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Making Strategic Decisions in an Illinois Truck Accident Case Involving Multiple Potentially Liable Drivers

| May 29, 2024 | Automobile Accidents |

When you are injured in a multi-car accident, there are several vital decisions you’ll have to make. Chances are, your first reaction might be to focus your attention on the driver who seemed the most “morally culpable.” However, in many cases, that is not the right way to go forward. Seeking a full and complete recovery, especially when your damages are very large, is much more complex than merely identifying the party whose misdeed seems the most offensive. The law gives you the right, if your injuries were a result of the conduct of multiple people, to choose which (or all) of those people to sue. Obtaining a full recovery may mean making decisions that are strategic and not always intuitive to the layperson. That’s why it pays to work with experienced Illinois truck accident counsel who can help you make the choices that will get you the full recovery to which you are entitled under the law.

Recently, the Illinois Supreme Court entered a ruling on a multi-car crash case in which multiple drivers were potentially negligent. The underlying accident was a serious one along Interstate 88 near Naperville. Daniel, allegedly under the influence of cocaine, attempted to make an illegal U-turn while crossing the interstate median. Daniel was not able to navigate the turn successfully and hit a Toyota in which Angela was a passenger. That first impact spun the Toyota, which was then hit in the passenger’s side by a semi that had been traveling behind the Toyota in the eastbound lanes. The crash caused Angela to suffer serious and permanent injuries.

One of the factors complicating Angela’s case was that Daniel had no significant assets. Pursuing litigation against him and securing a large judgment against Daniel could possibly result in merely obtaining an uncollectible judgment. Angela, then, made the choice to settle with Daniel for just $20,000, which was the policy limit under his auto insurance policy. She then litigated her case against the truck driver and his employer. Part of what made this a strong move for Angela was the fact that, at trial, the case would focus solely on whether or not the truck driver was liable for his collision with the Toyota carrying Angela. The trial would not investigate the extent of Daniel’s culpability, and the jury would not be asked to apportion relative fault between Daniel and the truck driver. The case would solely look at the truck driver’s negligence (or lack thereof) and the extent of Angela’s damages.

The Supreme Court’s opinion upheld this process. The truck driver and related defendants asked the court to declare Daniel to be an intentional (as opposed to negligent) wrongdoer, which the defendants requested in an effort to keep Daniel as part of the case and force the jury to determine how much of the accident was Daniel’s fault and how much was the trucker’s. The Supreme Court stated that there wasn’t enough evidence to conclude that Daniel had committed an intentional tort. Based on this, the law required upholding Angela’s decision to settle with Daniel and pursue only the truck driver and his employer. While the litigation of this issue was technically a battle between Daniel and the trucker, the outcome was clearly a “win” for Angela in allowing her to pursue her case, and her recovery of damages, in the manner she and her legal team believed was best for her.

If you have been injured in a multi-car accident, you need experienced counsel who know how to pursue your case in a way that will get you the fullest and fairest recovery for your damages while minimizing the risk of unhelpful results like uncollectible judgments. The diligent Chicago truck accident attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca have been helping injured drivers and passengers for many years utilize the legal system and get a recovery that they deserve. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 312-724-5846 or through our website.

More Blog Posts:

Taking on an Illinois Auto Accident Case When You Were Hit by Multiple Other Drivers, Chicago Injury Attorneys Blog, Dec. 7, 2017

Rockford Jury Returns $15M Damages Verdict in Wrongful Death Truck Accident Case, Chicago Injury Attorneys Blog, Oct. 24, 2017