According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, impaired elderly drivers are involved in approximately 15% of traffic fatalities. Impaired drivers can strike pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers causing serious injury or even death. If a corporation knowingly allows an impaired driver to operate its vehicles on the open road, and that driver causes injury to a person, then that corporation is responsible for the harm that it has caused.
This occurred in August of 2009, when an Arlington Heights Company allowed one of its employees to drive a vehicle while he was suffering from cognitive deficits.
In May and July of 2009, doctors expressed concern over this employee's ability to safely drive a vehicle. Despite having knowledge of the medical concerns, the corporation ignored the risks involved and knowingly allowed the employee to drive the company vehicle.
Just one month later, on August 26, 2009, that cognitively impaired employee was driving the company car. He approached an intersection with three Illinois State Police squad cars stopped at a red light. The driver approached the light too quickly and the company car struck the third Illinois State Police car as it sat at the red light.
The 26-year-old State Trooper struck in the accident retained Ridge & Downes to represent her and her case was handled by Attorneys Caroleann Gallagher and Matt Coleman.
As a result of the collision, the Trooper was diagnosed with a herniated disc in her lumbar spine. She underwent surgery, which resulted in permanent restrictions. Those restrictions precluded her from fulfilling the physical requirements of an Illinois State Trooper.
Despite the fact that the State did find her an alternative administrative job, her salary and pension are much less than she would have received if she were able to continue working as a State Trooper. At 33-years-old she will never be able to move up or be promoted in this job.
Caroleann and Matt filed proceedings against the driver and the company who owned the vehicle on the basis that they knowingly let him drive despite his cognitive impairments. The case was defended by two law firms, one representing the driver and one representing the vehicle owner.
The parties agreed to take part in a mediation session to ascertain if a settlement could be reached before the trial. During the mediation, Caroleann & Matt negotiated a settlement of $1 million dollars for this Trooper. This money will not bring back her dream of serving Illinois as a law enforcement officer, but it will help compensate her for the loss of income and pension, as well as her pain and suffering.
Because the Trooper was on duty at the time of the accident, she also had a workers’ compensation case versus the State of Illinois, handled by Attorney Amylee Hogan Simonovich. The State agreed to waive its right to be reimbursed for $185,000 it had paid in lost time and medical benefits as part of the resolution of both claims.