Many people are familiar with the overall concept of suing someone on behalf of a loved one who died in an auto accident. But it’s difficult to quantify precisely how much money that a plaintiff in this type of wrongful death lawsuit will receive because there are so many different factors involved. Well, one such case was recently settled out of court – and it provides some details on the monetary damages associated with these types of cases.
The lawsuit pertained to the death of a 22-year old Springfield woman last summer. On the night of July 22, 2012 around 6pm, the woman’s van was involved in a collision with another van driven by a 27-year old Waverly man. The man was reportedly intoxicated when he ran a red light at Monroe Street and Ninth Street in Springfield and crashed into the woman’s vehicle. At the time, he was driving a van owned by a heating and air conditioning company. He was sentenced earlier this year to eight years in prison for aggravated driving under the influence.
The relatives of the woman filed a wrongful death lawsuit, and a settlement in that case was announced last week. The insurance company which represents the heating and cooling company will pay out $1.5 million in monetary damages, because Illinois law states that employers are responsible for the actions of their employees while on the job.
It turns out that the man had been drinking for two hours at a Springfield tavern (and an hour before that at the site of a service call) before getting into his van. Illinois’ Dram Shop Act assigns liability to establishments who serve alcohol to someone who subsequently drives drunk and injures or harms someone. That’s why the tavern where the man had been drinking had to pay $140,000 in damages as part of the settlement.