Many people view Leap Day as a memorable occasion. Since February 29 only occurs once every four years, some Americans choose to commemorate it by doing something fun or unusual. Unfortunately, Leap Day 2012 will forever be remembered by the family of a Waukegan man as a sad and tragic day.
On February 29 around 7:30pm, a 1997 Lexus ES 300 had just crossed the border into Illinois from Wisconsin on the Tri-State Tollway in Lake County just outside of Zion. The Lexus was traveling in the far right lane of the tollway near Russell Road when the driver inexplicably swerved left across a gravel median into oncoming traffic. A tractor-trailer struck the Lexus in the far right northbound lane, and the car spun back across the median and into the southbound lanes, where it was hit by another 18-wheeler. First responders say that the front end of the Lexus was completely demolished. The driver was taken to a Libertyville hospital with injuries, but the 27-year old male passenger was pronounced dead at the scene.
From the information in the news article, it appears that the family of the deceased has solid grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit against the Lexus driver. This type of suit could allow the family members to recoup costs related to the burial of their loved one. It also could compensate them for future wages that the Waukegan man would have earned had the deadly crash not taken place. In addition, the family could receive damages related to emotional distress, loss of care, and/or loss of companionship.
Thankfully, the law does not require grieving families to file a wrongful death lawsuit within weeks or even months of a fatal auto accident. According to the statute of limitations, the plaintiffs have until February 28, 2014 to file suit against the driver of the Lexus.