18.5M Settlement in Cook County for Children Injured by a Nissan
Last month a Cook County Judge approved a settlement of $18,500,000.00 for three children standing on a sidewalk who were injured after being struck by a Nissan.
What makes the case noteworthy is who paid the settlement. While the amount of the Nissan’s automobile insurance policy is unknown, such insurance policies rarely exceed $100,000.00 in liability coverage. Here, the injuries were horrific. One of the children sustained skull and brain injuries that required reconstruction with plates and screws and rehabilitation to relearn how to walk, talk, and eat. The type of coverage traditionally held by a passenger vehicle would not even cover a fraction of the children’s medical bills. Through case investigation it was learned that the driver of the Nissan claimed an obstructed view created by a third party caused the accident. Specifically, the alleged negligent driver testified at deposition that her sight was obstructed by three wooden orange and white boards that spanned the barricade. It was learned that those boards were placed in a manner inconsistent with the original Illinois Department of Transportation traffic control plan for the project and were placed in a manner that did indeed obstruct motorists’ views.
This case highlights the importance in fully investigating all facts and circumstances surrounding an accident. Interviewing witnesses and deposing parties are two ways that information can be obtained. Particularly in cases where the injuries are catastrophic, full investigation must take place. A motorist need only have $25,000.00 in liability coverage to operate a vehicle in Illinois. That amount may not even cover an initial hospital visit or stay if the injuries are serious.