The speed and lack of protection of motorcycles leaves many riders vulnerable to serious injuries. Unfortunately, many of these injuries often lead to deaths as well. The following motorcycle accident wrongful death settlements illustrate how these circumstances would unfold in litigation or direct settlement with an at-fault driver's insurance company.
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SCHAAFSMA VS. GONZALEZ; WILL COUNTY; $1,050,000 JURY AWARD
A 53-year-old man was riding his motorcycle when he was unexpectedly hit by a truck at an intersection. The motorcyclist was driving east and the truck was driving south. However, as the former entered the intersection, the latter refused to yield to him and the two collided into each other.
The man died from injuries related to the crash. Representatives for the motorcyclist later brought action against the truck driver for negligence because, they claimed, he should have slowed down and yielded to the other driver.
They also sued the truck driver’s employer under vicarious liability because he was working at the time of the incident. Both defendants denied that they were at fault and argued that the motorcyclist was driving too fast. The opposing sides could not reach an agreement. Thus, the case went to trial where the jury awarded the plaintiff $1,050,000 for wrongful death damages.
PIECZKOWSKI VS. RIETVELD; WILL COUNTY; $200,000 SETTLEMENT
A motorcycle driver tried turning left through a lane to enter another when he was hit on his broadside by a truck, sending him to the ground. Complications from the incident would later lead to his death.
He was survived only by his sister and she eventually brought a wrongful death action on his behalf against the truck driver who hit him. The suit alleged, among other things, that the defendant was driving too fast and should have yielded to the motorcyclist.
The defendant denied any liability but we cannot judge with what voracity he would have rebuffed the plaintiff because they settled out of court after the filing of the lawsuit for $200,000.
DONAHUE VS. HILT; LAKE COUNTY; $1,040,000 SETTLEMENT
In this incident, a truck driver left the bar and grill he worked at with the company’s truck. According to allegations later made at trial, this driver was intoxicated as he left.
While driving, he made a left turn into the plaintiff’s lane and hit him head-on. The plaintiff soon died from the impact of the crash. In the wrongful death action that followed, the next-of-kin to the decedent claimed that the driver was driving drunk and was negligent by turning into the plaintiff’s path.
The plaintiff also instituted a dram shop action against the bar and grill as the driver’s employer and server. The defendant driver actually defaulted in this case and could not be found but the company settled with the plaintiff for $1,040,000.
SHIRKEY VS. FLAD; DUPAGE COUNTY; $1,350,000 SETTLEMENT
The defendant in this case was hopping around bars in DuPage County before he decided to head home. When he did, he came upon a motorcycle driver and tried to go around him. While doing so, he clipped the back of the motorcycle and sent the other driver into a tailspin.
The motorcyclist later died from complications related to the accident. His representatives brought a lawsuit against the other driver for negligence and the two bars he had visited prior to the crash under dram shop laws.
All sides reached an agreement at $1,035,000 for medical bills, funeral expenses, and loss of consortium under the Funeral Expense Act and Survivor Act.
MCCHRYSTAL VS. MORGENTHALER; COOK COUNTY; $1,060,000 JURY AWARD
The victim in this case was only 21 years old. He was struck and killed when a motorist travelling in the opposite direction tried to execute a left-hand turn through his land but, instead, ran right into his broadside.
He died immediately upon impact. In the subsequent lawsuit, representatives of the decedent alleged that the other driver was negligent in failing to yield to the plaintiff and failing to adequately control his vehicle to avoid the crash.
The defendant quickly responded that the motorcyclist was the party at fault with very similar allegations as the plaintiff. The jury awarded the plaintiff with approximately $60,000 in damages for medical bills and $1,000,000 for pain and suffering.
MERCIER VS. CORRANZA; LAKE COUNTY; $380,000 SETTLEMENT
In this gruesome accident, a woman was riding on the back of a motorcycle when another vehicle crashed right into it as the car attempted to make a left-hand turn through the motorcycle’s lane. She was actually thrown off the bike and dragged by the car in the immediate aftermath of the incident. Naturally, she was seriously injured and she actually died from these same injuries.
Next of kin for the plaintiff brought a lawsuit against the drivers of the motorcycle and the car. It claimed both were negligent in driving too fast, failing to keep a proper lookout, and not yielding to each other. Obviously, neither defendant had a leg to stand in countering any of these charges so both looked to settle fast.
The final agreement forced the car driver to pay $360,000 and the motorcycle driver to pay $20,000. More was apportioned to the former probably because he initiated the crash and was probably more at fault by not yielding to the other driver.Need Help? Have Questions About an Illinois Motorcycle Case?
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers appreciates the uncertainties faced by injured motorcyclists and his/her family after a crash. From the time our law office is retained, we get to work to protect your legal rights and best interests—in the short and long-term.
Our lawyers are uniquely situated to represent your rights as we have represented many other bikers in accidents involving almost every conceivable fact pattern. As with all of our personal injury cases, we represent motorcyclists on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is only a legal fee charged when there is a financial recovery for you. We invite you to contact our office anytime for a free case review with an experienced Illinois motorcycle accident attorney.
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