Illinois law states that it is technically illegal to block traffic with a stopped vehicle on a highway or freeway. Drivers are encouraged (and sometimes required) to pull out of the flow of traffic if their vehicles are drivable – even in the case of a minor collision. But in practice, drivers can’t always predict when their cars or trucks will break down. Sometimes, they stall in a lane of traffic. When this does happen, it is still the responsibility of other drivers to avoid this stalled vehicle.
That didn’t happen in Grundy County this week. On Monday night shortly before 10:15pm, a car experienced engine trouble and stalled in the right lane of southbound Illinois 47 near Armstrong Street in Morris on an overpass which had no shoulder. The woman behind the wheel was using her cell phone to try and call for help when her vehicle was rear-ended by another car driven by a 26-year old Braidwood woman. The driver of and a passenger in the stalled car were both taken to Morris Hospital with injuries. The Braidwood woman, who said she had looked down at her speedometer right before the auto accident, was ticketed for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.
It appears that the Braidwood woman will be held fully or primarily responsible for the rear-end collision. As a result, she could be named as a defendant in personal injury lawsuits filed by the occupants of the stalled car. With this legal action, the plaintiffs could be reimbursed for medical expenses, including ambulance charges, hospitalization and treatment costs, and even reimbursement for medication and physical therapy. If the victims are forced to miss work due to injuries sustained in the auto accident, they could collect unearned wages as well. There’s even a possibility that the plaintiffs could receive monetary damages for mental anguish and loss of care or companionship.