Articles Posted in Settlements & Verdicts

A federal court of appeals recently considered an Illinois car accident case in which the defendant construction companies failed to properly disclose their complete insurance coverage before a settlement. The case began after a van carrying six family members fell off the side of a road. One of the family members died and the others were all injured. The guardrail had been removed in the construction zone where the accident took place. There were also lines on the road that had been repaved and not repainted and there were pieces of asphalt left on the shoulder of the road.

The family filed a lawsuit against two construction companies that had done the construction work on the road. The attorney representing the two companies said to the plaintiffs that the defendant had a joint venture that had a $1 million insurance policy. The defendants’ attorney also sent required disclosures under Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which listed that the $1 million policy joint venture insurance policy as the defendants’ only insurance coverage. The parties then agreed to settle the case for $1 million based on the policy limit. The plaintiffs also signed a release with a non-reliance clause, saying that they were not relying on the statements of any of the attorneys.

Four years later, the plaintiffs discovered that the defendants had their own insurance policies in addition to the joint venture insurance policy. After this discovery, the plaintiffs filed a subsequent lawsuit, alleging that the defendants concealed their actual available insurance coverage. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendants’ failure to disclose their coverage under Rule 26 was a misrepresentation and that the plaintiffs settled the case for $1 million based on that misrepresentation. The second lawsuit went to trial and a jury awarded the plaintiffs $8,169,512.84 in damages for negligent misrepresentation.

The car accident attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. recently settled a case on behalf of one of our clients for the available insurance policy limits of $250,000.

The claim stems from a rear-end automobile accident that occurred in Alsip, Illinois, a village south of Oak Lawn in Cook County. Our client was driving his vehicle when traffic began to slow down. In response, our client slowed down as well but a motorist behind him failed to slow, causing a rear-end car accident to take place.

The force of the collision pushed our client’s car into the lanes of oncoming traffic where the vehicle was struck again. As a result of the collision and the multiple impacts, our client suffered significant injuries including fractured bones and cardiopulmonary damage which required immediate medical care. Following the crash, the at-fault driver was cited by local authorities and pleaded guilty to the charges that he caused the collision by failing to slow down for traffic.

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No one ever thinks that an accident will happen to them or will cause them to be injured but the reality is that people are hurt each and every day of the year in Illinois. As a result of this belief that they will not be harmed, most people are unaware of the process that needs to happen for a personal injury claim in Chicago to be successful and generally are confused about the process from beginning to end.

Personal injury lawyers are consulted with regularity by victims who wish to learn about their legal rights and options following a traffic accident, slip-and-fall, swimming pool incident, or on-the-job injury. At Abels & Annes, P.C., one of the most common questions we get from victims is, “How much is my case worth?”
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The personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. strive to help those who have been injured in an accident and who need assistance getting the relief they deserve. In Chicago and across the rest of Illinois, many people face the potential for injuries on a daily basis when they arrive at work, regardless of their profession. In fact, even employees in jobs that do not involve physical elements can be injured and can be in need of medical assistance simply because they were working. When this happens, any injured employee in Illinois is entitled to relief.

Our team of dedicated injury lawyers understands how distressing it can be when an employee is injured on-the-job. Not only does that employee face the pain and discomfort that accompanies an injury but she also may face the expenses associated with medical treatment, the financial hardship that comes with missing work, and the struggle to help provide for his family or engage in the activities of her daily life. This struggling and suffering should never happen after an employee is hurt, though, because the laws in Chicago are clear: when you are hurt on the job, you are entitled to financial relief. Speaking with an attorney can help you realize what this may entail in your case and what type of help may be possible.

Through their representation of an injured worker, the workers’ compensation attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. recently secured a $51,000 settlement on behalf of a client. The client, a certified nursing assistant, was injured while working in a healthcare setting and while performing her job. The woman was tasked with assisting a patient who needed to use the restroom and the woman was hurt by helping to lift that patient, causing immediate pain and injuries to her lower back. Through medical review and diagnostic testing, the worker learned that she had a herniated disc towards the bottom of her spinal column and she began physical therapy to treat the injury. When physical therapy failed to provide relief, the woman underwent surgery to remove the herniated disc from her back.

While seeking relief for this worker, our offices made a claim on her behalf for wages she was unable to earn while she recovered from her injuries. We also ensured that she obtained the medical treatment she needed and that all medical bills were resolved by her employer directly or as part of the settlement. We also fought for our client’s right to obtain a lump sum payment to cover additional damages she incurred including her pain, suffering, and inconvenience due to the accident and the injuries she had.
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The personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. believe in fighting for each and every client they represent and they always pursue the best possible outcome in every case handled. Unlike some firms, our lawyers only represent claims on behalf of those who have been hurt by the actions of another – we never represent insurance companies and we put victims’ rights first.

Through our efforts as car accident attorneys in the greater Chicago area, the staff at Abels & Annes, P.C. recently secured a settlement of $150,000 on behalf of one of our clients.

Our client was driving her car in Chicago when another vehicle approached her from behind. The driver of that second vehicle failed to slow or stop and instead rear-ended our client, creating a collision that jolted our client forward in her seat and left her with several injuries.

The crash caused our client to feel a “pop” in her back and led her to seek emergency medical treatment at an area hospital. She required follow up treatment to deal with back pain and eventually was diagnosed with herniated discs in her lumbar spine.

In this case, our client was operating her vehicle in a lawful and safe manner but due to the action of another motorist, she was involved in a collision that left her hurt. She was forced to endure pain and suffering and incur medical expenses because of this collision and despite the fact that she did not bear the blame for the crash. When our client contacted Abels & Annes, P.C., our team of attorneys helped her seek relief against the at-fault driver and that driver’s automobile insurance company so that our client could obtain the financial relief she deserves.

The State of Illinois experiences nearly 300,000 car accidents every year and many of those collisions involve a combination of drivers who err behind the wheel and innocent victims. Victims can be found in separate vehicles from an at-fault driver, in the at-fault driver’s vehicle as a passenger, or even outside the vehicle if a victim is a pedestrian, bicyclists, or riding on a motorcycle. Regardless of that victim’s position, he or she may be entitled to financial compensation for losses including medical expenses, missed wages, and pain and suffering if the victim chooses to bring a civil claim for relief.
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The personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. have experience representing victims of Chicago-area slip-and-fall accidents, and recently, they settled one such case for $122,500.

The case occurred in Oak Park and involved a winter weather incident that led to a buildup of ice near a building. Our client lived in an apartment building and returned home one evening, parked her vehicle, and began to walk towards her unit. It was nighttime and there was no lighting in the area to help our client see.

While on a paved walkway near the apartment building, our client slipped on a patch of ice and landed hard on the ground. Upon inspection, it was clear that the ice was not caused naturally but rather accumulated due to a faulty downspout in the area that was encased in ice, a condition that the building’s landlord was aware of but that was not fixed prior to our client’s accident.

When she fell, our client experienced immediate pain in her ankle and needed treatment at an area hospital where doctors determined that her ankle was broken. Additionally, she sustained some soft tissue damage to the area as a result of the fall. During the course of her recovery, our client was forced to endure the pain and discomfort that was caused by her broken ankle and the inconvenience it caused in her daily activities.

Shortly after the incident, our client contacted the lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. to learn about her legal rights and legal options for this Illinois accident and to understand what type of relief may be available to her. Our legal team developed a plan with our client on how to approach her case and we were able to pursue our client’s rights for relief in a timely manner, securing a recovery of $122,500 to help our client move beyond her accident and move forward with her life.

Slip-and-fall accidents happen year-round in Chicago and across Illinois but many people find them more likely in the cold winter months than they do in summertime. Accumulations of ice and water are some of the most common complaints we hear when potential clients describe slip-and-fall instances and when they talk about the injuries they sustained.
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The personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. recently collected the available policy limits of $50,000 on behalf of one of their clients who was injured in a pedestrian accident.

Our client was in Chicago early in the year when he was helping a friend into a parked vehicle. An allegedly intoxicated driver approached our client as he stood next to a car with a door open. Though there was nothing obstructing her view, the at-fault driver collided with our client and also with the open car door, causing a serious accident.

The collision caused our client to sustain injuries to his left leg and ankle, requiring hospitalization. Our client incurred medical bills due to his injuries and was forced to receive additional follow up medical treatment after his discharge from the hospital. His injuries affected his ability to live his day-to-day life while he recovered and made some daily tasks difficult.

The pedestrian injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. brought a claim on behalf of our client and against the insurance company for the at-fault driver. Due to the nature of the collision and the injuries our client sustained, our lawyers were able to successfully recover the maximum automobile insurance possible in this case on behalf of the at-fault driver, $50,000.
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The sexual abuse lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C., working with co-counsel, have settled a claim against the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cardinal George, and the Catholic Bishop of Chicago involving sexual abuse of a minor boy by former Rev. Daniel McCormack in the amount of 3.15 million. The identity of the plaintiff and his family are confidential.

The victim sued the Archdiocese of Chicago and Cardinal Francis George in 2010. He alleged that they failed to remove their priest, Rev. Daniel McCormack, from access to children although they had knowledge that McCormack had sexually abused minors. McCormack was arrested in January 2006, charged with multiple counts of criminal sexual assault and subsequently pleaded guilty to those charges in 2007.

The victim in this case was abused by McCormack between 8th and 11th grades.

The legal team in this matter, comprised of three law firms, has now settled two McCormack claims in excess of $3 million each. From all of the McCormack settlements whose amounts were disclosed publicly, this team of lawyers is the only one to secure settlements involving McCormack for $3 million or more for individual victims. The lawyers involved are pleased to have reached the settlement because it marks one more step toward bringing justice to the victim and his family.

In prosecuting this case, attorneys took the depositions of the Cardinal, other bishops, vicars, priests, seminary leaders and other key Archdiocese personnel.

Representing child victims of sexual abuse in cases against religious institutions and other organizations that interface with children requires sensitivity to many complex and personal issues. We are proud to work on their behalf and maximize recoveries that, we feel, are deserved.

The law firms involved in the settlement continue to represent several victims in pending civil cases against the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Cardinal involving their failure to timely remove McCormack from access to children.

Each year more victims continue to come forward with allegations of sexual abuse against former Rev. Dan McCormack.
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The bicycle accident lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. recently settled a case on behalf of one of their clients for the available insurance policy limits of $100,000.

The client, a young man, was riding his bicycle southbound on Kimball Avenue in Chicago and approaching its intersection with Peterson. He was riding on the right side of the far right lane as bicyclists are allowed to do in the area when a vehicle approached from behind. The driver of the vehicle veered into our client’s path of travel, striking his rear bicycle wheel and causing a collision between the car and our client. The force of the impact threw our client off of his bike and onto the pavement where he landed on his shoulder.

Our client experienced an immediate onset of shoulder pain and was taken by ambulance to Swedish Covenant Hospital for treatment. Through emergency treatment and follow up care with an orthopedic surgeon, our client was diagnosed with a soft tissue tear in his shoulder. The tear was repaired and our client underwent a course of rehabilitative therapy to regain full use of his shoulder. During the course of his treatment, our client incurred medical and other expenses that were directly caused by this crash.

The driver that caused the collision was cited by police for failing to stay within her own lane of traffic while driving, a charge to which she pleaded guilty, admitting she caused the crash. The driver’s insurance company offered the full available policy limits of $100,000 to settle the claim on behalf of our client.

Bicycle accidents occur year round in Chicago and often result in injuries. Whether a crash leaves a victim with a broken bone, soft tissue damage, or even a head injury, the results can range from the mildest of traumas to the most extreme. On average, several bicyclists are killed in accidents in Illinois every year.

When the negligent driving of a motorist causes an accident that leaves a victim hurt or injured, the laws in Chicago allow that victim to bring a claim for relief against the responsible driver. These claims are available regardless of whether the at-fault driver received a citation for a traffic violation in response to the crash. Speaking with an injury attorney is the best way to learn about the legal implications of your accident and what forms of relief may be available to you.
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The lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C., working with co-counsel, recently received an award of $92,879.00 on behalf of one of their car accident clients, a victim whose life was altered when she was involved in a 2009 collision.

The underlying accident involved our client who was driving a car near Oak Park Avenue and Cornelia in Chicago in 2009. She was heading northbound when a second vehicle ran a stop sign and T-boned our client’s car. The at-fault driver fled the scene of the crash without speaking with police and without checking to see if our client was injured.

Immediately following the crash, our client complained of pain in her neck and along the left side of her body, the side that was exposed to the brunt of the impact. She received treatment at a local hospital and also sought additional medical treatment after her release from the hospital for multiple injuries including neck and back pain. Later tests would show that she suffered a herniated disc for which she received conservative therapy and steroid injections, providing her with relief from the pain.

The insurance company at issue in this case underplayed the severity of the accident and routinely claimed that our client was not as injured as she claimed. The case was recently resolved out of court by a process known as arbitration, which involves neutral parties deciding the fair and appropriate relief a victim is entitled to. In this case, three arbitrators determined that our client rightly deserved payment in the amount of $92,879.00 for her injuries and pain and suffering.

Though the at-fault driver fled the scene, police were later able to identify the owner of that vehicle through the results of their investigation. The owner of the at-fault vehicle was uninsured and therefore our office brought a claim for relief against the victim’s own insurance in what is known as an uninsured motorist claim. The laws in Chicago and Illinois specifically provide for this type of relief in the event that a driver or passenger is injured in a crash with another individual who does not have insurance.

Motorists who buy insurance in Illinois are offered the option of purchasing this uninsured coverage and it is an extremely good idea to not only buy uninsured coverage but to make sure you have enough of it to adequately protect you and your loved ones in the event of an accident. Since you cannot control what other drivers do, you can be in a crash at any time and it may involve another driver who does not have valid insurance, even though driving without it is against Illinois law. In the event that this happens to you, the coverage you carry on your own policy would “step into the shoes” of the responsible driver and would provide you with a means of recovery so that you can be properly compensated for your injuries and pain and suffering.
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