In Auto Accidents Blog

The driver in a Sauganash single-vehicle crash that left him and two of his passengers injured has been arrested and charged on multiple counts.

Charges Filed in Sauganash Single-Vehicle Crash

On May 12, 2020, at about 8:35 p.m., 25-year-old Thomas Podgorny of Norwood Park was driving a Nissan sedan on the 4600 Block of West Devon Avenue in the Sauganash neighborhood on Chicago’s Northwest Side. Podgorny then allegedly made a sudden U-turn and collided with a parked trailer.

Podgorny and two passengers in the Nissan were injured in the Sauganash single-vehicle crash. According to the Chicago Police Department, Podgorny was arrested near Devon and Cicero Avenues, then taken to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston for treatment of minor injuries.

Two of his passengers, a 22-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman, were also transported to St. Francis Hospital, both in fair condition. At least three other people reportedly refused treatment at the scene of the Sauganash single-vehicle crash.

Podgorny has been charged with misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence and failure to notify damage. He also received citations for failing to reduce his speed, failing to carry/display a driver’s license, and operating an uninsured vehicle.

Who Can Be Compensated in a Single-Vehicle Crash?

In Illinois, those who have been injured in a car accident are allowed to seek compensation from the party or parties at fault. When there are two or more vehicles involved, a driver who is not responsible for the accident would likely be able to recover from the auto insurance of the at-fault driver. In a single-vehicle crash, however, in which a driver collided with a stationary object or even a parked vehicle, that driver would largely be unable to obtain compensation from an auto insurance policy (with some exceptions). But passengers are a different story.

As in other personal injury claims, anyone whose negligence caused a passenger’s injuries can be held liable for them. That could include the driver of the vehicle in which the passenger was traveling, the driver of another vehicle, or other parties still, depending on who was at fault.

So even in a single-vehicle crash, in which the passenger’s driver was determined to be the sole cause of the incident, that driver’s insurance policy could be pursued to compensate the passenger for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Passengers May Still Face Obstacles to Recovery

Although Illinois law entitles injured passengers to recover under most circumstances, that recovery is not always guaranteed. For example, if the driver’s vehicle is uninsured, as may have been the case with the Sauganash single-vehicle crash, the passenger would have no liability policy from which to obtain compensation. In this situation, the passenger would have to pursue a claim on his or her own uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) policy, assuming there is any.

Even if the driver’s vehicle has coverage, the insurance company might contend that the passenger was partially or totally at fault for the incident in order to minimize its financial exposure. For instance, the insurer could argue that the passenger:

  • Interfered with the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle;
  • Engaged in a dangerous and/or illegal activity with the driver, such as street racing; or
  • Provided the driver with alcohol or drugs.

Under the state’s modified comparative fault rule, a plaintiff cannot recover for injuries if that plaintiff is more than 50 percent responsible for the injuries. If any of these or other actions by the passenger are determined to have been more than 50 percent responsible for the passenger’s injuries, he or she could walk away with nothing.

How GWC Can Help Injured Passengers

As you can see, there can still be obstacles to overcome for a passenger to obtain full and fair compensation, even in the case of a single-vehicle crash. For this reason, many injured passengers have turned to the Chicago passenger injury attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers LLC.

With over $2 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements, GWC is one of the premier Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois. Our Chicago car accident lawyers have the experience, the determination, the resources, and the reputation of success necessary to get you the justice you deserve.

If you have been injured in a single-vehicle crash, please contact GWC today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a Chicago car accident attorney. You may call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with a representative at any time.