Plaintiff Tries To Link Subsequent Breast Reduction Surgery To Collision

Bonnie J. Matthews, John T. Matthews v Lily B. Hojnacki

  • Verdict: $69,863: $65,111 to Bonnie ($25,000 past and future loss of normal life; $15,000 past and future pain & suffering; $10,111 past and future medical expenses; $15,000 LT; $0 disfigurement); $4,752 to John ($2,500 pain & suffering; $2,252 medical expenses; $0 disability; $0 loss of consortium; $0 loss of services). However, on the last day of trial, parties entered into a high/low agreement of $75,000-$225,000 for Bonnie only, so Bonnie will receive $75,000 and John will get $4,752.
  • Judge: Robert E. Gordon (IL Cook-Law)
  • Pltf Atty: Peter F. Higgins of Lipkin & Higgins for both pltfs
  • Demand: $125,000 total
  • Asked: Bonnie Mathews $665,000
  • Asked: John Matthews $60,000
  • Deft Atty: Mark B. Ruda of Condon & Cook (Allstate)
  • Offer: $75,000 total
  • Pltf Medl: Dr. Julie Brandies (Internist), Dr. Neil Fine (Plastic Surgeon) and Frederick Ruhe, D.C.(Chiropractor) for Bonnie
  • Deft Experts: Dr. Scott A. Kale (Internist) and Dr. Gordon H. Derman (Plastic Surgeon)

Plaintiffs were traveling northbound on Governors Hwy. in Olympia Fields when their vehicle collided with Defendant retiree as she made a left turn from westbound Trails Drive. Plaintiff husband and wife were taken by ambulance from scene to hospital. Plaintiff F-46 passenger Bonnie sustained soft tissue back/neck injuries, and after conservative treatment failed to relieve her pain, she underwent breast reduction surgery which caused large open wounds and scarring ($39,227 medl. including $32,000 for breast reduction surgery, $25,788 LT as clerk at Arthur Anderson including $15,000 after surgery); she is now a choir director. Plaintiff M-51 driver John, a product systems manager for AT&T, had chest, knee and back pain ($2,252 medl.); he also claimed loss of consortium which substantially affects his life. Both Plaintiffs testified Bonnie's breasts are "hard" to look at. Defense admitted negligence, but contended breast reduction surgery was not related to accident. Defense argued Bonnie (who was obese) had pre-existing back and neck problems, her doctor had recommended breast reduction surgery to alleviate back pain long before this occurrence, and her soft tissue injuries should have resolved after a few months.

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