The family of a teenage boy who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury after being rear-ended by a tractor-trailer has settled their personal injury lawsuit against the negligent truck driver and trucking company for just under $24.6 million, the full extent of available insurance coverage. The family was represented by Matthew Passen, Stephen Passen, and Jordan Powell of Passen & Powell based in Chicago.
The Montes family were driving eastbound on I-88 on a Sunday afternoon headed towards downtown Chicago as traffic slowed to a stop for construction-related traffic. Meanwhile, a truck driver for MCT Transportation was also traveling eastbound on I-88 in his company’s loaded tractor-trailer. The evidence suggested that the driver was distracted by using his cell phone to create a music playlist, failed to slow his tractor-trailer for stopped traffic, and crashed into the rear of the Montes’ vehicle at high speed.
In addition to suing the negligent driver and trucking company, the plaintiffs also named MCT’s parent corporation, Comcar Industries, as a defendant based on “Alter Ego” and “Actual Agency” theories of liability.
Mr. and Mrs. Montes fortunately suffered only modest physical injuries in the crash. However, their son — who was seated in the back seat at the time of the crash — suffered a devastating traumatic brain injury requiring emergent brain surgery, specifically a craniectomy and evacuation of acute subdural hematoma and frontal and anterior lobectomy. He also required subsequent plastic surgeries for facial fractures and cranial defects.
After a several-month hospitalization and inpatient rehabilitation, he was discharged home but continues to require full-time attendant care by his parents. He continues to suffer from severe brain damage and requires assistance for all activities of daily living, including feeding and bathing. He remains unable to speak and confined to a bed or wheelchair. He receives therapy and special education multiple times per week, and his family and medical staff are hopeful he will continue to recover and progress towards greater independence.
In addition to proving liability of the corporate defendants and the catastrophic damages — by way of medical testimony, an extensive life care plan, day-in-the-life video, and compelling demonstrative exhibits, the plaintiffs were faced with an additional unexpected complication: In May 2020, MCT Transportation and Comcar Industries filed for bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware. Fortunately, Passen & Powell was able to lift the automatic bankruptcy stay to pursue the multiple layers of insurance coverage in this matter, and was eventually able to recover the full policy limits of all available insurance coverage in this matter, as approved by Judge Alonso of the Northern District of Illinois Federal Court.
These are heroic parents who have focused their efforts every day since this crash on helping their son recover. I am proud to have represented this family, and take comfort knowing they now have the financial means to give their son the best opportunity at continued recovery, said Matthew Passen.
This significant result was featured on the front page of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
Passen & Powell represents individuals and families of those seriously injured or killed due to the negligence of others. To discuss a potential new matter or referral, please give us a call at 312-527-4500.