Illinois Appellate Court Reverses Grant of New Trial in Catastrophic Hip Injury Case, Upholds Award of Damages

When you suffer serious and catastrophic injuries, it is important to ensure that you seek enough compensation to cover your future medical treatment needs. There are many ways to estimate these costs, including consultation with a life care planner or medical expert. At Therman Law Offices, our Chicago personal injury attorneys are prepared to help you ensure that your future expenses associated with the injuries that you sustained are properly accounted for in the lawsuit.

Recently, a man filed a personal injury action against a steel company seeking damages for injuries that he suffered when a crane struck a lift in which he was working at the defendant’s facility. The defendant accepted liability for the accident and the matter proceeded to trial for the sole purpose of determining the amount of damages that he was entitled to receive.

The jury awarded the plaintiff $9.9 million in damages and the defendant filed a motion seeking a new trial on the basis that the lower court erred by allowing one of the plaintiff’s expert witnesses to offer an opinion indicating that the plaintiff would require surgery in the future. The expert witness was asked whether, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, the plaintiff would need hip surgery in the future. When asked what type of hip surgery the plaintiff would require, the doctor testified that he could not answer that question because he was a medical specialist and not a surgical specialist. He indicated that he would send the plaintiff to a hip surgical specialist if the plaintiff were his patient.

A new judge was assigned to the proceedings for an unrelated reason. The posttrial judge granted the defendant’s motion for a new trial finding that the trial judge erred by letting the expert provide an opinion on whether the plaintiff needed surgery. The plaintiff appealed.

On review, the appellate court reversed the posttrial judge’s decision granting the defendant’s request for a new trial on the basis that the trial judge did not commit a reversible error by allowing the expert to testify as to whether the plaintiff would require hip surgery in the future. The record indicated that the defendant had the opportunity to engage in a vigorous cross-examination of the expert and that the defendant was not unduly prejudiced by the doctor’s testimony. The jury had a sufficient basis for assigning weight to the doctor’s testimony and in the context of the jury’s award for future medical expenses and the entire damages award, any prejudice that did result was minimal.

If you were injured in a severe accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your past, current, and future estimated medical costs. It is critical that you speak to a seasoned Illinois personal injury lawyer to ensure that you seek the maximum amount of compensation that you deserve. We have counseled clients on a wide variety of injuries throughout the region and offer a free consultation so that you can learn more about our services and how we can assist you. Call us now at 773-545-8849 or contact us online to get started.

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