Type of Injury: Personal Injury
Initial Offer: $50,000.00
Johnnie B. Williams Jr. was a professional basketball player back in the 1970s. In 2002 while getting off a CTA red line train, the trainman closed the doors on Mr. Williams while he was exiting the train. At the time, Mr. Williams was wearing a backpack that became lodged in the doors. The train began to move and Mr. Williams ran along the platform until the train’s speed prevented him from doing so. At that time, Mr. William’s lost his footing and his long legs began striking the platform while he fought to free himself of the train’s doors and/or his backpack. In the process of doing so, Mr. Williams fractured a bone in his wrist. Luckily he was able to free himself of the doors just before the car reached the end of the platform.
Mr. Williams went to several law firms who refused to take his case holding that he was at fault for his own injuries. Mr. Williams then came to see Mark J. Horwitz, of The Horwitz Law Group. Mr. Horwitz instantly filed suit against the CTA and began an investigation to obtain information regarding any witnesses that may have seen this accident. He found a witness who testified that Mr. Williams was simply attempting to exit the train when the door shut on his backpack and began to move, just as Mr. Williams had stated.
With the CTA having no way to fight the liability, they then retained an expert who testified that the injuries Mr. Williams claimed were a result of the accident were preexisting injuries that were caused by his years of playing professional basketball. This doctor testified that to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, his knee injuries had nothing to do with the train accident and that his wrist injury was an aggravation of a preexisting condition.
On the eve of trial, the Chicago Transit Authority offered $50,000.00 to settle the case based upon $11,197.00 of medical bills. Mr. Horwitz along with his client, refused to take this offer and instead went to trial. After a four-day jury trial before Judge Jennifer Duncan-Brice, Mark Horwitz was awarded $1,197.000.00 for Mr. William’s injuries. The CTA moved to have the verdict reduced which was denied by the trial judge. The CTA then filed an appeal which was later dismissed.
This verdict was close to, if not the highest award ever obtained by a Cook County jury based upon the amount of the medical bills.