Overview and Statistics
Back injuries are one of the most common injuries in car accidents. Below, we provide a snapshot of what and how other victims with these injuries recovered financial compensation. The first and fundamental question these victims-turned-clients had was, “How much is my car accident worth?” You will probably have a similar focus if you suffer a back injury. These statistics and case highlights begin to answer that question. However, you should speak with a competent lawyer to fully explain how the law around automobile collisions affects your chances of a full monetary recovery.
Illinois Plaintiffs' Recovery in Car Accidents Involving Back Injuries (1994-2014)
Below is a table that breaks down all Illinois car accident cases where a back injury was the main or significant harm by county and award or settlement size. The number represents the percentage of cases with the associated award or settlement that each county had; for instance, 9.57% of Illinois back cases wherein Cook County and had no recovery. Only the most litigious counties were included.
Here are some major takeaways from accident cases involving back injuries around Illinois:
- Plaintiffs in Illinois recovered more than $5 million six times more than their counterparts did around the country.
- Almost 10% more plaintiffs around the country received nothing than did those in Illinois.
- The most common counties involving back injury litigation in car accidents were Cook, Lake, DuPage, Madison, and St. Clair.
- The median recovery was about $42,000 and the average was a little more than $100,000.
Case Summaries and Highlights
Below we have listed some case summaries to give you an indication of why some plaintiffs were more successful than others in obtaining recovery:
CASE NAME: RAJEWSKI v. CITY OF CHICAGO ET AL.
RECOVERY: $968,735 JURY AWARD
The dynamics of this case were a bit odd. The plaintiff was driving north while the defendant, a police officer, was driving south. The only thing was that the cop was driving in the plaintiff’s lane! Also, when the two eventually crashed into one another, it did not appear that the cop was not responding to an emergency situation. Due to the collision, the plaintiff suffered extensive back injuries including a herniated disk and bruises to her spine. She sued the cop and the city because the cop was on-duty at the time of the crash. Both defendants denied liability and the extent of the plaintiff’s claimed injuries. Interestingly, they could not proffer supporting evidence to demonstrate why a lower amount of damages was more appropriate. As such, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff ... in the manner outlined below, but, they also reduced her recovery by 20% overall because they thought she was responsible for the incident by that much!
- Past and Future Disability:
- Past and Future Pain and Suffering:
- Past and Future Lost Wages:
CASE NAME: MARTINEZ v. BRENCO TRUCKING CO. ET AL.
RECOVERY: $2,000,000 SETTLEMENT
This case involved a few collisions. The plaintiff’s car was not originally involved in the incident. Two cars collided into each other on a Chicago expressway. One of those two vehicles was sent flying into the plaintiff’s car, of which he was a passenger in the front seat. The plaintiff’s car then rolled over on its side and was exposed to the rest of traffic. Then, not more than a few moments later, a tractor-trailer smashed into it--killing one of the other passengers and badly injuring the plaintiff. The plaintiff sustained a badly injured lower back and severe emotional trauma. In the subsequent litigation, the main issues focused on whether the driver of the tractor-trailer was paying sufficient attention while driving and if he properly maintained his brakes. The defendant claimed the affirmative to both of these and argued that he reacted the best he could to the emergency that unfolded right in front of him. He said there was nothing else he could have done to avoid the accident. The plaintiff countered with evidence that the tractor-trailer’s brakes were in an inadequate condition at the time of the crash and that the driver did not check them prior to driving that day. Most likely because of this, both sides decided to settle prior to trial for $2,000,000.
CASE NAME: KESSLER v. MSHAIEL
The plaintiff in this case was driving down a highway when out of the blue the defendant turned left into his lane and smashed into his car. The crash caused significant damage to his car and also badly injured his back. The injury forced him to have surgery to fuse portions of his vertebrae and also required extensive follow-up treatments. The defendant initially denied responsibility for the incident but it seems this was not a wholehearted defense because the two sides eventually settled for more than double what the plaintiff initially asked for: $485,000.