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Case Style: Cathy Ball v. Karen Komar and Cintas Corporation No. 2, et al.
Case Number: 2000 L 8716
Court: Circuit Court, Cook County, Illinois
Mark Rouleau, Mark A. Rouleau & Associates, Rockford, Illinois
Dennis Cotter of O’Hagan, Smith & Amundsen, L.L.C., Chicago, Illinois
Description: Automobile - Motorcycle Collision/Accident (MVA)
Intersectional - Defendant turning left
Injuries - crushed left leg, dislocated shoulder, fractured right wrist
The plaintiff age 28 (at time of collision) was struck by the defendant's Infinity Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV). The defendant was making a left hand turn through a controlled intersection. The plaintiff had a green light. The defendant's SUV failed to yeild the right of way striking the side of the plaintiff's motorcycle crushing the plaintiff's left leg. The leg required numerous surgeries that resulted in the removal of the knee cap and much of the tissue comprising the left knee. An intramedullary rod was inserted through the entire left leg fusing the knee joint. The left leg was left aproximately one inch shorter than the right leg. The plaintiff also suffered a dislocation of her left shoulder that almost completely resolved as well as a fracture of her right wrist that required fixation by plates and screws.
The plaintiff suffered osteomeyolitis in her left knee prior to the final fusion surgery. The doctors were of the opinion that had resolved but believed that there was a remote possibility that it could reappear.
The plaintiff's treating physician believed that she would most likely need future surgeries to fuse her left ankle and a replacement of the left hip. They also believed that she would need treatment for lower back problems and that there was about a 10% chance that she would need surgeries on her right knee and hip due to the unnatural weight shift caused by the knee fusion.
The plaintiff was defined as morbidly obease prior to the collision however as a result of the fusion and repeated hospitalizations she gained more than 70 pounds.
At the time of the collision she was working as a fork truck operator making aproximately $10 per hour. As a result of the collision she was not able to return to any but completely sedintary work. After he surgeries she made several attempts at employment but found the work or environmental conditions to difficult for her to manage.
Past Medical Bills $340,711.06
Future Medical Care (not including low back surgery or treatments, osteomyolitis, or right leg & hip surgery or treatments) $673,095.00
Lost wages & benefits $1,799,359.00
Loss of Household services $661,246.00
Total $3,474,411.06 RESPONDEAT SUPERIOR
The defendants contended that Komar was not working within the scope of her employment with the corporate defendant at the time of the collision. The plaintiff through discovery developed evidence showing that both Komar and the corporate defendants had reported on their income tax filings that the vehicle driven by the defendant had only been used for business purposes. On a motion for summary judgment brought by the defendant employer the Circuit Court Judge held that the declaration on the income tax returns was sufficient evidence to submit to the jury the issue of vicarious liability of the employer.
The defendant alleged that the plaintiff was contributorialy (comparatively) negligent in that she failed to swerve to avoid being hit by the defendant and that she failed to have sufficient eye protection. The defendant spent nearly $30,000.00 on acident reconstructionist Duane Owen of Ruhl & Associates. He testified at deposition that the plaintiff's head lamp was burning and that collision occurred in plaintiff's lane of travel.
The defendant contested the plaintiffs inability to return to work and asserted that she was capable of a great many jobs that would pay as much as she was earning prior to the collision. The defendant contested that the plaintiff would need the future surgeries and the physical limitations that were testified to by her doctors. The defendant contested the plaintiff's life care plan and need for many of the adaptive modifications necessary for her home, vehicles etc.
The case was settled by mediation with Fred Lane of Chicago.
Outcome: SETTLEMENT - $3,150,000.00
Plaintiff's Experts: Economist: Stanley V. Smith (Chicago, IL)
Physiatrist: Gary Yarkony (Elgin, IL)
Motor Vehicle Collision Reconstructionists: Scott Rohde (Holmen, WI) & Robert Seyfried (Northwestern Traffic Insititute Evanston, IL)
Home Builder of Handicap Accessable Homes: Glenn Young(Cheshire, CT)
Motor Vehicle Collision Reconstructionists: Duane Owen of Ruhl & Associates, Champaign, IL)
Orthopeadic Surgeon: Dr. Mark Hutchinson, (UIC Chicago, IL)
Physiatrist: Dr. Terry Nicola, (UIC Chicago, IL)
Occupational Rehabilitation Counselor: James Boyd, (Chicago, IL)
Comments: Reported by Mark Rouleau