$18.55 Million Recovered for Children Injured in Motor Vehicle Collision
The Perez family, whose three children suffered serious injuries after being struck by a car while standing on a street corner, settled their lawsuit for over $18.5 million on Thursday, December 22, 2016. Power Rogers & Smith founding partner Joseph A. Power Jr. was one of the attorneys representing the Plaintiffs.
In June of 2008, Filiberto Perez sued the driver of the vehicle that crashed into his children as well as multiple construction contractors, alleging that a road barricade placed in the wrong location caused Alyssa Johnson, the driver, to collide with an oncoming vehicle, lose control, and crash into the sidewalk where his children were standing.
According to Mr. Power, Johnson was attempting to make a right turn from southbound Greenwood Avenue onto West 127th Street in Blue Island. Construction began for a project to widen the road about one month before the incident, and Johnson, who was driving on a learner’s permit and only 18-years-old at the time, needed to judge oncoming traffic over an 8-foot-wide and 5-foot-tall barricade before making her turn.
As she turned into traffic, her car struck a pickup truck. Samuel Briones of Briones, Harvey & Trevino, one of the attorneys who also represented the Plaintiffs, explained:
“Her left front fender struck the right front fender of the pickup truck. She loses control of her car and travels a couple hundred feet, goes onto the sidewalk and actually strikes the three kids.”
Two of the children injured in the crash received treatment for their injuries and have physically healed, while the third suffered far more serious injuries. He was pinned underneath Johnson’s car, which needed to be lifted with airbags in order to free the minor victim. He suffered a fractured skull and remained in a coma for approximately a week after being airlifted to the University of Chicago.
The doctors needed to wait for the swelling to subside before performing surgery to remove bone fragments from the victim’s brain and repair the damaged sections with plates and screws. Briones said that:
“They had to literally put the skull [fragments] back together like a jigsaw puzzle and insert them back into the skull… According to our neuropsychologist expert from the University of Chicago, he has a permanent mental capacity of an 8- to 10-year-old.”
Perez alleged that the barricade was placed too close to moving traffic and went against the Illinois Department of Transportation’s traffic control plans. Briones commented that the barricade was supposed to be erected about 10 to 15 back in order to give motorists a clear line of sight, when in actuality it was set far closer to traffic.
During Johnson’s deposition, she testified that the top of the boards spanning across the barricade obstructed her sight line, while the defendants from the construction company countered that the eight inch-wide slots between the boards gave motorists a clear line of sight. In addition, the defendants from the construction company contested the extent of the victim’s injuries.
During discovery, the Plaintiffs learned that the general contractors had falsified traffic control reports they submitted to the Indiana Department of Transportation (IDOT), leading to the Perez family filing a count for punitive damages.
“Our clients are looking forward to putting this tragedy behind them and attempting to make the most of life,” said Power.
Peter V. Bustamante of the Law Office of Peter V. Bustamante also represented the plaintiffs.