Usually, the idea behind all Illinois laws is to make things fair for everyone and/or to penalize those who take advantage of others. But that doesn’t mean that the law always adheres to what all people think is “fair.”
A trucking accident which took place in Chicago this week illustrates this point. Early Tuesday morning around 2am, a sport utility vehicle was driving in the Near North neighborhood about a half mile north of the Chicago River. The SUV was traveling north on Dearborn Street when an eastbound tractor-trailer reportedly ran a red light on Ohio Street and T-boned the SUV. An 11-month old girl who was in the SUV was ejected from the vehicle, and she was rushed to a nearby hospital where she is listed in stable condition.
The baby was reportedly being held on the lap of an adult when the trucking accident occurred. The truck’s driver was cited for running the red light, and the driver of the SUV received citations both for unlawful restraint of a child and not having a valid driver’s license.
Some child advocates might read this report and assign blame in the accident to the SUV’s driver, the child’s parent, or the person on whose lap the girl was sitting. After all, a strong case can be made that the baby would not have been injured at all had she been lawfully secured in a child safety seat.
But even though this outcome might seem “fair” to some, it’s not the way that civil law works in Illinois. In reality, the driver of the truck (and his/her employer) will probably be held completely liable for the crash and the injuries to the girl because of the red light infraction. So the girl’s mother could file a personal injury lawsuit against the big rig driver and the trucking company in the hopes of collecting reimbursement of medical expenses incurred from the child’s hospitalization.
Furthermore, the notion that the child’s injuries may very well have been less severe (or even nonexistent) had she been safely secured in the SUV does not have any bearing on the outcome of this lawsuit – nor does the reason why a baby was out on the street at 2am, or the fact that an unlicensed individual was driving the SUV.