FREEPORT, ILLINOIS — A case involving a woman hurt in a crash on U.S. 20 in 2018 was settled Thursday for $1 million, her attorney said.
On January 15, 2018, Karen Forbes, 75, was driving on U.S. 20 in Erin Township, IL. Amber Heinrich, 16, was traveling in the opposite direction when she lost control of her car while driving through an icy curve, crossed the center line and crashed into Forbes’ car.
Forbes suffered two fractured wrists, a fractured femur, a fractured ankle, and a shattered heel bone. Daniel Ernst, a deputy sheriff in Stephenson County who investigated the crash, noted that it had snowed prior to the accident and that the roads were ”icy, slushy and slick.”
Blake Vance of the law firm Coplan + Crane, which represented Forbes, said Heinrich was solely responsible for causing the accident.
“Liability was never an issue in this case,” said Vance. “While the roads were slippery that day, drivers have a responsibility to adapt to road conditions. Ms. Heinrich was driving too fast and did not take proper actions to avoid a collision.”
He said there were also witnesses to the crash.
Vance said Forbes required surgery and will likely require additional procedures and physical therapy. He noted her medical bills amounted to more than $459,000.
He said Forbes had been working 32 hours a week before the crash and had originally planned to retire at the end of 2018. Because of the crash, she was forced to retire early and suffered lost wages as a result.
After an initial demand of $1,250,000, both sides agreed on a settlement of $1,000,000, Vance said.
The case was dismissed Friday in Freeport following a settlement agreement in Illinois’ 15th Judicial Circuit Court ahead of a March 2020 trial date, according to court records.