While crossing a Chicago west side intersection with her sister, an 18-year-old woman was struck by a bus. The woman’s estate filed suit against the bus driver and the private bus company for the wrongful death of the decedent.
In any wrongful death case certain criteria must be met. Negligence must be established on behalf of the defendant and the death must be determined to be the result of the defendant’s actions. Furthermore, if the decedent left behind dependents and the dependents suffered monetary damages as a result of the death, then a wrongful death case may be filed.
In Illinois, and in many other states, a pedestrian in the crosswalk always has the right of way. This means that drivers must always stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, even if the light is red and the pedestrian is walking against the light. Therefore, it is important that the driver of any vehicle exercise due care while crossing an intersection and be cautious and mindful of any pedestrians attempting to cross the street.
This issue is especially important in this case where it was claimed that the bus driver chose not to reduce speed at the Chicago west side intersection while making a right turn and then failed to stop and avoid striking the decedent pedestrian. A Chicago police camera at Madison and Kedzie on Chicago’s west side captured the incident.
The film showed that decedent’s sister was able to leap out of the way: however, due to the bus driver’s negligence, the decedent was unable to avoid the contact. After the Chicago bus accident, the decedent required life support for about five months before her death. She was survived by six siblings.
The decedent’s estate reached a settlement following mediation by retired Cook County Circuit Court Judge, Michael J. Hogan for $7.85 million. This settlement is on the higher end of what a plaintiff might expect from an Illinois wrongful death case. However, a trend we typically see in wrongful death cases is that the damages awarded tend to be higher for victims who survive on life support for some period of time versus those victims who are killed instantly. This is due not only to the increase in medical costs, but also the increased pain and suffering on behalf of the victim and the surviving family members.
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