Youth Recovers Beyond Policy Limits Even Though He Rode His Bicycle In Front Of Car ($1.75 Million)

Despite the obstacles thrown up by the defendant and his insurer, Horwitz was able to assist the teen in getting a verdict of $1,750,000. The jury originally awarded $3.5 million but reduced the award, finding that Billy was 50 percent at fault.

The Case

Billy, a high school freshman looking forward to three more years of high school football, experienced a life-altering accident on June 15, 1999, when he was struck by driver Michael Guzick while riding his bike on Division Street in Lockport, Illinois, with four of his friends.

In-Depth Look

Attorney Cliff Horwitz argued to a jury that Billy was making a left turn when Guzick slammed into the rear wheel of Billy’s bicycle.  The hit propelled Billy into the car windshield, cracking his skull. The teen was in a coma for two weeks.  He stayed at the Rehab Institute of Chicago for six months, where he had to relearn how to eat, speak, read, and engage in other activities of daily living.  His brain is measurably smaller due to the trauma he experienced in the accident.

Billy is now a college student and doing remarkably well, though he suffers from permanent cognitive deficits as a result of the auto accident.

Despite the significance of the injury Billy suffered, Guzick’s insurance company did not offer any compensation prior to trial.  Once the trial commenced, the company offered $100,000, to cover a 6-month stay in the rehabilitation facility. The insurance company waited 3 years before making this offer, leaving Billy and his parents to cope, without relief, with the frustration of not holding someone accountable for Billy’s life-changing injuries.

Guzick’s defense attorneys argued that Billy darted out in front of the defendant, and the defendant could not have avoided the collision. Horwitz and his partner, Jay Luchsinger, repeatedly demonstrated to the jury that Guzik and his girlfriend were lying and producing a maze of intricate and self-serving stories.

After trial, Horwitz commented that he was “happy that the jury saw the truth and rendered a verdict against the lying Guzick.”

Unfortunately, the jury’s verdict is only the first step in collecting the award. Horwitz stated that Guzick had only $100,000.00 in insurance coverage. Our client’s only chance for justice now, according to Horwitz, will be to file a bad faith claim against the insurance company for failing to offer the $100,000.00 previously.

“The insurance company made him wait for three years and it’s a perfect example of a callous wealthy company not caring about the devastating injury caused in an accident. I don’t care how much work we have to do,” Horwitz said. “I am going to keep fighting for our client until a jury or a judge tells me that this wealthy insurance company doesn’t have to pay him the $1.7 million for their callous, cold, careless, bad faith – or until a court orders the company to pay him the settlement that is legally and morally his.”