Cop Collision Victim Awarded $26 Million

Cop Collision Victim Awarded $26 Million

A jury awarded more than $26 million to a woman rendered quadriplegic after a car crash with a Cook County sheriff’s patrol car in 2001.

An officer who was responding to a non-emergency call ran a red light and collided with the vehicle of Margaret Petraski, a 58-year-old Chicago woman. The accident left Petraski paralyzed and killed her passenger, Delia Grimmett.

The county settled with Grimmett’s family last Friday for $5.75 million. The jury reached the verdict for Petraski late Tuesday.

Cook County officials have expressed dismay with the verdict, since the judge barred evidence that Petraski had been drinking before the crash. The judge disallowed the evidence, saying that the procedure used to determine Petraski’s blood-alcohol level was unreliable.

Paul Salzetta, Petraski’s attorney, argued that the alcohol evidence was irrelevant because his client had obeyed all traffic laws. It was the officer – not Petraski – who had run the red light causing the accident.

Petraski currently lives in a care facility where she is fed through a tube in her stomach. Her past and
future medical expenses are estimated to be $11 million.

Find a Lawyer Now

Search for a Personal Injury lawyer in your state or province by using the forms to the right.