Articles Posted in Car Crash

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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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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Kathleen Waldeck was driving a car that was alleged to have rear-ended the car of the plaintiff, Andice Peacock, causing her injuries. Peacock had alleged that her car was rear-ended by Waldeck while waiting for a stoplight to turn green.

The lawsuit alleged that Peacock’s vehicle was stopped at a red light when the collision occurred, and “there were no visual obstructions to block defendant’s view of plaintiff’s vehicle.”  In the Waldeck answer, she admitted her car rear-ended Peacock’s vehicle and that her view was not obstructed.  In the meantime, before bringing this summary judgment motion, Waldeck passed away.  Her representative of the estate, Barton Waldeck, argued that the Dead-Man’s Act barred Peacock from testifying about this car crash.

A DuPage County, Ill., circuit court judge granted the motion for summary judgment in favor of the Estate of Kathleen Waldeck. Peacock appealed.

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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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Vanity Mack was injured in 2010 and submitted an under-insured motorist claim to Allstate Insurance Co. In addition to the claim, Mack filed a demand for arbitration under the rules of the Federal Arbitration Act.

In December 2010, Allstate informed Mack that she was required to execute the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) authorizations as well as appear for an oral examination under oath.

These requirements were covered under Allstate’s insurance policy. Mack did not complete the HIPAA authorizations, and she did not appear for her oral examination despite multiple requests for her to do so. Continue reading

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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Karen Ann Whitaker was 60 when she started home from the church where she worked as a daycare teacher. Driving alone, she exited the church parking lot and turned onto the adjacent road. As she entered the northbound lane, southbound trucker Clarence Risher, who was driving a tractor-trailer while under the influence of methamphetamine, lost control of his truck.

The Risher truck jackknifed and crossed the center line. In doing so, the truck broadsided Whitaker’s car. She died on impact. She is survived by her husband, four adult children and five grandchildren.

Earlier on the day of this crash, Risher had delivered a load of chickens for House of Raeford Farms Inc., which had hired his employer, CRE Trucking LLC, as an independent contractor, to transport the chickens. Risher pleaded guilty to DUI involuntary manslaughter, reckless driving and operating without a valid driver’s license, among other serious criminal charges. He was also sentenced to 4 years in prison for this accident.

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On May 4, 2006, Thomas J. Diorio was driving westbound on Lake Street (IL Route 20) in Bartlett, Ill.  He was traveling at a speed of 35 mph when the defendant, Matthew J. Pattelli, rear-ended Thomas’s car near Park Boulevard. The crash caused about $2,300 in damage to the plaintiff’s 2005 Lincoln Navigator and $2,950 in damage to the Pattelli sedan. Photos of both of these cars were admitted into evidence by the court.

Diorio is a business owner. At age 58, he suffered a herniated disc at C4-5 with cervical radiculopathy, which is nerve pain traveling down the neck and spine. He also had neck pain, shoulder pain and headaches. His medical expenses were more than $29,000. There was no claim for lost time as Diorio had retired.

The defendant, Pattelli, 28, was drunk at the time of the crash. His blood/alcohol level was .199, which is more than double the Illinois legal limit for intoxication.

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On June 12, 2013, the plaintiff, Andrew Gunderson, 14, was riding as a passenger on an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) being driven by another teen, the defendant Cody Fanter, also 14. Cody was driving the ATV on a dead-end street in a rural subdivision in Athens, Ill.

Meanwhile, the co-defendant, Cody Ingram, was driving a Jeep Cherokee with two teenage passengers coming toward the ATV riders from the opposite direction. Andrew Gunderson contended that the ATV was traveling on the right side of the road when the oncoming Jeep came around the curb, crossed over the center line of the road and entered into their lane of travel. This caused Cody Fanter to suddenly turn to his left to avoid running into the Jeep. As a result, the Jeep broadsided the ATV in the Jeep’s lane after Ingram corrected his path of travel.

The Jeep’s bumper struck Andrew Gunderson’s lower leg and the force of the direct T-bone impact caused Andrew Gunderson to be thrown off the ATV. He sustained a comminuted transverse complete fractures of the tibia and fibula, which required an open reduction internal fixation surgery; plates and screws were inserted. Medical expenses for Andrew Gunderson totaled $108,162.

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Angela Rogers, 45, was driving when she slowed her vehicle for traffic ahead. She was at a virtual stop when a Hertz Corp. employee driving a company car rear-ended Rogers’ car while traveling at about 60 mph.

Rogers suffered serious injuries which included bilateral labral tears to her hips. The crash also triggered spinal stenosis, causing her to suffer neck pain and impingement in her right arm and hand. Rogers continued to work for nearly 3 years while undergoing conservative medical treatment. When debilitating pain made it impossible for her to continue at work, Rogers was placed on leave. Soon thereafter she underwent bilateral hip surgery.

Rogers continues to live with chronic pain and she likely will require a cervical fusion to address her neck pain. Her past medical expenses totaled more than $390,000 and her future medical expenses are estimated at $600,000.

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