When we are young our parents tell us to look both ways before crossing the street, and in driver’s ed we all learn to use caution when approaching intersections and to look both ways. However, as we become more and more used to approaching intersections we forget these simple lessons. The case of Felis Aspera v. Raul Munoz, RSJM Restaurant, Taqueria Atotonilco #1, Ltd., 07 L 9236, serves as a reminder of how dangerous intersections can be.
In 2007, 61 year-old Felis Aspera was crossing the intersection at Kedzie Avenue and 26th Street. Ms. Aspera was already in the crosswalk as Raul Munoz’s truck was approaching the same intersection. However, Munoz failed to see Ms. Aspera as he made a left-hand turn directly into her path, running right into Ms. Aspera. As a result of her pedestrian-car accident, Ms. Aspera suffered multiple fractures to her left arm and leg and sustained a mild brain injury.
Due to the severity of her injuries, Ms. Aspera required open-reduction surgery on her left femur and required hardware inserted into her left radius and ulna. In addition, Ms. Apsera now walks with a noticeable limp despite the assistance of her newly acquired cane and has limited use of her left hand and is unable to grasp objects.
At the personal injury trial, Ms. Aspera testified that at the time of the intersection accident, she was crossing the street with a green light and had looked to her left prior to entering the crosswalk. She remembers seeing the defendant’s truck stopped in the intersection as it waited to make a left-hand turn. It then proceeded to make its turn while she was in the middle of street within the marked crosswalk.
At the time of the Illinois pedestrian accident, Munoz was driving his truck in the capacity of his duties as president of RSJM Restaurant. Therefore, the lawsuit was filed not only against Raul Munoz, but also his employers, RSJM Restaurant and Taqueria Atotonilco #1, Ltd.
At trial, Munoz testified that the plaintiff was in the crosswalk and had a green light. Munoz denied plaintiff’s claims that he was on a cell phone at the time of the intersection accident. However, cell phone records produced at the trial showed that Munoz was in fact on his cell phone around the time of the pedestrian-car crash. The extent of Munoz’s defense seemed to be that Ms. Aspera should have maintained a better lookout before she stepped off of the curb and to argue that her injuries were not as severe as she claimed.
Not surprisingly, the jury returned a $330,000 verdict in favor of the plaintiff. However, the jury verdict was reduced by 10% for the comparative fault assigned to Ms. Aspera for her own injuries in the crosswalk accident. The breakdown of the jury’s verdict was $150,524 for medical expenses; $36,000 for past pain and suffering; $48,476 for future pain and suffering; $7,000 for past loss of normal life; $82,000 for future loss of normal life; $5,000 for disfigurement for Aspera’s surgical scars.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois pedestrian accidents and Illinois automobile intersection accidents for more than 35 years in and around Chicago, Cook County, and surrounding areas, including Lemont, Oak Forest, River Grove, Morton Grove, and Schaumburg.
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