In fatal auto accidents, it is common practice for law enforcement officials to refrain from releasing the names of the victims to the press until their next of kin have been notified. But you know that a motor vehicle accident was severe and violent when police are physically unable to identify the deceased victims.
That was the horrifying scene in Matteson in the wee hours of Monday morning. Around 4am, a person was reportedly driving a 1990 Oldsmobile Cutlass west on Vollmer Road on the southern edge of the South Green Belt Forest Preserve. The driver slowed down as the car neared the intersection of South Cicero Avenue (about a half mile west of I-57). At that point, a 2001 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck slammed into the back of the Cutlass, which burst into flames upon impact. The Oldsmobile driver died on the scene; and when Matteson Police arrived, they were unable to determine the gender of the car’s driver, much less the identity of the individual.
The investigation into the rear-end crash is continuing, and authorities have not yet levied charges against the male pickup truck driver (who was also injured in the accident and had to be taken to a nearby hospital). But from the information given, it appears that the family of the Oldsmobile driver will have a strong case for a wrongful death lawsuit against the man who drove the pickup. Such a suit could pay for burial expenses that will be incurred to lay the victim to rest. If the victim had children, a court judgment or verdict could include damages for loss of care. If the Cutlass driver was employed, his or her future wages could be estimated and awarded to the plaintiffs. Damages for pain and suffering may also be a part of any eventual monetary award received by the victim’s family members.