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St. Clair County residents may recall the horrible car accident that took place almost four years ago when an Illinois state trooper crashed into another vehicle, killing two sisters. The incident became controversial when it was learned that the trooper was driving recklessly when his patrol car crossed the median on I-64 and resulted in a deadly, fiery crash. That car accident took place in November of 2007.

As a result of the trooper's actions, the family of the two deceased teenagers was awarded an $8 million judgment. Still, the family has not been paid yet. According to records, the state owes more than $79 million to various agencies and individuals in Madison, Monroe, Jersey and St. Clair Counties.

Needless to say, the parents of the girls have become frustrated with the long delay in payment. The Court of Claims, which is a special court that hears civil lawsuits against the state, made its decision for the family in January. However, a request for payment was not made to the state comptroller's office until early August. One reason for the delay in payment was that the state Legislature had to approve the payment as part of the budget process. According to the comptroller's office, the family should receive payment by the end of the month.

When a car accident leads to the death or serious personal injury of another, families and victims deserve compensation for loss and hardship. While money alone cannot simply erase the grief and sadness families experience when they lose a loved one, it can help to pay some of the real costs families incur. An attorney's aggressively expediting payment of such compensation is one way of sending a message that those responsible can and will be held accountable.

Source: stltoday.com, "Metro East family awaits $8 million in death of girls," Doug Moore, Oct. 17, 2011

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Bonifield & Rosenstengel
16 East Main Street
Belleville, IL 62220

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