Sometimes when an auto accident results in someone’s death, the family members of the victim file a wrongful death lawsuit. Usually, these suits name the driver who was held responsible for the crash as the defendant in the case. But a wrongful death lawsuit filed this week is not targeting another driver.
Instead, the mother of a motorcyclist who died last summer has filed suit against the city of Chicago. The suit claims that her son’s death was caused by the improper placement of a traffic sign. In the early morning hours of June 29 of last year, the 25-year old man was riding his 1998 Honda Suzuki motorcycle on Harlem Avenue southbound near the intersection with Myrtle Avenue. He slammed into a traffic control device, and the man was ejected from his bike. The man died of his injuries at a nearby hospital a short time later.
The wrongful death lawsuit claims that the traffic sign did not give motorists enough warning before it closed a lane of traffic; and because the construction crew was negligent in its placement, the city should be held liable for the death of the 25-year old. The suit is seeking damages related to pain and suffering as well as reimbursement of burial expenses and other costs.
In order for the woman to prevail in her case, she will have to show that the sign in question was placed at a spot on the roadway which was not only inconsistent with established procedures, but also dangerous to motorists. Presumably, she will have to find photo or video evidence (or perhaps eyewitness testimony) of where the sign was at the time of the deadly wreck. Even if she succeeds in doing so, a jury could still determine that her son was partially responsible for the motorcycle accident, which would reduce the damage award that would be paid out by the defendants.