When people think about fatal motorcycle accidents, they tend to think about bikes losing control while traveling at high speeds or failing to negotiating a curve. While those are common scenarios, it’s not representative of all of the deadly motorcycle crashes in Illinois. In fact, some motorcyclists die even on streets in the middle of town.
That’s precisely what happened in Christian County last month. On the afternoon of Wednesday, June 19, a 57-year old woman was a passenger on a motorcycle that was being driven by her husband. The bike was in the city of Pana, which is about 17 miles west of Shelbyville, traveling west on West 2nd Street (also known as Illinois Route 16). Just past South Poplar Street (also known as U.S. Route 51), the bike slowed down to turn into a parking lot – and was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer being driven by an Oklahoma man. The couple was thrown from the bike, and the driver suffered non-life threatening injuries. But the woman died later from her injuries at a Springfield hospital.
The truck driver was cited for failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident. So it appears that the Oklahoma man will be held primarily or completely responsible for the motorcycle accident. By extension, that means the driver’s employer is also held liable for the crash and its casualties – because Illinois law states that all employers are responsible for the actions of their employees.
This gives the man solid grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit on his wife’s behalf, as well as a personal injury lawsuit on his own behalf, against the semi driver and his company. The man could receive reimbursement for hospital costs for him and his wife, as well as burial costs related to the woman. He may also be entitled to monetary damages for pain and suffering and loss of care or companionship, and possibly future wages that the woman would have earned in her lifetime.