Articles Posted in Rear-End Crash

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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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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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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Christopher Arnold was 19 years old and riding in a pickup truck driven by Jonathan Ortiz when a friend traveling behind them called to say that furniture had fallen off the friend’s truck. Ortiz pulled the pickup truck onto the road’s shoulder, preparing to make a U-turn so he could go back and help his friend. As Ortiz pulled back onto the road and began turning, a van coming up behind him struck a glancing blow to the pickup truck. The truck spun around and came to rest with Arnold’s side facing oncoming traffic. Moments later, Robert Sims, driving a pickup truck for Weatherford U.S. L.P., struck the truck’s passenger side.

Arnold was not wearing his seatbelt. He suffered multiple injuries, including a burst fracture at L-1, resulting in paraplegia. He suffered spinal fractures at T7-9 and T-12. He also had two rib fractures, a collapsed lung and lacerations to his spleen. Arnold was hospitalized for more than a month and underwent a spinal fusion at T12-L2 among other procedures. He has undergone extensive rehabilitation. He now uses a wheelchair and requires assistance with daily living activities.

Arnold’s past medical expenses total about $345,900 and his future life-care costs are estimated at $5.85 million.

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On Sept. 12, 2008, Garfield Teddy was driving a semi-tractor-trailer westbound on Route 36 in Tuscola, Ill. He was stopped at a red light at Main Street when his truck was rear-ended by the defendants’ westbound tractor-trailer rig.

Teddy was 56 years old at the time and maintained that the impact of the crash caused numerous injuries including a herniated cervical disc, which required surgery. He also claimed to have developed pneumonia, which led to multiple hospitalizations. Teddy incurred $225,575 in medical expenses.

The defendant truck driver, Gary Miller, admitted that he briefly took his eyes off the road while checking his passenger side rear-view mirror as he was about to change lanes. When he looked in front of him he saw that the plaintiff’s truck had stopped and he slammed on his brakes but was not able to stop in time.

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Rosalina Dionisio, 62, was driving home from work on the highway when her car suddenly lost electrical power. She was able to drive the car to the far right lane, but as she attempted to pull her car off the road, she discovered that the overgrown bushes took up most of the shoulder. That left her very little room on the shoulder and off the highway. Although she pulled off the road as far as she could, half of her car still was on the highway.

About 9 minutes after she stopped her car, another motorist, Stephen Taylor, moved into the right lane to exit the highway. Allegedly he saw her car ahead of him but failed to realize that part of the car was in his lane. Taylor’s car struck Dionisio’s car while travelling at 70 mph.

As a result of the crash, she suffered multiple injuries, including brain hemorrhaging, a spinal fracture at T2, fractures to her pelvis, sacrum, ribs and left humorous of her arm. She also had pulmonary contusions, a lacerated kidney and a torn left rotator cuff. Dionisio underwent open reduction internal fixation of the spine, pelvis and arm.

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On June 9, 2011, Giuseppina DiFranco, 50, was driving eastbound on Army Trail Road in Bloomingdale, Ill. DiFranco was rear-ended by defendant Constance Kusar whose car was then pushed into the vehicle in front of her car.

DiFranco, an administrative assistant, claimed that the collision caused her cervical radiculitis, thoracic outlet syndrome and soft tissue injuries to her neck, back, right arm and right knee. She claimed to have expended $29,111 in medical expenses.

The defendant, Kusar, stipulated to negligence but denied that the plaintiff, DiFranco, was injured or that she was injured to the extent that she claimed.

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Nasrath Sawa-Malik, 52, was driving northbound on Interstate 55 (Stevenson Expressway) on June 18, 2010 when her car was rear-ended by a car driven by the defendant, Terry Cornwell, which struck Sawa-Malik’s car at a high rate of speed.  The impact caused Sawa-Malik to crash into the vehicle ahead of her.

The plaintiff sustained soft tissue injury to her neck and back.  She underwent injections recommended for pain.  Sawa-Malik maintained that before this car crash and her injuries, she accepted a contract to work as an Arabic interpreter for a U.S. defense contractor at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  Sawa-Malik said she was about to start the new job at the time of the crash but was unable to do so because of her injuries.

Cornwell admitted liability, but argued that Sawa-Malik could not prove her lost income for the translator job that she had never started.  Cornwell did not attend the trial.

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On July 18, 2010, Natalie Cozzi, defendant Sergio Ramirez and Caitlyn Hopkins were involved in a four-car crash on the Dan Ryan Expressway near Washington Street in Chicago, Ill.  The crash took place at about 1:30 a.m. in the southbound lanes.  The chain reaction started when a “phantom” black SUV came to an abrupt stop in front of Cozzi, who claimed that she was able to make a complete stop 3-4 feet behind the SUV.

But after Cozzi stopped, she was rear-ended at high speed by the defendant Ramirez, who was driving a Ford F-150 pickup truck.  The impact pushed Cozzi into the rearend of the black SUV. 

The other defendant, Hopkins, then rear-ended Ramirez at high speed, causing a second rear impact to Cozzi’s car. The black SUV fled the scene after the crash. Cozzi, age 26, claimed that the crash injured her, causing a herniated or bulging disc at L3-4 with facet joint arthropathy and chronic low back pain. She had more than $23,000 in medical expenses and lost 7 ½ months of work as a union electrician. Cozzi’s claimed lost time from work was $53,328.

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