Overview and Statistics
The different facets and dimensions of the law surrounding automobile accidents are important and interesting, but a client’s paramount consideration is how much they can recover from a lawsuit. This is the whole reason for initiating a lawsuit. “How much is my car accident worth?” This question has been asked by nearly every victim we have worked with over the years. Especially with neck injuries, the total cost that car accidents impose is steep. Therefore, here is the landscape of what others were able to achieve across Illinois over the last 20 years.
Illinois Plaintiffs' Recovery in Car Accidents Involving Neck Injuies (1994-2014)
Below is a table that breaks down all Illinois car accident cases where a neck 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, 8.44% of Illinois neck cases where in Cook County and had no recovery. Only the most litigious counties were included.
Here are some major takeaways from accident cases involving neck injuries around Illinois:
- 18% more Illinois plaintiffs received greater than $50,000 than did those around the country.
- 8% more Illinois plaintiffs received greater than $1,000,000 than did those around the country.
- The most common counties for neck injury litigation in car accidents were Cook, Kane, Lake, DuPage, Madison, Will, Winnebago, and St. Clair.
- The median range of recovery was between $25,000 and $50,000.
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: SAKELLARIADIS v. CAMPBELL & WALTERS.
RECOVERY: $518,000 JURY AWARD
This case centered on two accidents and two defendants. In the first, the first defendant made a U-turn into the plaintiff’s lane and ran right into the broadside of her vehicle. In the second, the defendant’s truck rear-ended her car. The combined effect of both crashes left her with serious eye and neck injuries. She sued both drivers, claiming that both incidents led to these problems. Interestingly, the jury found that both defendants were responsible for all of her injuries. This is common. One explanation might be that the justice system is concerned that plaintiffs get recovery, regardless of which wrongful-party ends up paying. In this case, after the first defendant settled with the plaintiff, the judge ruled that the second defendant only had to pay the remaining 50% of the award. Therefore, the plaintiff only ended up receiving $409,000 of the $518,000 jury award.
CASE NAME: TOTAH v. NOZDRACHEV
RECOVERY: $975,000 JURY AWARD
The plaintiff in this case was a passenger in a van with three other people. The defendant was travelling behind the van in his car but failed to slow down and rear-ended their vehicles. The force of the crash sent the van flying into the median divider and then into a pole before it came to rest. The plaintiff experienced serious neck injuries due to the incident that later developed into a chronic pain condition. Also, he suffered lacerations all over his body and injuries to his feet. The other three passengers in the van settled privately with the defendant but the plaintiff eventually sued because his injuries proved more complicated. At trial, it was discovered that the defendant was intoxicated at the time of the crash. However, this did not stop him from claiming the plaintiff was exaggerating the extent of his injuries. Unfortunately, the defendant did not offer any expert testimony that the court found acceptable to substantiate this claim. Therefore, left with only the expert proof offered by the plaintiff, the jury found for him in the following fashion:
- Past and Future Pain and Suffering:
- Loss of Normal Life:
- Medical Costs:
- Punitive Damages:
CASE NAME: STRZYZ v. LAPETITE
The plaintiff in this case was a cop. At the time of the incident she was directing traffic. The defendant was passing by and sideswiped her with his mirror. The force threw her down to the ground causing significant neck, facial, and brain injuries. She claimed she had a concussion, extensive lacerations, and would also experience long-term impairments of memory, concentration, and overall quality of life. Also, she also said she would be unable to return to work as a consequence of the accident. The defendant refuted her inability to continue working as well as the overall extent of her injuries. However, we do not know on what grounds he would have made these counterarguments because both sides settled prior to trial for $1,570,000.