Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division
GUISEPPINA DiFRANCO and EUGENIO DiFRANCO, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
CONSTANCE KUSAR, Defendant-Appellee.
from the Circuit Court of Cook County No. 13 L 6288 The
Honorable Edward S. Harmening, Judge Presiding.
PRESIDING JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Harris and Mikva concurred in the judgment
1 Guiseppina DiFranco sued Constance Kusar to recover for
injuries that plaintiff sustained in a motor vehicle
accident. At the jury trial, defendant admitted
negligence, and thus the only issues at trial were whether
defendant's negligence was the proximate cause of
plaintiff's injuries and the amount of damages, if any.
The jury entered a verdict in favor of plaintiff, and awarded
her $1000 for the reasonable expense of necessary medical
care, treatment, and services received; $0 for the loss of
normal life; and $0 for pain and suffering. The circuit court
denied plaintiff's posttrial motion for a new trial. The
circuit court also granted in part and denied in part
plaintiff's posttrial motion for costs. On appeal,
plaintiff contends that: (1) the jury's damages award is
against the manifest weight of the evidence; (2) the circuit
court erred in denying her motion for a new trial; and (3)
the circuit court erred in denying in part her posttrial
motion for costs. We find no error and affirm.
3 The following facts were presented at trial.
4 On June 9, 2011, plaintiff was driving in stop-and-go
traffic, and while stopped, her vehicle was struck from
behind by a vehicle operated by defendant. The collision
caused plaintiff's vehicle to hit the vehicle in front of
hers. It also caused her body to move forward and backward,
and her knees struck the dashboard. Immediately following the
collision, she experienced pain in her neck, back, and arm.
She was taken by ambulance to GlenOaks Hospital (GlenOaks).
She testified that while she was in the emergency room, her
pain was a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10. At GlenOaks, she was
examined and instructed to follow up with her family
physician, Edwin W. Anderson, M.D. On June 13, 2011,
plaintiff followed up with Dr. Anderson.
5 Dr. Anderson's evidence deposition was admitted into
evidence at trial. He testified that plaintiff told him that
she had pain in her arm, neck, and back related to the June 9
collision. Dr. Anderson examined plaintiff and found
tenderness in her lower back, a normal range of motion of the
neck, a normal shoulder exam, a normal elbow exam, and
tenderness in the right pelvis area. He stated that plaintiff
reported she felt "moderate pain." He concluded
that she sustained a cervical strain, an arm strain, a
forearm strain, and a back strain. Dr. Anderson recommended
that plaintiff undergo physical therapy and take
over-the-counter pain relievers. According to plaintiff, she
performed her physical therapy at GlenOaks.
6 Dr. Anderson examined plaintiff again on July 15, 2011. He
stated that she complained of pain radiating down from her
neck into her right arm and lower back. Dr. Anderson
determined that this new complaint was related to the June 9
collision and that plaintiff sustained an injury to her lower
back and neck from the collision. He recommended that she
continue with her physical therapy and gave her prednisone
for her inflammation and swelling. He also referred her to
Dr. Lawrence Frank, a nonsurgical back doctor, because her
condition was "worsening with physical therapy and not
7 According to plaintiff, Dr. Frank recommended that she
undergo physical therapy at GlenOaks, which she did for four
months. After completing the physical therapy, Dr. Franks
told plaintiff to follow up with Dr. Anderson if her pain
continued. Plaintiff testified that she was still
experiencing pain after January 12, 2012, and that her pain
8 Dr. Anderson examined plaintiff again on August 9, 2012,
when she came in complaining of right arm and hand numbness.
Dr. Anderson concluded that the pain was possibly nerve
related, "either carpel tunnel or cervical
radiculopathy, " and his "working assumption"
was that this was related to the June 9 collision. He
recommended that plaintiff get an electromyelogram (EMG),
which was performed at Alexian Brothers Medical Center. Based
on the results of the EMG, Dr. Anderson concluded that
plaintiff had "a pinched nerve in the cervical area as
well as a right carpal tunnel syndrome" and that the
pinched nerve was due to the June 9 collision.
9 On August 20, 2012, Dr. Anderson recommended that plaintiff
undergo an MRI, the results of which demonstrated
"multiple abnormalities in the cervical spine." Dr.
Anderson stated that, based on his education and examinations
of plaintiff, the course of treatment he recommended was
necessary as a result of the June 9 collision.
10 Plaintiff testified that Dr. Anderson referred her to Dr.
Rosenblatt, whom plaintiff described as a "bone
specialist." Dr. Rosenblatt prescribed physical therapy,
which plaintiff underwent at Athletico.
11 At trial, plaintiff offered into evidence bills she had
received for treatment following the June 9, 2011, collision.
In total, she was billed $29, 331.88, which included amounts
billed for the emergency room visit on June 9, 2011, her
follow-up visits with doctors Anderson, Frank, and