Overview and Statistics
Brain injuries are consistently one of the most serious and costliest car accidents. This page is designed to give you an understanding of what your case might be worth. There are selected and statistics from similar brain injury cases all around Illinois over the last 20 years (since 1994). This calculation is not for one of profit but compensation because if you suffer a brain injury in a car accident because of someone else’s negligence, then you will most likely (or already have) significant medical bills, loss wages, and other costs. Call us today so we can go over your case in greater detail and give you a closer approximation of what yours might be worth. We can put you on the path to recovery!
Illinois Plaintiffs' recovery in Car Accidents Involving Brain Injuries (1994-2014)
Here are some major takeaways from these national accident cases:
- Brain injuries in Illinois auto accident cases were more rare than other injuries, as the national trends would indicate. They arose in cases around Illinois roughly 2%-3% fewer than the national averages.
- Compared to national litigation involving car accidents and brain injuries, there are some interesting things to point out. First, more plaintiffs around the country (31%) received nothing compared to those in Illinois (24%). Second, plaintiffs around the county received more than $50,000 at a rate greater than those in Illinois (41% nationally and 38% in Illinois). Third, those in Illinois received extraordinary amounts more than those nationally-8% in Illinois gained more than $5,000,000 where only %5 did nationally.
- As the figures demonstrate, the most popular counties for car accidents with brain injuries were Cook, Lake, Madison, and St. Clair.
- Like the national trend, settlement was preferred more often than in other injury variety of car accidents cases; however, it was not preferred as much as in other states.
- The median recovery of Illinois car accident plaintiffs with brain injuries was roughly $50,000 and the average was more than $500,000.
Below is a table that breaks down all Illinois car accident cases where a form of brain 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, 12.52% of Illinois brain injury cases where in Cook County and had no recovery. Only the most litigious counties were included.
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: BIZZOTTO vs. DEPOLO'S FOOD & LIQUORS INC. AND CRAIG
RECOVERY: $1,100,000 SETTLEMENT
This tragic case involves a group of high school students. A pack of mid-teens secured a case of beer and went to see a movie. After the film, they were hanging out in the parking lot when one of them decided to do doughnuts with the car. One of the minors fell right off the car and the plaintiff, a 15-year-old girl-was accidentally run over by the defendant driver. The force of the car put her into a coma which she did not awake from for nearly a week. When she did awaken, doctors discovered that she had permanent brain injuries. Prior to the accident, she was a standout academic student, took part in various community activities, and planned on enrolling in college. However, her injuries left her unable to compete at the same scholarly level and shrank her educational and vocational landscape. Therefore, she decided to sue the driver as well as the store that sold the driver the alcohol (although the suit against the store was later dismissed for lack of evidence). The driver put up against a fight as well. He argued and offered significant evidence that he was not drunk at the time of the incident; that she did not sustain brain injuries in the accident; and that even if she did sustain brain injuries, it was her fault and they did not stop her from enrolling in college. To counter this, the plaintiff offered contradictory evidence on all three points. With the prospect of a trial looming, and the sad tale that would surely evoke sympathy from the jury, both sides reached a settlement of $1,100,000.
CASE NAME: SUNDERMEIER v. WOOLF
RECOVERY: $1,603,700 JURY AWARD
In this strange incident, the plaintiff, an 80-year-old man, was driving down I-294 when a tractor-trailer behind him rear-ended him forcing his car to slam into another and flip over. How this happened, though, is a matter of controversy. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant failed to slow down when approaching him from behind but the defendant claimed that the plaintiff suddenly stopped out of nowhere. Interestingly, several witnesses said that there was no apparent reason why the plaintiff should have stopped so quickly, suggesting his recollection or perception of the incident was not so clear. However, what was very clear was that the plaintiff sustained significant injuries because of the collision. He incurred bruises to the head, chest, ribs, shoulder and foot; he had to spend months in the hospital and was put on a ventilator for several weeks. Due to the conflicting stories of what happened, settlement negotiations continued all through the trial but an agreement never materialized before the jury returned the verdict. They awarded the plaintiff $2,765,000 (for disfigurement, loss of normal life, medical bills, and pain and suffering) but the judge lowered this to $1,603,700 because the jury found that he was 42% responsible for the crash.
CASE NAME: HAUPT v. GUZIG
RECOVERY: $1,750,000 JURY AWARD
This incident started off when a group of high school boys decided to go biking around their suburban Illinois hometown. The plaintiff, a 15-year-old, was the last of the bunch to cross the street. Unfortunately for him, a Cadillac was rolling down that street and could not stop before clipping the back of his bike. The impact sent him flying into the air, landing on the windshield of the defendant’s car and then falling onto the ground. He did not awaken from the coma that the crash put him in for a few weeks and spent the better part of a year in rehabilitation. The significant brain damage that he incurred reduced his motor skills to that of a toddler and he had to again learn how to walk and speak. The only defense that the defendant could offer was that the plaintiff darted out and it was fault actually, but because the plaintiff was the last of the group to enter the street this was not a successful retort. The plaintiff’s counsel easily deconstructed this story on cross-examination. The jury awarded the plaintiff $3,500,000 but also faulted him with 50% of the responsibility for the crash; thus, he only netted $1,750,000 after the reduction.
CASE NAME: JACOBS v. YELLOW CAB AFFILIATION INC.
RECOVERY: $25,949,291 JURY AWARD
In this bizarre case, the plaintiff was taking a cab around Chicago when the driver missed the exit off the interstate, flew off the street, and went careening down a hill only to be stopped by a wall nearly 500 feet away. The car actually went airborne before smashing to a complete stop. The plaintiff suffered extraordinary head and brain injuries and, consequently, sued the driver and the taxicab company. The company claimed that its drivers were independent contractors and that it should be shielded from liability. However, the plaintiff claimed that the company should be vicariously liable because he relied on the services of the driver, that he should have reasonably expected that there was a difference between the company and the driver, and that he was injured because of the driver. The jury found for the plaintiff and awarded him the following amounts and kinds:
- Pain & Suffering:
- Past and Future Medical:
- Past and Future Wages:
- Loss of Services:
However, because the jury also apportioned the plaintiff with 12% of the fault for the incident (the driver claimed the plaintiff yelled, thereby causing him to run off the road), the judge reduced all the above amounts by 12% and his total recovery was $25,949,291.