Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

On June 7, 2010, 15-year Mexican boy Sergio Hernandez was playing with friends near the border between the U.S. and Mexico.  They were playing on the culvert of the Rio Grande between El Paso, Texas and from Juarez, Mexico.  Sergio Hernandez and his friends were playing by running up the to the US border, to touch the fence on the US side of the border and then run back to the Mexican side of the border.  U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jesus Mesa detained one of the friends in the U.S. side. Sergio Hernandez ran back to the Mexican side but was shot by the agent who fired two shots at his direction.  According to the attorney for the agent, Sergio Hernandez had been arrested twice before in the US for smuggling, The agent’s version of events is that Sergio Hernandez was throwing rocks at him.

Hernandez’s family sued Jesus Mesa for damages in federal District Court in Texas claiming that the agent was in violation of the U.S. Constitution which prohibit unjustified use of deadly force by law enforcement agents.  The agent moved for dismissal arguing that Sergio Hernandez had no constitutional protection because he was an alien who had no voluntary attachment to the U.S. and who was on the Mexican side when he was shot.  The federal District Court applied a formalist test and decided that the constitutional protection ends at the border and therefore does not protect aliens like Sergio Hernandez.  The Hernandez family appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  Hearing the case en banc, The Appellate Court held that the agent was entitled to qualified immunity and that the Sergio Hernandez had no claim under the Fourth Amendment because he was a foreign citizen, had no significant voluntary attachment to the U.S. and was on foreign soil when he was killed.

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case and to answer the following three questions:

  1. Does a formalist or functionalist analysis govern the extraterritorial application of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unjustified deadly force, as applied to a cross-border shooting of an unarmed Mexican citizen in an enclosed area controlled by the United States?
  2. May qualified immunity be granted or denied based on facts – such as the victim’s legal status – unknown to the officer at the time of the incident?
  3. Can the claim in this case be properly asserted under Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, which governs when federal agents may be liable for damages for violating an individual’s constitutional right?.

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The Personal Injury Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. take note of the alarming number of accidents involving pedestrians that have taken place throughout the Chicago Metropolitan area this month. Nearly every one of the victims in these incidents suffered fatal injuries, demonstrating the high risk of death for a victim that is struck by a vehicle in a pedestrian accident. Even more disturbing, is that many of these crashes involved motorists that made the callous and heartless decision to flee the scene, and leave their victim to die, rather than stopping to render assistance.

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The Wrongful Death Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. take note of a tragic series of events that claimed the life of 51-year-old Dennis C. Hunke II, of Plainfield, as he was attempting to render assistance to an elderly motorist. The incident occurred at approximately 10 am, on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at the first block of South Buell Avenue in Aurora. According to Authorities, 84-year-old Joyce A. Baudouin, of Aurora, was backing her Dodge Caravan out of a driveway, when she apparently lost control of her vehicle, and collided with a southbound vehicle. Thereafter, Baudouin, who was still in reverse, hit the gas pedal rather than the brake, causing her vehicle to travel into two yards, and subsequently back onto the roadway.

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Every accident is unique and bicycle accidents are no different. However, where bike crashes do stand out is in their potential to vary significantly, both in legal and factual issues. The ability of your attorney to competently identify, evaluate, address, and resolve each and every matter relevant to your case, can greatly impact the amount of financial recovery that a victim ultimately obtains. With nearly 25 years of practice experience, the Chicago attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. have identified SIX areas that play a critical role in most bicycle collision claims:(1) Causation; (2) Legal Multiplicity; (3) Insurance; (4) Fault; (5) Evidence; and (6) Valuation, each of which are discussed below. While some areas may interrelated, or dependent on one another, the key inquiry to keep in mind, is, can your attorney do all of the following?

Causation. Bike accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, just a few are: motorist negligence; bicyclist negligence; defective or faulty bicycle components; improper maintenance of private or public property; and more recently, we have even seen accidents along bike trails, caused by the negligence of another pathway user. Pinpointing potential causes of an accident is an essential component to determining potential sources of compensation. If numerous potential causes have identified, there might be more than one source of recovery that needs to be further explored. A competent attorney can identify and assess potential causes, as well as compensation sources, and explain the legal implications associated with each.

Legal Multiplicity. Along with each potential cause and source of compensation, can come a variation in the corresponding laws, rules, procedures, and processes associated with each. For example, an accident involving a bike-component can involve a products liability claim against a manufacturer or distributer, or a negligence claim against a bike-sharing company, and sometimes even a bicyclist. Likewise, claims against the government due to failure to remedy a known unsafe condition, such as a dangerous roadway condition-or-premises liability claims against a business establishment or private property owner for similar breaches in duty of care. Further, if a fatality occurs, provisions under both Illinois Wrongful Death Act, as well as Probate Law can apply. An attorney with prior experience in a diverse range of legal matters involving injury and death, is best equipped to provide effective legal representation.

The Chicago Wrongful Death Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. send our condolences to family and loved ones of Jason West, as they mourn the tragic death of a resident of our community.

Authorities say, the accident occurred on March 9, 2014 at approximately 1:25 a.m., as Chris West, 29, of Chicago, was traveling along Interstate 57, near West 99th Street. The victim, who was the sole occupant of a 2000 Ford Explorer, apparently lost control of his vehicle, causing it to crash and then subsequently roll-over.

According to officials, West was ejected from the vehicle. It was reported that other drivers stopped in an attempt to help the victim. West was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where, tragically he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead shortly after 2 a.m. While the investigation continues into this tragic wreck, officials say that it does not appear that alcohol was a factor in the collision. However, we do hope that the ultimate cause of the accident is discovered.

The Chicago Wrongful Death Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. take note of the tragic loss of 6-month-old baby boy that lost his life at the hands of a hit-and-run driver. As the members of our community mourn this loss, we remain certain that the same thoughts are shared—how could a motorist be so callous as to cause a collision and then leave the scene of the accident?

As attorneys, we wish we could provide the mother of 6-mos-old Yeshua Shaford, with an answer. To hold your child in your arms as the mother reported, ‘as he took his last breath,’ is simply unimaginable.

With the help of witnesses to the accident, including the boy’s father, authorities were able to identify the hit-and-run-driver. In what we see as a merely a partial redemption in justice, the hit-and-run driver did in fact later turn himself to authorities. It was also discovered that the motorist was operating his vehicle with a suspended license.

In what can be called an unthinkable series of events, a family mourns the loss of another child, following a second fatal accident, which took the life of a remaining twin. Although the accidents occurred nearly 18 years apart, the irony of these tragedies is that occurred within 500 yards from one another, near Crete, Illinois.

The first accident, which happened on May 26, 1996, involved a hit-and-run accident that took the lives of three children-11-year-old Cari Sanaghan, 12-year-old Courtney Lauer, and 12-year-old Sheena Acres-and severely injured a 13-year-old boy, and Cari’s twin sister, Sarah Sanaghan. The driver, Richard Devon, who struck the children as they were walking across Plum Creek Bridge on Burville Road, was later convicted for leaving the scene of the accident.

The second accident occurred on February 27, 2014, as 29-year-old Sarah Sanaghan traveled west along Burville Road, near Crete. According to officials, Sanaghan’s Chevy Cruz collided with a tanker truck that was headed south on Illinois 394. Although the truck driver was not seriously injured as a result of the collision, Sanaghan sustained blunt force head trauma, which the coroner’s office reported was the cause of her demise.

As 72-year-old Stanley Lorkiewicz rode his bicycle in the 7700 block of North Milwaukee Avenue in Niles on the morning of September 23, 2013 he was struck by a vehicle. The driver of the motor vehicle remained on the scene until authorities arrived. As the police report was being prepared, Lorkiewicz suddenly collapsed, but was subsequently revived and transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. The autopsy results, which are expected to be released by October 1, 2013, should reveal whether the bicycle accident was the cause of Lorkiewicz’s death.

According to police, the incident was initially deemed to be only a ‘minor accident.’ The tragic death of Stanley Lorkiewicz serves as a reminder of the need to seek immediate medical treatment following a bicycling accident, even when the bicyclist, the motorist, and the police are in agreement that the incident was only minor. The Chicago Bicycle Accident Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. offer their condolences to the victim’s grieving family during this difficult time.

The Injury Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. take note of the dangers associated with traveling as a pedestrian on busy Chicago roadways, as was demonstrated once again in a horrific auto crash occurring on May 11, 2013, which killed an elderly woman and injured another. The 85 year old victim was crossing the street near the intersection of York and Van Buren in the City of Elmhurt with her grandson a few steps behind her, when both pedestrians were struck by an oncoming vehicle.

Bystander Mark Vorel explained the vehicle’s impact with the elderly victim: “Her body went up and her head hit the windshield and the car threw her, Immediately, I grabbed my phone and called 911.” Both victims were transported to the hospital, where tragically the elderly victim died a short time thereafter. The victim’s grandson is reported to have escaped with only minor injuries. DuPage County Accident Reconstruction Task Force (DuCART) remained at the accident scene for several hours while performing their investigation, and…

The Injury Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. take note of the dangers associated with traveling as a pedestrian on busy Chicago roadways, as was demonstrated once again in a horrific auto crash occurring on May 11, 2013, which killed an elderly woman and injured another. The 85 year old victim was crossing the street near the intersection of York and Van Buren in the City of Elmhurt with her grandson a few steps behind her, when both pedestrians were struck by an oncoming vehicle.

The Chicago car accident lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer became aware that three people were injured early Saturday in an accident that involved a car and two taxicabs at a busy intersection in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.

The accident occurred two hours after midnight when a Ford Crown Victoria taxicab, which was going southbound on Halsted Avenue, intending to make a left turn onto Fullerton Avenue. As it was making the left turn, a Subaru that as westbound on Fullerton Avenue hit the taxicab, veering it off and striking a Toyota Camry taxicab, which was behind the Ford and was waiting to make a left rurn as well. .

The Ford taxicab had two passengers, a 23-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman, who were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago with non-life threatening injuries. The Subaru driver, a 22-year-old man, was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical in a sable condition. The driver of the Ford taxicab was cited for failure to yield while making a left turn.

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