In some auto accidents, it is easy to determine which party is responsible by simply looking at who received traffic citations from police. Of course, when no traffic violations take place, it is more difficult to assign blame in a given motor vehicle collision. Similarly, fault is hard to figure out when more than one driver is cited for traffic violations.
That’s why it may take some time to resolve the liability issues related to a fatal auto accident in Dolton involving two sport utility vehicles. On Saturday, February 25 at 10:45am, a 35-year old man was driving a Ford Escape in Dolton on a sidestreet near the interchange of I-94 and Illinois Route 83. Two of his children were inside the SUV with him. The Escape tried to turn left near the intersection of Blackstone Avenue and Lincoln Avenue when it was struck by a Hyundai Santa Fe. Both SUVs rolled over, and the 4-year old girl riding in the Escape was ejected from the vehicle. She was airlifted to a hospital in Chicago, but succumbed to her injuries about eight hours later.
Dolton Police charged the 35-year old man with several traffic violations, including failure to yield while turning left and failing to secure both of his children properly. However, they also cited the 33-year old female driver of the Santa Fe with failure to reduce speed to avoid an auto accident and failure to yield. So in the eyes of the law, which driver is to blame for the crash – and the death of the little girl?
At this point, the best guess is that both drivers share some responsibility for the fatal auto accident. If this turns out to be the case, the man could file a wrongful death lawsuit against the woman on behalf of his deceased daughter. Then a court would have to determine how much fault should be assigned to each driver. Depending on what a judge or jury decides, it is entirely possible that the woman could be ordered to pay some damages to the family of the 4-year old – even though the child’s father was cited for not properly securing his daughter in a child seat and for failing to yield while turning left.