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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

  1. "Committed To My Cause"

    I was struck by a car while cycling and severely, almost fatally injured. A team of excellent medical professionals performed complicated and extensive surgical and medical procedures as part of a successful effort to restore my health....
    -Jeff D.

  2. "Could not have made a better choice"

    We found Mark [Mathys] through the web after an auto accident in October 2011. While selecting someone you don't know to represent you can be a gamble, we could not have made a better choice....
    - Dave

  3. "Very satisfied"

    Mark [Mathys] is very professional. He responds almost immediately, via email, to any question, comment or concern I have and if he is not able to respond right away, he will let me know. I have been very satisfied with Mark so far and I am happy to be his client.
    -Jennifer

  4. "Easy to talk to"

    Mr. Mathys and Mr. Schneid were very professional and easy to talk to. Prior to working with them, my wife and I had no real experience with the legal system beyond a house closing, yet Mr. Mathys and Mr. Schneid explained the whole process to us very well. I knew that whenever I had a concern about our case or the legal system in general I could call their office or send an email and receive answers the same day... -Larry

  5. "Provided very wise advice"

    I've dealt with attorneys on a variety of issues, almost all of them since leaving college and entering the workplace. Mr. Mathys was the first attorney I had any real experience with, and I was impressed then and remain so. He provided very wise advice and always kept me informed. In the end, he delivered a favorable result. I recommend him highly.
    - Tyler D.

  6. "In-depth knowledge of the law"

    Mark [Schneid] is an excellent and skilled attorney and demonstrated in-depth knowledge of the law when he helped settle my dog bite lawsuit resulting from a traumatic incident. He explained what was needed of me and how I should handle the situation in a professional manner.
    - Karen K.

  7. "They went to bat for me"

    Not long ago I was involved in a car accident where I was hit by a gravel truck at an intersection. After I called Mathys & Schneid, even though I didn't have a very large case, they made me feel like I was one of their most important cases. They went to bat for me with the trucking company's insurance and got me a settlement. I would definitely recommend them to my family and friends. -Dan H.

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