Most of the time when personal injury law firms announce a settlement, our firm included, it is somewhat of a brag. In plain English, announcing a settlement is sending the message, “ We are good. Look at us. We get big results…..” This $500,000 settlement we discuss in this article is no such brag. This catastrophic motorcycle injury case had full value in the many millions of dollars. Our client lost his right leg in the accident. The big problem in this case, as we see in so many personal injury cases, was simply that there was not enough insurance to cover the full value of this serious injury personal injury case.
This motorcycle accident occurred in Richmond, McHenry County, Illinois. Our client was operating his 2006 Harley Davidson northbound on Main Street through the intersection of Main Street and Burlington Road. At the same time, the defendant was operating his 2005 Dodge 1500 westbound on Burlington Road at the same intersection. The defendant stopped at a stop sign at the intersection. Then, he attempted a left-hand (southbound) turn onto Main Street and struck our client on his motorcycle.
After the accident, our client’s wife called us to interview us about this matter. Her husband was in the hospital, and she had contacted other top-notch Chicago personal injury law firms as well. She told me that one of those firms invited her to come to their downtown Chicago office to discuss her husband’s case. Another firm said they were not interested in the case because “motorcycle cases are tricky.” Based on the nature of this matter, we offered to come to the hospital to visit with her, her husband and any other family members that wanted to be present. This was very refreshing to her and she asked me to come as soon as possible as they needed some hope. I went to visit them the next day.
They were lovely people whose lives had been upended. We got along famously at the hospital interview. Our client hired us and as he was signing our Contract for Legal Services said that the reason he was doing so was because I made him and his wife laugh, something they needed desperately at the time.
My law firm wasted no time and quickly filed a lawsuit in McHenry County, Illinois, against the responsible driver. We stated in our Complaint at Law that he:
- Failed to yield the right-of-way in violation of 625 ILCS 5/11-001;
- Failed to yield the right-of-way prior to turning left in violation of 625 ICLS 5/11-902; and
- Failed to keep a proper look-out as to avoid striking the motorcycle being driven by Plaintiff; and
- Failed to operate his motor vehicle in a manner that was safe under the circumstances so as to avoid collision.
We also filed a Complaint on behalf of our client’s wife as she suffered derivative losses including, but not limited to, loss of services and consortium. Filing loss of consortium lawsuits are common in cases involving very serious injuries.
Through the discovery process of the lawsuit, we learned that the defendant driver had $500,000.00 of liability insurance. We demanded that it be tendered immediately as it was not nearly enough money to cover our client’s terrible injuries. With a little bit of surprising pushback, the insurance company for the defendant eventually offered the limits of their insurance policy, $500,000.00.
While this settlement was not nearly enough to compensate a man who had his leg amputated, it did give him and his wife some cushion to get their lives back on track. It was fortunate that there was decent insurance as this could have been much worse if the responsible driver had a lesser policy, as most Illinois drivers do. Most insured drivers in Illinois carry much less than $500,000.00, With most of our firm’s personal injury settlements, we can honestly say that they were fair and full. We cannot say that in this matter. The best we can say was that it was the very best possible settlement under the circumstances. It was an honor and a privilege to represent these amazing people. Since the settlement, we have been in touch and have remained friends.