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Morris - Herald News

  • Morris Man Awarded More than $1 Million by Jury

MORRIS – Up until six years ago, 48-year-old Thomas Hagerman never missed a day of work and spent his free time at the gym, preparing for weightlifting competitions.

But that all changed in 2008, when Hagerman’s Dodge truck collided with a Mercury Grand Marquis at the intersection of Lisbon and Bedford roads. The Morris resident suffered injuries that left him disabled for the rest of his life, according to the civil lawsuit complaint filed in 2010.

Last week, after a four-year civil lawsuit, a jury decided Hagerman’s damages were worth $1.08 million.

“This was a verdict that, I think, surprised everybody as far as the amount,” said Mark Rigazio, Hagerman’s lawyer. “It’s very rare to get a $1 million verdict in Grundy County. There is only a handful that I know of.”

The damages are to be paid by the defendant, Betty Leake of Verona, who was driving the car that collided with Hagerman at the time of the accident. At that time, she was cited for failure to yield.

Leake was driving east and Hagerman west on Bedford Road when Leake, allegedly, made a left turn directly into Hagerman’s path.

In the original lawsuit complaint, Hagerman alleged Leake was “being negligent” while operating her vehicle, which caused the collision.

Although Leake denied those claims, the jury ruled against her, and requested she pay the $1.08 million in damages.

Leake’s lawyer, Gary Wunderlich, could not immediately be reached Thursday.

“Our original demand was for $650,000,” Rigazio said. “During trial, at closing argument, I asked for $1.2 million and [the jury] darn near came up with that number.”

Close to $289,000 of the damages were for Hagerman’s medical expenses, which he incurred after undergoing extensive neck and spine surgery.

Hagerman is unable to return to work, but Rigazio said they did not include that amount in the damages because of a knee injury sustained after the accident. The knee injury could also be a contributing factor in Hagerman’s inability to work, Rigazio said.

The largest portion of damages, $450,000, were allotted for loss of normal life. Although he can walk, Hagerman can no longer enjoy physical activity as he once did because of damage to his spine and neck.

“It’s just kind of eating away at him,” Rigazio said. “He can’t even think about going to the gym anymore.”

Other damages included in the total amount were past and future pain and suffering, past lost earnings and future medical expenses.

Hagerman declined to comment and directed Rigazio to speak on his behalf.

Rigazio said he and Hagerman are thankful to the jury and his co-council Joe Mueller for making the verdict possible.

“I have never had a jury that I observed, paid so much attention and took so many notes. I was stunned,” Rigazio said. “They were fantastic.”

By JESSICA BOURQUE. Originally published in the Morris Daily Herald

  • Verdict In Excess of $1,000,000.00

A Grundy County Jury rendered a verdict in excess of $1,000,000 for an injured person in an automobile collision.  Thomas J. Hagerman of Morris suffered injuries in an automobile accident on November 25, 2008 at the intersection of Route 6 and Lisbon Street.  The injuries occurred when another vehicle driven by the Defendant drove her vehicle directly in front of Hagerman’s truck.

Thereafter, Hagerman’s injuries caused him to undergo surgery and greatly interfered with his employment.

Attorneys for Thomas Hagerman were Mark W. Rigazio of the Rigazio Law Office and Joseph Mueller of Cortina, Mueller & Frobish.

The case began on Monday, March 17, 2014 and was tried before the Honorable Judge Lance R. Peterson.   It is only one of only a handful of verdicts for an injured person in Grundy County in excess of $1,000,000. To read more about the case in the Morris Daily Herald, click here.

  • Significant Settlement Against A Local Nursing Home

“Recently The Rigazio Law Office settled a significant case against a local nursing home, in which, an elderly individual was allegedly being transported by staff of the nursing home.  Despite the fact that the staff was aware of the frail condition of the resident, they, nonetheless failed to follow Illinois Department of Health Rules, Guidelines and their own policies in transporting the patient and dropped the patient causing severe which later lead to a death.”

The Rigazio Law Office resolved the case in a very short period of time without the necessity of going to trial.

  • Cancer Misdiagnosis

The Rigazio Law Office became involved in a case wherein it was very apparent that the client’s symptoms lead quickly to a medical professional to take precautions and to perform diagnostic testing to determine if the patient had cancer.  The physician failed to do so, thus, the client’s cancer began advancing to a stage it would not have had the medical professional acted prudently.  The client resolved the case through the Rigazio Law Office and was happy with the results.  The Rigazio Law Office is grateful that their client is going to make a full recovery and live a normal life.

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