Auto collisions are the cause of many serious injuries and deaths every year. When death and lift changing injuries are caused by a collision, one of the first things that any serious injury attorney will investigate is whether there were other contributing factors that caused an accident. While the driver who caused the accident may have been distracted, intoxicated, or driving too fast for conditions, there may be contributing factors that caused the accident and other parties who may be responsible for your injuries.
Roads can be defective and dangerous for many reasons. The road can be designed improperly or the governmental entity responsible for maintaining the road can fail to exercise proper care in maintaining the roads. Signs can be improperly placed, traffic lights can be programmed incorrectly and roadways may be marked improperly. Municipalities in Illinois are required to comply with the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) when placing road markings, traffic control devices and signage. The road conditions must be examined by a lawyer and in some cases an engineer must be hired to determine whether the road was defective.
Was the driver working at the time of the accident? The question is not always as easy to answer as you might think. The answer is important because employers can be held liable for accidents caused by their employees while in the scope of their employment. A cab driver who is involved in an accident while driving passengers would be working at the time of the accident, but what if the cab driver is driving home at the time of the accident? Then there are employees who may drive to different jobsites throughout the day. In one tragic case I was involved in years ago, a janitor fell asleep at the wheel and crossed the center line causing a fatal accident. The janitor had only the state minimum policy, but we were able to prove that the janitor was required by his employer to drive to different facilities throughout the day. We were then able to hold the insurance company for the employer liable for damages caused to the surviving family members. The law as to when an employee is considered to be in the scope of his or her employment is complicated and is best handled by an attorney with years of experience litigating such issues.
BARS, RESTAURANTS AND LIQUOR STORES
Not only is the driver who is guilty of a DUI (driving under the influence) liable for injuries caused in the accident, the facility that served the driver may also be held liable for over serving the customer. Where and when the driver purchased alcohol must be determined.