Intersection collision which rendered both drivers paraplegics ends in a $25 million jury verdict for one driver

A Cook County jury returned a $25,093,335 verdict in favor of an incomplete paraplegic following a 2 week trial and against a partially recovered paraplegic on his separate complaint.

The verdict is the second verdict in excess of $23 million dollars for Martin Healy, Jr. and Healy Scanlon Law Firm in the past 6 months.

On April 19, 2004, Andrzej Chraca, the son of Polish immigrants, was driving southbound on Wright Blvd. near the intersection of South Frontage Road for the Elgin O’Hare Expressway in Schaumburg. At the same time, Steve Miles, a state I.D.O.T. employee was driving eastbound on South Frontage Road. Both drivers claimed they entered the intersection on a green light and both drivers sued each other.

Miles struck Chraca’s vehicle in the middle of the intersection. As a result of the collision, Chraca suffered a T-12 burst fracture which rendered him an incomplete paraplegic. He is unable to walk without leg braces and the use of canes or a walker. Chraca generally uses a wheelchair to move around.

Miles suffered a cervical vertebrae fracture and partial paralysis to the right side of his body and both lower extremities. He also suffered a mild traumatic brain injury. Neither has returned to work.

Chraca filed suit against Miles and subsequently Miles filed suit against Chraca and his employer, United Woodworking. At trial, both parties testified they had the green light when they entered the intersection.

Schaumburg police officers after conducting an investigation and reconstruction indicated they could not determine which driver was at fault.

6 eyewitnesses to the accident were presented. All of the eyewitnesses testified that they did not see one or both of the vehicles prior to the impact, and several witnesses testified that, from what they observed, the vehicles were not being driven in the directions claimed by the drivers. The final eye witness testified that the light for northbound Wright was red.

The Chraca SUV was the only southbound vehicle in the large intersection at the time of the impact. 3 other southbound vehicles which had been waiting for the light had not entered the intersection, but the witnesses agreed that the southbound traffic light turned green before the impact. Both parties alleged that the other drive was either timing the red light or accelerated to beat the red light.

The jury found Chraca 5% comparatively negligent, based on the fact that Chraca was driving over the posted speed limit at the time of the accident, reducing the award to $23,838,668.

The case was tried before Judge William Haddad. Chraca was represented in his lawsuit by Martin Healy, Jr. and David P. Huber of Healy Scanlon Law Firm. Miles was defended in the Chraca lawsuit by Andrew Dryjanski, Giselle Santibanez-Bania and Shital Patel of the Attorney General’s Office.

Miles was represented in his lawsuit by Colin O’Malley and Janine Rosana of Goldberg, Weisman & Cairo. Chraca was defended by Thomas Long of Norton, Mancini & Weiler (Wheaton) and United Woodworking was defended by Kevin Campbell of LaBarge, Campbell & Lyon.

The cases are Chraca v. Miles, 04 L 9461; Miles v. Chraca and United Woodworking, 05 L 7603 (consolidated).

For information contact: Martin Healy, Jr. David P. Huber Healy Scanlon Law Firm 312-226-4236