Plaintiffs can become frustrated by the length of time a civil case takes to resolve. Decisions in Cook County lawsuits may be interrupted and appealed. Defendants can use time to their legal advantage, as families of fatal accident victims struggle with the loss of a loved one.
A disagreement among courts over the boundaries and competency of judges stalled an already-lengthy court battle over responsibility for a bus accident. The plaintiffs are the surviving spouse and daughter of a woman who was run over and killed by a Greyhound bus in 2002.
The Romanian-born child was 7 when she saw her mother chase after a bus and witnessed the woman's death. The daughter is now 19 and still waiting for Cook County courts to make a final decision about the alleged wrongful death. More than a dozen separate lawsuits branched off from the original.
A 2013 ruling by the Illinois Appellate Court rejected a proposed settlement and remanded the case to a Cook County Circuit Court. The higher court questioned the decisions made by two judges who heard the case, one of whom was criticized for a conflict of interest.
A new judge has ordered the attorneys in the wrongful death action to prioritize the unresolved problems and present them in court.
Following her mother's death, the daughter left the U.S. and her stepfather, a taxi driver, to live with her Romanian grandparents. The child visited Chicago as an adult in the fall. She is due to return this month to attend college, fulfilling her mother's original plans when the family moved to the U.S. from Romania.
Personal injury attorneys understand how bogged down the legal system can become. Counselors can try to anticipate what a court or defendant will do and develop a strategy to help plaintiffs receive a favorable outcome, either by settlement or through a trial.
Chicago Tribune, "Daughter of bus victim faces more legal twists and turns" Cynthia Dizikes and Todd Light, Dec. 29, 2013