Gerald J. Bekkerman
Gerald J. Bekkerman is a respected trial lawyer with a history of success representing plaintiffs in personal injury cases nationwide. Prior to becoming a joining member of the firm, Gerald ran his own practice, which in just six years he grew to six attorneys. During that time Gerald has obtained numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for his clients.
Gerald has obtained significant and news worthy jury verdicts for his clients, including a record setting jury verdict in Tennessee for a family injured in a truck accident, a headline making $2.27 million dollar jury verdict against the City of Chicago for an injured postal worker, and a $2.5 million dollar jury verdict on a zero offer disputed liability highway crash. He has also obtained significant settlements, including a $4.8 million dollar settlement in a disputed liability automobile crash, a $4.5 million dollar result in a truck accident case in Ohio, a $3 million dollar medical malpractice settlement in Chicago, a $2.25 million dollar settlement for an injured bicyclist in Chicago, a $2 million dollar settlement for a fatality at a construction project, and a $1.5 million dollar settlement for the family of a special needs adult who passed away from neglect in her group home.
Through hard work, attention to detail, knowledge of the law, and a keen sense of compassion and understanding for his clients’ needs, Gerald has been able to help hundreds of clients injured through the negligence of others receive fair and reasonable compensation to help them rebuild their lives.
Gerald has been honored for his accomplishment in the Legal Community. In 2018 he was awarded the prestigious 40 Under 40 Award by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. This exclusive peer reviewed nomination recognizes the best young lawyers in the state, with only a handful of lawyers in each area of practice. Over 1500 nominations were received in 2018 and only 40 were selected. In addition, the National Trial Lawyers has recognized Gerald as a Top 40 Under 40 trial attorney nationwide. Gerald has been recognized as an Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Star for seven consecutive years, an honor given to only 2.5% of all attorneys practicing in Illinois, has been recognized by his peers as an Emerging Lawyer, also an exclusive designation open to only the top 2% of attorneys in the State of Illinois under 40 years of age, and is a lifetime member of the Million and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for his trial successes.
Gerald has been asked to speak at numerous engagements and legal seminars, including the 2017 Illinois Trial Lawyers Damages Seminar, and the 2018 Illinois Trial Lawyers Ethics Seminar. He has also lectured at area law schools on topics ranging from starting and opening a law firm, to jury selection.
Gerald is an active member of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, being elected by his peers to the prestigious Board of Managers, and is also active with the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the American Association of Justice. Gerald is licensed to practice in Illinois and Wisconsin state and several federal jurisdictions. Gerald is also fluent in Russian and proficient in Spanish. He is involved with many charities and advocacy groups, including sitting on the Advisory Board of the Active Transportation Alliance, a non-profit advocacy group focused on improving safety for pedestrians and bicyclists in Chicago and Illinois.
Gerald has developed an impressive record as a trial attorney in the courtroom fighting on behalf of his clients. Some of his verdicts and settlements include:
- $4.8 million dollar settlement at jury trial for a family, son, mother and aunt, who were seriously injured in a disputed highway cut off collision in Chicago, IL. The driver of the family, the son of the injured mother and aunt, was ticketed (later proved improperly) for causing the collision. The case went to a jury trial on a zero offer from the defendant insurance company and was settled during jury selection.
- $4.5 million for two women who were seriously injured in rural Ohio when they were rear ended by a driver driving a semi-truck for a national trucking company. The driver had an extensive history of DUI and other unsafe driving violations which were exposed through litigation. A negligent hiring and retention cause of action with punitive damages was brought against the national freight carrier.
- $2.5 million jury verdict in an automobile case for an injured 25 year old who sustained traumatic injuries to his right ankle and knee, requiring several surgeries and which resulted in a permanent disability. The Plaintiff was ticketed for causing the crash with defendant but trial testimony established that he was not actually at fault. The defense offered zero at trial.
- $2.27 million dollar jury verdict against the City of Chicago for an injured U.S. Postal worker who's leg fell into a sinkhole while he was walking in a pedestrian crosswalk. The injured postal worker sustained a torn ACL and other knee injuries, requiring six surgeries since 2008 and has not been able to return to full duty work. There was no offer to settle before trial.
- $2.25 million for a bicyclist injured by a left turning company vehicle being operated by a runner for a construction company. The cyclist sustained fractures below and above his knee joint, requiring a prolonged hospitalization, surgeries, including complications from infection, as well as mental suffering and depression.
- $2 million dollar partial settlement from two contractors at a construction project after an undocumented worker fell through an uncovered skylight and died while fixing a roof. The case remains pending in Federal Court against three other defendants.
- $1.5 million for the estate of a special needs handicapped adult who died in October of 2011 after she suffered numerous falls at her group home. The decedent, age 60, was a long time resident of a group home for adults with mental disabilities. Despite her deteriorating condition he group home failed to get necessary medical help for her prior to her death.
- $1.185 million dollar settlement for a woman who was struck by a bakery delivery truck in Chicago while she was crossing the street. She sustained head injuries and hip injuries, but did not undergo hip surgery for another 2 years.
- $1 million settlement for the estate of a 34 year old man who was killed by a CTA train. The man was intoxicated when he presented to the CTA Green Line Pulaski Station at 2:00 a.m., when the station was supposed to be closed to the public. However, the gate preventing access to the platform was left open. The decedent wandered the platform, in plain view of the sleeping CTA attendant, and eventually slipped and fell onto the tracks, where he was subsequently struck and killed by an overnight cleaning train.
- $900,000 for the families of two children who suffered third degree burns and scarring to their bodies after being burned with sulfuric acid by another child. The sulfuric acid was alleged to be left out on the property where the minors resided. The landlord and property manager at the premises were sued for negligence in leaving chemicals where children played.
- $850,000 on behalf of a 25 year old female boat passenger who was seriously injured when the operator of the boat she was on unexpectedly took a sharp left turn while traveling at speeds in excess of 25 mph in Southern Illinois. The young woman was thrown to the side of the boat and sustained a fractured disc in her cervical spine requiring surgery. This is believed to be the highest settlement ever reported in Shelby County, IL
- $837,500 for an 85 year old woman who self-admitted herself into a nursing home for rehabilitation following back surgery. The nursing home failed to take proper care of her surgical wound and she got a stage 4 bed sore at the wound in her lower back, necessitating debridement, surgery and a prolonged stay at the nursing home.
- $525,000 for the family of a teenage autistic boy who was violently assaulted by a Chicago Police Officer. The autistic minor, 15 years old, was struck by a metal baton over his head in the kitchen of his parent's restaurant, and sustained a large scalp laceration with permanent psychological injuries. This police brutality child injury case received national attention.
Areas of Practice
- Construction Injury
- Automobile Negligence
- Nursing Home Negligence
- Medical Malpractice
- Premises Liability
- Product Liability
- Trucking Negligence
- Bike Injuries
- Dog Bite Injuries
- Workplace Injuries
- Supreme Court of Illinois
- U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois Trial Bar
- U.S. District Court Central District of Illinois
- State of Wisconsin
- U.S. District Court Western District of Wisconsin
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin
Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago, Illinois
J.D. – 2007
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
B.A. – 2000
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Board of Managers of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
- Illinois State Bar Association
- Chicago Bar Association
- American Association of Justice
- Active Transportation Alliance, Board Member
Lectures and Presentations
- “Addressing and Overcoming Weaknesses with Your Client’s Damages,” Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, Damages Seminar, Oak Brook, IL, March 31, 2017.
- “Ethics and the Use of Social Media During Trial,” Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, Damages Seminar, Oak Brook, IL, March 23, 2018.
Awards and Honors
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- 2018 Chicago Daily Law Bulleting 40 Under 40
- Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Star, 2011-2018
- The National Trial Lawyers as a Top 40 Under 40
- Illinois Emerging Lawyer, 2016-2018
- Lifetime Member Million and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum