The twelve person jury returned the verdict before Cook County Circuit Court Judge Arnette Hubbard at the Daley Center following approximately one hour of deliberations. The defendant drove her vehicle into the rear end of a vehicle being driven by a non-party, causing that vehicle to strike the rear end of the vehicle in which the plaintiff was a passenger in. At the time, the plaintiff was 32 years old and a stay-at-home mom. The defendant admitted fault but denied the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s soft tissue neck injuries.
Through the use of an expert orthopedic surgeon, the defense contended that the plaintiff’s injuries had healed within six to eight weeks after the accident. He also testified that the plaintiff had no objective findings to support her subjective complaints. The defense argued that the extensive physical therapy and massage therapy the plaintiff underwent was excessive and unrelated to the subject car accident.
The plaintiff’s family practitioner and physiatrist testified that everyone heals differently and while it is true that many people do heal from whiplash type injuries within a short time after an accident, others, including the plaintiff, do not.
Willens demanded $50,000 to settle the case before trial and the defendant’s insurance company, Horace Mann, offered $25,000, arguing that less than $10,000 of the plaintiff’s medical bills of $25,000 were related to the car accident. Willens rejected the offer and opted to let a jury decide.
After the verdict, Willens said, “Many attorneys boast about their million-dollar-plus verdicts and I’ve done my share of this. However, I’m just as proud of this verdict as I am of some of my much larger ones. It’s important that trial lawyers and their clients stand up to the insurance companies on cases like this one and let them know that there are no clearance sales when someone has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence.”
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