In August 2015, an automobile accident occurred at the intersection of Congress and California between a civilian and a law enforcement officer. The civilian was severely injured and is now suing both the officer and the City of Chicago with help from Disparti Law Group.
As this case illustrates, suing government workers or entities can be exceptionally complex due to the unique rules and procedures involved. While litigation against the government is difficult, the attorneys at Disparti Law Group are up to the challenge.
Suing a police officer or another public employee may be difficult because government workers are often protected under a legal concept known as sovereign immunity. In Chicago, the Illinois Tort Immunity Act prevents government entities from being sued for negligence related to government operations.
The defendants in this automobile accident case argue that because the officer was on duty at the time of the crash, he cannot be sued. The defendants formalized this argument in a Motion for Summary Judgment, which asked the judge to dismiss the case. In a response to this motion, the attorneys at Disparti Law Group describe the disputed facts of the case and persuasively argue that the defendant should not be immune.
Under 745 ILCS 10/2-202, government employees are not liable for their actions “in the execution or enforcement of any law” unless their behavior is “willful and wanton.” The plaintiff’s attorneys call both of these provisions into question based on the defendant’s and another witness’ testimony.
First, it is not clear that the officer was actually executing or enforcing a law at the time of the crash. The defendant testified that he and his partner received a call regarding an emergency, but the two have conflicting stories on what the emergency was. They also disagree about the events just before and during the accident. The plaintiff’s attorneys argue that the contradictory testimonies should be inadmissible as hearsay. Without evidence of an actual emergency call, the defendant’s argument that he was executing or enforcing the law fails, along with his tort immunity claim.
Additionally, the defendant does not remember if his light was red when he entered the intersection. Speeding through a red light comes with serious risks, and officers should take appropriate steps to ensure the coast is clear before proceeding. Failing to use caution may constitute “willful and wanton” conduct, even in the event of an emergency call.
When the City of Chicago was asked to provide “any and all evidence” related to the accident, it responded, “not known at this time.” The city has failed to amend its response despite months of discovery in which to do so.
When suing a police officer or government entity, it is critical to comply with notification requirements, meet all applicable deadlines, and clearly explain why the agency should not be immune. Taking on the government can be challenging, but accident victims can increase their chance of success with help from an experienced lawyer.
If you were hurt in an accident with a government vehicle, you deserve fair compensation for your injuries. All negligent drivers should be held accountable for their actions, even those who work for the government. At Disparti Law Group, our attorneys have extensive experience helping car, bike, and pedestrian accident victims fight for justice. To find out how an attorney can help in your situation, call now.