April 28, 2011

Illinois Car Crash Lawsuit Alleging Medication Caused 2005 Wrongful Deaths of Mother and Her Baby Still Not Resolved

According to the Daily Chronicle, a settlement has not yet been reached in the Illinois car crash deaths of 18-year-old Amanda Elkins, 18, and her 10-month-old daughter Jazmine Luciano in 2005. Their family believes that Elkins crashed her car into a semi-truck because the staff that administered medication to her did not advise that it would make her too drowsy to drive safely.

On January 26, 2005, Elkins, who was suffering from flu-like symptoms, went to the Dreyer Medical Center in Batavia. While she was there, the medical staff intravenously administered Phenergan to her. One of the side effects of this medication is drowsiness.

On her way home, Elkins drove her 2002 Kia Rio across the center line of Route 30 and crashed her vehicle head-on into a semi-trailer. She died at the Illinois semi-truck crash site. Her daughter Jazmine, who was in a car seat in the back of the car, was pronounced dead at a Dekalb hospital.

DeKalb County Coroner Dennis Miller says that a doctor who treated Elkins said during the coroner’s inquest that he did not realize that Elkins was planning on driving herself. Elkins’ mother, Molly Farrell, says her daughter would not have crashed her car if the doctor had told her not to drive. Following the accident, the clinic began requiring medical staff to tell patients when it is too dangerous to drive after taking certain medications.

Car Accident and Medications
Most medicines have side effects, some of which can impair a driver’s ability to drive safely. Certain medications can make a person drowsy, groggy, dizzy, confused, blur vision, and/or unable to react quickly. All of these reactions can make it hard for a motorist to pay attention, think clearly, and deal with emergency situations. Physicians can be sued for medical malpractice if they prescribed a drug that caused a Chicago car crash because they did not notify the patient of side effects. Another possible liable party is a pharmaceutical company that did not provide adequate warnings of risks involved with taking the drug.

Local family waiting on 'justice' from 2005 car accident, Daily Chronicle, April 2, 2011

Prescription Drugs May Impact Driving Performance, EMaxHealth

Related Web Resources:
Amanda and Jazmine Blog

CyberDrive Illinois

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February 28, 2011

Family to Proceed with Illinois Auto Products Liability Lawsuit Despite NASA & NHTSA Findings that Electronic Flaws Did Not Cause Toyota Sudden Unintended Acceleration

Even though a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study has found that electronic flaws are not to blame for the many sudden unintended acceleration crashes involving Toyota vehicles, the family of Leon Przybylowski say that they plan to proceed with their Illinois auto products liability lawsuit over his wrongful death.

Przybylowski, an 87-year-old Streamwood resident, died in May 2010 when his Toyota Corolla suddenly accelerated in a South Elgin strip mall, causing it to hit a parked auto and a wall. His family filed an Illinois wrongful death complaint in November—one of 400 auto products liability lawsuits against Toyota blaming defective electronics.

Now, however, the NHTSA’s study, which was put together with the help of NASA engineers, has found that instead of electronic flaws, mechanical and human errors may have been responsible. Przybylowski’s family they are not convinced. His Toyota Corolla was one of the vehicles that were recalled for faulty engine control modules. At the time, Toyota said the safety issue might cause engine failure or harsh shifting.

Last week, Toyota Motor Corp. recalled another 2.17 million autos because of floor mat and accelerator pedal entrapment issues—two other causes of sudden unintended acceleration accidents that were previously cited. A Toyota or Lexus with this safety issue might accelerate out of control suddenly if the accelerator were to get stuck in the floor mat. Meantime, NHTSA says it is closing its probe into the matter of pedal entrapment and it is satisfied with how Toyota has handled this problem.

Family undeterred by report on Toyota issues, Chicago Tribune, February 23, 2011

Toyota Corolla Driver's Alleged Unintended Acceleration Accident Caught on Security Camera, MYFoxChicago, November 10, 2010

Related Web Resources:
NHTSA-NASA Study of Unintended Acceleration in Toyota Vehicles, NHTSA

Toyota recalls 2.1 million vehicles in U.S. over acceleration, Washington Post, February 24, 2011

More Blog Posts:
Following Toyota Recall of 2.3 Million Vehicles Over Gas Pedal Defect, Automaker Places Temporary Stop on Sale of Eight Car Models, Chicago Car Accident Attorneys Blog, January 26, 2010

Toyota Sudden Acceleration Blamed for Over 100 Traffic Deaths, Chicago Car Accident Attorneys Blog, March 26, 2010

Toyota Has Known About Deadly Floor Mats for Two Years, Reports New York Times, Chicago Car Accident Attorneys Blog, October 1, 2009

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January 20, 2011

Illinois Court of Claims Awards $8M to Family of Uhl Sisters Killed in 2007 Car Crash Caused by State Trooper Accused of Speeding, Texting, and Cell Phone Driving

The Illinois Court of Claims has awarded $8 million to the parents of 18-year-old Jessica Uhl and her 15-year-old sister Kelli Uhl. The Collinsville sisters died in 2007 in a head-on Illinois car crash involving state trooper Matt Mitchell on Interstate 64. This is the highest award ever issued by the court.

Mitchell, claims that he lost control of his auto because another vehicle that cut him off was headed to the scene of an accident when the Illinois auto crash happened. However, there is evidence indicating that he was speeding at 126 miles per hour, talking on his cell phone to his girlfriend, and sending emails on his in-dash computer. Mitchell pleaded guilty in criminal court to reckless driving and reckless homicide. He was given 30 months probation.

The civil case went to the Court of Claims and not an Illinois wrongful death jury because the state has sovereign immunity from lawsuits. This is important to note, because many injury victims might balk at filing a claim against the state for fear that they are wasting their time. It is important that you explore your legal options because there still may be a way for you to obtain your financial recovery.

Court of Claims Judge Peter J. Birnbaum concluded that Mitchell caused the girls’ deaths, breached his duty of reasonable care, and drove his police vehicle in a way that endangered others. Out of the $8 million award, the girls’ mom, Kimberly Schlau will receive $3.5 million for the loss of her daughters. Their father, Brian Uhl, will also receive $3.5 million. Their half siblings, Madelyn Dorsey and Anthony Uhl will each get $500,000. The award must pass through the Senate and House before the governor can sign it and send to the state comptroller.

Chicago Car Accidents Involving Police Vehicles
Even when a police officer is heading to an accident or crime scene, he/she must still drive safely and responsibly so as to not cause a Chicago car accident. Distracted driving, speeding, texting while driving, talking on the cell phone, drugged driving, and drunken driving are some of the careless acts that can cause tragic auto collisions.

Mitchell, who is no longer with the Illinois State Police, has filed a workers’ compensation claim for the injuries he sustained in the traffic crash that killed the Uhl sisters.

Family Gets $8 Million in Fatal Trooper Crash, CBS St. Louis Local, January 19, 2011

Family of Collinsville sisters killed in crash receives $8 million from state, BND, January 19, 2011

Ex-State Trooper Convicted of Motor Vehicle Deaths of Uhl Sisters Seeks Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits for His Injuries from the Crash, Chicago Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, September 22, 2010

Illinois Car Accident Lawsuit: Uhl Family Seeks $46 Million for Wrongful Death of Daughters From Police Pursuit, Chicago Car Accident Attorneys Blog, May 7, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Court of Claims, CyberDriveIllinois

Illinois State Police

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November 24, 2010

Mother of Chicago Car Accident Victim Killed Last Thanksgiving Files Cook County Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A year after Oak Lawn pedestrian Elias Nunez was fatally struck by a drunk driver last Thanksgiving, his mother is suing motorist Anthony Morales for Chicago wrongful death.

The tragic Cook County pedestrian accident happened at around 3am while Nunez was attempting to push his auto, which had become disabled. Four others suffered injuries. Morales has been charged with felony aggravated drunken driving, leaving the scene of an accident, and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

Nunez’s mother, Theresa Nunez-Wescott, is also suing The Club, the bar that served Morales alcohol prior to the tragic Chicago car accident, and its owners for her son’s wrongful death.

Driving Safely On Thanksgiving
The National Safety Commission says that Thanksgiving weekend is considered the most dangerous holiday of the year for motorists and can result in thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths. 389 people died during Thanksgiving 2008. 12 people were killed in Illinois traffic crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday last year. Nine of the victims were not using seatbelts. Five of the deaths were drunk driver-related.

In addition to heavier traffic and the compulsion to speed that can arise when people are headed on a road trip during a long weekend, there may be motorists who have had too much to drink or may be feeling drowsy after eating a heavy turkey dinner who may find themselves unable to drive safely.

A Few Safe Driving Tips for the Holiday:
• Use a seatbelt
• Don’t drive drunk
• Don’t speed
• Don’t drive while drowsy
• Don’t text or talk on the phone
• Pay attention to the road
• Adjust your driving to the traffic and road conditions

Lawsuit filed in Oak Lawn man's crash death, Southtown Star, November 24, 2010

Area police warn drivers to be safe this holiday, Rockford Register Star, November 23, 2010

Chicago-Area Car Accidents Over Thanksgiving Weekend Kill at least Six and Injure Several Others, Chicago Car Accident Attorneys, December 11, 2009

Related Web Resources:


Holiday driving tips to help hit the road, CNN, November 23, 2010

Continue reading "Mother of Chicago Car Accident Victim Killed Last Thanksgiving Files Cook County Wrongful Death Lawsuit" »

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August 19, 2010

Dolton Car Accident Kills Teen and Now Parents are Suing Village and Cook County for Fatal Police Pursuit

Selean Turner Brack and Kenyatta Brack Sr. are seeking at least $50,000 in Illinois wrongful death recovery from Cook County and the Village of Dolton. Their son, 16-year-old Kenyatta Brack Jr. was killed on Sunday in a Dolton bicycle accident when he a speeding motorist that was fleeing from police hit him. The driver was going at speeds of about 70 mph at the time. He did not stop at the crash site.

According to the Brack’s Cook County wrongful death lawsuit, police violated police practices when they took part in a high-speed police chase even though no violent crime had been committed, the vehicle pursuit was taking place in a suburban residential area, and office superiors had not been notified.

The officers involved in the police pursuit claim that they never drove faster than 35 mph while following the suspect and were two blocks away when the Dolton car crash fatally injured the teenaged victim. A friend who was cycling with Kenyatta, however, claims that the police cars were driving fast and following closely behind the other vehicle.

The Brack family is calling for the hit-and-run driver to come forward.

Cook County Car Accidents
There may be more than one party who should be held liable for your Cook County car crash injuries. We know how devastating it is to lose someone you love because other people were reckless or careless or negligent. Taking care of legal issues is not something you likely want to be thinking about so soon after your loss. However, the sooner your explore your legal options, the better you will increase the chances of getting the maximum Chicago car accident compensation from the responsible parties.

Father of Dolton teen killed in hit-and-run questions police account, Chicago Tribune, August 16, 2010

Lawsuit: Cops triggered hit-run crash that killed teen in Dolton, Sun-Times, August 17, 2010

Related Web Resources:
The Village of Dolton

Chases by police yield high fatalities, USA Today, April 23, 2010

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August 17, 2010

Chicago Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Over Rogers Park, Illinois Car Crash that Left Woman Dead and Her Son with Serious Injuries

Nearly eight months after a driver in a car fleeing police allegedly struck his wife and son during a Rogers Park pedestrian accident, Felix Worthon is suing motorist Ralph Eubanks for Chicago wrongful death. Worthon, his 48-year-old wife Maria, and their 6-year-old son Jeremia were crossing a narrow street at the time. Maria, whose body was thrown some 100 feet after she was struck, died at the Rogers Park car crash site. Jeremia sustained critical injuries.

According to Cook County prosecutors, Ralph Eubanks, the driver of the 1998 Grand Prix that struck Maria and Jeremia, was fleeing police and allegedly driving at about 70 to 80 mph. He did not slow down or stop at the Rogers Park car accident site.

Eubanks was apprehended with traces of ecstasy, cocaine, and marijuana in his blood. He is charged with aggravated driving under the influence, first-degree murder, and leaving the scene of a deadly car accident site. At his bond hearing after the deadly Rogers Park traffic crash, prosecutors said that Eubanks has never had a driver’s license. He also has three prior convictions for driving without one and has spent time behind bars for drugs, weapons, and possession of a stolen vehicle-related convictions.

Worthon is also suing the owner of the vehicle, Dennis Jeter. Worthon contends that Jeter gave his “explicit permission" for Eubanks to use the vehicle.

Drunk driving and drugged driving are negligent acts that claim the lives of many people each year. Do NOT speak with the other party’s insurer about your Chicago car accident case without exploring your legal options first.

Suit filed against driver, car owner in fatal crash, Chicago Breaking News, August 9, 2010

No Bond For Driver Held On Hit-Run Murder Charge, CBS2, December 24, 2009

Related Web Resources:

Drugged Driving, NIDA

Impaired Driving, CDC

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August 13, 2010

$1 Million South Elgin Car Accident Lawsuit Settlement Reached Between West Chicago Strip Club and Families of Pregnant Woman, Her Unborn Child, and Club Patron

The Diamonds Gentlemen's Club, a West Chicago strip club, has settled the Kane County, Illinois wrongful death lawsuit filed by the families of April Simmons, 27, and John Chiariello, 25, for $1 million. Simmons, who was pregnant at the time, and Chiariello died from injuries they sustained in January 2006 when they were involved in a South Elgin car crash with John Homatas. Chiariello was a passenger in Homatas’s vehicle. Also killed in the Illinois car accident was Simmon’s unborn baby.

According to the Illinois wrongful death lawsuit, Chiariello and Homatas were thrown out of the strip club after getting drunk. The club’s employees put Homatas in the car and he and Chiariello drove off. Some 15 minutes later, Homatas crashed his vehicle head-on into Simmons’ SUV.

Although the club had initially argued that it shouldn’t be held liable for Homatas’ actions since it doesn’t serve alcohol (it has a bring your own liquor policy), earlier this year the Illinois Supreme Court said that the strip club was at least somewhat accountable for the Kane County car crash.

From the $1 million settlement, which is the most that the club’s insurance allows, $800,000 will go to Simmons’s family. The remaining $200,000 will go to Chiariello’s family. Homatas, who is serving a 12-year prison term for his convictions for reckless homicide and aggravated DUI, settled the South Elgin wrongful death case against him for $200,000, which is also the maximum allowed under his insurance policy.

There may be more than one party who should be held liable for your Chicago car accident injuries.

West Chicago strip club settles DUI suit for $1 million, Chicago Tribune, August 12, 2010

Families Can Sue West Chicago Strip Club for Fatal Illinois Car Crash, ChicagoCarAccidentAttorneysBlog, March 19, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Illinois Supreme Court Ruling (PDF)


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July 16, 2010

DuPage County Car Accident Kills West Chicago Man

81-year-old Thomas Tinnes was killed on Sunday night in a DuPage County car accident close to Wheaton, Illinois. The West Chicago man was attempting to leave a golf course in his 2001 Mercury Grand Marquis and turning onto Butterfield Road when his vehicle was struck on the driver’s side by a 2004 Dodge Dakota truck.

Tinnes was pronounced dead early Monday at Central DuPage Hospital.The DuPage County traffic collision is under investigation.

In other Illinois car accident news, a 14-year-old boy is asking Maywood police to take another look at allegations accusing his brother of road rage in a deadly Cook County car accident. Christopher McConnell, 21, is accused of running a red light and killing himself and two other people. The two other victims, Nancy Tucki, 57, and Nicholas Randazzo, 36, are both from Chicago.

According to police, on the night of July 8, McConnell’s black Honda ran a stop light at Chicago and First Avenue, crashing into Randazzo’s Mercedes SUV. One witness, 18-year-old Christopher Scotland, says that that the catastrophic Maywood car accident happened because McConnell was suffering from road rage and chasing his vehicle. Scotland contends that the chase at times reached a speed of 80 mph. Tucki and Randazzo were not part of the alleged pursuit.

Our DuPage County car accident lawyers and Chicago injury attorneys know how confusing life can be immediately after a traffic crash that has resulted in injuries for you or the death of a loved one. That said, it is important that you get legal help immediately.

Wheaton car crash leaves West Chicago man dead, MySuburbanLife, July 12, 2010

Man's brother begs police to re-examine road rage crash, Chicago Sun-Times, July 11, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Safety on the Road, National Safety Council

Road Rage, Drivers.com

Continue reading "DuPage County Car Accident Kills West Chicago Man" »

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July 8, 2010

Cook County Car Accident Lawsuit Blames Driver for Miscarriage

Lilia Galvez is suing Bella Guller for the death of her unborn baby. In her Cook County car accident lawsuit, Galvez, who was pregnant at the time of the Niles, Illinois traffic crash on July 7, 2008, claims that she miscarried her baby when her car was struck in the by Guller, who was backing up her auto.

Galvez is seeking over $100,000 plus legal expenses from Guller.

Cook County, Illinois Car Accident Cases
It is important that you work with an experienced Chicago car accident law firm that knows how to pursue your recovery. While it can feel terribly confusing and overwhelming so soon after a traffic crash to take legal action, the sooner your legal team starts investigating the evidence and speaking to witnesses, the more you are strengthening your chances for a successful outcome.

Chicago car accident injuries can be extremely painful, life-altering, and costly, which is why it is important that your Cook County injury lawyers able to do everything possible to help you obtain the maximum recovery. There may be more than one party who should be held liable.

For example, in another Illinois car accident case, Giard L. Dion is suing 17 defendants for injuries he sustained during a drunk driving accident. He is asking for over $2 million.

On July 21, 2009, Dion was involved in an Illinois car accident with Michael P. Quirk who, according to Dion’s Illinois injury complaint, was driving his vehicle while drunk. Dion says that as a result of the drunken driving crash, he suffered permanent and severe injuries, experienced great anguish and pain, lost wages, incurred medical costs, and his ability to earn a certain income has been diminished.

Dion is suing the parties that allegedly either supplied Quirk with alcohol or let him drive while drunk. Defendants include Relmss Services, PT's, VGC Holdings, Platinum of Illinois, PT's Brooklyn, North County Grocer and Liquor, Michael Ocello, Sam Patel, Ola Dodolewa, Nitin Singh, Lucky Singh, Adodo, Shivam Enterprise, Shanta, Platinum of Illinois, and Salas Investments.

Lawsuit: Niles crash led to miscarriage, Pioneer Local, July 8, 2010

Jersey County man seeks $2 million in auto accident case, The Record, July 6, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Car Accidents Overview, Justia

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May 26, 2010

Mother Sues Peoria County Sheriff's Department for Daughter’s Fatal Illinois Car Accident Death During Police Pursuit

Kim Rhoades, the mother of Ashlyn Payne, has filed an Illinois wrongful death lawsuit against the Peoria County Sheriff's Department. Payne was pronounced brain dead in October 2009 after she was injured in a single-vehicle crash.

The 18-year-old was riding in a car driven by Jamie D. Duhs. also 18. The two of them had been drinking that night when the vehicle the were riding crashed.

A sheriff’s deputy was called to the scene and that was when Duhs got back in the vehicle and drove off. A police pursuit ensued that reached speeds of up to 90 mph. She too was critically injured during the Illinois car crash.

In her Illinois wrongful death lawsuit, Rhoades is accusing the sheriff’s deputy of acting in a “willful and wanton” way that contributed to her daughter’s car accident death. She claims that the deputy did not follow police pursuit policies and kept chasing after the vehicle after doing so was no longer safe.

Rhoades is seeking unspecified damages.

Duhs, who was also critically injured during the Illinois car accident was cited for DUI. Her blood-alcohol content was 0.213%, which was way over the .80 legal driving limit for alcohol. Illinois has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under age 21. Since then, she has pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated driving under the influence. Rhoades had requested that Duhs, a close friend of her daughter’s, avoid jail time. Duhs is sentenced to 180 days in jail, probation for three years, and 200 hours of public service.

Mother sues sheriff for trying to stop car, PJStar, April 30, 2010

Crash Victim Dies, Central Illinois News Center

Related Web Resources:
Peoria County Sheriff's Office


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May 7, 2010

Illinois Car Accident Lawsuit: Uhl Family Seeks $46 Million for Wrongful Death of Daughters From Police Pursuit

The family of 18-year-old Jessica Uhl and her 15-year-old sister Kelli, are seeking $46 million in wrongful death recovery from the state of Illinois and former Illinois State Trooper Matt Mitchell. The Collinsville sisters were killed on November 23, 2007 during a head-on crash with Mitchell.

The deadly Illinois car accident occurred on Interstate 64 as the former state trooper was headed to another traffic crash site. Prosecutors have said that Mitchell was distracted when he struck the girls’ auto. They contend that he was using his cell phone, emailing on the computer of the police vehicle, and driving at a speed of 126 mph when the collision happened.

Because the state of Illinois has sovereign immunity from lawsuits, the wrongful death case is going before the Court of Claims rather than a civil jury. The girls parents, Brian Uhl and Kimberly Schlau, filed their Illinois car accident lawsuit in the Court of claims on April 19, just three days after Mitchell pleaded guilty to two counts each of aggravated reckless driving and reckless homicide. His sentence is 30 months probation. As part of his plea agreement, the former cop agreed to never work as a police officer again.

Following the conclusion of his criminal case, Mitchell changed his story. He claims that he did not cause the girls’ wrongful deaths and that he only pleaded guilty because he didn’t think he would receive a fair trial.

There are four claimants seeking recovery from the state and Mitchell: The girls’ parents, stepsister Maddy, and stepbrother Tony. They are claiming loss of love, society, companionship, and affection.

Distracted Driving
Driving while distracted, especially at high speeds, is dangerous not just to the motorist who is preoccupied but to the pedestrians and other vehicles that happen to be around at the time. It doesn’t matter how urgent it is that you get to your destination as soon as possible or that you obtain whatever information you need from the person that you are texting or talking with on the phone. Nothing is more important than safely getting where you need to go and making sure that you aren’t involved in a Chicago, Illinois car accident that could destroy other people’s lives.

Family seeks $46 million for daughters’ deaths, St, Louis Globe-Democrat, May 3, 2010

Uhl Family Wants $46 Million to Settle Lawsuit, Fox2News, May 4, 2010

2 killed in crash identified as sisters, STLToday.com, December 1, 2007

Related Web Resources:
Illinois State Police


Distracted Driving

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April 9, 2010

Chicago Bus Accident Lawsuit Sues CTA for Cook County Wrongful Death After Man Falls Under Commercial Carrier

The family of James Minter is suing the Chicago Transit Authority for his Cook County bus accident death. Minter, 53, was fatally injured on March 18 after he fell beneath a No. 9/Ashland bus that was driving away from Ashland Avenue’s southwest corner as the stop light turned green. He was hit by the commercial bus’s rear tires.

According to the Chicago wrongful death lawsuit, the bus driver failed to check the mirror, did not make sure that Minter was on the curb, and did not stop after the pedestrian fell under the bus. He was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital.

According to an autopsy report, Minter’s death from multiple injuries during a Chicago pedestrian accident involving a bus was accidental.

Bus Accidents
Hundreds of people are killed in bus crashes each year while thousands of others are injured. Bus passengers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and the occupants of other vehicles are among those that can get hurt. Buses are usually owned by school districts, government entities, or private companies.

Illinois’ Common Carrier Liability Act holds public transportation vehicles and their operators accountable for providing clients the highest degree of safety, even more so than vehicles owned by transportation companies and private operators. As a Cook County bus accident victim, you may have grounds for a Chicago injury case.

On March 18, the widow of Wesley Krueger sued Megabus and driver Shervyle Pruitt for wrongful death. Krueger, a South Holland resident, died during a Chicago pedestrian accident when he was hit by a Megabus while in a crosswalk.

Linda Krueger claims that the bus driver committed six traffic violations, including failure to yield the right of way. She says his actions caused her husband’s death. Pruitt, 45, received citations for failing to yield the right of way to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and reckless driving. Linda is seeking unspecified damages.

Family files suit in fatal bus accident, Chicago Breaking News, March 18, 2010

Autopsy Rules Death of Man Fatally Pinned Under CTA Bus an Accidental, MyFOXChicago.com, March 19, 2010

Suit filed by family of man killed by CTA bus, Chicago Breaking News, March 30, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Chicago Transit Authority

Illinois’ Common Carrier Liability Act

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March 23, 2010

Chicago Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit Seeking Damages Against City Claims Potholes Caused Off-Duty Cop’s Wrongful Death

The father of Chicago police officer Cameron D. Karshna is suing the City of Chicago for his Cook County wrongful death. The 31-year-old off-duty cop was riding his motorcycle on Touhy Avenue on March 20, 2009 when he was struck by a vehicle driven by Raymond T. Adams

According to the Chicago, Illinois motorcycle accident lawsuit, Karshna stepped on the brakes to avoid colliding with Adams’s car, but the potholes on the road prevented him from stopping. Adams, 36, received citations for failure to wear a seat belt and failure to yield to the right of way to oncoming traffic while making a left turn.

Now, Gary E. Karshna is seeking over $100,000 from the city of Chicago. He is accusing the municipal corporation of negligent and careless street maintenance, as well as failng to fix the potholes.

Road Defect Lawsuits
You can sue a city or county for personal injury or wrongful death if failure to properly design, maintain, or repair a road contributed to causing the traffic crash.

Other Road Defects:
• Embankment flaws
• Inadequate striping
• Lack of traffic signs, pedestrian crosswalks, or traffic lights
• Insufficient shoulder area
• Malfunctioning traffic signals
• Inappropriate speed limit
• Insufficient median barriers
• Poor curbing
• Poorly designed intersections
• Potholes
• Not enough traffic lights

Without the body of a motor vehicle to protect motorcyclists from the impact of collision, riders are especially at risk of getting seriously hurt during a Chicago motorcycle accident. You may have grounds for holding certain parties liable.

Suit: Potholes played role in crash that killed off-duty cop, WBBM Newsradio, March 19, 2010

Cop killed in crash was 'always in a good mood', Chicago Breaking News Center, March 21, 2010

Related Web Resources:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Motorcycle Crash Statistics, Insurance Information Institute

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March 19, 2010

Families Can Sue West Chicago Strip Club for Fatal Illinois Car Crash

The Illinois Supreme Court says that the families of April Simmons and John Chiariello can sue the Diamonds Gentleman’s Club and parent company On Stage Productions Inc. for the two car accident victims’ wrongful deaths. Chiariello, a St. Charles resident, and Simmons, who is from Yorkville, were killed in a 2006 drunk driving crash on Route 25 on January 4, 2006. Simmons was pregnant at the time and her unborn baby also died.

The drunk driver, Wayne resident John Homatas, was high and drunk when he drive away from the DuPage County strip club and crashed into Simmons’ SUV. Chiariello was riding in the car with him during the Illinois car accident.

Legal representatives for On Stage have argued that the company could not be held liable under the Dram Shop Act, which holds parties that serve alcohol liable for drunken patrons’ actions, because the strip club doesn’t serve alcohol.

However, the plaintiffs’ families argued that the club’s employees put Homatas in the driver’s seat of his Jeep even though he had thrown up in the strip club bathroom. Also, even though the club is a BYOB spot, the strip club provides glasses, ice, and mixers.

The Illinois Supreme Court is sending the Kane County wrongful death lawsuit back to a lower court so that the case can move forward. Homatas, now 29, is serving a 12-year prison term for his role in the fatal Illinois car accident.

Drunk Driving
Drunk driving can be deadly. Not only is it a motorist’s responsibility not to drive while drunk, but if workers at a club or the hosts of an event see that someone is drunk, they definitely should not help them get into the driver’s seat of any car.

Most people never intend to kill someone when they are drunk, but unfortunately, that is what can happen. Intentional or not, losing someone you love because a driver was drunk or under the influence of drugs is a devastating experience.

Illinois Supreme Court rules families can sue in fatal crash, The Chronicle, March 19, 2010

Court says strip club can be sued in fatal Route 25 crash, SuburbanChicagoNews, March 19, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Read the Illinois Supreme Court's Ruling (PDF)

I(235 ILCS 5/) Liquor Control Act of 1934, Illinois General Assembly

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March 17, 2010

Illinois Auto Products Liability: Woman Blames Ford for Husband’s Wrongful Death

A Clinton County, Illinois woman is suing Ford Motor Company and Wiegman Motor Company for over $800,000. Frances A. Therion claims that a 2004 Ford Freestar contributed to her husband's wrongful death. Joseph W. Therion was seriously injured during a Helvetia, Illinois car accident on December 24, 2008 when another car that failed to stop on Illinois Route 160 hit his vehicle. Even though Joseph was using a seat belt, he was seriously injured and had to have his spleen taken out. He fell into a coma and eventually died.

Now, Joseph’s widow, Frances Therion, is claiming that the Freestar’s defective design and improper manufacture, including the lack of side curtain, side head, and torso airbags, inadequate roof crush strength, and inadequate restraint, contributed to his Illinois wrongful death.

She is suing Wiegman because her husband bought the Freestar from the company. She says that the vehicle was defective when he purchased it.

Illinois Auto Products Liability
Not only must auto manufacturers must make sure that there are no defects in a vehicle that can cause the auto to malfunction, but they must also ensure that the proper protections are in place to protect vehicle occupants from injury in the event of a car crash. Failure to provide properly designed and functioning seat belts, airbags, and other safety devices can be grounds for a Chicago, Illinois auto products liability complaint if injuries or deaths occur as a result of the car manufacturer’s negligence.

Woman claims Ford responsible for husband's death in Freestar crash, The Record, March 16, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Safercar.gov, NHTSA

Ford Motor Company

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March 5, 2010

Cook County Wrongful Death Lawsuit Blames Tire Defect for Fatal Van Rollover that Killed Father and Son

A Cook County woman who lost her husband and son when the 1984 Chevrolet Astro Van they were riding in rolled over on March 3, 2009 in Mexico is suing the Cooper Tire & Rubber Company. Alicia Mendoza and Roberta Graff filed their Cook County wrongful death lawsuit over the deaths of Jose L. Mendoza Sr., Jose Mendoza Jr., and Leonardo Medina. Graff submitted the complaint on behalf of Medina.

According to their Illinois wrongful death complaint, the catastrophic van accident happened because of a tire defect that resulted in tire tread separation and failure.

Also named as defendants in the Illinois wrongful death complaint are Martha and Ruben Mendoza. They lent the van to the deceased. The lawsuit is seeking over $300,000 from the Mendozas and over $600,000 from the tire company.

Common Kinds of Tire Defects:

• Tire failure
• Tread separation
• Tire blowouts
• Rim blasts
• Tire explosions

Tire issues can occur because of design flaws, manufacturing defect, or due to negligence during installation/repair. In the event that a tire blowout happens or tread separation occurs, there is a good chance that a driver can lose control of the vehicle, causing the auto to crash into other cars or roll over. Spinal cord injuries, head injuries, traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, quadriplegia, paraplegia, and death can result.

Tire manufacturers, retailers, and tire repair and installation shops are supposed to make sure that tires are in proper working condition, no defects exist, and no maintenance errors are made that can cause a tire-relate crash to occur. Injured parties may have grounds for filing a Chicago, Illinois defective tire lawsuit or wrongful death complaint.

Suit: Defective tire led to triple-fatal crash, Chicago Sun-TImes, February 26, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Products Liability, Justia

Motor Vehicles, Recalls.gov

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February 21, 2010

Evanston Car Accident Lawsuit Seeks Cook County Wrongful Death Compensation in Death of Senior Pedestrian

An Illinois wrongful death lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Mavis L. Stonick, a 71-year-old woman who died from injuries she sustained in a Cook County pedestrian accident last year. Mavis L. Stonick was trying to cross Sheridan Road close to Foster Street on October 27, 2009 when she was hit by driver Judy Lowrance.

Witnesses say that Stonick was walking against the light when the Mercedes-Benz hit her. Rainy weather and darkness may have contributed to the Cook County car crash.

According to the Evanston wrongful death lawsuit, Lowrance was driving too fast for traffic conditions and neglected to keep a proper lookout. The complaint is seeking over $200,000.

Chicago, Illinois Motor Vehicle Accidents
Drivers are supposed to keep a proper lookout, follow traffic laws and traffic signs/lights, driver sober, and obey the speed limit. If weather conditions require, a driver must adjust the vehicle’s speed accordingly so that he/she don’t get involved in a Chicago car crash or a pedestrian accident.

For a person who gets hurt because a motorist was reckless, careless, or negligent, the physical, emotional, psychological, and financial tolls can be devastating. Fortunately, injured parties can turn to the civil court system to demand compensation from the liable party or parties. In some instances, settling may be the best option. Other cases will require that you take your Chicago, Illinois car crash complaint to trial.

It is important that you NOT settle without speaking to an experienced Chicago, Illinois personal injury lawyer first.

Wrongful death lawsuit filed in Evanston death, Chicago Sun-Times, February 16, 2010

Estate of struck Northwestern pedestrian files lawsuit, Daily Northwestern, February 15, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Pedestrians, Traffic Safety Fact Sheet, NHTSA

City of Chicago, Pedestrian Program

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February 15, 2010

Parents File Illinois Wrongful Death Lawsuit Over Chicago Car Crash that Claimed Toddler’s Life

The parents of Joshua Molina, Jr., 13 months, are suing driver Putiporn Kaewmooka for their son’s Chicago, Illinois wrongful death. Joshua Molina and two adults, Aldo Maldonado and Orlando Rodriguez died in a Chicago car accident on February 1 when Kaewmooka struck the vehicle they were riding as he was fleeing from another auto accident site.

According to the couple’s Chicago car accident lawyer, Kaewmooka was driving at speeds of about 80 to 100 mph, not driving in the correct lane, and did not have his car lights on even though it was late at night. Kaewmooka’s Toyota Camry struck the vehicle Joshua Molina Sr., who was turning left.

Young Joshua, who was in a child safety seat, was knocked out of the car seat that he was fastened into and struck the rear window. Rodriguez and Maldonado, who were Joshua Molina Sr.'s best friends, were riding in the backseat of the car with the toddler. Maldonado was thrown from the vehicle.

Amy Alanis and Joshua Molina’s Chicago injury lawsuit is seeking at least $50,000 from Kaewmooka for their personal injuries and their son’s wrongful death.

Kaewmooka, who was charged with traffic citations, has been released on bond. The couple’s lawyer doesn’t believe that police charged Kaewmooka with the proper citations or crimes.

Couple Sues Driver in Crash that Killed Baby, Two Friends, MSNBC, February 12, 2010

Couple sues man in crash that left their baby, two friends dead, Chicago Sun-Times, February 8, 2010

Chicago Car Accident Claims Lives of 13-Month Old Boy and Two Adults, Chicagocaraccidentattorneysblog.com, February 3, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Wrongful Death, Nolo


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January 19, 2010

Villages of Wheeling, Buffalo Grove, and Gurnee Settle Cook County-Lake County Car Accident Lawsuits Over 2006 Police Pursuit that Killed One Teen and Left Another with a Traumatic Brain Injury

The villages of Gurnee, Wheeling, and Buffalo Grove have settled the Illinois car accident lawsuits filed on behalf of three teenagers who were involved in a July 23, 2006 catastrophic motor vehicle crash involving a U-Haul truck and its driver, who was fleeing police at the time.

16-year-old Corey Diamond died from his injuries. His friend Elliot Cellini is still recovering from a traumatic brain injury. Brandon Forshall sustained non-life threatening injuries during the car accident, which occurred at the Wheeling-Buffalo Grove border.

The catastrophic car collision occurred when U-Haul driver Ralph Lewis drove through a red light while trying to escape police and crashed straight into the vehicle carrying the teenagers. Lewis had rented the truck so he could fill it up with stolen goods to pay back money for drug-related debts.

Witnesses say that Lewis was driving through the suburbs at a very high-speed as a Gurnee police officer chased him. At different times, Lewis may have been driving anywhere from 50-80 mph. He was convicted of first-degree murder in 2008 and is serving a 45-year-prison term.

Wheeling’s board is expected to approve settlements of $18,000 to Diamond’s estate for his wrongful death, as well as $40,000 to Cellini and $2,000 to Forshall for their personal injuries. Late last year, the village of Buffalo Grove’s board approved settlements of $50,000 to Forshall, $500,000 to Diamond’s estate, and $1,000,000 to Cellini. Gurnee settled all of the lawsuits for $50,000. The village of Buffalo Grove is paying the plaintiffs the most because their officers were the lead agents involved in the police chase, which they failed to call off before it turned deadly.

Last year, Diamond’s mother, Melanie, spoke about how his son’s death has left her family “forever incomplete.” Cellini says his personal injuries from the accident have placed him in a “personal prison."

There may be more than one party who should be held liable for your Chicago car accident injuries or your loved one’s wrongful death.

Villages to settle lawsuit in fatal car chase case, Daily Herald, January 19, 2010

U-Haul driver convicted of murder in chase, fatal crash, Chicago Tribune, July 25, 2008

Related Web Resources:
Village of Wheeling, Illinois

Village of Buffalo Grove, Illinois

Village of Gurnee, Illinois

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January 9, 2010

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed in Wrong-Way Drunk Driving Accident that Killed Eight on Taconic Parkway

Nearly six months after 36-year-old Diane Schuler drove the wrong-way on the Taconic Parkway while she was allegedly drunk and high, the family of two of the eight victims that died is filing a wrongful death lawsuit against her estate. The tragic car crash, which occurred on July 26, claimed the lives of Schuler, three of her nieces, her two-year-old daughter, 81-year-old Michael Bastardi, his 49-year-old son Michael, and their friend 74-year-old Daniel Longo. Schuler’s 5-year-old son Bryan survived the wrong-way car crash with serious injuries, including severe head trauma.

The motor vehicle accident made national headlines after Schuler drove the wrong-way for nearly two miles, disregarding signs and ignoring the warnings of other drivers. According to a toxicology report, Schuler had marijuana in her system and the equivalent of 10 liquor shots in her bloodstream. She and the kids were coming home from a camping trip when the auto collision happened. A broken bottle of vodka was discovered in the minivan’s wreckage.

The wrongful death lawsuit accuses Schuler of reckless, wanton, and willful actions, driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and disregarding other motorists' warnings that she was driving her minivan the wrong-way. According to the civil complaint, the Bastardis experienced mental trauma, terror, pain, suffering, and serious personal injuries prior to their death. Schuler’s brother Warren Hance is also a wrongful death defendant. He owned the minivan that Schuler was driving.

Schuler’s husband Daniel refuses to accept autopsy findings that his wife was drunk and high. He says an undiagnosed medical problem may have caused her erratic behavior that day. However, according to one report, he told police his wife occasionally smoked pot to alleviate stress.

Suit Filed in Wrong-Way Crash That Killed 8 on Taconic, NY Times, December 10, 2009

Loyal To The End: Grieving Schuler Denies Reports, WCBSTV, August 7, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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January 4, 2010

West Chicago Teen’s Family Files Kane County Car Accident Lawsuit Against His Former Classmate

The family of 17-year-old Cameron Godee is suing 18-year-old Onofrio J. Lorusso for Illinois wrongful death. Godee died in a Kane County car crash on June 14 while riding in Lorusso’s SUV. Now, the West Chicago victim’s family is seeking $6.175 M in wrongful death damages. Godee and Lorusso, a Wayne resident, had just graduated from St. Charles East High School.

According to police, Lorusso’s blood-alcohol concentration was almost three times the legal limit and he also had marijuana in his system when he lost control of his vehicle and struck two trees. Godee was riding in the front-passenger seat. The two teenagers riding in the back seat sustained injuries.

The Illinois car crash lawsuit is accusing Lorusso of negligent driving and willfully ignoring his passengers’ safety. In the criminal case against him, Lorusso has pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence of drugs, aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless homicide, and driving under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs. He is currently free on bond.

One of the passengers that survived the catastrophic Illinois car wreck is suing Lorusso for Kane County personal injury. 17-year-old Chelsea Mertz, a St. Charles resident, sustained a traumatic brain injury and broke her jaw during the June car wreck. Her Illinois car accident claims that Lorusso was driving over 40 mph above the speed limit, on the wrong side of the road, and was under the influence of pot and alcohol. Lorusso’s father is also a defendant of the lawsuit, which accuses him of neglecting to prevent his intoxicated son from driving the other teens home.

Mertz is undergoing rehabilitative therapy to treat her brain injury. Doctors had to surgically rewire her jaw. It is unclear whether the effects of her traumatic brain injury are permanent.

Driver in fatal crash sued for millions, The Chronicle, December 22, 2009

Survivor of fatal St. Charles crash sues driver, Daily Herald, August 7, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Teen Drivers, Motor Vehicle Safety

CyberDrive Illinois

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December 30, 2009

Illinois Wrongful Death Lawsuit Sues Kane County for Failure to Arrest Allegedly Intoxicated Driver Prior to Fatal Sugar Grove Township Motor Vehicle Crash

The family of a Marengo motorist who died in a Sugar Grove Township motor vehicle crash is suing Kane County and Elburn resident Linda L. Knotts for Illinois wrongful death. 54 year-old William McKenzie died when Knott’s truck crashed into his Ford van on March 20 on Route 47.

The family’s Illinois wrongful death lawsuit is holding Kane County responsible for the Sugar Grove Township car accident because cops did not arrest Knots on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs when she was briefly apprehended just 15 minutes before the deadly Illinois traffic accident. McKenzie was pronounced dead at the Sugar Grove crash site.

Cops stopped Knotts after receiving complaints that she was driving erratically, including operating her vehicle on the shoulder of Route 47. Her pickup truck struck Mackenzie’s van head-on when she drove into oncoming traffic.

Knotts was initially cited for driving in the wrong lane and failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident but the charges against her have been dropped for now. After hearing police testimony in May, a coroner's jury blamed Knotts for McKenzie's death, which they called a homicide.

Illinois Car Accident Lawsuits
There is so much to consider when filing an Illinois car accident lawsuitt An experienced Chicago car crash lawyer will know what to do to successfully pursue your recovery, including gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, negotiating with the other party’s insurer, and filing your personal injury/wrongful death claim/lawsuit on time.

Obtaining compensation for your car crash injuries or your loved one’s death can help you cover accidents costs, medical expenses, and other damages and losses.

Kane County sued over fatal crash, Daily Herald, December 17, 2009

Man dies in 2-car crash, Northwest Herald, March 21, 2009

Related Web Resource:
Kane County, Illinois

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December 15, 2009

Illinois Car Accident Lawsuit Filed Over Wrongful Deaths of Couple and Unborn Baby

The siblings of Lindsey Arnold-Zimmer and Adam Zimmer are suing two drivers for Illinois wrongful death. The couple was riding in a vehicle on Illinois Route 111 on the afternoon of February 21 when they were rear-ended by a vehicle, driven by Donald Canterbery at a speed of at least 90 mph. The collision caused their vehicle to spin out of control some 122 feet before it crossed into the northbound lane and was struck by a vehicle driven by Tiffany Ogara. Both Canterbery and Ogara were allegedly drunk when they struck the Zimmers' vehicle.

Lindsey and Adam died from their Illinois car accident injuries, as did their unborn baby. Now, Theresa Arnold and Christopher Zimmer, the couple’s siblings, are suing for loss of society, loss of companionship, wrongful death, and the pain and suffering that the Zimmers and their baby suffered, in additional to medical expenses incurred prior to their deaths.

The defendants named in the Illinois car crash lawsuit are Canterbery, Ogara, Joshua Ogara, Panero (as Smokey Joe's), Sarah L. Perrigan (doing business as The Village Inn), and MasterCars Company.

Canterbery’s blood alcohol concentration was .246 and Ogara’s BAC was .112 at the time of the deadly Illinois car crash. Cannabis and cocaine were also found in Ogara’s blood.

The plaintiffs are accusing Canterbery of drunk driving, reckless driving, speeding, neglecting to decrease his speed or properly control the auto, driving without a license, and driving even though his license was revoked for past drunk driving charges. They contend that Ogara did not properly control her auto or decrease its speed to avoid being involved in a crash. They also claim she was negligent for driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Following the deadly Illinois car accident, Canterbery was charged with numerous felony crimes, including four counts of aggravated driving with a blood level of .08 or more that results in death, three counts of reckless homicide, three counts of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, and eight counts of aggravated driving with a blood level count of .08 or more causing great bodily harm. He also was charged with a misdemeanor for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

Suit filed over Route 111 deaths; Couple and unborn child killed, The Record, December 1, 2009

Granite City teacher, wife and unborn child killed in car accident, Suburban Journals, February 25, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Wrongful Death Act

CyberDrive Illinois

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August 6, 2009

Wrongful Death?: Wrong-Way Driver Who Killed 8 People Was Drunk and High, Say Police, but Her Family Disputes Allegations

Police say that the 36-year-old mother who drove the wrong-way on a New York road killing 8 people, herself, her 2-year-old daughter, her three young nieces, as well as three people in one of the vehicles she struck, had a blood-alcohol level that was over twice the legal limit at the time of the deadly multi-vehicle car crash.

They claim that Diane Schuler had more than 10 alcohol drinks in her system as well as a high level of the primary ingredient found in marijuana. They believe she’d been smoking the drug anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour before the deadly multi-vehicle crash. Her BAC was reportedly 0.19%--over double the 0.08% drinking limit and there was alcohol that was still undigested in her body. A broken bottle of Absolute vodka was in the minivan that she’d been driving.

Schuler stunned the nation on July 26 when her minivan drove for almost two miles the wrong-way up the Taconic State Parkway. She crashed into two vehicles, including an SUV carrying the three men who were killed in the deadly wrong-way driving accident. The three men are Guy Bastardi, his year- father Michael Bastardi, and their friend Michael Longo. Their families are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit against whoever allowed Schuler to drive drunk.

Schuler’s son Bryan, 5, survived the crash with injuries.

Schuler’s husband, Daniel Schuler, however, says the toxicology reports are wrong. He says he’s never seen his wife drink during all of the years that they’ve known each other. His attorney held a news conference today claiming that Schuler was diabetic. The family thinks she suffered a stroke.

Police have ruled the car accident a homicide because Schuler caused the accident while driving the wrong way up the road.

Lawyer: N.Y. mom in wrong-way crash was diabetic, August 6, 2009

Wrong-way driver in N.Y. crash was drunk, LA Times, August 4, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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June 12, 2009

Chicago Car Accident Lawsuit Sues City, Car Owner, and Alleged Drunk Driver for Man’s Illinois Wrongful Death

Last month, our Chicago car accident law firm posted a blog about a catastrophic Illinois motor vehicle accident involving a drunk driver that claimed the life of a 48-year-old Chicago Heights man. Now, Debrasha Piper, the daughter of car accident victim Calvin Hatten, is suing the alleged drunk driver, the vehicle owner, and the city of Chicago for her father’s wrongful death.

The deadly Chicago car crash occurred on May 10. Two days later, driver Juan Cayetano was charged with aggravated drunken driving and reckless homicide. He also received tickets for driving an uninsured vehicle and not having a valid driver’s license.

Hatten and his family were on 43rd street that evening when they were hit by a 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier, operated by Cayetano, who had just run a red light. The impact of the collision forced Hatten’s car to collide with a Toyota Corolla that was stopped at a red light.

Hatten died from his injuries and seven other people also got hurt. Prosecutors say that Cayetano’s BAC was .206. The legal limit is .08%. Hatten leaves behind his two teenage daughters and his wife of 30 years.

Chicago Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk driving accidents destroy not just the lives of the people that are killed and injured, but also the lives of surviving family members. Not only must the people that are left behind deal with the sudden and unnecessary loss of someone they love, but a young child may be forced to grow up without a father or mother, and a spouse may have to deal with losing not just a partner, but coping with the ramifications that come with raising and supporting a family alone.

Daughter of fatal-crash victim files suit, Sun-Times, June 4, 2009

Victims of Drunk Driving, About.com

Related Web Resources:

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Chicago DUI Accident Lawyers: Recent Drunk Driving Crashes Cause Fatalities and Injuries, ChicagoCarAccidentAttorneysBlog.com, May 15, 2009

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