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Downers Grove family seeks answers after fatal bike accident

Nearly one year ago, life changed suddenly and dramatically for one DuPage County family when they lost a loved one in a car-bicycle collision. The 14-year-old boy was biking across a crosswalk when a motorist struck him, causing critical injuries. Unfortunately, the boy succumbed to his injuries and passed away before he could even start high school.

The driver was charged and convicted of failing to yield to a pedestrian, a traffic violation that resulted in a sentence of a $1,500 fine and 300 hours of community service. This is the maximum sentence possible for an incident of this kind. In Illinois, there is no law for negligent vehicular homicide, which would be applicable in this case and many other pedestrian accidents.

After police recently made it clear that they were not going to pursue any further charges against the at-fault driver, the young boy's family expressed frustration. They feel as though the driver should face a penalty stronger than community service.

Additionally, the family said they have accumulated over $1.2 million in medical bills since the accident occurred, which is undoubtedly a major burden. If the family does decide to file a wrongful death claim, they could recover damages for the tremendous financial and emotional toll created by the boy's death.

Although criminal and civil actions are separate legal processes, the fact that the driver in this case was found guilty of a serious traffic violation could prove valuable in meeting the burden of proof in civil court. Certainly, nothing can undo what happened to the young boy, but a civil claim could help the family feel whole and pass a critical step in the healing process.

Source: Darien Patch, "No Charges Expected Following Death of Teen Hit in Darien," Mark Sewall, Jan. 18, 2013

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