In 2007 a propane truck ran a red light and struck another car. The car’s passenger, Anthony Villa, Jr., suffered fatal wounds and died two days later. An Illinois wrongful death lawsuit was brought by his wife, which recently settled for $7 million. Cheryl Villa v. Heritage Operating LP, et al., No. 08 L 11922.
The Illinois intersection accident occurred in Matteson, Illinois at the intersection of Harlem Avenue and Lincoln Highway. At the time of the car accident, Villa’s vehicle was attempting to make a left turn onto Lincoln Highway when it was struck by a propane truck owned by Heritage Operating LP. While the truck driver was not injured, Villa was rushed to the hospital with severe wounds. He died as a result of these injuries just two days later.
The wrongful death lawsuit was brought by Villa’s wife and their five children, two of which were minors at the time of their father’s death. The Illinois complaint alleged that the truck driver and his employer were responsible for the truck accident that resulted in Villa’s death. The defendants admitted liability for the intersection accident, confirming that it was caused by the truck driver running the red light.
However, there was some debate about the decedent’s potential life expectancy and lost earnings. The decedent had been employed as a mechanic, yet had not worked for the five years preceding the Illinois car accident. Many years prior, Villa had contracted Hepatitis C from a tattoo. The infection had caused many years of kidney and liver problems, which culminated in failure of both Villa’s liver and kidneys five years before the accident.
During the past five years Villa underwent one kidney transplant and two liver transplants, the most recent of which had been exactly one year before his death. The strain of the various transplants and the continued problems with his kidney and liver had prevented Villa from working during those five years and therefore painted a bleak picture for his future earning potential.
However, Villa’s transplant surgeon confirmed that his most recent liver transplant was successful and that he was nearing recovery. It was projected that he would be able to return to work as a mechanic in 2008. In fact, at the time of the fatal intersection accident Villa was headed to the mall for some Christmas shopping. While this is not significant in and of itself, it is when you consider that Villa had spent the last four Christmases in a hospital. This would have marked his first Christmas at home in five years.
Therefore, even though Villa had not worked in almost five years, all signs indicated that he would be returning to work shortly. Furthermore, based on his transplant surgeon’s assessment, Villa was responding well to his most recent transplant. Therefore, while there was some truth to the defense’s argument that the decedent’s life expectancy would not have been as promising as a 57 year-old without a history of organ failure, there was evidence to suggest that Villa’s prospects were good. Both sides were able to come to an agreement and reached a $7 million settlement for the truck accident case, which was approved by a Cook County judge.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois wrongful death matters for more than 35 years in and around Chicago, Cook County, and surrounding areas, including Cicero, Norridge, Niles, Chicago’s Wicker Park, and Bridgeview.
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