According to police, a 27-year-old off-duty police officer was recently killed in an auto accident by a drunk driver. The officer was in the passenger seat of a vehicle driving north on I-294 near Oak Brook when a 22-year-old woman traveling south in the northbound lanes struck an oncoming car and then spun into the officer’s vehicle. The police officer’s car was traveling north in the northbound lanes.
A news report about the accident indicated that the officer was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, which occurred at about 3:45 in the morning. The driver that caused the accident suffered only minor injuries, as did the driver of the vehicle carrying the police officer. Illinois State Police announced that the driver is being charged with reckless homicide and aggravated DUI involving death.
A Driver Guilty of a DUI May Be Liable for Civil Damages
Under Illinois law, when a driver’s blood alcohol level (BAL) is above .08%, the driver is automatically guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). The level of alcohol in a driver’s blood can be proven by either a breath test or a blood test. In Illinois, first-time offenders can face jail time, even if the driver doesn’t cause an accident or injure another party.
When most people hear about a DUI, they mainly think of alcohol as the culprit. But driving under the influence of street drugs and certain prescription medications can also be the basis for a DUI arrest and conviction.
Facing criminal charges is not the only issue drivers charged with a DUI have to worry about. If the drunk driver injures another driver, passenger, or pedestrian, that driver may be liable for damages to that person or even that person’s family, should the person be catastrophically injured or killed.
All drivers must take reasonable care when they are behind the wheel of a car. They must obey traffic signs and speed limits, and they are required to stay in their proper lanes. A driver’s failure to obey these rules may be a breach of their duty to drive with reasonable care. Under Illinois law, this is called negligence.
When a driver is guilty of negligence, and this negligence causes an injury to another person, the injured party may be entitled to compensation for his or her injuries. Even if the injured party is partly to blame for the accident, he may be entitled to receive compensation as long as he is less than 50% at fault in causing the injury. In Illinois, this law is called modified comparative negligence.
When a person is injured by a driver guilty of a DUI, the injured party may be entitled to punitive damages as well. Generally speaking, punitive damages are designed to deter people from driving under the influence of alcohol by making it very costly if they do cause an accident and injure another person. There are no caps (limits) on the amount of punitive damages in Illinois.
Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident?
Car accidents happen all too frequently. Sometimes nobody is injured, or the injuries are relatively minor. Other times, the injuries are severe and life-altering. Even if you were partly at fault in an accident, with the right lawyers you may still be able to recover sizable damages. At Moll Law Group, we have the experience and knowledge needed to get you the compensation you deserve. Our lawyers take the time to learn about your injuries and your needs with the goal of making you whole again. In automobile accident cases, there is a limit to how long you can sue another party. For this reason, if you or a family member have been injured in a car accident, don’t wait to call us for a free consultation, even if you think you may be beyond the time for filing a complaint. Our phone number is (312) 462-1700.