David S. Jasmer
Setting the Standard in Personal Injury
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Third claim settled in Chicago Gold Coast pedestrian crash

You can be held liable for a traffic accident caused by a driver who borrows your car. The same is true for work vehicles. Cook County drivers often operate vehicles that belong to and are insured by employers. Employers are also responsible for hiring and training decisions and the creation and enforcement of safety rules. The company can be blamed for injuries caused by an incompetent employee.

A Chicago man's former employer is spending millions of dollars to settle claims for a 2011 crash. The driver, a city-employed laborer, drove a work truck into a crowd of people. Police determined that the crash was a drunk driving accident. The 61-year-old driver's blood alcohol level was more than double the state limit for intoxication. A brandy bottle was found in the vehicle.

Seven people were hurt in the pickup truck crash. Two Gold Coast pedestrians were listed in critical condition, including a nanny who saved a toddler from being hit by pushing a stroller out of the way. The 26-year-old woman suffered fractures throughout the lower part of her body. The city recently agreed to pay $7.4 million to settle the nanny's liability claim. Another victim agreed to a settlement of over $6 million and a third injured person won a $2.4 million judgment.

The ex-sanitation worker pleaded guilty to multiple counts of aggravated DUI. He was sentenced to a nine-year prison term. The city expanded its employee drug testing policy after the drunk driving accident to include laborers.

Accidents involving intoxicated drivers are frequently only the fault of the motor vehicle operator, as long as the driver and the owner are the same. When a vehicle owner hands over the keys to another person, the owner assumes liability for the driver's actions.

Personal injury attorneys understand that liability laws and accident investigations are not as straightforward as many people assume. They can help victims who have suffered injuries in an accident to hold all of the appropriate people and entities liable.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, "Legal settlements from drunk worker’s accident cost city $16 million" Fran Spielman, Jan. 11, 2014

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