Cook County Jury Verdict for Bicycle Rider Hit by Turning Car; Harvey v. Phillips

Michael Harvey was riding his bicycle north on Ashland Avenue in Chicago in the right lane as he approached Foster Avenue.  It was Aug. 12, 2010 when Harvey, 26, claimed to be cut off by the defendant, Vanna Phillips, who was driving her car northbound making a sudden right turn directly in front of Harvey. The bicycle and car collided. On impact, Harvey was propelled into Phillips’ rear window which shattered. Harvey then landed on the ground. 

The crash took place at about 11 p.m. while both plaintiff and defendant were traveling from separate bars. Harvey suffered  cuts to his chin, upper lip and required 29 stitches with permanent scars. He also had lacerations to his left forearm that required nine staples with scarring. Harvey also suffered from permanent left forearm nerve damage and numbness with pain. He may require future surgery to repair the nerve pain and plastic surgery for revision of the scars. 

Harvey was an actor and claimed difficulty getting roles after the accident due to his scars. He is now working as a waiter.

The defendant Phillips, age 41, maintained that she was at a complete stop when Harvey rode his bike into her rear bumper. She said she was stopped in the right lane at a right angle about 4 car lengths from the intersection. Parked cars prevented her from pulling completely over into the curb lane to make her right turn. She had stopped because she saw Harvey approaching behind and thought he might try to pass her car. 

Phillips’ passenger supported her version of the events. Phillips and her passenger are both professional violinists. Phillips denied that she was negligent and argued that Harvey was more than 50% at fault. This is another one-day summary trial where the parties agreed on many of the facts to be submitted to the jury.Judge Michael Panter has been conducting these one-day jury trials successfully producing more effective and expeditious jury trials. A summary of the plaintiff’s medical treatment and future surgeries was read to the jury by Judge Panter.

The attorney for Harvey, Steven Sigmond, asked the jury to return a verdict of $375,761. The jury returned a verdict of $19,985 after reducing its verdict of $30,761 by 35% because of the contributory fault assigned to Harvey.

The jury’s verdict was made up of the following damages:

  • $6,500 for pain and suffering;
  • $12,747 for medical expenses;
  • $738 for lost time from work;
  • $0 for disfigurement;
  • $0 for disability.

The jury was also asked a special interrogatory question which was:  “Was the contributory negligence of plaintiff, if any, greater than 50%?”  The jury answered, “No.”

Before the trial, there was no offer to settle the case from the defendant’s attorney.

Michael Harvey v. Vanna Phillips, No. 11 L 9295 (Cook County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling bicycle accidents, car crashes and truck crashes for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 37 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Downers Grove, Calumet City, Winfield, Evergreen Park, South Holland, Naperville, Inverness, Lake Bluff, Chicago (Hyde Park), Chicago (Rogers Park), Rolling Meadows, Bolingbrook, Romeoville and Aurora, Ill.

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