The son of a woman who died in a tragic collision in December is suing the at-fault driver. The 33-year-old driver, an Illinois resident, is accused of causing a car accident while driving drunk. The accident occurred on Dec. 2, in Orland Hills, when the at-fault driver struck the victim during the early morning hours. Authorities report that the woman, who was 50 years old, was transported to the hospital, but she died just hours after arriving.
Court documents show that the woman’s son claims that his mother was passing through a green light when she was struck by the suspect. The driver is accused of running a red light, which constitutes negligent driving. He is also charged with driving under the influence, failure to reduce speed, driving without insurance and running a traffic light, according to criminal court filings. It is not clear whether the man has accumulated previous DUI citations. If he is a repeat offender, he may be required to use an ignition interlock in the future or even serve jail time.
Even if the suspect is not convicted in criminal court, he could face significant punishment through the civil court system. A wrongful death claim, such as that filed by the woman’s son, can carry hefty compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory funds are designed to repay family members for medical and funeral costs, along with pain and suffering and other emotional distress.
Other claim options could include loss of income and loss of consort, both of which relate to the absence of the victim. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant. Judges or trial juries can award punitive damages in an effort to discourage the same behavior in the future.
In this case, evidence from a criminal trial could be used to bolster the claim of negligent driving.
Source: Orland Park Patch, “Son of Woman Killed in Crash Sues Driver,” Lauren Traut, Jan .30, 2013