On May 21st, 2011, a Chicago Streets and Sanitation worker drove under the influence of alcohol, lost control of his vehicle, and struck four pedestrians. One of these pedestrians, Stephen Dewart, a 27-year old formerly from Chicago suffered from multiple severe injuries that required hospitalization, various surgeries, and months of physical therapy. We filed an accident lawsuit for the victim in June of 2011, naming the negligent driver and the City of Chicago as defendants. Attorneys Susan Novosad and Jordan Powell from our office represented the Dewart in the case, and last Friday, just was served when he was awarded a $2.4 million verdict by a Cook County jury.
Our press release announcing the verdict notes that the accident took place at the corner of Rush and Cedar Streets when the 61-year old laborer driving a city-owned truck was traveling at a high rate of speed. The lawsuit alleged that the driver failed to yield to the victims or to slow his vehicle to prevent a collision. Police say he tested over twice the legal blood alcohol limit and an open bottle of brandy was found wedged beneath his gas pedal when the vehicle left the roadway. The City of Chicago was named as a defendant in this lawsuit because the negligent driver was an employee and therefore, the company was responsible for his actions.
Novosad stated that the victim was hospitalized for almost a week following the accident after suffering from several spinal fractures and a broken leg in two places, both injuries requiring three surgeries and months of physical therapy. The jury deliberated for less than two hours to determine how the victim should be compensated for his injuries and disabilities sustained as a result of the accident.
After the trial, Dewart express gratitude to the jury noting, “I am grateful that a group of ordinary citizens understood the pain that my family and I have gone through these past few years. At the end of the trial, one of the jurors told me to ‘Enjoy the rest of your life.’ This was so instructive and indicative of the closure of this very difficult chapter. This compensation will not erase the injuries I experienced and continue to experience, but they will help ensure financial stability for me and my family.” Like Dewart, our lawyers were pleased that the jury realized the impact of the driver’s reckless actions.
Our law firm is dedicated to representing individuals and the families of those who have been injured by negligent motorists. We are pleased that this verdict will allow our client move forward, both financially and emotionally. As noted in the release, we also hope it will encourage officials to create more effective screening processes for City employees to avoid future accidents like this, in addition to raising awareness for drunk driving.
If you or a loved one have been injured by a careless driver, seeking qualified legal representation is strongly advised. Accident lawsuits help victims receive compensation for their injuries to cover medical expenses, in addition to giving victims peace of mind and reducing emotional suffering.