Jury Finds Plaintiff's Second Collision Only Accounts For One-Third Of Total Damages
Months Apart

Sharon Gavrilos v Jeremy Peterson, Steven Ruments 00L-5612

  • $993,308: $663,985 v Peterson ($103,247 damages before second occurrence: $45,000 pain & suffering; $22,484 medical; $25,000 loss of normal life; $10,763 LT; $560,738 damages after second occurrence: $10,000 past pain & suffering; $100,000 future pain & suffering; $2,731 past medical; $48,007 future medical; $400,000 loss of normal life; $0 past LT); $329,323 v Ruments ($30,000 past pain & suffering; $100,000 future pain & suffering; $8,194 past medical; $48,007 future medical; $8,122 past LT; $135,000 loss of normal life)
  • Judge: Randye A. Kogan (IL Cook-Law)
  • Pltf Atty: John M. Power of Cogan, McNabola
  • Demand: $1,500,000 total Asked: $4,000,000 - $6,000,000 total
  • Deft Atty: Mark B. Ruda of Condon & Cook for Ruments (Allstate) Offer: $750,000; Angela Y. Baker of Cassiday, Schade for Peterson (Travelers) Offer: $600,000;
  • Pltf Medl: Dr. Steven Tureff (Internist), Dr. Mary Angelopoulos (Neurologist), Dr. Barry Levy (Neurologist), Dr. Phillip Werner (Endocrinologist) and Dr. Nancy Landre (Neuropsychologist)

April 29, 1999, Plaintiff was stopped on Golf Rd. in Schaumburg for a red light at Roosevelt when her vehicle was rear-ended at high speed by Defendant Peterson. Plaintiff F-47 hit her head, was knocked unconscious, sustained a permanent dent in her head, and was diagnosed with a concussion. She subsequently suffered headaches, neck pain, balance problems, dizziness, depression, cognitive deficits, memory loss and personality change (3 months LT as nurse case manager). Plaintiff also claimed diabetes insipidus as a result of the head injury, requiring medication. Feb. 29, 2000, Plaintiff was stopped in the right turn only lane on Algonquin Rd. in Palatine, waiting to make a right turn on red at Roselle Rd., when her vehicle was struck from behind at a low speed by Defendant Ruments. Plaintiff was diagnosed with concussion, and later diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome and traumatic brain injury (2 months LT). She claimed all of her pre-existing symptoms worsened after this accident, the second impact exacerbated her condition, all symptoms were permanent, and her injuries were indivisible between the two accidents. Plaintiff eventually was forced to stop working as a nurse and switch to clerical work.

Defense for Peterson admitted negligence, but contended injuries were resolved before the second accident and any permanency was attributable to the second accident. Court struck Ruments’ affirmative defense of sudden stop and entered a directed verdict in favor of Plaintiff. Defense for Ruments asserted that Plaintiff never recovered from the first accident, her permanent problems were the result of the first accident, the second low speed accident at less than 10 mph merely aggravated her problems for a limited period of time, and Plaintiff was exaggerating her current condition and symptoms.

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