Abels & Annes

Articles Posted in Settlements & Verdicts

Illinois work comp attorney Nicole Sommerfeld has had a busy year so far, making some of her clients very happy.

In one workers’ compensation case, she obtained over $46,000 for a Chicago public school teacher who was hurt when she slipped and fell on ice in a teacher parking lot. The accident occurred in February, 2011, and the claimant injured her right knee when she fell. At first she tried to ice her knee at home, but she soon realized she was having significant pain that would not be going away on its own.

Shortly after the accident she started medical treatment at Hinsdale Orthopedics. Diagnostic testing showed she sustained a torn meniscus. She had to have right knee reconstructive surgery to repair the tear.

After a period of recovery, she started physical therapy which lasted several months. She was released from her doctor’s care around 10 months later when she reached maximum medical improvement.

In addition to the $46,000 settlement, our office recovered approximately an additional $25,800 in lost wages for client, representing 30 weeks that she was off work due to the accident. Further, her medical bills were paid.

In another case our office recovered just over $44,000 for a CTA bus driver who developed carpal tunnel in both of her wrists due to repetitive motion on the job. Because of her condition, she eventually underwent bilateral wrist carpal tunnel releases at Rush University Medical Center in 2010.

The CTA employee’s pain started in early 2009. She recalled one time when the power steering failed on her bus. The vehicle was drivable but it was very difficult to make turns and involved a lot of force in her hand and in her grip. She developed a shooting pain in her right wrist that went up to her elbow, and her entire hand felt numb. At first she tried to take ibuprofen which did not help.

She then started treating with an orthopedic physician at Midwest Orthopedics at Rush Hospital in March, 2009. At that time she complained of bilateral hand and wrist tingling.

In April, 2009 she saw her doctor again and her symptoms had gotten worse. She was given a splint to wear at night to help her sleep. The physician continued to keep her off work, as she could not do any type of repetitive motion or drive her bus. She was unable to lift anything above 5 pounds.

She was given an EMG on her right side at the end of April. It noted borderline abnormal right focal median motor neuropathy with no evidence of peripheral neuropathy or brachial plexopathy. She was still having pain in both hands. She underwent a right wrist carpal tunnel injection at that time. She was diagnosed that month with bilateral wrist carpal tunnel syndrome.
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Illinois bicycle collision attorney Gary Annes recently reached a $152,000 settlement at a mediation for a bicycle rider. This claim arises out of an incident which occurred on August 18, 2008 and could be considered both a Chicago premises liability case as well as a bicycle accident claim.

On the morning of the occurrence our client was riding her bicycle to work. The weather was sunny and dry. She was riding her bicycle southbound in Desplaines St. in the City of Chicago.

There was a construction site located at 370 N. Desplaines St. The main defendant in the case was the general contractor on the construction project. As the bicyclist was riding southbound on Desplaines the construction site was on the rider’s right side. When she was about halfway past the construction site, green mesh fabric attached to the construction fence blew out into the road and directly into the rider. The netting caught onto the handlebars and/or brake for the bicycle and yanked it back out from under her. This resulted in the plaintiff being thrown forward off of her bicycle onto the pavement. She landed on her left arm, breaking her left wrist.

The City of Chicago Municipal Code requires that a general contractor on a construction site must affix fabric mesh to the construction site fence face. §13-32-125(c). The Code further requires that the general contractor immediately repair any damage to the fence fabric. §13-32-125(e).

A photograph taken shortly after the accident showed how the fence fabric had become ripped and unattached to the fence, flipped on the outside of the fence and loose at the bottom, able to blow up and out into the street with any breeze.

The defendant failed to properly affix, repair and maintain the fence fabric. As a result the fence fabric became unattached on the bottom of the fence, flipped over to the outside of the fence and was able to flap out into the roadway with any breeze.

Following the incident the bike rider had an immediate onset of excruciating left wrist pain. She was transferred from the scene of the occurrence by ambulance to Northwestern Memorial Hospital‘s Emergency Department. Upon her arrival at the emergency department she complained of left wrist pain, left elbow pain, left ankle pain and left shoulder pain.

The plaintiff was examined and diagnostic tests were performed. X-rays and a CT of her wrist revealed a displaced intra-articular distal radius fracture with gapping at the lunate facet, a minimally displaced ulnar styloid fracture and a scaphoid waist fracture. An open reduction, internal fixation surgery was recommended. Initially, her left wrist, forearm and elbow were placed in a plaster cast for immobilization and she was prescribed pain medications until surgery could be performed.

Surgery was performed on August 22, 2008. The surgical procedures performed included an open repair of the left distal radial fracture with internal fixation of 2 fragments, open repair of the scaphoid fracture with internal fixation and tenotomy brachioradialis tendon of the left wrist. As part of the procedure, surgical metal was implanted into her wrist including a metal plate and five screws. Following the surgery her arm was put in a sling and she was given another prescription for pain medications.

After the surgery our client sought follow up treatment with her surgeon. She saw the doctor several times over the next few months. He ordered that a forearm-based thumb spica splint be made which the client wore. Additionally a course of physical therapy was prescribed. The client’s father was a physical therapist and he provided her with therapy.

At the time of her last appointment with her surgeon, she continued to complain of left wrist stiffness, residual discomfort with point contact around the fractures.

Despite her treatment, our client continued to experience pain and discomfort in her left wrist. This was especially prevalent with changes in the weather or when pressure or weight was applied to the wrist. Additionally, due to the severity and location of the fractures, she is at an increased risk of developing traumatic arthritis in her left wrist.

For months after the accident the bicyclist could not do any activity that required the use of her left hand. Even after her cast was removed and she was able to begin to use her left hand and wrist, she continued to experience pain with almost all activities of daily living. For approximately three months she was unable to ride her bicycle.

Medical expenses incurred by our client for treatment of the injuries she suffered as a result of the negligence of the defendant totaled over $30,000. She also sustained a permanent surgical scar on her left wrist.
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An Illinois premises liability attorney at Abels & Annes has reached a settlement with the owners of a local restaurant in regards to a slip and fall that occurred back on February 13, 2010.

The plaintiff was at a restaurant located in the 12700 block of South Ashland in Calumet Park, Illinois. The defendant owned, operated, managed, maintained and controlled the premises and was further responsible for providing safe means of ingress and egress through the premises.

In the days before the occurrence, it snowed approximately 8 inches in Calumet Park. As a result, the restaurant undertook the duty to plow and/or shovel its parking lot. Unfortunately, they plowed its parking lot and negligently left large piles of plowed snow next to customer parking spaces. There were then several days of warmer weather where the snow melted and refroze, forming sheets of ice.

There were no signs or other warnings posted to notify customers of the dangerous condition that they insured created. Further, the parking lot was inadequately illuminated.

On the date of the occurrence, our client parked her car in a marked parking space in the restaurant parking lot. As she attempted to exit her vehicle, she slipped on a sheet of ice and/or snow left behind by the defendant during the plowing process of its parking lot.

We alleged to the defendant’s liability insurance carrier that based upon the facts and circumstances surrounding the occurrence at issue, it is clear that a proximate cause of the slip and fall occurrence was the negligent conduct of the restaurant owners.

Immediately after the fall, our client started to experience left wrist pain. Due to ongoing and increasing pain, she sought medical treatment with a medical doctor. There, she complained of left wrist pain. A history was taken, she was examined and diagnostic tests were ordered, including left hand and left wrist x-rays.

The plaintiff was diagnosed with a comminuted intraarticular fracture of the left distal radius with slight dorsal angulation as well as soft tissue swelling. The physician performed a hematoma block, closed reduction and long arm casting under fluoroscan control. He prescribed pain medication and instructed our client to follow up with him.

On February 23, 2010, she sought follow up medical treatment from her doctor. She again had x-rays taken of her left hand and wrist that showed a fracture of the distal radius. The physician examined her and instructed her to follow up with him in five (5) weeks for removal of her cast.

On March 30, 2010, she had x-rays taken of her left wrist which showed a healing fracture of the distal radius. The plaintiff’s cast was removed and it was recommended that she begin physical therapy for her wrist. He discharged her from care on April 24, 2010.

Despite a short period of relief from her symptoms, her left wrist flared up requiring her to seek medical care from her doctor again, where she complained of pain in her left wrist. He noted that since she sustained an intraarticular fracture of the left wrist, it is possible that she will have some arthritis in the future. Her physician recommended that she begin occupational therapy.

On March 12, 2011, she went back to the doctor’s office again. There, she complained of left wrist pain and stiffness. Pain medication was again prescribed and instructed her to continue her home exercise program. The physician discharged her from his care on April 9, 2011.

Per her physician’s instructions, our client attended 11 sessions of physical therapy at Southwest Hand Rehabilitation starting on December 30, 2010 and ending on February 28, 2011, at which time she was discharged from treatment.

The case settled for just over $26,000. No lawsuit was filed, saving our client the cost of going to court.
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Illinois injury lawyer David Abels has obtained a $100,000 insurance policy limits settlement on behalf of a client that was injured in a Kane County auto accident.

The collision which took place on June 20, 2011, at approximately 4:13 a.m. The plaintiff was injured when the automobile he was driving was hit head-on by a vehicle driven a driver insured by State Farm.

Our client was driving northbound on Farnsworth Avenue north of Reckinger Road in Aurora, Illinois. The defendant was driving his automobile southbound on Farnsworth north of Reckinger. The at fault motorist was distracted while driving and crossed the center turn lane of Farnsworth, entering the northbound lane that the victim was occupying. The negligent driver struck our client in a head-on collision while facing south in a northbound lane.

The Aurora Police Department responded to the scene of the collision. After speaking to both parties, the investigating officer placed the defendant at fault for the collision. The investigating officer cited the defendant for improper lane usage and also determined that he was distracted while driving. He also admitted to the responding officer that he consumed two mixed drinks earlier in the night. Based on that information, the investigating officer administered field sobriety tests which the defendant passed.

We argued to the insurance carrier that their insured failed to reduce his speed to avoid a collision, was driving at an excessive rate of speed, failed to pay proper attention to the road conditions, failed to stay within one lane of traffic, drove southbound in a northbound lane, and failed to exercise due care for the safety of those in the area, including our client.

Following the collision, the plaintiff had an immediate onset of severe chest and abdominal pain.

He was transported by ambulance to Provena Mercy Center‘s Emergency Department. Upon arrival at the Emergency Department, a history was taken, he was examined, and diagnostic tests were performed, including CT scans of his abdomen, pelvis, cervical spine, and head. He complained of severe pain in his chest and abdomen. His CT scans showed fluid within the right hemipelvis, soft tissue swelling and induration in the right flank, hepatic steatosis, and a right frontal subgaleal hematoma in his brain. Upon exam, he had peritonitis. Our client required an emergency exploratory laparotomy as a result of his injuries.
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Illinois bus crash attorney David Abels has resolved an injury claim with the Chicago Transit Authority.

The claim arose out of a collision which took place on October 9, 2010 at approximately 5:30 p.m. Our client was injured when a CTA bus he was a passenger in lost control, veered off the road, and collided with several trees. As a bus passenger, the CTA, a common carrier, owed the plaintiff the highest duty of care.

He was a passenger on the No. 6: Jackson Park Express CTA bus, which was driven by a CTA employee. At the time of the collision, the bus was moving southbound on Lake Shore Drive near Interstate Highway 55.

Our client alleged the CTA driver failed to keep a proper lookout, failed to stop and/or reduce his or her speed to avoid a collision, was driving at an excessive rate of speed, and failed to exercise due care for the safety of those in the area.

Following the collision, the claimant had an immediate onset of knee pain and ankle pain. He was transported by ambulance from the scene of the accident to Saint Bernard Hospital‘s Emergency Department.

Upon arrival at the Emergency Department, a history was taken, he was examined, and diagnostic tests were performed. He initially complained of right leg pain, right ankle pain, left knee pain, left ankle pain, and right foot pain. X-rays were taken and the client was diagnosed with a left knee abrasion, right ankle sprain, left knee sprain, and possible right tibial fracture. Based on the findings, his right knee was immobilized and he was given crutches. He was prescribed pain medication and instructed to seek follow up treatment.

Due to ongoing and increasing pain, our client sought follow up medical care with a physician on October 12, 2010. There he complained of left knee pain, right ankle pain, and right foot pain. A history was taken and he was examined. A physical exam revealed left knee edema, pain on palpation of the medial aspect of the joint with some restriction of flexion and extension of the knee joint, right foot edema, and pain on palpation of the lateral aspect of the right ankle with limited range of motion. The doctor noted a possible left knee fracture or torn cartilage. He was diagnosed with a left knee contusion, right ankle sprain, and right wrist contusion. the physician ordered him off work pending a follow up visit. He also ordered a MRI of his left knee and x-rays of his right wrist, prescribed pain medication and recommended physical therapy.

On October 18, 2010, MRIs of his right wrist and left knee were taken. The MRI of the left knee found prominent marrow contusion within the medial femoral condyle, diffuse edema within the superficial soft tissues anterior to the knee, knee joint effusion, and fluid surrounding his MCL compatible with a grade I sprain.

On October 29, 2010, the plaintiff returned for follow up treatment with a medical doctor. At that time he complained of right wrist pain and left knee pain, as well as tenderness and swelling of the right ring finger. The physician noted a right wrist contusion and left knee contusion. At that time, he was allowed to return to work and discharged him as having reached maximum benefit.

Per his physician’s instructions, our client attended five sessions of physical therapy.

The case settled for $13,500 out of court, saving our client the time and expense of litigation.
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Attorneys from Hilfman and Martin; Abels & Annes personal injury firms win major settlement in case tied to former Rev. Daniel McCormack.

Chicago — Chicago plaintiff lawyers Hilfman & Martin P.C. and Abels & Annes P. C. 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 $3.2 million dollars, $300,000 of which is to be placed in escrow for services. The identity of the plaintiff and his family are confidential.

The victim sued the Archdiocese of Chicago and Cardinal Francis George in 2007. 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 plaintiff in this case is one of the victims for which McCormack pled guilty.

Illinois auto accident attorney Gary Annes has resolved a claim on behalf of a Will County resident for $59,000. The claim arose out of an Illinois auto accident which took place in the area of Weber Road and Grand Haven Circle in Romeoville, on June 15, 2010 at approximately 2:24 p.m. The plaintiff was injured when the automobile she was driving was involved in a multiple car chain reaction rear end collision caused by a vehicle driven by a negligent motorist.

Our client was driving southbound on Weber Road. Traffic in front of the plaintiff came to a stop and she stopped for the traffic in front of her. There were vehicles stopped in front of her and a vehicle stopped behind her.

The defendant failed to stop and/or reduce the speed of his vehicle and rear-ended the vehicle stopped behind our client. The force of the initial impact propelled that vehicle into the plaintiff’s vehicle, and the force further pushed her car into the vehicle in front of her.

The Romeoville Police Department responded to the scene of the accident. After speaking to all the parties involved in the collision, the investigating officer placed the defendant at fault for the collision. He admitted to the investigating officer that the collision was caused because he did not notice that traffic had stopped in front of him until it was too late. The investigating officer issued traffic citations based on the drivers admission for driving too fast for traffic conditions and failure to reduce the speed of his vehicle.

The at fault driver failed to keep a proper lookout, failed to stop and/or reduce the speed of his vehicle to avoid a collision, was driving at an excessive rate of speed, and failed to exercise due care for the safety of those in the area.

Based upon the facts and circumstances surrounding the occurrence at issue, we argued to the defendant’s insurance carrier that it was clear that the sole proximate cause of the collision was the negligent conduct of their insured.

Following the collision, the plaintiff had an immediate onset of neck pain, back pain and chest pain. That same day, she was seen at the Edward Hospital‘s Emergency Department. There she complained of right sided neck pain, back pain, chest pain and pain in the iliac area. She was diagnosed with cervical strain, right iliac crest pain, and a chest wall contusion.

Over the next few days, her pain increased significantly. On June 21, 2010, she sought follow-up treatment at a chiropractic office. She was still having back pain and neck pain. She was also suffering from severe headaches, left leg pain and left ankle pain. She started therapy, which consisted of spinal adjustments, electric stimulation, and ultrasound. After three days of treatment, our cleint realized that her injuries were severe so she decided to get a second opinion from an orthopedic physician.

My client next treated with a medical doctor in Naperville in June 2010. At that time, she had complaints of neck pain, back pain, left leg pain, and left ankle pain. The physician ordered cervical and lumbar MRIs, as well as an MRI of her left ankle. The scans showed the plaintiff had sustained disc bulges at 2 cervical levels and one bulge at her lumbar level.

After receiving the MRI results, the client was next seen at a physical therapist’s office in July, 2010. At that time, she was still having complaints of neck pain, back pain, headaches, left leg pain, and left ankle pain, which caused very limited and painful mobility. A physical exam found that the lower back pain caused radiating pain to her left lower extremities as well as her posterior right thigh. At that time, she started a course of physical therapy that consisted of manual therapy, electric stimulation, ultrasound therapy and therapeutic exercise. She completed ten (10) sessions of physical therapy.

On July 20, 2010 the plaintiff was seen by another medical doctor. She was diagnosed with low back pain, lumbar radiculopathy, upper back pain, cervical radiculopathy and neck pain. The doctor recommended additional physical therapy and epidural injections.

She began an additional course of physical therapy. Her treatment consisted of manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, neuromuscular reeducation, ultrasound and electric stimulation. She attended twenty-one (21) sessions of therapy which ended on December 1, 2010. She also underwent several epidural steroid injections.

In addition to the $59,000 settlement, we were able to collect over $16,000 in medical payments from her own auto insurance policy, bringing her grand total to over $75,000.
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Illinois bicycle crash attorneys at Abels & Annes have negotiated a settlement on behalf of a cyclist and tri-athlete injured in a crash caused by a negligent motorist. The case settled for the insurance policy limits of the at fault driver, as well as additional compensation from her own under-insured motorist policy.

The accident took place on July 24, 2009, as the victim was traveling eastbound in a marked bicycle lane through the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Sangamon Street in Chicago, Illinois. A woman traveling westbound in a 2005 Nissan Ultima failed to properly yield to the cyclist, who had the right of way, causing her left hand and right knee to strike the car on impact. The victim’s momentum then took her up and over the hood before landing on her back, right shoulder, right head/helmet, and left hand. Following the collision, the victim had an immediate onset of right knee and left hand pain, swelling and bruising, head pain, and multiple lacerations and abrasion. She was then transported to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center by ambulance.

At the hospital, x-rays and CT scans were administered which came up negative for any fractures or brain/spine damage. After a night in the hospital, she was provided a pair of crutches, a prescription for pain medication, and instructions to follow-up with a doctor before being discharged.

Due to ongoing right knee pain, the woman went to see a doctor on August 14, 2009, who ordered an MRI scan for a possible meniscal tear. She also complained of low back pain that was radiating down into her right knee and lower leg. These injuries made it difficult for her to turn with a fixed foot, squat, or lie in bed at night, which was especially difficult for her as a tri-athlete. She described the pain in her left hand as constant. The August 19 MRI was luckily negative for serious injury. She was told to begin physical therapy and slowly increase her level of activity.

Over the next few months, the victim attended 21 physical therapy sessions between two locations and was still suffering from pain in her right knee and lower back. The pain was still persisting as of her latest evaluation on May 26, 2010, ten months after the accident, and still limiting her ability to compete in triathlons.

Our firm was able to settle with the at-fault driver for her entire policy limit of $25,000. In addition, the lawyers showed that the $25,000 was inadequate to fully compensate the victim for her injuries, and secured another $15,000 payment in under-insured motorist benefits from her own policy. The settlement allowed the victim to avoid litigation, and the court costs and stress that can come along with it.
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An Illinois pedestrian injury attorney at Abels & Annes has reached a $95,000 settlement on behalf of one of our clients.

The claim arises out of a truck vs. pedestrian collision which took place in Chicago on June 18, 2009 at approximately 6:54 a.m. There was plenty of light, the road was straight and flat and visibility was good.

The defendant was driving his truck northbound on Monticello approaching Leland in Chicago, Illinois. This is a quiet residential neighborhood. The trucker had a stop sign for northbound Monticello at Leland and stopped. The was walking eastbound across Monticello in the marked pedestrian crosswalk. He had crossed almost the entire street and had crossed in front of most of the defendant’s truck when he suddenly accelerated and struck the pedestrian. The front end of the truck, on the passenger side, struck our client on his right side. The plaintiff was fully within the marked crosswalk when he was struck.

The force of the impact threw the pedestrian to the pavement. He had an immediate onset of back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain.

The Chicago Police Department responded to the scene of the accident. The truck driver was issued traffic tickets for failing to yield the right of way to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and for failing to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian. The at fault driver later pleaded guilty to his tickets in traffic court.

The trucker failed to keep a proper lookout, failed to remain stopped until it was safe to proceed, and failed to exercise due care for the safety of those in the area, including the Plaintiff.

Following the collision our client had an immediate onset of back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain. He was transported from the scene of the collision by ambulance to Swedish Covenant Hospital.

At the ER the plaintiff complained of back, neck and shoulder pain. A history was taken, he was examined and diagnostic testing was performed. X-rays showed some loss of disc height in the lumbar spine and straightening of the lordotic curve of the cervical spine. He was initially diagnosed with lumbar and cervical strain. He was instructed to stay off work for a couple of days, prescribed anti-inflammatory and pain medication and instructed to seek follow up care after discharge.

Over the next couple days the plaintiff’s condition worsened and his back pain started radiating into his right leg. Due to his increasing pain and discomfort he saw follow-up treatment with an orthopedic physician on June 22, 2009. The doctor prescribed pain medication and recommended therapy.

Our client started therapy in June, 2009. Initially his main complaints were of low back pain radiating into his entire right leg and neck pain. The pain was exacerbated with movement. His pain was especially bad with sitting and activities such as putting his shoes and socks on. A course of therapy was prescribed to address his injuries. He continued to treat with the therapist over the next several months. Despite this ongoing treatment he did not experience any significant relief of his injuries.
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Illinois motorcycle crash lawyer Gary Annes has reached a settlement on behalf of the client injured in a collision. This claim arises out of a cycle vs. automobile accident which took place at the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue and Paulina Street in Chicago, Illinois, in August, 2010.

The plaintiff was hurt when the motorcycle he was riding was T-boned by a vehicle being driven by the defendant. Our client was northbound on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago, approaching its intersection with Pauline Street.

The traffic light at the intersection showed a green light for north and southbound traffic on Milwaukee. As the plaintiff went to the intersection, the defendant turned left into his motorcycle, failing to yield the right-of-way. The front of the defendant’s vehicle struck the motorcycle and our client’s left leg. After getting hit, the motorcyclist was knocked off his bike, and he slid around 20 feet after landing on the pavement.