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Chicago bicyclist struck, killed on summer vacation

Vacation or summer family commitments may require residents to get out of Chicago for the day or spend weeks out of state. Travel comes with stresses like driving long distances, fatigue, construction delays, unfamiliar roads and sudden seasonal storms.

The state transportation department recorded more than 950 fatal accidents in 2012 on Illinois roads. Many of the crashes occurred during summer months when motorists allow driving safety habits to slide.

A 46-year-old Cook County businessman recently died while on vacation with his family. The wealthy head of a Chicago investment firm was riding a bicycle along a Michigan road when the two-wheeler was rear-ended by a car. The father of four was killed.

Family members said a heavy rain was falling when the auto-bicycle collision occurred. Investigators might conclude the collision was an unfortunate event with no criminal wrongdoing.

The bicyclist's death could be attributed to a driving mistake caused by poor weather conditions. Despite the loss of life, police could cite the motorist for driving too fast for conditions or some other non-serious traffic offense without filing criminal charges.

An accident victim's family can pursue a wrongful death claim without a defendant being charged with or convicted of a crime. Civil courts settle disputes over liability; harm does not have to be intentional to be negligent.

A verdict against a defendant in a liability case results in damages that benefit accident victims or surviving family members. A jury might award damages based on the costs related to a victim's death like final medical or burial expenses. Compensation is also given for economic and emotional hardships suffered by the victim's spouse, children or parents.

A jury trial may not be needed to resolve a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Plaintiffs and defendants frequently avoid the stress and fees of lengthy litigation by negotiating satisfactory out-of-court settlements.

Source:, "Kevin Flynn, 46, businessman, former Sun-Times investor, killed in bicycle accident" Art Golab, Aug. 13, 2013

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