The family of a woman killed in a crash involving a Rockford fire truck has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the alleged driver.
Marta Esquivias was killed in March when she was hit by a speeding fire truck as she drove through an intersection. Her husband, Ismael Mondragon, was also in the car. He was severely injured.
Miguel Holland, the man accused of driving the firetruck at the time of the crash, was charged with aggravated driving under the influence resulting in death and reckless homicide in September. According to the lawsuit, he was driving with almost four times the legal THC concentration in his system.
Attorney Tyler Kobylski of Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., is representing Marta’s family in their wrongful death suit. The suit names Holland and the city of Rockford as defendants.
Attorney Kobylski questions how Holland was able to be under the influence and be behind the wheel while on the job.
“How do you have a firefighter get a DUI while operating a fire truck?” he said. “That’s just not something that should happen.”
The lawsuit alleges the truck entered the intersection of Whitman and North Church streets when Marta had a green light. The firetruck was traveling 17 mph over the speed limit. The lights and sirens were not on at the time of the crash, according to eyewitnesses.
The wrongful death suit states Holland acted with negligence and willful and wanton negligence. As his employer, the city of Rockford is also accused of negligence. The suit states that the city had a duty to ensure its employees were operating within the law and being safe.
Holland’s actions were irresponsible and dangerous, so the city should have taken action to prevent his capability to cause harm.
Ismael and his family are asking for restitution for the loss they have experienced from Marta’s death.
Learn More About Wrongful Death Lawsuits
When your loved one is killed because of someone else’s negligence, you may be left reeling. It’s understandable that you might need help processing such a devastating loss, but there are steps you can take to ensure the liable party is held accountable.
You can file a wrongful death lawsuit if someone’s reckless or negligent behavior kills your loved one. This lawsuit won’t bring them back, but it can allow you to move forward with your life. You can process your grief in peace with the support a settlement provides.
Compensation Available in Wrongful Death Suits
An Illinois wrongful death lawsuit can provide you with stability at a time when you shouldn’t be worried about finances. The damages available will depend on the details of your case, but you should expect that you can receive payment for:
- Medical expenses between the time of injury and time of death.
- Wages lost while your loved one was receiving treatment.
- The victim’s pain and suffering before death.
- Loss of companionship.
- Loss of future income.
- Punitive damages.
- Funeral expenses and burial costs.
When you’re preparing a wrongful death suit, your lawyer can help you evaluate the losses you suffered and what compensation you can pursue.
The Wrongful Death Lawsuit Procedure
In a wrongful death lawsuit, you are trying to prove that the defendant was responsible for your loved one’s death. You might feel this is an obvious conclusion, but you should work with your attorney to establish the damages you can pursue and ensure you’re following the proper procedure.
One of the first steps your attorney takes will be to investigate the accident that caused your loved one’s death. Whether it was a severe car accident, an instance of medical malpractice, or a defective product, you must prove that negligence caused your loved one’s suffering. Your attorney will gather evidence, like police reports, coroner’s reports, or witness statements, to help prove your claim.
Once your attorney has gathered preliminary evidence, you will file a complaint naming the at-fault party as a defendant and listing the damages you are pursuing. The defendant will be served a notice of your claim and have a chance to respond. In all likelihood, they will dispute your claim, which means you’ll need to prepare for a trial.
Typically, this is the longest phase of litigation. Both sides of a claim will have the chance to share their evidence. You’ll be able to see what the defendant plans to present, and they’ll be able to look through evidence your attorney has gathered. You’re trying to prove the defendant was negligent, so you must show they violated a breach of care.
Many wrongful death cases are settled outside of court before they are taken to trial. However, preparing to take a case to the courtroom is the best way to ensure you’ll get the justice and compensation you deserve after a loved one’s wrongful death. If the defendant refuses to settle and the case goes to trial, your attorney will present evidence and arguments to justify why the at-fault party was negligent and that their negligence resulted in your loved one’s passing. A judge or jury will deliberate on the evidence presented and give a verdict. If they rule in your favor, you will win a settlement.
FAQs about Illinois Wrongful Death Claims
How Long is the Wrongful Death Claims Process?
There isn’t a direct answer to this question. Each case is unique, and a resolution depends on the facts available, the damages you’re seeking, and how cooperative the defendant is. Finding a qualified wrongful death attorney to handle your claim is the best option to ensure you receive justice. They can review your case and give you an idea of how long it should take.
Is There a Time Limit to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The wrongful death claims process falls under personal injury law. In Illinois, you have two years from your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If you wait to file, you may not be able to recover any damages.
Who Can Seek a Wrongful Death Claim?
Under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, survivors have the right to sue the at-fault party for their loved one’s death. Spouses, children, and parents are allowed to seek compensation.
Why Should I Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer?
After losing a loved one, hiring an attorney might be the last thing on your mind. During this time of hardship, you should be focusing on your family. A capable attorney can handle the legal proceedings, keep you informed, and fight for the compensation you deserve. They’ll spot any lowball settlement attempts and won’t stop until you get the justice you need.
Get Help From a Chicago Wrongful Death Lawyer Now
Death can be painful. Losing a loved one is a tragedy that no one wants to experience. When someone else’s negligent actions cause you hardship, you should turn to an attorney who can guide you through a wrongful death claim and help you get closure. The Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., understand how difficult it can be to think about the legal process of seeking a settlement, but we also know it’s necessary.
We have helped families like Marta’s recover millions after their loved ones were killed by someone’s negligent actions. If your loved one died because someone was reckless or uncareful, you deserve justice. We will fight for your claim. Call (312) 236-2900 or use our online form to schedule your free consultation.