It’s true that passenger vehicles are safer than they have ever been. Even so, when someone is involved in an auto accident in Illinois, they can be killed even if they are wearing a seat belt. Children can die even if they are belted into a child safety seat. And as horrifying as it is, a future child can perish even if the mother is belted in securely.
This tragic scenario played out last week in the Brighton Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side of Chicago. Last Tuesday around 3pm, a 21-year old man was driving a Pontiac Grand Am along South California Avenue just south of the Stevenson Expressway. The car crashed into a Cadillac which was being driven by a 21-year old pregnant woman, who was transported to a nearby hospital with injuries. But the force of the collision led to the death of her nine-month old fetus on Thursday morning. The man was arrested after Chicago Police discovered traces of cocaine in his system and a blood alcohol content reading of .254, which is over three times the legal limit in Illinois.
Since it’s a near-certainty that the man will be held responsible for the auto accident, the woman can file a personal injury lawsuit against him in the hopes of getting reimbursed for medical expenses and perhaps compensated for any lost wages due to work absenteeism stemming from the collision.
But it’s also within her rights to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of her fetus against the man accused of driving under the influence. If her attorney can demonstrate that the crash was indeed the precise cause of the fetal death, she might be entitled to estimated future wages that the woman’s son or daughter would have earned in his or her lifetime; as well as monetary damages for pain and suffering and loss of companionship.