Readers of this blog know that when someone dies in an Illinois auto accident that was someone else’s fault, the victim’s surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the person who caused the accident. If the at-fault driver is a minor, then his or her parents are named as defendants in the lawsuit. But it’s unusual when a parent of an adult who caused a crash is on the receiving end of this type of lawsuit.
That appears to be the case in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the brother of a man who died in a car crash this past spring. Back on April 21, a 25-year old man was driving his mother’s 2004 Lincoln LS and transporting a 26-year old male passenger on the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago when the car hit a concrete wall and a traffic control box near the 47th Street exit. The passenger died as a result of the crash, and the driver fled the scene but later turned himself in to authorities.
This week, the brother of the 26-year old filed a wrongful death lawsuit in connection with his sibling’s death. But the suit names the 25-year old’s mother as the defendant. In court filings, the plaintiff alleges that the woman should never have lent the 25-year old the car knowing that he did not have a valid driver’s license. The suspect, who was charged with reckless homicide, had been cited by police at least five times since 2004 for not driving with a valid license. In the suit, the plaintiff states that the mother “failed to use reasonable care to ensure” that the man had a valid driver’s license when she loaned her vehicle to him. The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $10,000, noting that the victim is survived by two young sons.