Our Chicago accident attorneys empathize and advocate for families who have lost loved ones in motor vehicle and trucking accidents. It is unfortunately all too common that young lives with a lot of potential are cut short. In some instances what is even worse is knowing that a death could have easily been preventable had it not been for the negligence of another individual, such as a distracted or reckless driver on the road.
The lives of two Northeastern Illinois fraternity brothers were cut short this past week, according to the Chicago Tribune. A vehicle carrying five crashed into an 18-wheeler truck, trapping the victims inside the crushed car. Early reports note that the driver, who was also one of the fatally injured victims, may have fallen asleep at the wheel which resulted in the crash. He and one other died in the crash and three others were taken to local hospitals for medical care.
Readers may see this news story and wonder what the family of the deceased passenger can do? What is interesting here is the consideration of the legal steps a victim’s family can take where the arguably negligent individual has also died. In Illinois, the family of the deceased passenger could make a legal claim against the estate of the deceased driver for his negligence in falling asleep behind the wheel and breaching a duty of care to the passengers. According to Illinois Statute, 755 ILCS 5,/18-1 (a), a claim can be made against the estate of a decedent or ward, based upon tort (such as personal injury or wrongful death). From this statute, the family of the deceased passenger would be able to make a legal claim against the estate of the deceased negligent driver.
Our firm stands by the philosophy that justice needs to be sought for those who have suffered, and that wrongdoers should be held accountable for negligence. Distracted driving, which includes driving when deprived of proper rest or sleep, falls under negligence because it is breaching a duty of care to keep passengers and other drivers on the road safe. Even though no amount of money can measure up to a lost loved one, compensatory damages can help a family with financial hardships such as lost income, medical bills, and funeral costs. Furthermore, punitive damages will bring the family justice by punishing the wrongdoer with the primary goal to set a legal example to prevent others from being negligent and reckless in the future. If you have a lost a loved one due to the negligence of another, contact our attorneys for a free consultation, and we may be able to use our legal experience to help you get the compensation you deserve.