What You Need To Know About Coplan & Crane

Oak Park Personal Injury Lawyers Making Headlines In Chicago, Illinois

Oak Park personal injury lawyers Coplan & Crane have been recognized in Chicago and throughout Illinois for their stellar work on some of the most complex personal injury cases. Our case results speak volumes. We have regularly recovered millions of dollars for clients seriously hurt in personal injury accidents. Contact Coplan & Crane and discover what we can do for you. Call (800) 394-6002 or (708) 358-8080 today to schedule a free case evaluation. The sooner you contact us, the sooner you can get your life back on track.

Metra Announces Changes At Deadly Crossing At 87th And Pulaski

At least two deadly crashes have taken place at the Metra crossing at 87th Street and Pulaski Road.

CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reported that Metra announced that the SouthWest Line crossing will be replaced. It comes after victims’ families called for an immediate fix.

“This is something that Metra’s known for years,” said Ben Crane.

Metra confirmed that the area was studied in 2017 and the Illinois Commerce Commission recommended several changes that would make the intersection less confusing for drivers.

Three years later, Metra announced it is finally happening.

“That they’re doing it speaks volumes,” Crane said. “This is a great day for railroad safety. This change this says a lot.”

“This will protect other people from getting killed in that area,” Crane said. “This is a victory for safety in that neighborhood in the Southwest and South Side of Chicago.”

The total project is expected to cost about $2.3 million, with about $350,000 coming from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

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Ben Crane Confirms Metra Knew For Years About Dangers of Crossing

A man was killed while three others were injured when a Metra train collided with a car on the tracks in Hometown earlier this month.

CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey spoke with a woman who claims Metra knew the intersection was dangerous years ago. She said Metra dragged its feet when it came to making a fix.

“This is something that could have been stopped or could have been prevented,” said Jasmine Kemp.

The video of this month’s crash was more than just startling for Jasmine Kemp. It was personal.

In December 2015, her sister, 18-year-old Alexis Kemp and her cousin, 20-year-old Juniel Kemp, lost their lives in the very same spot along the Metra SouthWest Line track at 87th Street and Pulaski Road.

The car they were riding in was caught on the tracks after the gate closed behind it.

“That’s going to hurt for the rest of my life,” Kemp said.

If the account sounds familiar, it’s because the circumstances are identical to the train crash on Feb. 12 that took the life of 19-year-old Christopher Davis.

“They’re falling asleep at the switch,” said Ben Crane, who represents the Kemp family and other victims from the 2015 crash.

He said Metra has been on alert about the confusing layout of the 87th and Pulaski crossing for years.

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Coplan + Crane Camera Captures Chicago Metra Train Accident

The Oak Park law firm of Coplan + Crane captured a train accident at a railroad crossing on video, using a camera they had set up months ago to show how dangerous the crossing is.

The crash occurred at 87th Street and Pulaski Road in Chicago’s Scottsdale neighborhood on February 12, 2020, at around 7:30 p.m., leaving 4 people seriously injured, one fatally.

Crane said a local business owner had given the firm permission to install a camera at the crossing late last year. The firm is collecting evidence as part of a pending lawsuit involving a fatal collision at the same location nearly five years ago. He said Wednesday’s crash was “virtually identical” to the 2015 accident that killed two Chicago women.

“This should not happen,” he said. “This could have been prevented and they just keep letting it happen.”

In the video, the crossing gate is shown coming down on the trunk of a Hyundai Elantra. The driver first appears to put the car in reverse, then accelerates forward, into the path of an oncoming train. The train strikes the car, which then struck 19-year old Christopher Davis, who was waiting to cross the street. Davis was pinned under the train.

Metra spokesperson Meg Reile said the car’s driver, a 26-year-old woman, and her two female passengers, ages 23 and 28, were all seriously injured. Davis later died from his injuries.

Crane emphasized that the crossing is extremely dangerous and called for changes to be made to increase the safety of drivers and pedestrians.

“You can’t just put your head in the sand,” he said. “It’s going to happen again.”

Additional Coverage:

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$1 Million Settlement For Woman Hurt in U.S. 20 Crash

A case involving a woman hurt in a crash on U.S. 20 in 2018 was settled for $1 million.

On January 15, 2018, the 75-year-old woman was driving on U.S. 20 in Erin Township, IL. A 16-year-old girl 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 the other woman’s car.

The woman suffered two fractured wrists, a fractured femur, a fractured ankle and a shattered heel bone. A Stephenson County deputy sheriff 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 the injured woman, said the 16-year-old driver 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. The other driver 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 our client required surgery and will likely require additional procedures and physical therapy. He noted her medical bills amounted to more than $459,000.

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$4.8 Million Verdict In Case Involving Man Fatally Shot By Security Guard

A jury reached a verdict of $4.8 million in a case brought by the mother of a man fatally shot by a security guard at a Chicago Housing Authority complex in 2016.

In the early hours of June 18, 2016, a 24-year-old man was attending a party at a housing complex in Chicago when four security guards with the Kates Detective & Security Services Agency pulled up. Shooting broke out soon after, leaving the man dead and two security guards wounded.

The man had been shot twice in the back, according to court documents.

The Kates Detective & Security Services Agency had been hired to provide security at the complex.

In 2017, the mother of the man who was shot filed suit against the Kates Detective & Security Services Agency in Cook County Circuit Court.

The defense argued that the security guards fired in self-defense. They claimed the man who was shot was the aggressor, engaging in a verbal and physical altercation with the guards before the shooting. Though the man did have a gun, he never fired it.

The jury disagreed with the defense and found a guard responsible for the shooting.

“The jury understood that there was no reason for what happened that night,” said attorney Ben Crane of Coplan & Crane, the law firm representing the man’s mother. “The negligent actions of the security guards led to this tragic loss of life.”

Ben Crane tried the case with the assistance of attorney Ervin Nevitt.

During trial, Nevitt said that licensing irregularities with the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation were uncovered, and the jury agreed that the guard should not have been endorsed by Kates to be licensed as an armed security guard.

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Ben Crane Speaks at Medical Malpractice Seminar

Coplan & Crane partner Benjamin A. Crane will speak on jury selection at an upcoming medical malpractice seminar hosted by the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA).

The ITLA is an organization consisting of over 2,000 Illinois attorneys who specialize in representing injured consumers and workers. ITLA’s mission is to fight for our system of checks and balances by protecting the rights of injured people, defending trial by jury and educating and training attorneys in the art of advocacy.

The firm congratulates Mr. Crane on this opportunity to help educate other lawyers and advance the art of advocacy for injured patients throughout Illinois.

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Coplan & Crane Recognized By Chicago Lawyer and Jury Verdict Reporter

Coplan & Crane’s work was recognized in the 2018 JVR Settlements Report, produced by Chicago Lawyer and Jury Verdict Reporter.

The report took into account more than $1.5 billion in settlements of cases throughout Illinois that were submitted between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018. Only individual settlements of $500,000 or more were considered in the rankings.

Coplan & Crane ranked #21 overall with settlements totaling $15,433,552. The bulk of that figure came from an $11,500,000 settlement in a case that we prosecuted in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois. The defendant was an insurance company that had acted in bad faith by refusing to settle a catastrophic motor vehicle accident claim for the $1 million policy limit.

“If we allow that to persist, then insurance really means nothing and consumers are left without any protection,” said attorney Stephen M. Blecha following the resolution of that case.

Three other significant settlements were also included in the $15.4 million figure.

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Coplan & Crane Obtains $3 Million Settlement In Wrongful Death Case

The family of a pregnant woman killed at an intersection in German Valley where a stop sign was missing has settled a wrongful death suit against Stephenson County for $3 million.

A 32-year-old woman was driving to her doctor’s office for a prenatal checkup early one morning. When she drove through an intersection, she was struck by a car coming down the other road. She died as a result of her injuries soon after.

She was supposed to have come to a stop at the intersection, but a storm the night before had blown off the stop sign. A resident who lives near the intersection had called 911 early that morning to report that the stop sign was missing. But the operator forgot about the call and took no action on it.

Attorneys Ben Crane and Stephen Blecha of Coplan & Crane represented the family, along with Tim Mahoney of Mahoney & Mahoney.

“It was absolutely clear that negligence led to the tragic death of this young mother,” attorney Ben Crane said. “We are pleased to reach a resolution that provides her family with compensation to help them move forward.”

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Coplan & Crane Welcomes Attorney Kevin Burke

Veteran medical malpractice attorney Kevin G. Burke has joined Coplan & Crane in an “of counsel” capacity. Attorney Burke has over 35 years of successful practice in Chicago and has recovered more than $600 million on behalf of clients.

Burke was selected as one of the Top Ten Illinois Attorneys in Personal Injury Law each year from 2003-16, has lectured extensively on legal issues and has been an instructor at Notre Dame Law School. Founding partner Benjamin Crane said, “Kevin’s insight, experience and legal knowledge will be tremendous assets to our law firm.”

Additional Coverage:

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Coplan & Crane Attorney Honored With Amicus Volunteer Award

Oak Park attorney Stephen M. Blecha of Coplan & Crane is one of the 2017 recipients of the William J. Harte Amicus Volunteer Award, presented by the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA).

The award, named after a prominent Chicago lawyer, honors attorneys who have provided dedicated volunteer service in preparing legal briefs for the ITLA Amicus Curiae Committee.

“I am honored to be named a recipient of the William J. Harte Amicus Volunteer Award,” said attorney Blecha. “The ITLA has a long and storied history of representing Illinois residents in their time of need, and I am glad to have the opportunity to volunteer my services on their behalf.”

Founding partner Benjamin A. Crane praised attorney Blecha’s work.

“Our firm is dedicated to representing people in some of the darkest moments of their lives, and Stephen is a devoted contributor to that mission,” said Crane. “We congratulate him on his accomplishments with the ITLA.”

Attorney Blecha and the rest of the recipients were honored at the ITLA’s annual membership meeting on June 9 at the Westin River North, Chicago.

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Historic $15 Million Verdict In Fatal Truck Accident Case

Four years after a fatal truck accident in Rockford, IL, a jury has returned a historic $15 million verdict for the victim’s family.

The case centered on a truck driver who appeared to fall asleep at the wheel moments before rear-ending the victim’s car at full speed, as revealed by a dash-cam video. Plaintiffs’ attorneys argued that their investigation found that the case was about much more than one tired driver. They claimed there was no culture of safety at the trucking company, and that the company’s pattern of lapses led to the fatal accident. The jury agreed.

Attorneys Benjamin A. Crane, Stephen M. Blecha, and Blake M. Vance of Coplan & Crane represented the plaintiffs, along with co-counsel Darrin Doak.

“While no verdict can ever truly compensate for the loss of a mother’s life, we believe that this decision will bring some degree of closure for the family,” attorney Crane said. “We effectively put the trucking company on trial and held them accountable for their failure to ensure that their drivers were safe, dependable operators. Our hope is that the verdict will make our roads safer and prevent other families from suffering as this one has.”

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Ted C. Jennings Named Partner In Firm

Founding partners Greg Coplan and Ben Crane are pleased to announce that Ted C. Jennings has been named partner in the firm.

Mr. Jennings joined the firm in May 2016 with more than 20 years’ experience litigating complex cases, including medical malpractice and other catastrophic injury cases. He represents those who have been harmed by substandard medical care, product defects and dangerous trucking companies, as well as the families of those whose deaths were caused by wrongful conduct.

Ted is a designated “Super Lawyer” in Illinois and has been elected by his peers as a “Leading Lawyer” in personal injury and medical malpractice. He is a member of the Society of Trial Lawyers, the elite, invitation-only group of top trial lawyers in the area. He understands and can explain in court the complicated medical issues in injury cases, and he has a developed network of medical and other experts to consult and testify on behalf of those injured.

Ted knows that needless injury and death have a devastating impact on individuals and their families.  He listens to clients with genuine compassion and zealously advocates for them against insurance companies, big business and others. He provides advice and expertise in a straightforward way, and whether through trial or settlement, consistently works toward outcomes to help blunt the trauma of wrongful injuries and death.

Among his professional activities, Ted is a member of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, the American Association for Justice and the American Bar Association. He graduated cum laude from The University of Minnesota Law School in 1994.

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Coplan & Crane Partners Elected to American Board of Trial Advocates

Attorneys Gregory F. Coplan and Benjamin A. Crane have been elected to membership in the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). This national organization is dedicated to the preservation of a fair and impartial judiciary and the right to trial by jury. ABOTA membership is available by invitation only to “those trial lawyers of high personal character and honorable reputation” who have served as lead counsel in the requisite number of jury trials that have gone to verdict. The association was founded in 1957 by a group of young lawyers dedicated to the preservation of the civil jury trial. The organization notes it seeks attorneys “who display skill, civility and integrity, to help younger attorneys achieve a higher level of trial advocacy and to educate the public about the vital importance of the Seventh Amendment.”

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Welcome Judge Clayton Jay Crane and Attorney Ted C. Jennings

Judge Clayton Jay Crane joined our firm in May of 2016 as an Of Counsel attorney. Judge Crane served in the US Marines from 1968-1975, during which time he ascended to the rank of Platoon Sergeant in his military police unit. He graduated law school and began practicing in 1975, shortly after leaving the military. Judge Crane practiced as an attorney until 1996, when he was appointed Circuit Court Judge. He spent a year in Traffic Court before transferring to the Criminal Division at 26th & California. He joins Coplan+Crane after having recently retired as Judge.

Attorney Ted C. Jennings also joined our ranks in May. He is a Super Lawyer with 20 years of litigation experience. He has tried a wide range of cases including medical malpractice, catastrophic injury, product defects and has represented families of those whose deaths were caused by wrongful conduct. He is a member of the Society of Trial Lawyers, the Illinois Trial Lawyers Associate, the American Associate for Justice and the American Bar Association.

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Gregory F. Coplan discusses Rockford, Illinois fatal truck accident in news report

Attorney Coplan recently discussed his work on WIFR News relating to a fatal truck accident on U.S. Route 20 in Rockford, Illinois.  Coplan represents the family of a woman killed in a rear-end tractor-trailer accident in which the truck driver appears to fall asleep in a dash-cam video of the accident.  “Whatever explanation there is, whether he is asleep, or drowsy, or not paying attention, the fact of the matter remains that Jenny Pivot is dead today because he didn’t slow down,” Coplan said during the news report.  A link to the television news story about the accident can be found here: http://www.wifr.com/home/headlines/Cause-of-Fatal-Truck-Accident-Debated-282217601.html

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Gregory F. Coplan serves on faculty, as moderator at American Association For Justice

Attorney Gregory F. Coplan recently participated in two separate American Association For Justice (AAJ) events held nationwide. In October 2015, Coplan served on the teaching faculty at AAJ’s three-day “Trial Advocacy College: Depositions” in Newport, Rhode Island. Then in February 2016, Coplan served as the moderator for the “Advocacy Track: Effective Deposition Strategies CLE Program” at AAJ’s Winter Convention in Boca Raton, FL. Information about the AAJ can be found here: https://www.justice.org/

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Gregory F. Coplan featured speaker at Illinois trial lawyer’s seminar

Attorney Coplan will speak at an upcoming seminar being held in Oak Brook, IL, concerning settlement negotiations, a topic he’s familiar with through his decades of work as a personal injury lawyer in the Oak Park-Chicago area. The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association will host the seminar entitled “Nuts & Bolts of a Case” on April 2. More information about the event can be found here: https://www.iltla.com/events/seminar-10/

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Firm welcomes additional associate attorney

Ervin Nevitt, sworn in on November 6th, becomes the firm’s third associate attorney. Ervin has been a Legal Admin with the firm since January of 2012.

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Pam Zekman reports on fatigued truckers

This report featured Attorney Greg Coplan and one of our firm’s current clients.


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Ben Crane speaks to West Suburban Bar Association

On Saturday, October 5, 2013, Ben Crane will be speaking to the West Suburban Bar Association. Ben’s presentation will focus on how to prepare demand packages and settle cases prior to filing a lawsuit. The handout for this presentation can be found by clicking the link below.

2013-10-05 Ben Crane – PI Case Demand Package – WSBA Presentation w All Attachments pdf – Adobe Acrobat

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Coplan & Crane Win FELA Appeal Against Metra – Goranowski v. Metra, 2013 IL App (1st) 121050.

In August 2011, the railroad injury attorneys at Coplan & Crane represented a Metra employee in a trial against Metra. The employee prevailed at trial, and the jury returned a verdict for $272,000. Shortly thereafter, Metra appealed this jury verdict to the First District Illinois Appellate Court, asking the Court for a new trial. Specifically, Metra argued that the trial judge made a mistake in ruling on nuanced legal issue (a “special interrogatory”). The issue raised by Metra was an “issue of first impression,” meaning that the Illinois Appellate Courts and the Illinois Supreme Court had not previously addressed the issue. If Metra was successful on appeal, the original trial would have been for nothing, and a new trial would have taken place. Over the course of several months, Metra wrote briefs in support of its position, and the attorneys at Coplan & Crane responded. On June 6, 2013, the First District Illinois Appellate Court handed down the opinion in the case. The Court agreed with the arguments made by Coplan & Crane, and upheld the jury’s verdict.

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News In Circuit Court: Coplan & Crane Obtains $5.6 Settlement for Client

A Cook County judge approved a $5.6 million settlement for a 13-year-old quadriplegic boy injured in a 2008 car crash in Skokie. As a result of the accident, the boy has severely limited communication skills and relies on a ventilator to breathe. The family of the injured boy filed a lawsuit on May 27, 2009, against the driver of a sport utility vehicle that collided with a station wagon driven by the boy’s father. On Dec. 14, 2008, the boy was a passenger in the front seat of the station wagon when it was struck by the northbound SUV. The boy’s father was attempting to turn east onto Old Orchard Road from southbound Skokie Road when the accident occurred. Attorneys Gregory F. Coplan and Benjamin A. Crane, represented the boy’s family. The boy was paralyzed from the neck down. He uses a feeding tube and relies on a ventilator to breathe. The boy’s ability to communicate is limited to blinking and manipulating an adapted keyboard with his chin. The insurance defense lawyers decided to settle the case. They cited Illinois’ so-called One Percent Rule, which would have meant in this case that if a jury were to find the defendant one percent responsible for the accident, the defendant would have been held responsible for the entire amount of exposure. Under the settlement terms, the defendant’s insurance carrier would pay $5.5 million, while the carrier for the boy’s father would pay $100,000.

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An Illinois Super Lawyer and Rising Star at Coplan & Crane

Gregory F. Coplan has been named an Illinois Super Lawyer by his peers every year since 2009. Benjamin A. Crane has been selected as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers every year since 2008. Thousands of ballots were mailed to Illinois attorneys who were asked to vote for the best lawyers they had personally observed in action. Each candidate’s record was reviewed to assure good standing with the Supreme Court of Illinois. The attorneys under consideration were then reviewed by a blue ribbon panel. As an Illinois Super Lawyer and Rising Star, both Gregory F. Coplan and Benjamin A. Crane have been recognized by their peers as being outstanding in their profession.

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Coplan & Crane Featured in October Chicago Lawyer Magazine

Coplan & Crane is featured in the October Chicago Lawyer magazine’s “Largest Settlement Survey.” Each year, the Chicago Lawyer and the Jury Verdict Reporter come together and publish an annual listing of the largest settlements in Illinois. The top 15 results were reported to the Illinois Jury Verdict Reporter between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009.

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