Damage awards reduce the tension over finances for accident victims and survivors. Compensation also can cover emotional distress. Grief sometimes affects plaintiffs longer than any physical injury.
A 62-year-old Illinois woman was immersed in her large family's lives. It wasn't easy for the mother of four to attend the sporting activities of her nine grandchildren, but relatives said she managed. The grandmother and her daughter were running late on their way from Granite City to a Troy soccer match in October 2012.
The victim was a passenger in her daughter's truck. The pickup was traveling along Interstate 270, when the vehicle was rear-ended by a Ford Mustang. The Mustang already had been reported to police by several truckers, who said the driver was reckless and speeding.
The powerful collision caused both vehicles to flip and roll down an embankment. The women were thrown from the truck. The drivers were injured but survived; the grandmother's injuries were fatal.
Witnesses said the Mustang driver left the scene to make a call and later returned. The New Douglas man told police he had not been driving the Ford that day. Authorities later filed two aggravated DUI charges against the driver.
Investigators found out the man hadn't slept for 20 hours before the fatal accident. Prosecutors said he chose to drink with friends. The man's blood alcohol content level was nearly double the state's limit.
The defendant recently was sentenced to an eight-year prison term. Eighty-five percent of the term must be served before parole is considered. The sentence was four years lighter than the term prosecutors wanted and five years longer than the defense thought was fair.
A sudden death can create financial turmoil. Families may be inundated by bills or deprived of a relative's income, but it's often emotional suffering that lingers. Monetary relief is helpful, but it cannot replace the presence of a loved one.
Source: The Edwardsville Intelligencer, "Motorist gets eight years in fatal accident" Steve Horrell, Mar. 05, 2014