Illinois Appellate Court Upholds Verdict for Plaintiff in Taxi Cab Traumatic Brain Injury Accident

An Illinois appellate court for the Fourth Division recently rendered a holding in a dispute involving a motor vehicle collision. The facts of the case are as follows. The defendant was a cab company operating in Chicago. On the date of the accident, one of the defendant’s drivers was parked in a cabstand across the street from where the plaintiff was having dinner with a client. After dinner, the plaintiff got into the driver’s cab and instructed him to take him to his home in a southwest area of Chicago.

During the ride home, the driver lost control of the minivan on a clover leaf exit ramp. The vehicle went airborne approximately 32 feet, struck the ground, and skidded into a grassy drainage area, where it slammed into a concrete retention wall. The plaintiff’s complaint alleged that as a result of the accident that ensued, the plaintiff suffered severe traumatic brain injuries.

There was conflicting testimony offered regarding whether the driver was exceeding the speed limit at the time he lost control. The posted speed limit on the highway was 55 miles per hour, and the speed limit on the clover leaf exit was 25 miles per hour. The plaintiff’s accident reconstructionist testified that the van was traveling 60 to 70 miles per hour on the highway and decelerated to only 58 miles per hour on the clover leaf. The defendant’s expert testified that the driver was likely traveling 53 or 54 miles per hour on the clover leaf.

The driver’s cab was painted a bright yellow color with the defendant’s logo. The company did not own the vehicle or the licenses or employ the drivers. Instead, according to a local ordinance, the company was an affiliation that offered membership to cab license owners. A Chicago ordinance requires all affiliated cabs to bear the affiliation’s logo and color scheme. In the complaint, the plaintiffs brought a claim against both the cab company and the driver, and the company objected on the ground that it was not vicariously liable for the driver’s conduct. At the close of trial, the jury found both the cab company and the driver liable. Following the denials of multiple post-trial motions, the defendants appealed.

On appeal, the defendants argued that the trial court erred in letting the defendants assert claims based on apparent agency, and it erred when it excluded evidence that the cab’s appearance was involuntary and mandated by a Chicago ordinance. Finally, the defendants claimed that the trial court erred in providing a jury instruction relevant to medical malpractice claims and by allowing evidence that purported to show that the plaintiff chose the defendant’s taxi cab company deliberately. The appellate court found no errors and upheld the jury’s verdict against the defendants.

If you have been injured in a vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. At Therman Law Offices, our car accident lawyers have handled many motor vehicle accident cases and understand the complexities and challenges that this type of lawsuit can bring. Our team of compassionate and dedicated legal professionals will ensure that your family and you receive the personalized counsel that you deserve and that your rights are protected throughout the litigation. To schedule your free consultation, call us now at 312-588-1900 or contact us online to get started.

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