On April 13, 2023, a Boone County jury entered a Verdict for $1,458,098.39 in compensatory damages and $500,000.00 in punitive damages to a 46-year-old woman severely injured in a car accident on October 22, 2017, in Poplar Grove, Illinois. The woman was traveling on Route 76 when a drunk driver crossed the center line and struck her vehicle at a high rate of speed. The woman was represented by Attorney Greg Szul of the law firm Tuite Law in Rockford, Illinois. Her attorney has issued the following statement: “On behalf of our client, we want to thank the women and men of the jury who performed their civic duty and rendered a Verdict that recognized the harm that our client suffered. We also thank the jury for entering a Verdict for punitive damages, which sends a message that drunk drivers who injure others will be held accountable and that our roadways should be safe.”
Unfortunately, because the drunk driver had minimal insurance coverage, the severely injured woman will recover little in actual compensation. Her Attorney adds the following: “This case is a perfect example of why the Illinois legislature should mandate higher insurance coverage requirements in Illinois. Low insurance coverage disproportionately affects the most severely injured, who often see little compensation even though they deserve the most. It also shifts the cost of the injured person’s medical expenses to the injured person, the taxpayer, and the medical community, rather than having the responsible person and insurance company bear the cost.”
Prior to trial, the drunk driver’s insurance carrier had offered $25,000.00 to settle the claim. Attorney Szul notes that: “accepting the offer was never contemplated – it was important that our client’s voice be heard in a courtroom. Plus, at Tuite Law, we seek full compensation for all our clients, especially on claims against drunk drivers.”
The combined $1,958,098.39 Verdict is believed to be the highest reported jury Verdict in Boone County for a non-fatal injury, almost double a previously reported one for $1,075,000.00. Tuite Law is a Rockford-based law firm with over 60 years of experience in representing the injured and disabled in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin.