A 61-year old woman was killed after she was suddenly hit by a pickup truck in Brighton Park. The truck, reported Chicago Tribune, was parked in an alley and left unattended by its driver when his 13-year old son climbed into the passenger seat and accidently bumped the gearshift with his backpack. When the boy realized the car was moving, he climbed into the driver’s seat and tried to hit the brake, but accidentally hit the gas pedal.
The truck was boosted forward and hit two garages and one car before it stopped after crashing into the woman’s backyard. She was struck by the truck and was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition. According to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, she was pronounced dead later that evening. Illinois State Police ruled her death accidental. The father was cited for leaving a running vehicle unattended and for driving with a suspended drivers license.
Our truck accident attorneys caution that an accident like this could happen to any driver who leaves children unattended in their vehicle. Children often play, kick, and change seats when traveling and could accidentally bump door handles, the steering wheel, or in this case, the gearshift. Toddlers can even potentially become strangled by seat belts. Leaving children unattended in a vehicle increases these risks and therefore increases the risk that you or other drivers and pedestrians could be in an unexpected accident.
Buckle Up Illinois states that all children under the age of 12 should ride in the back seat and parents should make sure they are buckled properly. Other child safety organizations suggest that children should ride in the back seat until they are old enough to drive themselves; this way, if the gearshift were accidently bumped, as in the case above,, there would be a greater chance that the child would know how to stop the car and prevent further injury or damage.
Overall, vehicles should remain locked at all times and children should not have access to car keys or remotes. If you witness a child that is left unattended in a vehicle, it is encouraged to report it by calling 911. Remember that on hot days the inside temperature of a vehicle can reach higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and many children could suffer from heat stroke if the windows are rolled up. Use your judgment in determining if the child is distressed or is in any type of danger.
Although many vehicular deaths are ruled accidental, our justice system affords victims and their families the right to seek answers, and allowing them the opportunity to try to hold wrongdoers accountable if someone’s reckless behavior or negligence contributed to a victim’s injuries or death. Accident lawsuits help individuals and families seek compensation for the harms caused to them, enabling them to recover the costs of medical bills, loss of income and end-of-life arrangements. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident caused by a careless driver, our lawyers may be able help you receive the compensation you deserve. Please contact us to set-up a case consultation with one of our lawyers.