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Chicago Partners Obtain Favorable Jury Verdict in Ambulance Collision Case

Chicago Partners James E. Abbott and James D. Sloan recently obtained a favorable verdict in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Plaintiff brought suit against our client, a private emergency medical services (EMS) company, for negligence stemming from a serious accident in which our client ran a red light and collided with Plaintiff’s vehicle.

Plaintiff was a 28-year-old single mom with twin children at the time of the accident. Her alleged injuries included multiple broken pelvic and sacral fractures, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, permanent pelvic floor damage, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain syndrome. The Defense admitted to liability and causation as to a certain injuries, notably the pelvic and sacral fractures, but disputed the nature and extent of her damages.

At trial, Plaintiff called four medical experts—two retained experts and two independent experts, including a female pelvic floor expert, a psychiatrist, a pain management physician, and internal medicine physician in support of her damages claim. Plaintiff’s pelvic floor expert opined that her pelvic floor and sacroiliac joints were permanently damaged as a result of the multiple pelvic fractures. The pelvic floor expert opined that Plaintiff will have pain for the rest of her life and will require pelvic floor and sacroiliac joint trigger point injections on an annual and indefinite basis to treat her pain, but that it was not a cure for her damaged pelvis. Plaintiff’s psychiatric expert opined that Plaintiff has PTSD and chronic pain syndrome as a result of the collision and injuries, and Plaintiff’s pain management physician opined that she will have chronic pain for the rest of her life. Plaintiff’s internal medicine expert likewise opined that she will have chronic pain for the remainder of her life and that she will live a full life expectancy.

The Defense called three medical experts, including an orthopedic trauma surgeon, a urogynecologist, and a neuropsychologist. The urogynecologist and neuropsychologist conducted independent medical evaluations of Plaintiff prior to trial. The Defense also called Plaintiff’s treating orthopedic surgeon and her treating OBGYN. The Defense position at trial was that Plaintiff made a good recovery. The Defense argued that there were numerous gaps in her medical treatment following the initial six months of healing, at which time she was not working due to her pelvic fractures. The Defense argued that there were inconsistencies in what she told her actual treaters regarding her level of pain as compared to what she told the retained experts in the case. Additionally, the Defense argued that Plaintiff’s pelvic floor damage was treatable and thus was not a permanent injury.

Plaintiff asked the jury to award $10,250,000. The jury awarded Plaintiff $805,000. The award was less than the $1 Million policy limit that our client offered prior to trial and offered again just prior to closing arguments, which plaintiff rejected outright both times.

Jim Abbott concentrates his practice on defending businesses, professionals, nonprofit and municipal entities, and has acted as lead counsel or served as national/regional coordinating counsel in numerous states. He has particular experience defending actions alleging complex medication errors. Jim also handles difficult but topical cases, such as opioid litigation, catastrophic injury and wrongful death actions.

Jim Sloan defends clients against medical professional liability claims. He also handles commercial litigation and general liability matters, and has tried multiple products liability and construction cases. As part of his appellate practice, Jim has authored numerous appellate briefs at the state court level, and frequently represents clients at arbitrations and before government boards.