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Every fatal car accident in St. Clair County is a tragedy. But every once in a while, a car accident occurs that is especially difficult to fathom from any perspective. As Illinois readers know, when an individual gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, he or she owes a reasonable degree of care to others in or near the roadway. However, when someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it becomes far more difficult to argue that due care and caution were exercised while driving, and when that failure occurs, too often it results in catastrophe.

Last April, a 20-year-old Collinsville man caused a car accident in Fairview Heights that claimed the life of a 12-year-old victim and seriously injured the young girl's mother. The man, said by police to be under the influence of heroin at the time of the collision, lost control of his Jeep Grand Cherokee on Illinois 159 near Stonewolf Trail. His vehicle struck a northbound 2002 Ford Taurus. The young man has now pled guilty to aggravated driving under the influence. As a result of his plea on Dec. 6, the man will serve seven years in state prison.

Regardless of the plea, nothing can reverse time and bring back the 12-year-old victim, nor can the young man's sentence erase the mother's injuries and the trauma and grief of losing her daughter. But the law in St. Clair County and throughout Illinois does provide for the right of the victim's family to seek compensation for their suffering, and to hold the irresponsible man fully accountable for his actions. Finding out all the available options in filing an appropriate civil suit can help grieving families with expensive medical bills and funeral expenses, as well as provide some measure of solace after the loss of a loved one.

Source: stltoday.com, "Collinsville man gets seven years for crash that killed 12 year-old," Nicholas J.C. Pistor, Dec. 7, 2011

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Bonifield & Rosenstengel
16 East Main Street
Belleville, IL 62220

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