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$1.278 Million Settlement of Motor Vehicle Collision Case

May 20, 2010

A settlement was reached today ending the second of two legal battles arising out of a motor vehicle collision which took place at the intersection of Shermer and Waukegan in Niles, Illinois. The driver of a car entering the intersection, a 58-year-old woman, was proceeding southeast on Shermer intending to turn south onto Waukegan and was severely injured when her car collided with a car that was northbound on Waukegan turning northwest onto Shermer. The severely injured driver later died from complications of her injury. The police report described the point of impact in the northbound lane and a witness statement consistent with this account; however, the witness later testified the collision occurred in the southbound portion of the intersection. The police took no photographs or measurements at the scene.

The first lawsuit by the family of the southbound driver alleged the accident was caused by the other driver’s negligence and negligence by the Village of Niles for violating the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) by improperly painting the stop line in a position on the pavement that brought turning cars too close to one another. Both defendants denied they were negligent and argued the accident was entirely caused by the negligence of the southbound driver.

A compromise settlement was reached in the first lawsuit. Under this settlement the northbound driver’s insurance company paid $565,000 and the Village of Niles agreed to pay $600,000, $100,000 payable from Village funds and $500,000 collectible only from assigned rights against St. Paul Insurance, an insurer the Village alleged should have provided insurance coverage for this accident, which St. Paul contested. This assignment was possible because St. Paul refused to defend the Village and failed to file a timely declaratory judgment lawsuit over the insurance coverage dispute.

The family of the deceased southbound driver filed a second lawsuit after concluding the first, this one against St. Paul Insurance for $500,000. St. Paul refused to settle this lawsuit. On December 1, 2008, St. Paul lost the lawsuit and a judgment was entered against St. Paul for the $500,000 plus prejudgment interest of $113,000. While St. Paul appealed this ruling today, a settlement was reached for $613,000, ending the appeal and this complex litigation story.

Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. represented the family of the southbound driver in both lawsuits. David Rapoport served as lead counsel in this case, assisted by attorneys Paul Richter, Jon Papin, Josh Weisberg and Jeffrey A. Goldwater.

Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. is a personal injury law firm based in Chicago, Illinois. The personal injury attorneys at Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. have achieved multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements for individuals with lawsuits arising from medical malpractice, product liability, semitruck and motor vehicle accidents, workplace injuries and construction accidents in Illinois and Wisconsin. Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C.’s premier aviation negligence lawyers represent victims of commercial and general aviation disasters nationwide.

If you feel you may be in need of legal services, personally email an attorney from Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. for a free case evaluation or telephone our Chicago office toll free at 877-216-4213.