July 15, 2004
In a decision handed down today, $1.8 million in damages was awarded to the family of an 84-year-old man in a wrongful death lawsuit arising from injuries he sustained in an automobile accident that took place in Belvidere, Illinois, on October 20, 2001. The man was sitting in the rear passenger’s seat of his daughter’s Dodge Caravan when it was broad sided by a Dodge Neon. The driver of the Neon was speeding, failed to yield at a yield sign and failed to keep a proper lookout. The force of the impact caused the Caravan to roll over. While the other occupants of the Caravan escaped with minimal injuries, the 84-year-old man, who was sitting just opposite the point of impact, suffered a closed head injury and fractured femur with complications including aspiration pneumonia. He lived in the hospital or a nursing home until he died four months after the auto accident of complications resulting from the injuries caused by the collision. The driver of the Neon had only $25,000 per person, $50,000 per occurrence in liability insurance, which the occupants of the Caravan recovered in full before the trial. The family then pursued an underinsured motorist claim against State Farm Insurance Company, under a policy that included up to two million dollars in underinsured motorist coverage. The case was tried to an arbitrator, as part of a binding arbitration procedure that was set forth in the insurance policy. At the trial State Farm argued that the automobile accident did not cause the death. Alternatively State Farm argued that the damages should not exceed $700,000. The arbitrator disagreed, finding that $1.8 million was a fair, reasonable and appropriate award.
The family’s lead trial lawyer, David E. Rapoport, of Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. in Chicago, explained: “Today the arbitrator recognized that an 84-year-old can have great value to his family. We proved that, at 84, our client’s husband was still full of life and much loved and missed by his wife and five grown children.” Attorney Paul Richter, who assisted Mr. Rapoport at the trial added: “This case proves once again how important it is for people to purchase as much uninsured and underinsured motorist protection as possible.”
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.