Favorable Verdict Following Tragic Automobile Accident ($16 Million)

Skrzypczak v. Bauer, 03 L 23225 – Defense attorneys failed to negotiate a settlement in good faith and within a reasonable timeframe for the benefit of an injured youth. Instead, the opposing counsel went to trial and lost to the Horwitz trial team. The jury awarded our client $16.4 million.

The Case

The complaint alleged that on October 2, 2002, Joseph Bauer negligently drove a “loaner car” from an automobile dealership causing Piotr to sustain severe brain and spinal cord injuries. Joseph Bauer and two other occupants died in the single-car crash. Piotr was seventeen at the time of the accident.

In-Depth Look

While critics of personal injury attorneys often cite large jury verdicts as proof of a legal system gone awry, this case, heard in Cook County, reinforces the justice behind the U.S. court system.

“Piotr was a 3 on Glasgow Coma Score, a gross measure of neurological deficit, when the paramedics arrived” stated Piotr’s attorney, Michael Carter of the Chicago law firm, Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates. “A deceased person will score a 3 on that test” Carter added, stating, “Piotr has worked very hard in his recovery, but the injuries are severe.”

According to Carter, the court further determined that Joseph Bauer was a permissive user of the automobile, so the dealership’s carrier should satisfy the judgment. Carter gave the dealer’s insurance carrier an opportunity to settle the claim for the one million dollar policy limit, but the carrier refused. “Now we must pursue collection action, including a bad faith claim against the carrier.”

Managing partner of the Horwitz firm, Clifford Horwitz, cites this as another example of how difficult it is to obtain justice for injured people.

“This was a young man with a bright future”, said Horwitz, adding, “Our firm is dedicated to pursuing every opportunity to give Piotr the best chance at a normal life.”

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Thomas R. Chiola entered judgment in favor of Danuta Skrzypczak, as mother and next friend of Piotr Skrzypczak, against the Estate of Joseph Bauer.