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RECENT CASES: DEATH AND PERSONAL INJURY

$4,900,000.00  Wrongful Death 

The firm obtained $4.9 million for the family of a man who was killed in an accident involving a Mayflower moving van.  The man survived for 12 days before his death.  He was survived by his wife and 4 children, 3 of whom were still in grade or high school. 

Mayflower’s insurance company paid the amount after we won a crucial initial argument in the circuit court and the appellate court refused to hear Mayflower’s appeal.  The $4.9 million was approved by Circuit Court Judge Michael J. Hogan.

Insurance Company Bad Faith – Penalties Paid By Met Life

The firm handled an uninsured motorist claim for our client against Met Life.  Met Life initially attempted to deny that the client’s policy covered the claim.  Once we convinced Met Life of the error of their ways they did not take the honorable route of acknowledging their error and paying the claim.  Instead they merely came up with another supposed reason that the claim was not covered.  Armed with this second denial, the firm filed a lawsuit on behalf of the client against Met Life for their bad faith in handling the claim.  Met Life ultimately paid the claim, paid the costs of filing the lawsuit, paid the client’s attorney’s fees, and paid the maximum statutory penalty for their bad faith.  Warnicki v. Met Life, 01 CH 18802 

$1,225,000.00 – Golf Dome Throws Workers Into Air

On April 29, 1999 thirty to forty workers were helping to take down an inflatable Golf Dome owned by the Hoffman Estates Park District.  Despite high winds, seven workers were directed to go onto the dome, while it was deflating, in order to push the air out of the dome.  While on the dome a gust of wind came up, whipping the fabric of the dome up in the air, and sending the workers into the parking lot.  Three of them received very serious injuries.

The Park District had recently purchased the dome.  In doing so, they contracted with the seller, Hoffman Estates Golf Dome, Inc. (HEGD), to have HEGD actively supervise the deflation of the dome for the summer.  Unfortunately HEGD sent only one person to supervise 30-40 workers.  Further, the manufacturer of the Dome failed to provide any instructional materials, placards, manuals or warnings to inform people to stay off the dome during deflation. 

We obtained $1,000,000.00 from Hoffman Estates Golf Dome for our two clients.  We also obtained $225,000.00 from the manufacturer.

Lead Counsel Against Insurance Company

On June 10, 2002 Judge Kathy M. Flanagan appointed Steven J. Flexman as lead counsel for attorneys fighting Gallant Insurance Company’s and Valor Insurance Company’s attempt to stay all cases in which they were involved in the Law Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County.  The State of Illinois had already filed suit against Gallant Insurance Company and Valor Insurance Companies to request an order of liquidation of the companies due to their alleged insolvency, but Gallant and Valor were fighting that attempt.  Meanwhile Gallant and Valor went to the Circuit Court of Cook County’s Law Division (where all cases of value in excess of $50,000 are heard) to request that cases where Gallant and Valor were involved be stayed while the State’s litigation proceeded to conclusion.  Steven J. Flexman was appointed as lead counsel for all attorneys in the division who were handling suits involving these insurance companies.  The firm successfully fought Gallant and Valor’s attempt.  The court denied the stay.

$500,000.00 for Injured Construction Worker

We obtained $500,000.00 for a carpenter who was injured when he fell from the second floor of a residential construction project.  Although it is not custom and practice in the construction industry to provide fall protection for workers on residential construction projects such as this, recent OSHA regulations required fall protection even on the second floor of a residential construction project.  We retained a former OSHA inspector who testified to this and even were able to get the defendant’s expert witness to admit that the OSHA regulations applied to this situation.  Suit was filed against the general contractor on the job site.

$438,718.96 for Auto-Truck Accident

We obtained a Jury Award of $438,718.96 for a man injured when he was rear-ended by a semi owned and operated by Bee Tee Trucking.  Although there was not much damage to the vehicles the client suffered a herniated disc in his neck and required surgery.  Before trial the trucking company’s insurance company only offered $150,000.00.

Confidential Settlement for Factory Worker – Hand Caught in Machine

The firm has successfully completed litigation in the U.S. District Court  in Chicago on behalf of a man injured when his hand was caught in an envelope folding machine.  Our client was using a tool to make an adjustment to the machine.   The tool slipped into a pair of rollers, which pulled in the tool as well as our client’s hand.  We filed suit against the machine’s manufacturer, F. L. Smith Machine Company, claiming that the machine was unreasonably dangerous due to the proximity of the adjustment mechanism to the moving rollers.  A confidential settlement was paid by F. L. Smith Machine Company before trial.

$440,000.00 for Auto Accident

We recently represented a girl and boy who were injured while passengers in their father's car.  They were injured when a woman lost control of her vehicle, crossed the centerline, and hit their car.  The girl was horribly injured, but, unfortunately, the woman only had $20,000 of insurance coverage.  Nevertheless, we were able to recover $320,000.00 for the girl and $120,000.00 for the boy.  Here is how we were able to get the girl so much despite the lack of insurance.  The father had a $100,000 of coverage with Grange Insurance.  Initially Grange offered to pay $80,000.  However, we convinced Grange to pay the girl $100,000 under the father's liablility coverage, plus $100,000 under the father's underinsured and medical payments coverage, plus $100,000 under the girl's mother's separate underinsured motorist and medical payments coverage.  This is known as stacking coverages and is very rarely accomplished.

Obtained Critical Ruling Which Led To Large Settlement

In a case involving a man injured at a Bally’s Health Club while exiting a racquetball court when the sharp door handle severed two of his fingertips, counsel for Bally’s filed a motion for summary judgment due to the club member having signed a complete waiver of any and all claims against the health club as a condition to his membership.  Attorney Saltzman argued that despite the clear language of the waiver and relevant case law apparently supporting the waiver, the proper interpretation based on the facts of this case should exclude this injury from the waiver as the plaintiff was merely leaving the court as opposed to being injured while actually playing racquetball at the time.  The Court agreed with attorney Saltzman, denied the motion for summary judgment and the Health Club subsequently agreed to a large settlement.

Jury awards 7 Times More Than Insurance Company Offers

In this recent trial, the medical records of an eighteen year old woman showed that she had complaints of pain to the outside of her foot following a head-on collision.  The emergency room x-rays were inconclusive as to the location of a tiny fracture in her foot.  We maintained that although the actual medical records did not indicate his client expressed pain to the inside of her foot until nearly four months after the accident, the records were in error and her injury had been to the inside of her foot from the beginning.  Nine months after the accident she underwent a fusion surgery to the 1st and 2nd metatarsal joints of the foot.  We won a verdict seven times the insurance company’s offer.

$118,000.00 Jury Verdict After State Farm Offers No Settlement

This trial involved a young woman who injured her lower back in a rear-end automobile accident.  There was no damage to either vehicle and the injured client had no medical treatment whatsoever until four months after the accident.  She eventually had a surgical procedure in which an injection was used to shrink her lumbar disk.  State Farm Insurance Company refused to make any offer of settlement and defense counsel argued at trial that none of the treatment or injuries claimed could possibly be related to this accident. 

Although State Farm refused to offer a dime from their insurance policy limit of $100,000.00, the jury awarded the plaintiff over $118,000.00.  State Farm thereafter paid the entire verdict, including the amounts above and beyond their policy limit.

$88,000.00 Jury Verdict For Multiple Contusions

This case went to trial after the insurance company made an offer of $31,000.00 for a forty-five year old woman who suffered multiple bruises and contusions but no fractured bones following a head-on collision.  The defense’s medical expert testified that these bruises should have completely healed within six to eight weeks and any treatment, time missed from work or complaints of pain after that time period were unreasonable and unrelated to this accident.  The jury verdict was over $88,000.00.

$84,000.00 Jury Verdict For Chicago Police Officer’s Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)

This trial involved a Chicago Police Officer whose car had been sideswiped by a dump truck.  The operator of the dump truck died prior to the trial and there were no witnesses to the accident.  The injured officer was therefore prevented from testifying about the facts of the accident due to a ruling under Illinois’ Dead Man’s Act.  The defense argued that the negligence of their driver could not be proven.  However, a combination of several pieces of circumstantial evidence led to win/verdict of over $84,000.00.

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