Johnson & Bell, Ltd. Attorney, Katie E. Gorrie, recently received a not guilty verdict in favor of her client, a Chicago cab driver and taxi company. The case involved an insurance carrier seeking contribution to a previously settled $1.5 million claim relating to an automobile accident.
In January 2006, the plaintiff, traveling southbound, was attempting a left hand turn. As he entered the intersection, the defendant cab driver, traveling northbound, had crossed into the intersection when his vehicle collided with the plaintiff. As a result of the collision, the plaintiff’s vehicle went up onto the sidewalk, ran into a fire hydrant and light pole, and struck and seriously injured a pedestrian standing nearby. Plaintiff’s insurance company settled with the injured pedestrian in 2008 for $1.5 million. Plaintiff’s insurer then demanded $200,000 from the defendant cab driver and taxi company, alleging defendant was speeding immediately prior to the collision, which caused plaintiff’s vehicle to be forced up on the sidewalk after the collision. During the trial, Ms. Gorrie presented evidence contesting plaintiff’s theory, contending the sole cause of the accident was the plaintiff’s improper left hand turn in front of the defendant cab driver, and that defendant was not speeding. A number of eye witnesses testified as to their recollection of the occurrence, and both sides retained accident reconstruction experts who testified at trial as to their analyses of the collision. The jury awarded a verdict of not guilty to the cab driver and taxi company, assessing 100% of the fault for the occurrence on plaintiff.