Thursday, November 9, 2017

Keating Law Offices Obtains Wrongful Death Settlement for Family of Jezniah Smith

On January 11, 2017 Chicago bicyclist Jezniah Smith was riding his bicycle home from a nearby store. While riding westbound on Division Street he came to the intersection with North Sacramento Avenue where he was struck and killed by a rental car operated by a Florida man. The fatal collision occurred late in the evening in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood. 

Despite the fact that the Chicago Police Department relied on the testimony of the driver in making its final conclusion that the driver had a green light at the time of the crash, a successful settlement was obtained for the insurance policy limits for the rental car operated by the driver. The discovery of additional insurance on the rental car by the attorneys at Keating Law Offices was particularly useful in this situation because the driver's insurance did not provide any insurance coverage for the crash. Attorney Michael Keating was able to successfully demonstrate the the known location of the different vehicles after the crash did not necessarily reflect the police department's official conclusion. 

Judge Patricia O'Brien Sheehan of the Law Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County entered an order approving the settlement in late October. The lawsuit against the driver alleged that he failed to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a person operating a bicycle, an action that is in direct violation of 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 of the Illinois Vehicle Code and Section 9-40-160 of the Chicago Municipal Code. The lawsuit also alleged that the driver drove too fast for the dark and wet conditions and did not decrease his speed upon entering the intersection. Physical evidence from the scene showed that the vehicle was traveling at such as speed that the impact threw Jezniah from the site of the impact and literally knocked him out of his shoes. 

The case illustrates the dangers that vulnerable bicyclists face in Chicago and the uncertainty that can surround the circumstances under which a crash occurred. Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and extended family of Jezniah Smith.