Our client, a “sixty-something” year-old nurse, was attending a party at her sister-in-law’s house in Melrose Park, Illinois, when the wooden deck she was standing on suddenly collapsed, sending about 20 party-goers on the deck (and the patio furniture and grill) tumbling to the ground six feet below. As a result, our client suffered a fractured ankle which required surgery to repair with metal plates and screws.

A claim was made against State Farm under the sister-in-law’s homeowners’ policy, requesting payment of the out-of-pocket medical bills (about $30,000). When State Farm refused, a lawsuit was filed.

During the discovery phase of the lawsuit, the injury attorneys at Peter Higgins Law hired an architect/construction expert to examine the remnants of the deck. He found that the deck was not built to Code because it was missing several required joist hangers at the supporting beams. Our Peter Higgins Law injury attorneys also took depositions which revealed that the deck had never been inspected to make sure it was safe, and that a knowledgeable inspector would’ve easily discovered the missing joist hangers during a quick inspection. State Farm also hired an expert to say that neither the joist hangers, nor an inspection, would have made a difference.

The case went to trial in the Circuit Court of Cook County Illinois. For the first time, just before closing arguments, State Farm made a $10,000 settlement offer, which was immediately refused. The jury then came back with a verdict of almost $270,000.

After the verdict, State Farm filed motions and an appeal to have the verdict reversed. The trial lawyers at Peter Higgins Law argued to uphold the jury verdict, and the Illinois Appellate Court agreed, requiring State Farm to pay the verdict, court costs, and interest accrued, which, all told, amounted to over $310,000.

It should be noted here that our client never wanted to involve her sister-in-law in a lawsuit, but only did so when State Farm refused to offer anything at all to settle. State Farm’s decision to “play hardball” against our client and Peter Higgins Law ended up costing them over $300,000.

The veteran team of Peter Higgins Law lawyers is available to assist with your case. From our office in Chicago, we offer free consultations to review the details of your potential case. Let our knowledge and experience of the legal system and personal injury law protect your rights. If you have suffered a serious injury you believe is a result of another party's action, call us at (312) 796-6798, complete our online form or chat with a live representative on this website.