Summer is the time in Illinois where many people dream about a stretch of open road and no schedule to keep. That’s why road trips are so popular during the summer months, especially in the eastern part of the state which is largely rural. Unfortunately, even on good days without much congestion, a vehicle journey can be ruined if a driver is using drugs.
That’s apparently what happened in Vermilion County late last month. On Friday, June 28, a 1995 Chevy pickup truck driven by a 35-year old man was traveling south on Illinois Route 1 just north of Hoopeston (which is about six miles west of the Indiana border). Near the intersection with 100 North Road, the pickup struck an embankment and overturned. Both the driver and his 30-year old male passenger had to be taken first to a Hoopeston hospital and then to a Champaign medical facility because of their injuries. Later, the 35-year old man was charged with driving under the influence of drugs, failing to reduce speed to avoid an auto accident, and possession of cannabis, a controlled substance, and drug paraphernalia.
Based on the information given, the 35-year old man will probably be held completely responsible for the auto accident. As a result, the 30-year old passenger has solid grounds for a personal injury lawsuit against the driver – even if he was aware that the 35-year old had been taking drugs. That’s because Illinois law states that all drivers are responsible for the safety of their passengers.
A personal injury lawsuit could allow the plaintiff to receive reimbursement for ambulance charges, expenses incurred at both hospitals, treatments and surgeries, medications, and future physical therapy sessions. He could also receive monetary damages for pain and suffering as well as unearned wages due to absenteeism from his job.