A family seeks to reduce fees and medical liens in accordance with their $300,000 settlement in a suit alleging a drunk driver ran a red light and crashed into their vehicle on Illinois Route 203.
On Dec. 6, plaintiffs Erin Smith and Lori Coleman filed a motion for adjudication of liens and for authority to distribute funds following a settlement through attorney Robert Jones of The Jones Law Firm PC in Belleville.
The motion states that the parties reached a $300,000 settlement with defendant Johnny Lovett for the personal injuries of Erin Smith and minors Annette Smith, Zoe Smith and Tim Smith Jr.
The plaintiffs argue that the Healthcare services Lien Act requires distribution of the settlement so the plaintiff receives at least 30 percent. The motion states that Jones has reduced his fees to 25 percent, or $75,000, to increase the plaintiffs’ settlement amount to 35 percent of the proceeds, totaling $105,000.
The motion further states that medical providers are to receive 40 percent of the settlement, or $120,000, to be split in proportion to the amounts owed for the respective health care liens and services. The total amount of the medical bills for all plaintiffs is $420,638.70.
The plaintiffs request the court to approve reduced medial liens to match with the settlement funds. They seek to reduce the Arch Air Medical Service charge from $36,498.37 to $10,412.27, reduce the Memorial Hospital charges from $11,804 to $3,367.45, reduce the Blue Cross Blue Shield charges from $367,124.95 to $104,733.57, and reduce the Abbott Ambulance/Mission Care charges from $5,211.38 to $1,486.71.
Erin Smith and Coleman, as guardian and next friend of Annette Smith, Zoe Smith and Timothy Smith Jr., filed the complaint on April 7, 2017, against Lovett, who is now deceased.
Erin Smith is the children’s mother, and Coleman is the children’s grandmother and legal guardian.
According to the complaint, Erin Smith was operating a vehicle on Illinois Route 203 in a northbound direction near the intersection with Maverick Road on March 21, 2017. Lovett was allegedly driving in a southbound direction on Illinois Route 203 near the same intersection when he ran a red light and caused a collision. The suit alleges he was driving while under the influence of alcohol
The suit states that Erin Smith was transporting the three minor plaintiffs who were 14 years old, 12 years old and two months old at the time of the collision.
The plaintiffs claim they suffered numerous severe injuries. Erin Smith, Zoe Smith and Tim Smith Jr. were transported by ambulance and Annette Smith was transported by Arch Air Medical Service.
The plaintiffs allege Lovett failed to bring his vehicle to a stop, failed to stop at a stop light, failed to exercise reasonable care, carelessly drove his vehicle in an erratic manner and drove a vehicle that was not in a proper mechanical condition.
They also allege Lovett’s actions were committed with reckless and utter indifference to others.
The case was announced as settled on May 23 and Aug. 22.
A joint motion for approval of the minors’ settlements was filed Sept. 17.
According to the joint motion, Lovett “has denied, and continues to deny, the material claims that minor plaintiffs have alleged.”
However, the motion states that the parties agreed to globally settle all claims against Lovett for $300,000, which is the policy limit of Lovett’s GEICO Indemnity Company automobile insurance policy.
Attorney’s fees and expenses as well as Guardian ad Litems fees and expenses are deducted from the settlement.
The motion states that all medical bills, liens, claims, charges and/or demands for reimbursement shall be paid for using funds from the settlement.
“The proposed agreements and settlements as herein described are fair and reasonable and in the best interests of each of the minor plaintiffs,” the motion states.
The defendant is represented by Laura Gerdes Long and Katherine Flett of Danna McKitrick PC in St. Louis.
Madison County Circuit Court case number 17-L-485