David S. Jasmer
Setting the Standard in Personal Injury
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Single-car crash during storm in Chicago metro kills two teens

Experience teaches Cook County drivers the skills needed to cope with poor weather, a proficiency that newly-licensed drivers learn over time. Illinois teenagers must complete a graduated licensing program before earning full driving privileges. The process slowly acclimates teens to traffic situations, including nighttime and foul-weather driving.

Victims of a recent single-vehicle car accident were students from separate Lake County high schools. A 16-year-old Antioch teenager was behind the wheel of an SUV during a heavy, evening rainstorm. Auto accident investigators said the driver and his 17-year-old female passenger died after the vehicle swung off the road and smashed into a tree. 

In Illinois, 16- and 17-year-old teens are not required to have adult supervision while driving. Only one nonfamily passenger under age 20 is permitted in the vehicle when a 15- to 17-year-old teen is driving. Nighttime driving restrictions are also in place during early permit and licensing phases. 

The Antioch teen driver violated none of these rules.

According to reports, the SUV crashed through a yard before striking a tree. The property owner stated that "it was pouring" at the time of the fatal accident. Damage to the vehicle was so extensive that rescue crews had to slice the roof from the SUV to reach the victims. 

The crash victims, students of Antioch and Lake Community High Schools, were pronounced dead at the scene. Grief counselors were employed by the schools to aid students and faculty with emotional responses to the tragedy.

The teen driver's death does not prevent the family of the deceased passenger from filing a wrongful death claim. The high school student's family has the right to request accident-related compensation for financial and noneconomic losses. 

Mental distress and loss of companionship experienced by surviving family members may be added to claims for death-related medical expenses and funeral costs. Civil courts award damages when unmistakable evidence of driver negligence is proven.

Source: chicagotribune.com, "Fatal Antioch crash: 'People are kind of numb around here'," Lisa Black, Feb. 19, 2013

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