Last week, the suspect in a Pekin drunk driving accident made an appearance in criminal court in Tazewell County for a September drunk driving accident which resulted in injuries to 12. The suspect had been sentenced to community service for a prior drunk driving accident, and as part of his sentence, he was working at a festival. While at the festival, he allegedly was drinking at a beer tent run by the VFW after which he allegedly took a car owned by a local car dealership and then got into a multiple vehicle car accident.This Illinois car accident raises several issues:
- Did he really take the car without the permission of the dealership? In Illinois, you are covered by the insurance policy issued by the owner of the vehicle if you were operating it with the permission of the owner. This is a key question, because the dealership would likely carry significant coverage which would properly compensate the victims of this accident. The at-fault driver had to get the keys to the car somehow, and if there is reason to think that he was permitted to drive the car, this could create coverage under the car dealer’s policy.
- If the at-fault driver was not covered because he did not have permission to drive the car, each of the victims would be able to make an Illinois uninsured motorist claim under either their own auto insurance policies or those of the vehicles they were in at the time of the auto accident.
- The victims of this accident would also be able to make claims under the Illinois Dram Shop Act against the people who were operating the beer tent run by the VFW.
- If the amount of liability insurance coverage was insufficient, then the victims would be able to make claims for Illinois underinsured motorist benefits on their own auto insurance policies or those of the car that they were in at the time of their injuries. Underinsured motorist claims are an important means of securing compensation in multiple victim car accidents.
Teasing apart these issues is something that experienced Illinois personal injury lawyers do as part of their regular practice and is a good reason why anyone involved in this kind of accident would do well for themselves to hire qualified legal counsel.