On Feb. 9, 2022, Cavanagh Law Group partners Tim Cavanagh and Mike Sorich obtained a $3 million settlement for the family of an Illinois motorcyclist who was killed when he was cut off by a flatbed truck making a left turn.
Jordan Hale, 25, was riding his motorcycle north on Rt. 25 in Elgin, Illinois, on July 8, 2016, when a southbound flatbed truck turned left in front of him at the intersection of Graham Street. Hale’s motorcycle was run over by the truck’s rear tires.
Hale, a chef and St. Charles resident, was taken to Saint Joseph Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
In an interview on the scene, the flatbed truck driver, David Odman, told a Kane County sheriff’s deputy that he saw Hale’s motorcycle before the crash. Odman told authorities he believed Hale slowed down and flashed his lights to allow the truck to turn left. When deposed, Odman later said he had no memory of making that statement.
“The truck driver admitted he saw Jordan approaching and obviously knew our client had the right of way,” Cavanagh said. “No motorcyclist ever signals a driver with their headlights to turn left in front of them. That’s absurd. The driver’s own damning admissions were important to our case and highlight just how crucial it is to hire an attorney early to preserve evidence.”
Odman was on the clock for Welch Brothers, Inc., and turning into the company’s Elgin facility lot at the time of the crash.
During discovery, Cavanagh Law Group learned there had been multiple truck crashes at that intersection. During a deposition, the company’s own safety director conceded it was a dangerous intersection. Welch Brothers, Inc., could have required its truck drivers to go to a nearby stoplight to turn into the facility — but failed to do so.
“Welch Brothers knew the intersection was dangerous and could have required its drivers to do something differently,” Sorich said. “The company could have set policies that never would have placed the truck at that intersection in the first place. That could have saved our client’s life.”
Hale was very close to his family, particularly his parents and two brothers.
“Even though one of his brothers was away in the Navy,” Sorich said, “they always kept in touch. Jordan was a creative and family-oriented young man with his whole life ahead of him. His death took a tremendous toll on his family — not just emotionally but physically and mentally, as well. No amount of money is going to bring their son and brother back, but this settlement helps the family move forward beyond this tragic chapter of their lives.”
A lawsuit in the case was initially filed in Cook County before being transferred to Kane County after an appeal on the venue choice. Cavanagh and Sorich alleged Odman failed to yield to oncoming traffic, failed to maintain control of his vehicle and turned left across traffic.
Odman was ticketed after the crash for failing to yield while turning left. The defense alleged that Hale was speeding and failed to pay proper attention.
Defense attorneys agreed to settle the $3 million case during expert discovery.