Cook County Rear-End Collision Results in 675,000 for Traumatic Brain Injury- Davis v. Schneider National Carriers, Inc.

A Cook County trucking accident recently resulted in a $675,000 verdict for the plaintiff, who suffered traumatic brain injuries as a result of the 2005 rear-end collision. The Illinois personal injury case was brought against both the defendant driver and his employer; Heather Davis v. Keith M. Longsine, Schneider National Carriers Inc., 07 L 3098.

The Illinois highway accident occurred in March 2005, during Illinois’s road construction season. The plaintiff, Heather Davis, had come to a complete stop due to the road construction on Illinois Interstate 94 near Thornton, Illinois. However, the truck driven by defendant, Keith Longsine, did not stop and ended up crashing into Davis’s vehicle. At the time of the accident, Longsine was driving a truck owned by his employer, Schneider National Carriers, Inc.

At the Illinois personal injury trial, the plaintiff hired a mechanical engineer to offer opinions as to how fast the defendant was driving at the time of the rear-end crash. The severity of the impact caused Davis’s car to be pushed five feet forward into the rear of a pickup truck stopped in front of her. In addition, Davis’s airbags deployed and her headrest broke off of her driver’s seat. The plaintiff’s engineering expert, Michael Rogers, used this information to opine that the defendant was driving in excess of 33 mph when the trucking accident occurred.

Following the Illinois trucking accident, Davis was brought to St. Margaret Mercy Hospital by ambulance for the neck and back injuries she sustained in the car crash. She required medical treatment for those neck and back injuries over the course of the next year and a half, which included regular therapy visits and a series of epidural injections to her lower spine.

In addition, Davis claimed at trial that she had suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the Illinois truck accident, which included symptoms of memory loss, fatigue, and difficulties focusing and concentrating. In order to support her claims of traumatic brain injury, Davis brought a neuropsychiatrist and neuropsychologist to testify as to the underlying causes of her brain injury.

Dr. Wu, a neuropsychiatrist, testified that a PETSCAN (Positron Emission Tomography) of Davis’ brain revealed asymmetries and abnormalities between the right and left hemispheres with decreased brain function on the left side. Dr. Michael Gelbort, a neuropsychologist, testified that Davis’ left hemisphere cognitive abilities were significantly compromised. In addition, both Drs. Wu and Gelbort testified that Davis was subject to an increased risk to suffer depression or dementia as a result of her brain injury.

However, the defense brought its own neuropsychology expert to testify that Davis had not suffered from a brain injury following the trucking accident and that there was in fact no evidence of a traumatic brain injury. Rather, the defense maintained that Davis was fine and that any brain or mental abnormalities were a result of the normal stress in her life. Likewise, in order to counter plaintiff’s claims of a financial loss following the trucking accident, the defense brought in an economist to refute her claims of past and future lost wages as a result of the Illinois crash.

As is typical in most rear-end collisions, the jury found in favor of the driver whose vehicle was rear-ended. The plaintiff was awarded $675,000 from the defendant driver and his employer, which was broken down by the jury as follows: $24,631 in past medical expenses; $325,369 for past and future disability; $200,000 for past and future pain and suffering; and $125,000 for future loss of income.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois truck and car crash cases for more than 35 years in and around Chicago and Cook County, including Bensenville, Beverly, Richton Park, Chicago Heights, and Homewood.

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