Articles Posted in Verdicts and Settlements

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The Illinois General Assembly ended its official 2013 legislative session last Friday. As usual in the chamber, the elected body left many issues to the very end. Some of the items on the docket related to different proposals affecting the civil justice system–even those which may implant those who suffer a traumatic brain injury as a result of negligence.

New Legislation

For example, SB1912 was contested last week. The bill–first introduced in the Senate in mid-February–dealt with procedural rules for settlements in civil law cases. Specifically, the measure requires a “release” to be given to defendants in a case within 14 days of an agreement being reached between the parties in a civil lawsuit. Once that happens a 21 day timeline begins, and the defendant has those three weeks to pay the full settlement amount.

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Our Chicago brain injury attorneys recently learned about a settlement in a case in which a law student filed a brain injury lawsuit against the city of Tucson, after the student suffered severe injuries when they were struck by a car. The brain injury lawsuit alleged that the victim was riding her bike across her campus when a car that was turning at an intersection struck her. The victim suffered severe physical injuries from the hit and suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the injuries. While the driver of the car was responsible for hitting the bike rider, the city is being sued because of the design of the intersection where the accident occurred. According to AZ Star Net, the complaint alleges that the intersection was nearly 80 years old and is not of the design that intersections are typically designed today. The intersection has a very sharp angle, which makes it very difficult to see pedestrians and bike riders when driving or turning at the intersection. The victim of the accident believed that it was because of the design of the intersection that the car accident occurred, and not just because of the negligence of the driver of the car.

The brain injury lawsuit was just recently settled in favor of the law student that suffered from brain injuries for $675,000. The amount of damages seeks to cover the brain injury victim’s medical expenses, both past and present, any other bills associated with the car accident and the injury, as well as attempts to offer some compensation to the brain injury victim for all of the pain and suffering that she has had to deal with because of the injury. Many plaintiffs also seek pain and suffering compensation to try to offer the victim compensation for what they now have to deal with permanently as a result of the negligence of another.

In this case, as well as in many personal injury lawsuits, there is not just one person to blame for the accident. It is likely that the combination of the design of the intersection, as well as the lack of attention on the part of the driver of the car that struck the victim, were both responsible for the car accident. When more than one person is responsible for one’s personal injuries, the victim may be able to sue the multiple parties for damages in connection with the accident. If you were injured in an accident where the city may have been responsible for what caused your injury, you may be able to sue the city for your personal injury.

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Our Chicago personal injury attorneys, Steven Levin and Michael Bonamarte, recently helped the family of a victim of a wrongful death reach a $975,000 settlement after the victim fell off of a porch, where the railing was not up code, and then later died as a result of his personal injuries. The mother of the victim brought the wrongful death lawsuit against the management company of the building where the porch was located, alleging that because of the management company’s negligence the young man fell onto the concrete below (from two stories up) and then died as a result of his severe head and brain injuries. The tragic fall occurred in the summer of 2007, while the victim was hanging out on the porch at his girlfriend’s apartment in downtown Chicago, and the victim died as a result of his injuries in January of 2008.

The wrongful death lawsuit alleged that the management company for the girlfriend’s building failed to keep the premises in a reasonable and safe condition, and because of this failure, the victim fell from the porch. The lawsuit was filed in January of 2008, but the settlement was just this week approved for $975,000 for the family of the victim. The mother of the victim filed this lawsuit against the building managers with the hope of saving other families from having to go through the pain and the suffering that she has had to deal with as a result of her son’s untimely death. Building managers and landlords of all buildings have certain responsibilities and certain duties that are owed to the tenants, and to the tenant’s guests, and when this level of care is not met, the parties responsible must be held liable for the damage that results. When a building has a balcony and porch with a railing, that railing must be up to code and safe for people to stand near it, and it is the building managements or landlord’s duty to make sure that the railing is up to code and is safe to stand near. In this specific instance, the lawsuit alleged that the railing was ten inches shorter than the mandatory railing height requirement that is set out by the city of Chicago.

This case, like far too many other personal injury lawsuits, could easily have been avoided if the management company had not acted negligently in maintaining the building they were responsible for. Because of the company’s negligence, this young man died and his family has to deal with pain of losing their son when he was so young. If you or a loved one suffered a personal injury from a fall, or if someone you loved died as a result of a management company or landlord’s negligence, please do not hesitate to contact our Illinois personal injury lawyers today. Our attorneys have helped out clients all over Illinois, including this mother who lost her young son, and our attorneys are here to talk to you about your case and help to see what possible next steps you should take and what options are available to you and your family.

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Our Illinois brain injury attorneys recently learned of a brain injury lawsuit that resulted in a verdict for the injured party for over $12 million dollars. The lawsuit was filed against a truck company by a driver that was severely injured after one of the company’s trucks lost its rear axle, which then crashed into to the victim’s car. When the victim’s car was struck, he suffered from a head injury as well as injuries to his spinal cord. The victim’s head injuries resulted in a traumatic brain injury and the victim now suffers from memory loss, a change in personality, has trouble concentrating, and has trouble paying attention. The traumatic brain injury lawsuit alleged that because of the truck company’s negligence in allowing the truck to be on the road with the axle loose, the brain injury victim suffered these injuries, most of which will continue to bother him throughout his lifetime.

The brain injury lawsuit sought compensation for the medical bills that the victim has already incurred, and for the medical bills he will continue to have to pay as a result of his severe brain injuries, as well as sought money for his loss of wages. According to About Lawsuits, the victim had to leave his job as an airline mechanic because of the permanent injuries that he sustained in the car accident. The trucking company claimed that the victim’s injuries were not as bad as he was claiming, and that he was not really suffering from the traumatic brain injury and chronic pain that the lawsuit alleged. However, the jury at the brain injury trial determined that the victim was not misrepresenting his injuries, and found for the victim, and the trucking company will be required to pay over $12 million dollars in total damages in connection with the negligence lawsuit.

Unfortunately, many traumatic brain injuries (which are brain injuries that are caused by hard hit or shaking of the brain against the skull) result from car accidents and can require a great deal of care throughout the victim’s lifetime. Aside from the medical costs associated with this type of injury, since the brain is affected many victims suffer personality and emotional changes in addition to the physical pain and suffering that results from the injury. Because of this, most brain injury lawsuits seek not only damages for physical pain but also for the emotional pain that the victim and their family suffers through because of the brain injury.

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Our Chicago brain injury attorneys, Steven Levin and Margaret Battersby, recently reached a $17.7 million settlement on behalf of a client who suffered severe brain damage as a patient at a Chicago hospital. The client is a former police officer who was in the hospital as a result of an injury that he suffered while on the job. The client was hospitalized in the neurosurgical unit of the hospital for his head injuries, and because of negligent nursing care while in the unit he suffered further serious brain damage that caused him to suffer from quadriplegia.

The brain injury lawsuit alleged negligence on the part of the nurses who were in charge of caring for our client. Hospital staff did not properly monitor our client’s intracranial pressure during a test of a drain that was in place to drain the excess fluid build-up following his stroke from his initial injury. As a result of this failure, his intracranial pressure rose to dangerous levels, but his physician was not notified by the nurses of the increase in pressure until the damage had already been done. As a result of this delay, he suffered an irreparable brain injury.

The brain injury lawsuit was filed in 2005. Our Chicago personal injury attorneys reached a settlement days before this case went to trial. With this brain injury settlement although the victim will never be fully compensated for what has been done to him, the compensation will allow him to receive lifetime medical care and will enable his family to purchase advanced assistive technology to help him communicate.
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The Seattle Times recently reported on a $10 million settlement in favor of a man who is now paralyzed after he sustained a traumatic brain injury.

The incident occurred on May 10, 2009 when the victim was being chased by two men who turned out to be deputies for the county. During the incident, the victim was thrown into a wall by one of the deputies causing catastrophic brain injuries. The victim is unable to speak and will be bedridden for the remainder of his life. The $10 million settlement will not only help pay for future medical expenses but it was also aid the victim’s family as they deal with the financial and emotional consequences.

According to the IBIA (International Brain Injury Association), one million Americans are treated and released from hospital emergency departments as a result of traumatic head injury each year. The symptoms of someone suffering from traumatic brain injury vary and can develop and change over time. Symptoms of traumatic brain injury also range in severity from blurred vision to inability to perform motor functions.

Most traumatic brain injuries are caused by head trauma. Recently, a Chicago area woman suffered a severe brain injury in a sledding accident. The medical community is also constantly working to improve this area of medicine. A recent study on brain injuries suggested that certain behaviors, such as consuming fish oils, may protect the brain against injury.
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The Quad City Times recently reported on a trial involving an injured plumber. A Scott County jury recently awarded a couple in Coal Valley, Illinois $3.6 million in a brain injury lawsuit.

In 2006, a plumber was working in a trench as sewer and water service was being installed for a home under construction in Davenport. The trench collapsed when a skid loader drove too close. Rescue efforts successful dug the unconscious plumber out of the collapsed trench but the plumber suffered permanent brain damage in the work related accident.

The skid loader was being operated by an employee of Alliance Concrete Construction LLC of Davenport, Illinois. At trial, the injured worker and his wife were seeking damages from Alliance for lost wages and past and future medical expenses.

During the trial, the plumber’s wife took the witness stand and testified about dramatic changes in her husband’s behavior since his accident. She testified that since his brain injury, her husband suffers from severe nightmares that have caused the couple to sleep in separate beds at night.

The jury awarded the wife $300,000 for loss of consortium. Loss of consortium refers to the deprivation of the benefits of a family relationship due to injuries.

The defense attorney for Alliance argued at trial that the injured worker was at least partially responsible for his own injury because he failed to use a trench box and other safety precautions. The jury found the plumber 40 percent at fault. As a result of the plumber’s own negligence, he was awarded $1.8 million of his $3.6 million verdict. In Illinois, if an injured party is partially at fault for his or her injuries, then the total recovered amount may be reduced in proportion to the degree that the injured party was at fault.

For the full article on this brain injury case, see the Quad City Times.
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Levin and Perconti recently announced in a press release on November 24, 2010 that its Chicago brain attorneys reached a $6.5 million settlement for a young girl who suffers from cerebral palsy following a brain injury sustained during birth.

The settlement was with Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, IL and a physician who failed to timely perform a Cesarean section. Chicago attorneys John J. Perconti and Patricia L. Gifford of Levin & Perconti represented the injured child and her family.

During the mother’s pregnancy, doctors failed to diagnose cephalopelvic disproportion. Cephalopelvic disproportion occurs when a baby’s head or body is too large to fit through the mother’s pelvis. Abnormal fetal positions often cause cephalopelivic disproportion, which is what occurred in this case. According to the American College of Nurse Midwives, cephalopelvic disproportion occurs in 1 out of 250 pregnancies.

Physicians further failed to order an emergency Cesarean section after noticing erratic decelerations on the fetal monitoring strips. These decelerations are typically a warning sign for fetal hypoxia. Hypoxia occurs when the fetus is deprived of adequate oxygen.

During the emergency Cesarean section, the mother was not properly anesthetized and the staff had to hold the mother down during the procedure.

Although the newborn and mother survived the complicated birth, the newborn suffered hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, which means that inadequate oxygen caused damage to cells in the central nervous system, specifically the brain and spinal cord. This damage can cause cerebral palsy.

The injured child is now 10 years old but has cerebral palsy and mental retardation from the complications of her birth. She suffers from motor delays and moderate cognitive deficiencies and will need to use a wheeled assistive device as she gets older. She will also need constant assistance with dressing, bathing, and using the bathroom. The settlement will allow the child’s family to provide her with the ongoing care and medical treatment throughout her lifetime.
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Postcrescent.com recently reported that a $20 million settlement was reached following a tragic car accident that left a young girl with a severe brain injury.

In October of 2008, a family from Appleton, WI was driving down an off-ramp in their van. A truck heading towards the ramp ran a red light and crashed into the family’s van. While the impact of the crash was not severe because the truck driver had applied his brakes, the truck was carrying a pipe rack that allowed multiple pipes to escape upon collision. One of the loose pipes shattered the left rear window of the van and hit a young girl that was a passenger in the backseat. The child suffered severe brain damage from the accident.

The child’s family filed a lawsuit following this incident alleging that the pipe rack was negligently constructed and installed as it was missing a front stop. The distributor of the pipe rack settled their case for $18.7 million. The rest of the settlement amount comes from the truck driver and his employer as well as the manufacturer of the pipe rack. The settlement amounts were assigned based on each defendant’s responsibility in the accident.

The large settlement will help the family of the young girl pay for her care and medical expenses. The girl’s medical expenses totaled $850,000 in the first two years of her life after the accident left her with severe and permanent injuries including traumatic epilepsy and blindness. Because of her traumatic brain injury, she will require around-the-clock care for the rest of her life.
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ABC News followed up on a brain injury case in Northern California where a man was awarded $6.4 million after being injured while getting on the bus in April of 2008.

The case involved a disabled man who was injured while being lifted onto a bus in Roseville, California. As he loaded the bus, his wheelchair rolled backwards off the ramp. The man fell 6 feet and hit his head, causing severe brain injury.

The city’s public transportation company was ordered to pay 83% of the $6.4 million verdict, while the city was ordered to pay the remaining 17%.

Falls on public transportation can be the result of improper safety measures. In Chicago, many of the city’s buses and trains are operated by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are among the three main causes of brain injury in the United States and they are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury among people 65 and older.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 1.4 million people suffer traumatic brain injuries each year in the United States and about 50,000 people die from traumatic brain injuries.
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