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Attorney Spotlight: David McCracken Talks Legal Legacy, Helping Clients in Need

Chicago personal injury attorney David McCracken is an experienced litigator and tireless advocate who has dedicated his career to helping people facing trying times. McCracken is an associate at McNabola Law Group, where he practices every area of personal injury and medical malpractice law, including cases involving trucking, car crashes and catastrophic injuries.

“David is an intelligent, thorough and compassionate attorney who doesn’t back down from a challenge,” McNabola Law Group partner Mark McNabola said. “He is an invaluable member of our team who genuinely cares about each of his clients and delivers 100% every day.”

Learn more in our featured Q&A:

Both of your parents are attorneys. Did that impact your decision to become a lawyer?

There was never any pressure to follow in my parents’ footsteps, but I was always very interested in what they were doing and the stories they would tell. They made careers out of helping people.

My mother graduated from Harvard Law School and was the first Hispanic woman to be appointed judge in Arizona. Before that, she was a prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney's Office. There’s a story she always tells me: When she was considerably pregnant with me, she went to Thailand with federal agents to interview an American who was accused of drug trafficking. She said that was my first international trip.

She also worked in the civil rights division of the Arizona Attorney General's Office and has experience in private practice. Her career was always about helping people. My mother is a very strong, independent woman who I always looked up to growing up.

My father is a plaintiff’s attorney who handles personal injury and medical malpractice cases — the same work I’m doing now. He’s been practicing for almost 50 years in Arizona. I used to spend summers working at his office and saw how he helped people. A lot of his clients were Hispanic immigrants who were turned away from other attorneys because of their immigration status or ethnicity.

My father would take on the medical malpractice case that no one else wanted to touch because the client was an undocumented immigrant who didn’t have insurance. I didn’t realize how special that was until much later on. Growing up, that was just normal.

Tell us about your early career. Why did you decide to practice personal injury law?

I have a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and a law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. I was around personal injury law my whole life through my father, but I didn’t decide to make a career out of it until I worked as a law clerk at a personal injury firm during law school. The cases we tackled were challenging and interesting, and I liked having the opportunity to help people every day.

After I finished law school, I started working at a small personal injury firm in Chicago. I assisted in the litigation department and then became the sole litigation attorney. I was given the opportunity to try a number of cases on my own, which isn’t common for young attorneys. My colleagues had confidence in me, and I gained great experience. I spent eight years there before joining McNabola Law Group in 2018.

What drew you to McNabola Law Group?

The firm has a great reputation and a track record of trial success. We use state-of-the-art technology and retain renowned experts to prove our cases to jurors. We try complex cases, and there’s a lot at stake.

The firm also has a collaborative atmosphere. We ask each other for input, and everyone’s feedback is welcome and valued. Our attorneys work together to expand our view and make sure we don’t miss anything. It’s a sign of a good firm when you’re invested in getting as many perspectives and opinions as possible. It’s a good way to practice.

What sets apart McNabola Law Group from other personal injury firms?

When I interviewed with Mark McNabola, my wife was seven months pregnant. I was nervous to bring that up in an interview because I’d have to say, ‘Oh, by the way, I’ll need to take time off two months after starting the job.’ But as soon as I walked into Mark’s office, the first thing he talked about was his four kids. He showed me pictures and told me all about them. I felt comfortable. When I told Mark my wife and I were expecting, he said, ‘Great! Congratulations!’ It’s amazing to work at a firm that is so family-oriented.

While I was always impressed by McNabola Law Group’s track record, that relationship with Mark is what really drew me in. Mark is easygoing and laidback, but he always gets the job done. I know some attorneys who are so focused on their job that their work becomes what defines them. Mark is more than that. When we walk down the street to go to lunch, we’ll see five people that say, ‘Hey, Mark!’, because he’s been around Chicago forever.

Clients really benefit from that accessibility. We’re here to comfort and help people who have experienced a traumatic injury or devastating loss. We connect with our clients and care about them on a genuine personal level.

You have extensive experience with premises liability cases, or cases that involve a person being injured on someone else’s property. Can you tell us more about that?

Premises liability cases are difficult because defendants try to place blame on the victim. If someone is injured on a staircase, for example, defense attorneys could argue the victim should’ve been paying better attention. You have to find a way to prove the case, to collect and present the right evidence. That’s something I really excel at. I’ve represented numerous people in premises liability cases and have obtained a number of great settlements for clients, including a delivery man who was seriously injured leaving a house when part of the staircase collapsed and several people who have slipped and fallen in dangerous conditions.

I recently obtained a six-figure settlement for a Chicago woman who slipped and fell on ice outside her apartment complex. She was in her late 50s and had a disability and fractured her femur. It was a horrible injury. The owner of her apartment complex was responsible for removing the ice and was clearly at fault, but from the beginning of that case, the insurance company and defense counsel did everything they could to blame my client. They claimed she should’ve removed the ice herself even though she had a disability before the incident. They later claimed she faked her injury. I couldn’t believe what they put her through. I’m proud of what I accomplished for my client. If we hadn’t done anything following her injury, the owner of her apartment complex would still be treating people like that. We held him accountable.

What do you find most rewarding about being a plaintiff’s attorney?

We help people. When you meet a client, they're often facing the worst situation they've ever experienced. You try to help them through that, and sometimes just listening to someone can be incredibly meaningful. People want to be heard. You can help in that moment — not just legally or financially, but also emotionally. I love the feeling of successfully finishing a case and knowing I’ve done something good for somebody.

Recently, I represented a pedestrian who was hit by a car turning left near Newberry Library in downtown Chicago. The defense counsel tried to blame my client, who was visiting Chicago from Australia and simply crossing the street in a crosswalk when he was injured. He did nothing wrong. I was proud to obtain a large award in that case, but it’s always frustrating to watch defense attorneys blame victims. Shortly after I joined McNabola Law Group, I started working on a case with Ruth Degnan, one of our partners. Our client — who was one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met — had just dropped off his daughter at school and was making a left turn when his car was t-boned by an off-duty police officer racing down the street. The defense blamed our client, who suffered a huge hip fracture. We took the case to trial and got a significant verdict in our client’s favor.

Cases like that really stand out because our clients are so often blamed for their own injuries. It’s incredibly rewarding to prove our clients did nothing wrong and to help them obtain the fair compensation they deserve.

You work to build personal connections with every single one of your clients. Has any relationship made a particularly large impact in your life?

I represented a woman who was involved in a terrible crash in McHenry County. It was a head-on collision at 60 mph. She had multiple fractures, both legs broken, a neck fusion, a head injury and the loss of vision. She needed to be airlifted to a hospital and was in a coma for several weeks. Her whole life was shattered. And despite everything, she continued to have a positive attitude.

I was really struck by her strength and personality. We keep in touch to this day. When I visited her in rehab, I would bring a can of Dr. Pepper because they didn’t have any at her nursing home. It made her day. It was amazing to see someone stay so strong and optimistic, no matter what. She makes me want to work harder.

How do you stay involved with the Loyola University Chicago School of Law community? Why is it important to give back?

I am a volunteer judge at Loyola’s moot court almost every year. The way it works is: Three attorneys act as appellate judges. Students are assigned a case, take a side and have to present oral arguments as if they were in appellate court. We grill students on their positions and make them explain why they’ve chosen to approach the facts of the case how they did.

When I was a student at Loyola, I didn’t initially like moot court. You have to give a rehearsed speech on a case you didn’t pick and might not find that interesting. That wasn’t motivating to me. But I loved answering the judges’ questions and having to think on my feet. That’s what I do for the students. I give them the opportunity to defend their position and help them become better prepared for what's really out there when they leave law school.

What do you do for fun outside the office?

I spend time with my wife and son, who is almost 2. I like playing sports — mainly softball, golf and basketball depending on the season. I read a lot of history and historical fiction, and I love anything to do with food. I like cooking. I like eating out. I like to barbecue and use food science and gadgets.

Are you involved in any professional organizations?

I'm a member of American Association for Justice (AAJ), Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA), Illinois State Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Association.

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From our offices in downtown Chicago, our personal injury litigation attorneys represent clients in communities throughout Cook County and Illinois. Learn more about ways we can help you receive the compensation you need for your physical, mental, emotional and financial recovery. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.

$27

million

Product Liability - A married father of three was paralyzed in a boating injury when he fell from the upper deck of a yacht. The offer by the insurance company for the defendant was $3 million before trial and $25 million after 3 weeks of jury trial.

Trial Attorneys Mark McNabola, Ruth Degnan

$20

million

Construction Site Negligence - A man was demonstrating construction equipment known as a “man lift” and was elevated in the air. The lift collapsed and two men suffered permanent injuries. McNabola Law Group represented one of two men injured totaling $20 million. Prior to jury trial the offer was $3 million

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$14

million

Medical Malpractice - A young mother died during child birth when doctors failed to monitor her properly. Her newborn baby also suffered irreversible brain damage during the delivery at a Chicagoland hospital. 

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$12

million

Medical Malpractice - A 52 year old man suffered an anoxic brain injury following routine bowel surgery when doctors and nurses at a suburban hospital failed to properly monitor and treat him post-operatively. The offer before jury trial was $3 million. Case settled after it was set for jury selection.

Trial Attorneys Mark McNabola, Ruth Degnan

$10

million

Trucking Negligence - A young girl was killed when she was struck by a vehicle that had previously collided with a bus that was traveling too fast for conditions. After a ten-day jury trial, a Cook County jury returned a verdict in favor of the family. According to the Jury Verdict Reporter, this is a record high verdict for the wrongful death of a minor in a motor vehicle accident. There was no offer for settlement by the defendant.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$10

million

Trucking Negligence - A Cook County jury entered the verdict in favor of a 72-year-old grandmother rendered wheelchair-dependent after a car vs truck accident. The offer prior to trial was $3 million

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$9.8

million

Automobile Negligence - A 72 year old woman was paralyzed following an automobile accident. The defendant turned into the plaintiff’s vehicle causing her to sustain a spinal fracture and dislocation at C6-C7 requiring a fusion. She is wheelchair dependent. The offer for settlement before jury trial was $4 million

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$9.2

million

Medical Malpractice - A young woman suffered amputation of her legs as a result of complications following surgery at a suburban hospital. Doctors and nurses failed to develop and implement an appropriate plan to manage blood thinning medications pre and post-operatively leading to severe clotting and tissue death. The case settled during jury selection. The offer was $3 million before trial.    

Trial Attorneys Mark McNabola, Ruth Degnan

$7.8

million

Medical Negligence - A woman presented herself to the emergency room on three consecutive days with worsening symptoms. Finally, she was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis but suffered severe injuries due to the delay of diagnosis and treatment. The initial settlement offer was $3 million.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$6.9

million

Construction Negligence - A man lost his leg while working at a City of Chicago construction site. The man was working near his truck at the construction site when a driver struck him and pinned him against his truck. City workers failed to properly mark their construction site, failed to safely route traffic around the area, and failed to use flaggers to warn traffic to slow down and direct it to move one direction at a time. The offer prior to jury trial was zero. A Cook County jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$6.8

million

Medical Negligence - A 48 year old woman suffered severe brain damage at a Chicagoland hospital after surgery to alleviate sleep apnea. Her breathing tube clogged because of inadequate monitoring by the nursing staff. 

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$6.8

million

Construction Negligence - A 30 year old man suffered severe injuries from a 30-foot fall at a construction site and received blood thinning medication at the defendant hospital that was intended for another patient. The offer before trial was zero.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$6

million

Motorcycle Negligence - A teenager and her father were injured in a motorcycle crash. The 15 year old suffered severe fracture to her right ankle which required multiple surgeries. Her father sustained numerous injuries including a fractured wrist and ankle.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$5.8

million

Automobile Negligence - A wheel assembly dislodged from the axel of a semi-trailer killing two seventeen year old boys.  McNabola Law Group represented the family members of one of the two boys. The extent of liability insurance coverage for both families was six million dollars.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$5.5

million

Automobile Negligence - A 29 year old woman suffered a fractured cervical spine and subsequently died after the car she was riding in crashed into a construction pit. The jury held the contractor liable for failing to place concrete barriers at the construction site. The offer prior to jury trial was $1 million.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$5

million

Product Liability - A man working in Will County was unexpectedly sprayed in the face with anhydrous ammonia when a house coupler failed to close properly. The incident caused severe eye injuries. During the investigation, the coupler was thrown away. The primary cause of this action was based on spoliation of evidence against the insurance adjuster. According to the Jury Verdict Reporter, this is a record high result for this type of injury. The offer prior to trial was zero.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$5

million

Construction Negligence - A 27 year old man’s legs were crushed causing below the knee amputations when a wall fell onto his legs after an employee cut a steel beam while demolishing a Union Pacific railroad bridge. $5 million was the extent of the insurance policy limit. This case concluded after it was set for jury trial. 

Trial Attorneys Mark McNabola, Ruth Degnan

$4.9

million

Medical Malpractice - A young girl who suffered from cardiac arrhythmias due to a cardiac abnormality had a cardiac procedure. Four weeks after the procedure, she was cleared to resume sports and other activities, she collapsed in gym class and later died. The case settled prior to jury trial.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$4.7

million

Construction Negligence - A man was working on a ladder, painting a Chicago building, when his ladder came in contact with electrical wires. He suffered severe electric shock, broken ankles and ribs, and a fractured back. An Illinois utility company, ComEd, was called four times before the incident to shut off the lines but they never shut off the lines. The victim has undergone multiple surgeries and has not been able to return to his career since the incident.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$4

million

Medical Negligence - A young woman died at a Chicago hospital when doctors failed to timely diagnose symptoms of a pulmonary embolism. She had a cardiac procedure performed so that she could stop taking anti-arrhythmia medications. She was discharged from the hospital only to die two days later.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$3.6

million

Medical Negligence - A 12 year old girl was deprived of oxygen for 15 minutes during a routine surgical procedure. Plaintiffs alleged the surgical residents mismanaged the young girl’s airway and negligently allowed her condition to deteriorate before attempting intubation at the bedside. Following a two week trial the jury awarded $3.6 million. The offer before jury trial was zero.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$3

million

Automobile Negligence - A man’s automobile was struck by a taxicab and he suffered permanent weakness in his legs and a laceration of an artery in his chest. The extent of insurance company policy limit was $3 million

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$3

million

Medical Negligence - A 60 year old man who suffered from uncontrolled diabetes and vascular disease was admitted to a Chicago hospital with an infected ankle wound. Doctors postponed the procedure and failed to timely readmit the plaintiff to undergo a procedure to reestablish blood supply to his leg. Plaintiff leg was amputated below the knee a month later.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$2.9

million

Medical Negligence - A DuPage County record jury verdict for the family of a 5 day old baby who died when physicians failed to timely diagnose an obstructed bowel. The jury concluded physicians also delayed administering IV fluids, antibiotics and transfer to an institution with a pediatric surgeon available. The offer prior to trial was zero.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$2.7

million

Automobile Negligence - A 41 year old father and husband was killed instantly when the defendant ran a red light and hit his vehicle.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$2.5

million

Medical Negligence - A 58 year old woman died after a radiologist from a Chicago hospital misread the patient CT scan and failed to identify her bowel obstruction. 10 days later another CT scan was done and the obstruction was located and emergency surgery performed. She suffered complications which resulted in her death.

Trial Attorneys Mark McNabola, Ruth Degnan

$2.5

million

Trucking Negligence - A 31 year old man was hit by a flatbed truck after he stopped and exited his car to gather a loose dog from the roadway. He suffered degloving of his left leg above and below the knee, vascular and nerve injuries. Plaintiff has been unable to return to work.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$2.3

million

Trucking Negligence - A woman was killed while driving on I-88 when an upraised backhoe on a flatbed trailer hit the underpass and fell on top of her car.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$2.2

million

Medical Negligence - A 42 year old high school teacher died of severe coronary atherosclerosis after a Chicago hospital failed to recognize or timely provide treatment for high cholesterol and hypertension.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$2

million

Trucking Negligence - A woman driving on I-80 was cut off by a truck driver, forcing her off the roadway. Her car flipped, causing de-gloving of her right arm and serious injuries.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.8

million

Construction Negligence - A 39 year old man sustained bilateral hip fractures, shoulder dislocation, and a torn rotator cuff during a fall from inadequate scaffolding at a construction site.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.8

million

Negligence - A railroad worker was injured when he was working underneath a train car. The train car moved resulting in injuries to his shoulder, knees, hip and neck. The accident was caused by miscommunication between employees and the company that managed railcar movements in the yard.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.8

million

Product Liability - A settlement against a furniture company in the case of a 3 year old who died when a poorly-constructed dining room chair toppled over. The front legs of the chair were one half inch longer than the back legs. The child suffered a seizure, became unconscious and died the next day at a Suburban hospital.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.8

million

Trucking Negligence - An 81 year-old woman was struck by semi-tractor trailer resulting in multiple fractures to her right femur, left tibia, left ankle and right hip. The defense had two witnesses who claimed the plaintiff walked into the back of the trailer while crossing mid-block outside the crosswalk. The case settled during jury trial. The offer before trial was zero.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.7

million

Automobile Negligence - A young man was driving on a highway when his vehicle was struck from behind by a sports utility vehicle. Plaintiff suffered injuries to his back which required surgery.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.6

million

Record High Jury Verdict - A college student suffered burns on her face, arms and chest in an incident at a campus bar at the University of Iowa. A bartender poured grain alcohol into the bar well and lit it on fire. The flames went out of control and into the crowd.  After a six-day jury trial, in Iowa City the jury returned a verdict in favor of the victim. According to the Iowa City Press-Citizen, the award is one of the largest in Johnson County history. The offer prior to jury trial was $200,000.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.5

million

Construction Negligence - A 37 year old mason was working on a construction site when a forklift struck a crossbar of the structural steel frame, dislodged unsecured concrete planks, and fell killing him instantly.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.3

million

Automobile Negligence - Three plaintiffs were in an automobile that struck and hit a construction barrel on I-94. The passengers took off their seat belts and one of the passengers exited the car. The defendant then struck the vehicle and the vehicle hit the passenger who exited the vehicle throwing her onto the CTA tracks. She suffered a brain bleed, fractures to her ribs, pelvis, tailbone, jaw and ankle. The plaintiffs that were in the car was ejected and died. There was a limited amount of insurance coverage.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.1

million

Medical Negligence - An 8 day old baby died on the operating table when the anesthesiologist improperly managed the baby’s anesthesia during the surgery. The anthologist failed to advise surgeons of the baby’s low blood pressure and abnormal blood gas readings.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.1

million

Medical Malpractice - A woman suffered a stillbirth despite having carried her baby to term through a healthy pregnancy as a result of the failure of the nurses and physicians to properly monitor and to timely reverse signs and symptoms of significant fetal distress.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.1

million

Construction Negligence - Plaintiff fell from a temporary staircase in his new home suffering a hip injury. Investigation of the staircase concluded it was not properly re-installed and secured after hardwood flooring was installed.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1

million

Record High Settlement - After seven days of jury trial, the parties agreed to settle a work injury case involving a reflex sympathetic dystrophy injury to a 37 year old man. The plaintiff slipped on an unnatural accumulation of ice and water at the Bismark loading dock at Navy Pier, fracturing his right leg. The injury resulted caused RSD. According to the Jury Verdict Reporter, this is the highest result on record for this type of injury. The offer before jury trial was zero.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola