It’s always a tragedy when a driver dies in Illinois in an auto accident. It’s even more maddening when another driver breaks the law and causes the crash which takes the life of the individual. But it’s even more horrifying when the vehicle that initiates the collision is driven by someone who is supposed to be protecting the citizenry.
Sadly, that’s what occurred on the South Side of Chicago this week. On Wednesday morning shortly after 10:15am, a woman in her 50s was driving to work on South Yates Street just south of East 76th Street in the city’s South Shore neighborhood. A sport utility vehicle being driven by Chicago Police was pursuing a different vehicle in the area when the SUV collided with the woman’s Pontiac. The woman was rushed to a nearby hospital, but succumbed to her injuries shortly thereafter.
As of now, it’s unclear precisely how the auto accident took place. The police SUV should have had its lights and sirens operating if it was involved in a police chase. This would have given the vehicle the right-of-way in almost all situations. Still, it has yet to be determined whether the Pontiac failed to yield the right-of-way to the SUV, or the police vehicle slammed into the car despite the woman obeying the law – or even if the SUV’s lights and sirens were in fact operating.
If the latter case turns out to be accurate, the surviving family members could choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the woman. This suit would not only name the police officer who was driving the SUV, but also the Chicago Police Department and perhaps the city of Chicago itself. That’s because Illinois law states that an employer is responsible for the actions of its employees. A jury may choose to award monetary damages to the plaintiffs for pain and suffering and loss of care or companionship; as well as future unearned wages and reimbursement for hospital and burial expenses.