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$18.5M awarded to family of teen struck by semi while making trailer repair


A family has been awarded $18.5 million by a jury after an incident with a semi truck left their son with severe brain damage. 

The accident happened back in September of 2016 in Illinois along Route 394 in the south suburbs. 

According to Chicago Sun Times, the Cornejo family was pulled over on the shoulder of the highway near Sauk Village working on a faulty light on their landscaping trailer with Gustavo Cornejo standing outside of the vehicle when a semi truck veered off the highway and struck Gustavo from behind. 

The force of the impact threw Gustavo 30 feet causing traumatic brain injuries, internal injuries, fractured ribs, a broken back, and a skull fracture. His injuries put him in a coma for two weeks and kept him in the hospital for a month. Now, he will require special care for the rest of his life.

The jury deliberated for eight hours over the course of two days after a three-week trial before they announced their $18.5 million verdict. More than $3 million of the awarded amount is expected to go towards future medical care. The family’s suit alleged negligence by the the truck driver and his employers, Alliance Shippers Inc. and Dakota Lines Inc.

“In 2016, my son, Gustavo, Jr., was a 17-year-old with the hopes and dreams of every other teenager. Now, all those dreams are lost; they are gone,” Francine Cornejo said. “I am so grateful to the jurors who understood through their verdict what my son is going through and will be going through for the rest of his life.”

“He has had a very rough road,”said Bradley Cosgrove, the family attorney. “He has recovered to some degree but still requires supervision in most aspects of his life. At the time of the crash Gustavo Jr. was 17 years old and today still suffers from emotional, psychological and traumatic brain injuries.”

“Although this verdict cannot make him the way he used to be, it will be such a help in the care-taking he requires for the rest of his life,” Francine Cornejo said.


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