Invacare wheelchair not equipped with flags; Daughter sues over father's crosswalk fatal injuries

Andrea Dearden Jul. 25, 2011, 2:00am

The daughter of a St. Clair County man killed while crossing a DuQuoin street in his wheelchair is suing the makers of the wheelchair and the driver of the car that allegedly hit him.

Candess Higgerson, on behalf of her father, Robert E. Osborne, filed the lawsuit June 27 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Invacare Corporation and the Scooter Store Ltd. Carol A. Smith is also named as a defendant.

Higgerson says, in March, her father was in his powered wheelchair and tried to cross South Hickory Street in DuQuoin. Smith, driving her SUV on West Main Street, allegedly made a right turn onto South Hickory Street and hit Osborne while he was in the crosswalk. Higgerson says her father died several days later from his injuries.

Higgerson claims the wheelchair, made by Invacare and sold by The Scooter Store, was defective because it was not equipped with flags or other devices to make it visible to motorists. She also accuses Smith of failing to pay attention to the man riding in the crosswalk. Higgerson is suing for negligence and wrongful death and asks for $300,000 in damages for medical expenses in addition to court costs.

Attorney Bruce N. Cook of Belleville is representing the Osborne family.

St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 11-L-334

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