The Chicago Tribune reported on June 28, 2017, that a woman passenger suffered fatal injuries when the driver of the car she was riding in rammed into a utility pole. After striking the pole, the car exploded into flames. The driver was able to get out of the car, and ran away. The crash occurred at 1:30 in the morning at West Ontario Street in the River North Neighborhood. The crash happened near a sculpture well known to residents as the “Being Born” sculpture. The sculpture was commissioned by the tool and dye industry and was sculpted by Virginio Ferrari. Its location serves as a gateway to downtown Chicago.
Police investigating the accident said that the vehicle was a 2009 Nissan Coupe. The car was speeding before the crash. The police were able to determine this information from a video of the car that was taken by Winston Management Company. The video shows the impact with the pole and the resulting ball of light that lasted for several seconds. The police could also smell the burned wreckage. Another pole fell, also. Paramedics were able to move the dead woman from the vehicle.
Key issues to determine liability in this case
Liability in this case begins with the driver of the vehicle. An investigation would hopefully identify who that person was. Investigators would normally begin by trying to trace the owners of the vehicle. If the license plate or vehicle identification number was intact, tracing the owner should be possible. Experienced Chicago car accident lawyers would then question the owners about the identity of the driver.
Normally, car owners are also liable for the acts of their drivers. If the owners were different than the driver, the owners could be sued for the wrongful death of the passenger. If the car was stolen, then the owners would likely not be liable.
The family of the dead woman would also need to be identified. In Illinois, the family of a deceased victim can bring a wrongful death action against any responsible parties. The claim would be brought on behalf of any spouse and any next of kin. Wrongful death damages include:
- Grief and sorrow over the loss of a loved one
- The loss of companionship for each family member
- Lost income the deceased would have provided family members
- Funeral and burial costs
In this case, the wrongful death action should also include a claim for punitive damages because the driver ran away instead of staying to help. The owners of the utility poles could also sue for the cost to replace the poles.
In difficult cases like these, where it can be hard to identify the people involved and where the tragic loss of a loved one has occurred, you need experienced Chicago truck accident lawyers on your side. At Gainsberg Law, P.C., we have a strong track record of success in holding wrongdoers accountable and obtaining just recoveries. Please call our litigation team at 312-600-9585 or fill out our contact form today.