It is against the law in Illinois to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs yet every year, thousands of drivers in the Chicago area and elsewhere take to the roads and drive while impaired. Often this results in car crashes and injuries to those drivers, passengers in their vehicles, or even others on the road.
Lawyers in Illinois understand that drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or greater will be presumed to be under the influence of alcohol but that drivers under the age of 21 are not allowed to have any alcohol in their systems while they are operating a vehicle. This is because the legal drinking age of 21 means that anyone younger that consumes alcohol is violating one law and driving afterwards violates a second.
Despite these very clear laws, it appears that a 20-year-old male driver was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs when he allegedly caused a collision that resulted in the death of one of his passengers, an 18-year-old female, on Sunday morning. Police believe that the man was driving westbound on 63rd Street and Woodlawn Avenue when he ran a red light and caused a collision with another vehicle, injuring himself, a male passenger, and killing a female teen in his car. At this time it appears that neither person in the second car was injured.
After the impact, the 20-year-old lost control of his vehicle which spun and struck a metal utility pole in the area, causing a second impact and significant damage to the vehicle.
Police are still investigating the accident and it is not clear whether the male driver will face charges. However, if it is proved that he was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, he may face felony charges related to the crash and the teen’s death that could include a prison sentence of several years.
The potential criminal charges that may stem from this accident could be severe but may not be the only legal issues the driver has to face. In an accident caused by a drunk or impaired driver, Illinois law provides accident victims with the right to bring a claim for their financial damages as a result of the crash, including any medical bills they are forced to incur. In the tragic event that a loved one is killed in an accident, that victim’s surviving family members may have the right to bring a claim for their losses from the crash.
Victims in the same car as a negligent driver and victims in other cars, on foot, or on a bicycle all may have the right to bring a civil claim for damages depending on the facts of the accident and who is to blame. Often, it can be difficult to know whether you have a valid cause of action so speaking with a lawyer can help you understand your case.
At Abels & Annes, P.C., we are injury lawyers who want to help you understand your legal options after an accident. To make that happen, we offer a free, no obligation case consultation to all accident victims at (312) 924-7575 or toll free at (855) 529-2442. If you have suffered as the result of another driver’s negligence, make sure you understand your legal rights and whether you are entitled to a financial recovery by calling us today and letting us help you.
Prior Blog Entries:
McHenry County Fatal Work Accident Leaves Streamwood Man Dead, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published October 4, 2013.
CTA Blue Lines Collide, Dozens Injured, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published September 30, 2013.
1 Dead, 2 Injured In Woodlawn Crash, CBS Chicago/Sun-Times Media Wire, published October 6, 2013.