured in a car accident while she was riding in a six-passenger van owned and operated by Professional Transportation Inc. (PTI). The vehicle was being driven by Dwayne Bell. The van was used to shuttle Union Pacific employees between job sites.

Carmichael sued PTI, Dwayne Bell and others, but eventually dismissed PTI because evidence indicated that Bell’s sole negligence was the cause of her injury.

Bell had minimum liability insurance coverage required by the Illinois Vehicle Code of just $20,000 per person, $40,000 per occurrence.

Continue reading

Aundre Hobbs, 15, was a passenger in a car driven by his friend, another teenager, Armon Jones.  Armon reportedly turned left at a green left-turn signal and crashed into a car driven by James Gorham.

Aundre suffered a traumatic brain injury that required several life-saving surgeries. Aundre is now 17 years old.  He has lost the ability to speak, swallow, or chew solid foods and has severely diminished mobility, requiring a wheelchair and a walker. Aundre’s medical expenses were more than $1.46 million.

Aundre’s parents, on his behalf, sued James Gorham claiming that he chose not to heed a red light at the intersection and was responsible for the crash. The lawsuit also maintained that Gorham was driving 50 mph through the intersection, 10 mph over the speed limit, according to black-box evidence obtained from his vehicle.

Continue reading

In August 2013, Matthew and Marcia Seebachan bought a used 2010 Honda Fit from a car dealer relying on a CARFAX vehicle report that showed that the car had a clean history with no structural repairs or hail damage.

Unbeknownst to the Seebachans, the Honda’s previous owner had taken the vehicle to John Eagle Collision Center in 2012 to repair hail damage to its roof.  Instead of being welded with a new steel roof using 108 welds, as specified by the Honda Corp., this collision center used a glue-like adhesive to attach the new roof.

In December 2013, the Seebachans were traveling on a highway when a Toyota pickup truck hydroplaned and struck the Honda head on. On impact, the Honda’s roof separated from the body of the vehicle. The roof separation set off a chain of structural failures: the safety cage collapsed, the driver’s side roof rail deformed; and the rocker panel underneath the vehicle collapsed, puncturing the gas tank beneath the driver’s seat.

Continue reading

On Aug. 7, 2013, Jessica Williams, 27, was stopped in traffic on eastbound Route 143 at the intersection with Blackburn Road in Edwardsville, Ill. The defendant, 29-year-old Jacob Smith, rear-ended the car she was driving. She sustained soft tissue injuries that required chiropractic treatment resulting in a total of $13,287 in medical expenses. Williams contended that the defendant, Smith, had a duty to exercise reasonable care and caution to avoid the crash and that he chose not to follow the rules of the road.

The defendant denied that Williams was injured in this collision.

Before trial, Smith’s insurance company offered $11,000 to settle the case. The jury was asked to return a verdict of $50,000.

Continue reading

On Oct. 25, 2013, Joseph Wasielewski and Anthony Stazak were in a car that was eastbound on Interstate 80 near Harlem Avenue in Tinley Park, Ill. It was then that the defendant, Cindy Guttman, 18, drove a car that rear-ended their vehicle.

Wasielewski claimed a cervical strain, lumbar strain and aggravation of spondylosis at L3-4.  According to the report of this case, his medical expenses were $39,736.

Stazak claimed that the rear-end collision caused aggravation of his prior L4-S1 fusion requiring revision surgery and lumbar radiculopathy. At trial, it was shown that Stazak’s past medical expenses were $15,461 with future medical expenses expected to reach $125,000.

Continue reading

In this case, Giuseppina DiFranco was driving in stop-and-go traffic when her car was struck from behind by the car driven by Constance Kusar. The DiFranco car then hit the car in front of her making her knee strike the dashboard and jerking her back and forth.

Right after the crash, DiFranco said she had neck, back and arm pain and was taken by ambulance to Glen Oaks Hospital in Glendale Heights, Ill.

Over the next months, she was treated for tenderness at the lower back and right pelvis. She reported moderate pain; the treating physician concluded that she had a cervical strain, arm strain, forearm strain and back strain. The doctor recommended physical therapy and pain relievers. After months of physical therapy and other treatment, DiFranco was diagnosed after an electromyogram with a pinched nerve in her cervical area related to the crash of June 9, 2011.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading