April 5, 2013

Truck Driver Charged With Death of Family In Multi-Vehicle Accident

by Levin & Perconti

Starherald.com recently released that the trial of a truck driver charged with killing an entire family in a multiple-vehicle accident has been scheduled for September. Our accident lawyers learned that the 36-year old driver’s arraignment hearing took place in January, in which a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf on four counts of manslaughter, four counts of motor vehicle homicide by willful reckless driving, and one count of motor vehicle homicide of an unborn child by driving recklessly.

The report states that the family consisted of a 30-year old man from Maryland, his 28-year old wife, and the couple’s two and three-year old children. The family had been among other drivers stopped on Interstate 80 as emergency crews were responding to a previous accident. The couple was driving separate vehicles at the time. Allegedly, the truck driver drove onto the scene, failing to notice the emergency lights or slow down for the stopped vehicles, and struck the husband’s vehicle. The force of this collision pushed his vehicle into his wife’s car, which was forced underneath a semi-tractor trailer. All family members were killed upon impact. The woman was pregnant at the time of the crash and her unborn child also died.

State police say that when the accident occurred, the truck driver had been driving for more than fifteen hours, violating commercial motor vehicle federal regulations. He also failed to observe radio traffic and other warnings that would have alerted him about the accidents on the interstate. He remains in a local jail on a $1 million bond, and a pre-trial conference is scheduled for late-May.

Our attorneys believe this accident directly sheds light on how critical it is for all truck drivers to follow the “14-hour rule,” which states that a commercial truck driver cannot work for more than 14 hours in a 24-hour period. Thus, each duty period must begin with at least 10 hours off-duty. The United States Department of Transportation regulates the number of hours a truck driver can driver per day, as well as the total number of driving hours per week. Following this rule is necessary not only to meet federal regulation guidelines, but to ensure that you are able to drive attentively behind the wheel and consequently help save lives.

Wrongful death cases, commonly filed by a family member of a victim, can be used to recover monetary damages such as medical expenses or funeral bills, or pain suffered by survivors of the victim. We have seen the devastation that reckless behavior behind the wheel can cause and have represented numerous families in various cases. In 2010, John Perconti obtained $6.5 million in a settlement for the family of a 32-year old woman who was killed in an accident with a semi-truck, including personal injuries suffered by her husband and child. The wrongful death portion of the settlement, $4.7 million, was the highest wrongful death settlement ever recorded in Kane County, Illinois.

If you have lost a loved one in a trucking accident due to the negligence or carelessness of the driver, please contact our law firm for more information. We have the experience necessary to help your family recuperate after the loss of a loved one, in addition to uncovering the act of negligence that caused the accident.