Readers of this blog probably remember the strange and tragic story about the man who drove his Porsche convertible at high speed on the wrong side of I-88 near Lisle on the evening of August 6. The man slammed head-on into another car, killing two people inside it and critically injuring a third. A subsequent investigation revealed that the man had drugs in his system and was reportedly tossing money out of his car right before the accident. In addition, the man had previously closed his Naperville dentistry practice, was reportedly $100,000 in debt, had seen his home foreclosed on, and suffered from Huntington’s disease.
Last Friday, the 42-year old man died at Loyola University Medical Center. The exact cause of his death is unknown, though he had been in a coma for much of his hospital stay. Cook County prosecutors had expected the man to recover and face criminal charges of felony reckless homicide.
Though the man’s death means that he won’t face criminal charges, his estate may still be named as a defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit by the relatives of those killed. A 38-year old woman and her 75-year old father from Elmhurst were on their way to a prayer service when they died in the crash. The woman’s 42-year old husband was critically injured in the head-on collision.
However, the death of the Porsche driver will probably complicate any future civil suits. His estate may have to be settled by probate attorneys, and there may be a will which will have to be sorted out. Many of these details will have to be addressed before any sort of wrongful death lawsuit can proceed.
It might seem a bit unkind or macabre to file suit against the estate of a deceased man. After all, his family is mourning the loss of a loved one; and any such suit will put them through additional stress and grief. On the other hand, the family of the two deceased victims are also grieving; and they face significant costs (such as burial expenses) without the future income earned by the father and daughter. Plus, the health care expenses incurred by the critically-injured victim continue to accumulate, and the family may need the funds received from a personal injury lawsuit to pay the mounting medical bills.