October 30, 2010

Record $6.5 Million Kane County Settlement Reached for Huntley Trucking Accident Victims

Yesterday a judge in Kane County approved a settlement in the wrongful death lawsuit stemming from a trucking accident brought by the family a former East Dubuque woman, Tabitha Carroll. Tabitha was killed, and her husband and son were injured, when a truck smashed into the back of their pick-up truck on October 31, 2008.

John J. Perconti, a trucking accident attorney at our firm of Levin & Perconti represented the family in the suit.

Ultimately, the settlement was reached during mediation between the parties and their attorneys. The Carroll family will receive $4.7 million for Tabitha’s wrongful death, $1.5 million for her husband Randy’s personal injuries, and $300,000 for their child Gabriel’s injuries.

Police officers had discovered that the negligent truck driver, Jeffrey Repec, was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the accident. When conducting the investigation, our attorneys discovered very troubling information about the events that led up to the deadly crash. The owners of the tractor-trailer, Geils Farms, failed to regularly screen their drivers for drugs as required by federal motor vehicle safety laws. In addition the owners did not perform driver background checks or look into employee driving records.

On top of that, the semi-truck used in the deadly crash was overloaded, weighing more than 80,000 pounds. The packed truck was clearly unsafe in that it’s left front turn signal did not function, five out of ten break were not properly adjusted, and the brake pads were infected with oil and grease inhibiting the safe stopping of the machine.

All of those factors together contributed to the deadly accident on Halloween day 2008. The Carroll family was stopped on Route 47 near I-90 on their way to Goebberts Pumpkin Path. The truck driver Repec was traveling behind them but failed to notice that they had stopped. His truck slammed into the back of the Carroll vehicle, forcing it to be crushed between it and an IDOT truck stopped in front of it.

Attorney John Perconti explained following the verdict, “The Carroll family has suffered needlessly at the hands of someone who should never have been allowed to operate a tractor trailer. Geils Farms’ failure to implement a screening program for their drivers was careless and demonstrated a reckless disregard for the safety of others.”

He continued, “They [the family] will live with this grief and sorrow for the rest of their lives. Although justice was done here, it’s not going to bring Tabitha back.”

October 29, 2010

Driver in Critical Condition Following Multi-Truck Accident

The Day News reported last week on another truck accident that involved multiple big-rigs and sent one driver to the hospital in critical condition.

The injured truck driver was carrying a load of cranberries in his trailer last Thursday, around 7:15pm. He was traveling along Interstate 95 in Connecticut. As so frequently happens in these events, the truck driver came upon stopped traffic on the highway. However, the driver was unable to account for the slowed vehicles in front of him. As a result, his truck smashed into the back of another tractor-trailer—this one a flatbed—that was at the end of the traffic jam. The flatbed truck was then propelled forward striking a regular box truck that was in front of it. In total, three large trucks were involved in the crash.

The driver of the vehicle that caused the devastation was trapped in his cabin following the accident. Emergency crews who responded to the scene were forced to extricate him from the vehicle. He suffered life-threatening wounds and was flown to a nearby hospital. He remains in critical condition. Fortunately, the two other truck drivers involved in the accident were not hurt.

Our Chicago truck accident attorneys at Levin & Perconti continue to ring the bell for improved safety and awareness between trucks and all other drivers and pedestrians on or near the road. By far the most common form of highway accident involves fast-traveling vehicles coming upon slowed traffic and failing to stop in time. It is never a good idea to become accustomed to a certain roadway speed—the build-up of traffic takes only a short time. Failure to account for that build-up can literally cause life destroying accidents. Please remain alert to that possibility while on the roadway and contact a truck accident attorney if you know a victim of someone else’s failure to heed that advice.

October 27, 2010

New AAJ Report—U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Civil Justice Hypocrites

The American Association of Justice issued a new report today that highlights a clear example of hypocrisy by a major interest group involved in the U.S. Justice System.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has spent millions of dollars and focused immense resources on lobbying campaigns aimed at limiting regular consumers’ access to the courthouse. The group’s affiliate, the Institute for Legal Reform, works every day to add barriers and restrictions to the right of individuals harmed by corporations to file lawsuits against those corporations.

Groups like the U.S. Chamber have worked hard to bar the courtroom door to regular individuals, like truck accident victims, who may have been hurt by the negligent actions of large corporations, like trucking companies. But a new AAJ report explains that the U.S. Chamber itself files hundreds of lawsuits each year to advance its own interests. Apparently the justice system is only fair to the Chamber when they are doing the suing.

The National Chamber Litigation Center, the part of the organization charged with filing lawsuits on behalf of the group, annually initiates over 130 suits. Nearly 2 times a week, the group is at it again using the court system to advance it goals—while at the same time claiming that regular individuals shouldn’t have fair access to that same court system.

Our Chicago truck accident attorneys at Levin & Perconti continually work for the opposite cause: to allow all victims the same balanced access to the nation’s justice system. We do not believe that there is anything wrong with allowing our truth-finding judicial process to play out. There is nothing to fear from allowing potential victims, no matter where they come from or how much money they have, to enjoy their day in court. In that way, the system truly creates a level playing field where single individuals can stand up to anyone and seek justice.

As the AAJ President explains, “The Chamber has every right to seek what it believes to be justice in a court of law, even if representing the most deplorable corporate interests. But it must learn that this right to justice belongs not just to their organization or big business generally, but to all Americans.”

The American Association of Justice, like our truck crash lawyers, work every day to ensure that people have a fair chance to use the legal system they are hurt by the negligence of others, even large corporations.

To read more about this shameful example of unequal access to American Justice, check out the full AAJ report Here.

October 25, 2010

Semi Accident Kills Woman and her Infant Child

WZZM News reported on a terribly truck accident tragedy last week that took two lives. Last Tuesday morning an SUV driven by a young woman was headed south on a local highway. The woman’s young three year old child was buckled up in the car as well. The mother had just dropped off an older child from school.

The SUV was traveling through an intersection in which traffic on the other road had a stop sign. At the moment that the SU V was crossing the intersection, a large semi truck was traveling down the other road. However, the truck driver was not paying attention and he failed to stop at the intersection as required. The result was a crushing collision. The female driver of the SUV was killed on impact. The young infant boy was rushed to a nearby hospital, but hospital personnel were not able to save him.

The local sheriff explained with a heavy heart, “All indications are the semi driver failed to stop. Here we go again. He failed to stop and it resulted in the death of two more people. It’s very heartbreaking.”

It is accidents like these that send chills down the spines of most observers. Few things are more tragic than two lives cut short by the negligence of large truck driver. Our Chicago truck accident attorneys at Levin & Perconti remain saddened by each example we hear of death and destruction caused by poor driving. If you or someone you know has ever suffered because of bad driving by a truck driver please contact a truck accident lawyer to preserve your legal rights.

October 23, 2010

Six People Involved in Chicago-Area Truck Crash

Our Chicago truck accident attorneys at Levin & Perconti have often discussed on this blog the increased damage typically experienced in accidents involving semi trucks and trailers. That is one of the main reasons why steps should be taken at all times to limit the risk of becoming a victim of one of these crashes. That reality was bore out last week in another Chicago-area truck crash, this time in Plainfield, that ultimately sent six people to nearby hospitals with severe injuries.

The Tribune Local reported on the details of the truck crash. The multi-vehicle collision began with the actions of a construction truck. The driver of that vehicle was traveling on Route 30on Monday evening, around 6:30pm, near the intersection of Heggs Road. The construction truck eventually crossed the center line and struck a pick-up up that was heading in the opposite direction. The negligent driver then hit a second car, before colliding with a semi-truck.

Following that third collision, the semi-truck caught on fire. In the aftermath the construction truck driver had to be extricated from his vehicle and was rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition. The driver of the semi, his passenger, and the driver of the pick-up truck were also taken to local hospitals in critical condition. Several others involved had other injuries and were brought to nearby emergency rooms.

Crashes like this occur with startlingly frequency when one driver happens to cross a center line and causes untold damage. Be sure to take every precaution to avoid drifting and always be on the lookout for fellow drivers who may be failing to heed similar safety practices.

October 21, 2010

Driver Sentenced in Illinois Truck Crash That Killed Four

The Springfield News-Sun explained the latest developments in the truck crash saga that took the lives of four Illinoisans and continues to affect the lives of an extended network of family and friends.

Early this year, on January 7th, a truck driver was behind the wheel of a tanker truck on a particularly cold, icy day. He was driving westbound on Interstate 70 near U.S. Route 40. At the same time several passengers in a Creative Learning Workshop van were traveling eastbound along the same highway.

As the two vehicles were passing one another, the tanker truck began sliding on the ice. The driver ultimately lost control, causing the massive vehicle to hit the oncoming van head-on. The damage was obviously significant. In total, four passengers in the Creative Learning van were killed in the crash. Investigations following the accident revealed that the truck driver was traveling much too fast for the conditions. His speed was a significant factor leading to the tragedy.

This week the negligent truck driver was finally sentenced following his conviction on four counts of vehicular manslaughter. He will spend at least 30 days in jail.

All truck accidents are devastating events for those caught in the crosshairs, particularly those that involve damage and loss of life on a scale such as this. Our Chicago truck crash lawyers at Levin & Perconti are committed to helping the victims of these calamities by assisting with the legal affairs in the aftermath. Many of these accidents involve somewhat complex areas of legality, depending on the type of truck involved, the owners of the trucking companies, the safety steps taken, and the circumstances of the accident itself. Do not attempt to handle these matters alone. Contact a truck accident attorney and discuss the situation to figure out if any more steps should be taken.

October 19, 2010

Operation Safe Driver Seeks to Educate Negligent Truck Drivers

This week represents a renewed effort by many enforcement officials nationwide to step up safety measures against owners of unsafe trucking fleets, truck drivers, and cars that act negligently around large semi trucks. As reported in Trucking Info, The effort is part of Operation Safe Driver, a project organized by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Our Chicago trucking accident attorneys at Levin & Perconti fully support these efforts to improve the safety of large vehicles on the road. Our attorneys have been involved with too many semi accidents that have caused immeasurable damage to countless families. The need for improved truck driving safety is obvious. Every year nearly 5,000 people are killed in truck accidents involving large commercial vehicles.

One safety expert puts the figures into perspective, “This is equivalent to a 737 airplane crashing every two weeks. Could you imagine if we experienced 26 planes crashing in a year? That would never be tolerated, and we should have no tolerance for these deaths on the highways either.”

This year the safety driving program involves targeting 261 motor carriers with a history of problematic practices including hiring unsafe drivers and operating even after being put out of service. Those carriers will then be given “aggressive compliance reviews” to determine if the improvement steps have been taken to curb the problematic behavior.

Other components of the program include a “Teens and Trucks” training program to help educate young drives about the challenges of driving around trucks. Inexperienced drivers in particular often fall victim to these trucking accidents. On top of that, program organizers are spreading a distracted driving education package that includes public service announcements, handouts, presentations, and an educational DVD.

Please Click Here to learn more about this trucking safety program.

October 17, 2010

Man Dies Following Crash With Tractor-Trailer

A man was killed last week after his Jeep crashed into a semitrailer in an early morning accident, reports the Brattleboro Reformer.

The man was driving his 1996 Jeep Cherokee at high speeds, over 80 mph, on Virginia’s Route 5. Near the exit ramp to Interstate 91, the man’s SUV crashed into a Freightliner tractor trailer. The truck was stopped at the end of the off ramp as he was making a left-hand turn.

The size of the vehicles and the speed at the time of the accident severely increased the damage in the collision. The Jeep went so far underneath that its front end was protruding out of the other side of the trailer. The Jeep driver was eventually pinned under the semi truck for over an hour before rescue crews could completely extricate him. He was rushed off to a nearby hospital but died from his injuries.

The police in this case were able to reconstruct the accident using a measurement of the skid marks on the road, noting that the car was likely traveling at about 81 miles per hour on impact (the speed limit in the area is only 40 mph). However, that estimate does not include how fast the driver was traveling before the brakes were applied in an attempt to stop—likely around 90 mph.

Our Chicago truck accident attorneys have been involved in the aftermath of many fatal truck accidents like this one. We have decades of experience understanding the legal issues involved in these crashes from understanding the causes of the accident, the weather conditions, the possible impairment of drivers, and the liability of trucking owners and companies. Please contact our truck crash lawyers if you are ever involved in a crash with a big rig.

October 15, 2010

Semi Overturns in Chicago on Bishop Ford Freeway

Chicago Breaking News reported yesterday afternoon on a single truck accident that struck on one of Chicago’s most highly used traffic arteries.

Both directions of the Bishop Ford Expressway were shut down for about two hours in the south suburbs because of a large semi truck that flipped over while trying to exit the freeway yesterday afternoon. Around 12:30 p.m. the truck was attempting to get off the roadway and enter 159th Street in South Holland. However, for reasons that are still being investigated, the large truck flipped over nearly 180 degrees.

The driver of the truck was pinned inside the cab and was only freed after extended extrication efforts by emergency personnel. He was flown to a nearby hospital where his condition has stabilized. Another passenger was also in the cab, but he was unhurt in the truck crash.

This truck accident is rare in that it involved no other vehicles and no life-threatening injuries. However, as our Chicago truck crash attorneys at Levin & Perconti are well aware, these crashes are often some of the most destructive roadway tragedies of all. We hope to continue making all local travelers aware of the multitude of risks that exists on our roadways at all times.

As occurred in this case, the steep inclines, narrowed road, sharp turns, and high drops off that characterize freeway on-off ramps pose particular high risks for large vehicles like tractor-trailers. It is especially important for all drivers to be cognizant of that risk, ensuring that they do not follow too closely to trucks that are entering or exiting the highway. It only takes a moment of confusion or distraction for one of these rigs to tip over or cause a multi-car crash.

October 13, 2010

Runaway Propane Truck Crashes Into Line of Cars

The Republican American reported yesterday on a unique Monday afternoon truck accident involving several vehicles. While driving on steep local roads, a propane truck carrying 1,000 gallons of the combustible fuel likely lost its brakes as it was descending a particularly steep spot.

The truck, with a driver and one passenger inside, ultimately slammed into a line of parked cars at the end of the hill—luckily missing a nearby building by mere feet. The driver and passenger suffered minor injuries, and the parked cars hit by the truck were all destroyed. Other bystanders were not around the accident at the time. Emergency crews admit that it was very fortunate that others were not around; otherwise there likely would have been many more injuries.

Our Chicago truck accident attorneys continue to warn all drivers and passengers to remain vigilant while on the road. Of course when they woke up Monday morning those caught in this particular truck accident never dreamed that they would be trapped in a runway propane truck. Odds in each particular case are always minimal in car and truck accidents. However, in the aggregate chances are much higher that all of us will be involved in some type of accident on the road at some point in our lives.

That is why it remains vitally important for drivers to pay close attention when behind the wheel, be well-versed in roadside emergency processes, and understand that there remains a legal component to these crashes.

Be sure to contact a truck accident lawyer whenever you are harmed in an accident with a semi truck.

October 11, 2010

Heroic Bystanders Save Life Following Three-Truck Accident

When truck accidents strike our roadways, devastation and destruction are often the result. Our Chicago truck accident attorneys at Levin & Perconti work hard to ensure that the victims and their families are legally protected following these tragedies. With so many feelings involved in these crashes, it is important to have knowledgeable experts managing the legal matters so that the more important emotional issues can be handled without distraction.

Of course legal assistance only comes into play after the wreckage is over and the victims are processing the losses. However, some community members are called upon to assist in the immediate aftermath of these truck accidents—when lives are still hanging in the balance.

A situation just like that occurred this weekend following an accident on Route 130, reports The Trentonian. A 55 year old female driver was stopped at an intersection when a tractor-trailer behind her slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting her. In the meantime, a second truck failed to pay appropriate attention and slammed into the braking semi in front of it. The initial collision between these two semis caused the first one to slam into the back of the woman’s car, a small 1987 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. The Chevy was then driven into a third semi-truck that was stopped in front of it.

The chaos ultimately caused the destroyed car to become sandwiched underneath and between three different trucks. The woman herself was pinned inside.

Amazingly, the accident happened directly in front of a heavy-duty towing company that helps lift and move large semis. The workers of the company were watching as the accident occurred. They quickly jumped into action, taking their equipment and going to the crash site to help move a trailer off of the woman’s car so that she could be removed from the wreckage. Their quick thinking got the woman out of the car and to the hospital, where still remains in critical conditions. Authorities believe that if the towing crew did not act as quickly as they did, the woman would have died waiting to be removed.

With all of the repeated stories of heartache caused by deadly trucking accidents, it is important to remember the real heroes who save lives with quick thinking and courage every day following these tragedies.

October 9, 2010

Truck Accident Lawsuit Ends With $62.7 Million Settlement

Fleet Owner News reported this weekend on the conclusion of a long-running legal battle following an unfathomable truck accident tragedy.

The settlement was reached just one day before trial was set to begin between the families of 8 victims and the owner of the negligent truck, AWG Grocery. Specifically, the victims were alleging that the truck driver was negligent in his driving and the company itself had an inadequate fatigue management program—both of which contributed to the a deadly truck accident.

When the accident occurred the truck driver had just returned from a vacation and was adjusting to a new work shift. While behind the wheel of the big rig roughly 10 hours after his shift had started, the driver came upon backed-up traffic that had been caused by an earlier accident. The driver failed to see the slowed traffic at all, however, and ended up hitting amn SUV at the end of the traffic line. The semi was traveling at 69 miles per hour when the impact occur. That high speed ultimately caused an extreme chain reaction, with the semi itself traveling forward and hitting three additional cars. The other cars crashed into a livestock trailer which then hit another vehicle.

All told 10 people were killed and several others were injured in this terrible truck tragedy. A settlement was reached with families of 2 of those killed, and this last $62.7 million settlement involved the families of the 8 other individuals who died following the truck crash.

Our Chicago truck accident attorneys at Levin & Perconti have earned many settlements for victims following harmful truck accidents. The mix of emotions that many families experience following these accidents makes it difficult to consider the legal necessities in the crash’s aftermath. Contacting a truck accident lawyer ensures that experts in the process of dealing with crash investigation, insurance issues, and possible negligence suits are put to work for you and your family.

Please Click Here to learn more about this truck accident disaster.

October 7, 2010

Truck Driver Killed After Hitting Utility Pole

Tampa Bay Online News reported this week on a fatal truck crash that killed the big rig’s driver.

A 60 year old truck driver was traveling along State Road 39 while following another truck that was in front of him. Shortly after midnight the driver radioed to the truck in front of him explaining that he was going to pull over because he felt ill. However, before he was able to stop, the man’s semitrailer slammed into a utility pole on the side of the road. Following the impact, the truck burst into flames. The cab of the semi was engulfed in flames by the time emergency crews arrived on the scene.

The victim’s family explained that the driver had a history of heart problems. It is possible that the man suffered a heart problem of some kind which made him lose control of the truck.

It is important for all drivers to remember not to risk getting behind the wheel where there is even the slightest chance of suffering some sort of physical problem. Our Chicago truck accident attorneys encourage all those who use local roadways to remember that any sort of impairment—from feeling tired and sick to taking medication or drinking alcohol—may have deadly consequences for you, your passengers, and all community members. Too often many of us fail to consider the risk of losing control of the car while driving. Even if the chance of that happening remains small, the possible loss is too catastrophic to consider. Remember to put all of that into perspective each time you jump into your vehicle. If you or someone you know has been the victim of another driver’s failure to consider their impairment, be sure to contact a truck accident lawyer.

October 5, 2010

Chicago Woman Killed After Truck Driver Fails To Stop

A Chicago man and his two sons today are mourning the loss their mother and wife, following a tragic truck accident that struck this weekend in Minnesota reports KARE 11 News.

Sophie Mitzel was traveling with a family friend and her sister to visit her elderly mother who was about to undergo serious heart surgery. While driving on I-94, their minivan came upon slowed down traffic on the interstate. Another vehicle had caught fire and was on the side of the road. The vehicle in flames on the road’s shoulder had brought traffic to a crawl.

Unfortunately, a truck driver behind the minivan was not paying close enough attention to the roadway. The driver did not anticipate the slowed traffic, and instead of stopping, the vehicle slammed into the back of the minivan. The impact was so severe that it caused a chain reaction, with three other cars ultimately begin dragged into the tangled wreck. All told several people were injured, and both Mitzel and the family friend were killed.

As one investigator into the crash explained, “It was a very violent crash. Based on the amount of damage and the amount of vehicles involved, obviously (the semi) was still traveling at a fairly high rate of speed.”

Our Chicago truck accident attorneys at Levin & Perconti continue to be saddened by the number of truck drivers who refuse to abide by all safe driving techniques, placing themselves and all other drivers at risk. It is imperative that these reckless drivers and the trucking companies that allow them to remain on the roadways take responsibility for the harm they inflict with their careless driving following truck crashes. These several ton machines traveling at 60 miles an hour or more simply cannot be driven without extreme concern for the travelers around them. There is no excuse for failure to abide by ordinary degrees of care, caution, and concern.

October 3, 2010

Chicago Man Dies in Crash on I-57

Interstate 57 has been the site of several fatal vehicle accidents over the past several weeks. This weekend saw another man killed following a crash on that roadway. As reported in the News-Gazette, 28 year old Martinez Jones died Saturday following a four vehicle accident.

The major truck accident struck just south of Mattoon on I-57 when a driver lost control of her vehicle after she swerved to avoid an animal in the middle of the road. In the midst of the lost control, the driver crossed the median, entered the opposite lane and hit Jones’ car.

A large semitrailer was driving behind Jones when the initial impact occurred. The truck driver swerved in an effort to avoid the crash in front of him, but he was unable to avoid it. The semi slammed into the bumper of Jones’ car, which was the likely cause of Jones being ejected from the car. Unfortunately, another semi truck was traveling near the accident. After Jones was ejected, he landed in the middle of the road directly in the path of the second truck which was unable to stop in time to avoid hitting him.

Our Chicago truck accident attorneys at Levin & Perconti encourage all drivers to remember not to make erratic maneuvers with their vehicles that could cause loss of control. Of course, it is easy to plan on avoiding sharp vehicle movements, but it is entirely more difficult when a distraction—like a wild animal—unexpectedly appears. It is for that reason that it is important to practice other careful driving techniques like driving at proper speeds. In that way, even when distractions arise, the driver is best able to manage the situation in the least costly manner.

October 1, 2010

Tragic Chicago-Area Truck Crash in Parking Lot

The Daily Herald reported on a bizarre truck accident that recently struck in the Chicago suburb of Batavia.

Around 6:30pm on Wednesday, 30-year old Christopher Dunlap drove into a Wal-Mart parking lot. The man was attending medical school on an Army scholarship after completing his military service. Dunlap was the only person in the small Hyundai when the car inexplicably drifted underneath a semitrailer was parked in the lot. The small car went completely underneath the truck, coming out the other side. The man died while en route to a nearby hospital.

No witnesses saw exactly what happened, except several heard the crash. Police are still investigating to determine whether Dunlap was shopping at the store and exactly what caused his car to slide underneath the unmanned semitrailer.

Our Chicago truck accident attorneys at Levin & Perconti send condolences to the family of the victim. Truck accidents like these seem to be works of fiction, because no clear answers can be given as to the cause or circumstances that led to it. Of course, there could have been a vehicle malfunction or perhaps a separate medical condition that afflicted the man, leading to his loss of control of the car.

This particular accident may also serve as a reminder to the fact that tragic vehicle accidents can occur at anytime and anywhere. Many of us likely let our guard down when we enter parking lots or are in zones where we are traveling particularly slowly. While it is true that high speeds obviously present more threat of harm following crashes, the risk is not entirely eliminated in other circumstances. Any time that large mechanical machines are involved—particularly large semitrailers—than there remains the potential for fatal injury. It is imperative for all drivers drive carefully and remain on alert at all times.