It’s unsettling to think about this, but a large number of Illinoisans place their lives in the hands of others every day.
Some people know this yet still choose to ride trains, buses, or other public transportation. They take comfort in the fact that the operators of these modes of transport undergo extensive training and are held to a higher standard of safety under the law than regular drivers are.
But this isn’t the case for people who are passengers in private vehicles. And even though 99+% of the time absolutely nothing happens, there still is a possibility of something terrible taking place each time you trust your well-being to another driver.
The rare-yet-tragic side of this equation reared its ugly head this week in the Norwood Park East neighborhood of Chicago. On Monday night around 10:45pm, a GMC Envoy sport utility vehicle was traveling on North Milwaukee Avenue between Melvina and Peterson Avenues (about a half mile west of the North Branch of the Chicago River). For some reason, the 28-year old Chicago man driving the SUV lost control, and the vehicle struck two fences before rolling over on its side and striking a light pole. Both the driver and the 39-year old male passenger from Lyons were later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
It’s pretty apparent that the 28-year old man will be held liable for the auto accident. Should they choose to do so, the surviving relatives of the Lyons man could elect to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the estate of the driver, who under Illinois law was responsible for the safety of his passenger. The plaintiffs could receive reimbursement for hospital and burial expenses, estimated future wages that the victim would have earned in his lifetime, and monetary damages for pain and suffering and loss of care or companionship.