The City Of Chicago Settles Car Crash Lawsuit For Over $3 Million Due To Negligence

Every day people die because of drunk drivers, including the intoxicated drivers themselves. In the United States, one person dies in drunk driving related crashes nearly every hour. Alcohol can impair a person’s ability to function normally. It can interfere with clear thinking, reasoning, and coordination. A person does not have to reach near unconsciousness while intoxicated in order to lose the ability to have the alertness to operate a vehicle safely. Because alcohol is a chemical substance it affects people differently. While the amount of alcohol consumption can lead to severe intoxication, each person’s body processes alcohol with a different result. This is why a person with a blood-alcohol content level below the legal limit can still be so impaired that they pose a serious danger when operating a motor vehicle. They can cause an accident so severe that they cause permanent injuries to others and themselves.

In 2014, Kelsey Ibach was the passenger in a car operated by an intoxicated driver. The driver caused a car crash in which the vehicle went down an embankment and landed on its roof. As a result of the accident, Ibach was left paralyzed. The driver of the vehicle fled the accident scene. Ibach and the two other passengers filed a lawsuit against the driver of the vehicle, two nightclubs and their owners, and the City of Chicago.

The claim against the city was that they failed to adequately repair the embankment, which was unprotected. The embankment is at an intersection near the Chicago River. The lawsuit claimed that the intersection was improperly designed and maintained; therefore, the city was liable for the vehicle being able to go down the embankment. Chicago’s City Council agreed and approved a settlement for $3.7 million to Ibach and the other two people injured in the car crash. The driver who fled the accident scene paid approximately $100,000 and the club owner who served the driver was held liable for one million dollars.

An at-fault driver can cause an accident while driving under the influence and not be solely liable for the crash. Florida law assigned comparative fault with more than one party is liable for an accident. Under comparative fault, a percentage of fault is assigned to each at-fault party based on their amount of liability that contributed to the accident. In a drunk driving accident, the drunk driver is at fault for violating the state traffic laws by driving under the influence of alcohol. Under the Florida Dram Shop Act, the club owner may be held liable for serving alcohol to the intoxicated driver if the driver was a minor or the owner knew the driver had a alcohol addiction.

The city may also held liable for a drunk driving accident if its failure to maintain the roadway and other city property created a situation that enhance the likelihood of more danger. For example, an embankment with a barrier between the roadway at the embankment, increases the likelihood of a vehicle or person of fall into the embankment. The city has a duty to design and maintain the embankment to make it less accessible for people to fall into the embankment and get injured or killed.