A $20 million settlement has been reached between a man who was severely injured in a car accident, and the company that owned the tanker that hit him.
Eugene Hajer was traveling on Illinois Route 113 in Custer Township in southern Will County between Wilmington and Kankakee on Jan. 3, 2009, when he made a left turn, according to his attorneys. At the same time, a tanker truck driven by Alfred Criswell, Jr. from RCD Trucking, Inc. crossed a double yellow line to try to pass him, but instead slammed into Hajer’s pickup.
Hajer – who was a newlywed – had to be airlifted for emergency aorta repair, in addition to suffering a broken pelvis and numerous other permanent injuries, according to his attorneys.
Hajer’s attorneys announced the settlement in October.
The attorney for the defendants, RCD Trucking and Sun Chemical Corporation, told the Cook County Record the settlement was fair.
“The plaintiff had rather significant injuries and serious future medical treatment that was required,” attorney John Malartsik said. “He wasn’t going to be able to work again, and given the liability issues that were in play, I think we all thought it was a fair settlement.”
Hajer’s life has been permanently altered as a result of the crash, his attorney said in a statement.
“This man was a well-respected foreman at a prominent Chicagoland electrical contractor who intended to continue his career for many years,” attorney Robert Clifford said. “Now he lives with permanent pain and disabilities that will forever impact him and his family."
Malartsik said roughly $18 million of the settlement was apportioned to Hajer and $2 million to Hajer’s wife.
"It’s a very tragic incident that very easily could have been avoided if the driver of the tanker would have followed the rules of the road,” plaintiff's attorney Bradley Cosgrove said in the statement.
RCD Trucking is no longer in business, Malartsik said.