When disasters occur and accidents claim the lives of Illinois residents, it is often the victims' families that suffer the most. Whether through the emotional loss of a loved one or the financial burden of providing for the survivors, a single accident fatality can create many more victims than anticipated.
One way those unseen victims can find justice is through a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death cause of action is sometimes available to the family members of accident victims and allows those family members to seek compensation from the parties responsible for the deaths of their loved ones.
One Illinois family may consider filing such a lawsuit in the wake of a tragedy that claimed the life of a 39-year-old husband and father. The man was working as a tollway maintenance worker and assisting the driver of a disabled semi when the disabled driver's rig was hit by a second semi truck. The impact of the two trucks caused the maintenance worker and a state trooper who was also assisting to suffer catastrophic injuries. Though the state trooper is expected to survive, the maintenance worker was killed in the crash and resulting fire.
Police believe the responsible semi driver was overtired at the time of the crash and that he had falsified his driving log to make it appear as though it was legal for him to be behind the wheel. He now faces a variety of criminal charges for causing the fatal impact.
Criminal charges do not preclude a family from pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit. Instead, a victim's surviving family can file a claim in civil court. Those families that are interested in learning more about wrongful death claims may choose to work with civil personal injury attorneys to better understand their legal paths to potential compensation.
Source: CBS 2 Chicago, "Driver Charged In I-88 Crash That Killed Tollway Worker," Jan. 27, 2014