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A pillar of the French restaurant community in Chicago was killed in a 15-car pileup crash on the Eisenhower Expressway.

Seventy-one-year-old Jean-Claude Poilevey was the head chef at both La Sardine in the West Loop and Le Bouchon in Bucktown. Illinois State Police cite snowy and icy conditions as the primary reasons for the crash. “It was just one giant chain reaction,” according to Illinois State Police Sgt. Alexander Diaz. Three other people were also seriously injured, but they are expected to survive.

Portions of the outbound Ike were closed for about ten hours as authorities cleared the wreckage and investigated the crash.


The duty of reasonable care means different things in different contexts. Far from excusing negligent conduct, slick surfaces, poor visibility, and other environmental conditions create an additional duty.

In situations like these, drivers have a duty to travel below the posted speed limit and use extreme care when turning or navigating. Moreover, they may have a duty to use additional safety equipment, like snow tires.


Largely due to tort reform, many states have very narrow lows in this area that erect procedural hurdles, limit the amount of money that grieving families can receive, or both. But Illinois has a very broad wrongful death law. A personal representative, who is generally a surviving spouse or adult child, may bring the action. If there is no personal representative named in a will, the court will appoint one.

If successful, the plaintiff may recover two different types of economic damages:

  • Direct: In addition to funeral expenses, burial expenses, and other final expenses, the tortfeasor (negligent party) must pay any hospital bills and other medical expenses related to the decedent’s final accident or illness.
  • Indirect: In addition to short-term economic losses, the family may recover for long-term losses, like lost future inheritance, lost future income, and the loss of household contributions.

To determine long-term damages, an attorney often partners with an accountant or other financial professional to determine the decedent’s future career path.


The plaintiff is also entitled to noneconomic damages, for:

  • Decedent’s Pain and Suffering: Trauma victims nearly always live for several minutes or hours after the incident, and during this time, they often experience excruciating pain. In other incidents, such as a medical misdiagnosis, that pain and suffering may extend for months or even years.
  • Family’s Pain and Suffering: According to the statute, the jury may award compensation for “damages for grief, sorrow, and mental suffering, to the surviving spouse and next of kin of such deceased person,” whether or not such person is the personal representative.

Certain damages are paid to certain parties. For example, short-term economic damages are normally paid to the estate, while noneconomic compensation for the family’s pain and suffering is paid to the surviving family members.


For prompt assistance with a wrongful death or other negligence claim, contact a tenacious personal injury attorney in Schaumburg. At our law firm, after-hours and hospital visits are available.

Our Office Location:


1990 E. Algonquin Rd., Ste 230
Schaumburg, IL 60173