In my line of work, I’ve learned not to be bothered by much. There’s no point and acting emotional isn’t a good quality for an attorney.

That said, not much pisses me off more than those people who, as a marketing tool to help insurance companies, talk about how our legal system in Illinois heavily favors plaintiffs and it’s a “Lawsuit Lottery” type environment or that Cook County is a “Judicial Hell Hole.”  They say these things even though statistics show the opposite to be true.  One ranter has the nerve to say that all you need is an injury and a dream to reap millions.

Chicago Lawyer Magazine just posted the highest settlement and trial verdicts from the past year. There were 16 cases where people got $10 million or more as a result of their injuries and the negligence by the defendants.  The following summaries are from the magazine.  I ask you to look at these and tell me which person you’d gladly trade places with to reap the benefits of their lottery results.

Perhaps you’d like to be the proud parents of a new born with permanent brain damage who will never live a normal life. Maybe you’d like to be the man who has burns to most of his body and requires round the clock medical care to stay alive. Perhaps you’d like to become the healthy 31 year old who will never walk again.  Please read on and let me know who you’d trade places with.

  • $34,000,000 – Hoffman v. Joseph T. Ryerson & Son Inc.- Three members of a family suffered serious injuries after their car was rear-ended by a semi-tractor trailer on I-80 near Tipton, Iowa. The driver, a 50-year-old woman was rendered paraplegic.
  • $30,000,000-Karr v. Khalid Badwan, MD – A 46 year old man was rendered paraplegic and requires dialysis after a stapling device caused the blood supply to his spinal cord and lower extremities to be cut off during a surgery to remove a cancerous kidney.
  • $30,000,000 – Confidential – A 29 year old man suffered traumatic brain injury and has permanent cognitive defects after suffering multiple injuries in a plane crash. He was comatose for three months, underwent dozens of surgeries and requires permanent living assistance.
  • $25,250,000 – Patoya Bryant and Sean Cobbs v. United states of America, A newborn suffered brain damage and has cerebral palsy with severe speech and cognitive deficits after doctors at a federally funded clinic failed to deliver the baby in a timely manner.
  • $23,000,000 – Ochoa v. Joseph J. Furlin M.D.- A woman suffered a stroke and is quadriplegic after doctors failed to timely or appropriately treat her high blood pressure and declining platelet level during her labor and delivery. She is ventilator dependent and fed through a G-Tube.
  • $18,850,000 – Alsip v. SNA – A 20 year old University of Dubuque aviation program student died days after suffering severe burns as a passenger in an airplane crash. The locking system on the cabin door of the plane failed and opened during flight, which caused the crash.
  • $15,500,000 – Avalos-Landeros v. United States of America – A newborn suffered permanent brain damage necessitating lifelong care after doctors failed to timely diagnose intrauterine growth restriction on the fetus and induce labor. A C-section was performed 15 days after the IUGR was suspected.
  • $14,000,000 – Burns v. New Bern Transport Corp. – A 47 year old teach sustained a spinal cord injury and suffers spastic quadriparesis, neuropathic pain, weakness and must catherize to urinate after she collided with a semi-truck as it was making a left turn onto Wolf Road.
  • $14,000,000 – McPhillips v. Children’s Memorial Medical Group – A 7 week old infant has cerebral palsy and sustained permanent brain damage after doctors failed to properly give her a paralyzing agent and intubate her for transport to another hospital.
  • $11,850,000 – Confidential – A 35 year old man has permanent ankle deformity, psuedoarthrosis, an inability to walk independently, and mental and emotional injuries after sustaining multiple injuries in a plane crash.
  • $11,000,000 – Scheinman v. Martin’s Bulk Milk Service, Inc. – A 55 year old man suffered severe burns and has permanent cognitive and neurological impairment from head injuries he sustained after his vehicle was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer and burst into flames. He suffered extensive burns to his body and now requires 24-hour care in a residential nursing facility.
  • $10,900,000 – Bush v. Sherman Hospital – A 2 year old boy suffered brain damage after hospital staff failed to treat his bacterial meningitis for nearly nine hours and follow triage protocols and doctors’ orders. At age 8, the boy has the cognitive ability of a toddler.
  • $10,500,000 – Craig, v. Loyola University Medical Center – A 12 year old boy suffered brain damage after staff failed to recognize hypoxia and did not re-intubate him for 25 minutes following surgery for femur fractures. Now at age 22, he suffers from quadriparesis and needs assistance with most daily activities.
  • $10,000,000 – Schmitz JR. v. Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care – A 31 year old man was rendered paraplegic after doctors failed to order a CT scan in a timely manner and failed to timely diagnose and treat a spinal infection.

Even the cases that were resolved for less than these amounts were all terrible results that you’d never want to have happen to you or a loved one.  Insurance companies don’t give money away and when they go to trial they win more than they lose.  These eight figure amounts are so rare because most cases do get fought and the truth is it takes a truly catastrophic result and obvious negligence to have this type of a result.

So please don’t buy in to the marketing b.s. and insult these families by calling these results a lottery win.  It’s not a win you would ever want.


If you have questions about Illinois injury settlements or need help in finding the best lawyer for your case, please fill out our contact form to the right or call us at (800) 517-1614.