On Friday evening in Illinois, many residents were glued to their television screens (or at a party or sports bar) watching the Fighting Illini men’s basketball team advance to the third round of the NCAA tournament by defeating the University of Colorado in Austin, Texas. Most Illinoisans probably went to bed happy that night. But two of them may have had trouble sleeping because of their injuries.
More specifically, the two 35-year old men were involved in a single-vehicle auto accident in Sangamon County on Friday night. Around 8pm, their car was heading south on Gilreath Road just south of Chatham (and about a mile and a half west of Interstate 55) at a high rate of speed. Just prior to Covered Bridge Road, the vehicle left the roadway and crashed into some trees. The passenger, who was from Glenarm, had to be extricated from the car by firefighters; and he was transported to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. The driver, who was from Chatham, also sustained injuries that were non-life threatening.
Unless some investigation-changing information comes to light, the driver will almost certainly be held responsible for the auto accident and the injuries to his passenger – because Illinois law states that all drivers are responsible for the safety of their passengers. That means that the Glenarm man could choose to file a personal injury lawsuit against the Chatham man in the hopes of obtaining reimbursement for medical expenses, compensation for any unearned wages from work absenteeism due to his injuries (or follow-up appointments and treatments), and perhaps even monetary damages for pain and suffering.
It’s reasonable to assume that the two 35-year old men are friends, or at least good acquaintances. But since the passenger is dealing with pain, medical bills, and their indirect impact on his life – all because of the actions of the Chatham man – he shouldn’t feel bad about filing a lawsuit against the driver.