When you suffer an injury as the result of the negligence or recklessness of a government actor, there are different rules that apply to how you must proceed with your potential personal injury claim. Illinois law recognizes government immunity from certain tort claims through the Local Governmental Tort Immunity Act. If you or a loved one was injured as the result of a government actor, it can be incredibly difficult to understand how this statute may impact your right to recovery. The seasoned Chicago personal injury lawyers at Therman Law Offices are prepared to assist you with understanding your potential rights.
Recently, The Illinois Court of Appeal issued an opinion in a case against a local government entity alleging that it was responsible for the death of multiple parties in a collision that happened at a railroad crossing. The facts of the dispute are as follows. A woman was driving four of her children to a local Halloween parade. She was approaching a railroad crossing on Sixth Street following a line of traffic approaching the parade grounds. As she was crossing the tracks, traffic stopped suddenly and the railroad crossing initiated. The gates closed and the woman was unaware of an approaching train. She attempted to drive forward away from the tracks when the car was struck by an eastbound freight train traveling 46 miles per hour. Only one occupant of the vehicle survived the collision.
The administrator of the decedents’ estate brought a negligence action against multiple parties including the local city. The city filed a motion to dismiss itself from the lawsuit on the grounds that it was immune from tort liability under the statute. The lower court certified the issue of whether the city was immune, which means it asked the appellate court to issue an opinion providing guidance on the issue. The lower court also certified a question asking whether the city owed the woman driving the vehicle and the occupants of her car a duty to keep them safe from hazards associated with the railroad crossing.