Personal injury actions can arise in many different scenarios. Regardless of the circumstances, it is essential to consult with a seasoned Illinois personal injury lawyer to ensure that you are asserting your rights to the fullest extent possible. In a recent appellate decision, the court considered whether surviving relatives could recover compensation from a public entity based on allegations that the public entity failed to dispatch a 911 call in a timely manner.
In the case, the decedent was working at a convenience store that he owned located in an apartment building in Chicago. A number of individuals wearing ski masks and brandishing weapons entered the store. A pedestrian outside the store called 911. The Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) received the first call at 7:12 p.m. and a second call from the same pedestrian at 7:17 p.m. At 7:20 p.m., OEMC dispatched a police unit and two minutes later, additional units were dispatched. Upon arrival, the police found the decedent tied to a chair with a gunshot wound to the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The plaintiffs filed a wrongful death action that proceeded through discovery until the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the claim on the eve of trial. They refiled some years later alleging that the decedent was shot and killed two minutes before the officers arrived and that OEMC’s failure to dispatch police to an armed robbery in progress until eight minutes after receiving the first 911 call was willful and wonton and showed a reckless disregard for the decedent’s safety. The defendants moved for summary judgment on several grounds. Some of the public entity defendants claimed immunity under the Tort Immunity Act. One of the defendants argued that it did not owe the decedent a duty to protect him from a third party attack and that the decedent’s death was the proximate cause of a third party’s actions. It also argued that the earlier dispatch of a police unit would have prevented his death was entirely speculative. The trial court granted the motion for summary judgment and the plaintiffs appealed.