Articles Posted in Car Crash

The defendant, Toad L. Dragonfly Express Inc., appealed an award of contribution entered against it and in favor of the defendant C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. and other corporate entities collectively, CHR.

After the jury trial, judgments totaling $23,225,000 were entered, jointly and severally against Dragonfly and its owner, Luann G. Whitener-Black who is now deceased, DeAn Henry, and CHR in three consolidated tort actions stemming from the fatal automobile crash. Henry was the driver of the semi-tractor involved in the incident. Dragonfly is a federally licensed motor carrier that had leased Henry’s semi-tractor at the time of the accident and CHR was the broker of the load Henry was carrying at the time.

After CHR fully satisfied the tort judgments (including postjudgment interest), CHR sought contribution from Dragonfly under the Illinois Joint Tortfeasor Contribution Act (Act) (740 ILCS 100/0.01 et seq. (West 2014)). The trial court granted CHR’s contribution claim against Dragonfly for 50% of the jury’s total award in the underlying tort actions, including post-judgment interest. Dragonfly then appealed the trial court’s order granting contribution to CHR. Dragonfly argued that CHR is not entitled to contribution from Dragonfly because the Act creates a right of contribution based upon comparative fault, and neither CHR nor Dragonfly were at fault in this case.

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The plaintiffs, Brittany N. Hage and Joann M. Blackmore, appealed the dismissal of their Count VI of Hage’s Fourth Amended Complaint, which added Blackmore as a party plaintiff in the Hage cause of action. The suit was filed against the defendant, Trisha L. Pannkuk.

Because the allegations in Count VI did not arrive out of the same transaction or occurrence as Hage’s original complaint, Count VI was barred by the applicable statute of limitations.  Accordingly, the Illinois Appellate Court for the Second District affirmed the dismissal of Count VI.

This incident arose out of the Feb. 1, 2011 13-vehicle crash that occurred on Route 72 in Ogle County, Ill.  The weather conditions included snow on the roadway and blowing snow, which greatly reduced visibility. There were several other lawsuits that arose out of this incident.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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