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Personal injury attorney Todd A. Smith settled for $5 million a negligence lawsuit filed on behalf of a visiting Polish law student who suffered a closed head injury when the car he was driving was struck by a truck at an intersection over five years ago. Cook County, Ill., Judge Richard J. Elrod entered an order approving the deal on Thursday, Nov. 2. A jury had already awarded Peter Fabian and his wife, Margaret, $5.6 million in June. The settlement was reached during a Nov. 2 post-trial hearing so that the likelihood of a two-year appeal process could be avoided. According to Smith, a name partner in Chicago’s Power Rogers & Smith, the reduced total was connected with lost income due to Fabian’s injury that the defense claimed was “speculative.” The suit, filed against A.J Canfield Co. and the driver, alleged the truck was moving too fast for conditions and that the intersection’s traffic control light was changing as the collision occurred. The suit was Peter Fabian v. A.J. Canfield Co., No. 95 L 9447. Meanwhile, John C. Bell and Charles P. Rantis of Chicago’s Johnson & Bell alleged that Fabian was the one who had failed to yield the right of way. As a result of the accident, Fabian, who had completed four of five years of law school at the University of Bialystock in Bialystok, Poland, suffers from certain cognitive deficits, short-term memory loss and a speech impediment. On Friday, Smith said he did not believe Fabian, whose mother is a practicing lawyer in Poland, would ever be able to return to law school. “He’s tried to study on his own, but his injury has made it difficult to remember things,” he noted. Elrod’s dismissal order states that the settlement can be broken down into two components: first, the loss of consortium to Margaret Fabian in the amount of $1,070,000; and the pain and suffering as well as disability suffered by Peter Fabian in the amount of $3,930,000. “The challenge was putting Peter before a jury,” Smith said. “He presents himself in a healthy fashion, but it’s not the case in his life.” “The settlement,” Smith added, “is one of the largest awards in Illinois history for a closed head injury not resulting in paralysis.” Bell was out of town on business and could not be immediately reached for comment.

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