As a St. Louis pedestrian accident attorney, I was sorry to read about a man who was hit by not one but two vehicles as he walked down a snowy southern Illinois road. The Belleville News-Democrat reported that Richard Hicks, 25 and of Edwardsville, was hospitalized in critical but stable condition after he was hit by both an SUV and a snowplow. Hicks was walking north on Illinois 157 just after midnight on Jan. 8 when a fast-moving SUV apparently lost control and hit him. He was dragged 960 feet into the northbound lanes of the highway. The SUV did not stop. However, a snowplow clearing the highway’s southbound lanes came along and also hit Hicks as he lay in the road. That driver did stop. Police are looking for a large Ford SUV, gray or silver, with a missing grille emblem and damage to a dark-colored bug deflector.
Because police are looking for the SUV driver, it sounds like they may believe he or she is criminally culpable for hitting Hicks. It was unclear why Hicks was on foot at a late hour in a snowstorm, but a St. Louis Post-Dispatch story says he was walking south in the northbound lane, suggesting that he was taking steps to be extra visible. The witness statement that the SUV was going very fast and lost control could mean reckless driving, or it could simply mean the driver lost control in the snowy conditions. Of course, the driver would be guilty of leaving the scene either way, but if police think the driver was also driving recklessly or under the influence, the end result could be criminal vehicular manslaughter charges. Evidence of reckless driving could also strengthen any pedestrian accident lawsuit Hicks and his family might pursue.
The accident with the snowplow is another matter. By all accounts, the police don’t believe the snowplow driver is at fault — he stopped after the accident and there was no report that he is being cited. But if authorities determine this driver was at fault, the legal landscape for any injury lawsuit would be very different. This driver was plowing an Illinois state highway, which means he works for the Illinois Department of Transportation — that is, the state. Under a legal doctrine called sovereign immunity, states are generally able to specify shorter deadlines for suing, special administrative procedures to follow and other special rules. If you miss these deadlines or don’t follow procedures right, you can lose your right to sue, which is why experts suggest hiring a southern Illinois pedestrian accident lawyer right away if you have this kind of claim.
Carey, Danis & Lowe has more than 25 years of experience helping clients seek justice and fair compensation through the civil courts. Our Missouri pedestrian accident attorneys have handled numerous cases involving auto accidents, including cases against government agencies as well as many more that simply involved unsafe or careless driving. When cars hit pedestrians, two tons of metal or more are pitted against human flesh, and the results can be devastating. When accidents are caused by the carelessness of the people behind the wheel, victims and their families have the right to pass on all of their costs through an injury claim. That includes financial costs such as lost wages from time you couldn’t work and any past and future medical bills. It also includes damages for pain, suffering and any permanent disability or wrongful death.
If you or someone you love was hit by a driver through no fault of your own, we can help. To arrange a free, confidential case evaluation, call us toll-free at 1-877-678-3400 or send us an email today.