Articles Posted in Chicago Truck Accident

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the city of Chicago must pay $16 million to compensate the victims of an accident from 2011 in which a drunk city laborer plowed a city truck into a crowd of pedestrians walking along the sidewalk in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. Last week a $7.4 million settlement was announced for the most seriously injured victim who shoved aside a stroller with a baby inside just a second before the truck jumped the curb and ran down the crowd of people. The driver had a blood-alcohol level at more than twice the legal limit of .08 and an open bottle of liquor inside the city-owned truck. In criminal court, the driver pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated driving under the influence. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Our attorneys represented another one of the victims of this accident, a 27-year-old man who suffered multiple serious injuries in the accident. In September, a Cook County jury awarded him a $2.4 million verdict. At trial, he was represented by attorneys Susan Novosad and Jordan Powell from our office. Our suit alleged at the driver was operating his vehicle under the influence and that the City of Chicago assumed vicarious liability for the driver’s actions because he was a city employee. At the time of this accident in 2011, the city of Chicago did not require random alcohol and drug tests for drivers, unless they held commercial drivers licenses. This driver was sanitation worker and only assigned to garbage cans and debris, so he had not undergone the tests. However, after the crash, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has ordered for tightened supervision to prevent future accidents.

Employers, in this case the city of Chicago, are liable for the negligent and tortious actions of their employees. When an employer hires an individual, they assume responsibility for the actions and harms that an employee may cause while working for and representing the employer. In this case at hand, because the driver was on the job and using a city truck, he was under the supervision of his employer, the city of Chicago. Where an employer is legally liable for the actions of an employee who has been negligent and reckless and caused injuries to others, is called “respondeat superior.” The reasoning behind this legal terminology is that an employee is an agent for the employer and has been authorized and entrusted by the employer to act. Where facts show that an employer-employee relationship exists (here, the driver was on the job using a city truck), an employer can be held responsible for injuries caused by the employee while in the course of employment.

Mutli-vehicle crashes are dangerous and often result in pile-ups, resulting in road blockage and shut-downs and serious personal injuries. The accidents can become more likely in the Chicago area during these winter months. This is especially true when not all drivers are exercising the extra caution needed in snowy and icy conditions. Even minor negligence is nothing to turn away from and can cause serious motor vehicle accidents and personal injuries.

The negligence of others can even impact the most innocent of victims. Recently, according to CBS Chicago, a child was among the injured victims in a multi-vehicle crash on the Chicago Skyway. Two semi trucks and three vehicles collided on I-90 by 68th street. When trucks are involved in pile-ups, the consequences of the accident can be even more severe due to the size and force of a semi. Injuries in this incident were severe enough that five ambulances had to be called to the scene to tend to victims and transport them to local hospitals. The pile-up was large enough to close all inbound lanes of the Skyway.

Injuries to children are an important issue, as motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death among children in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just in 2010, more than 1200 children under 14 years old died as passengers in motor vehicle crashes. 171,000 children were injured. Even though you cannot stop the negligence of others on the road, it is imperative to do all that you can to lessen the risk of fatal injury for your child. Be sure to place children in car seats to lessen the risk of serious injury or death. Doing so can reduce serious injuries by more than half.

Ever read about a major accident that has impacted and caused injury to what seems to be countless people? Ever wondered how a survivor of a major crash was able to defend their rights when they were part of such a numerous group? Some recent accident survivors might be wondering just the same.

Recently, those traveling between Chicago and Milwaukee faced real danger amid severe winter weather. According to the Epoch Times, on December 8th, a crash on I-94 resulted in a 30 car pile-up. As a result of the crash, all lanes were blocked on I-94 eastbound. This resulted in traffic authorities completely shutting down this major interstate all the way from Milwaukee to Chicago. To gain a perspective about how significantly large this area was that was shut down, Milwaukee is 92 miles north of Chicago. It takes the average person about an hour and a half to drive from one city to the other.

As a result of such a large crash, 50 plus people were injured. The pile-up was impacted so many that buses had to be dispatched to rescue those stranded amongst the winter weather on the interstate. The Illinois Department of Transportation had to send hundreds of workers to clear the interstate.

Two weeks ago a semi truck tipped over on Interstate 94 near Calhoun County and blocked traffic for miles, according to a report from CBS Local. The accident took place at 12:36pm at the entrance ramp to westbound I-94 when police say the truck driver was entering the highway too fast. The truck reportedly crossed the driving lane and tipped onto its side in the passing lane under an interstate bridge.

Police say the semi truck driver, a 48-year old man of Chicago, had 40,000 pounds of goods in the trailer of his truck. Heavy wreckers lifted the semi back onto its wheels and then it was towed away, allowing authorities to reopen all roads by later that afternoon. The driver was taken to a nearby hospital with minor head injuries and was ticketed for careless driving.

The report continues to state that a nearly identical accident occurred just a week before when another truck, entering from the same ramp, flipped onto its side and slid into the left lane of westbound I-94. Our truck accident attorneys note that while many accidents occur on Illinois interstates and highways each year, it is becoming more and more common to learn of these accidents taking place on freeway entrance and exit ramps in comparison to other segments of the highway.

The dangers associated with large trucks, including semis, tractor-trailers, and other commercial vehicles are immense. These trucks sometimes weigh up to 80,000 pounds and account for a great number of traffic injury and death each year. Could you image increasing the size and weight of these trucks? Neither could we. Our attorneys recently read and support the ideas behind a Saferoads report regarding the need to freeze the maximum size and weight of trucks in order to increase the safety of all individuals traveling on Illinois interstates and highways.

Freezing the size and weight of large trucks is necessary because in simple terms, bigger trucks compromise safety. The heavier a truck is, the more the chances of a truck accident occurring and resulting in serious injuries or fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that large trucks are involved in 11% of all crash fatalities. In 2009, nearly one-quarter of occupant fatalities in passenger vehicles that had multi-vehicle collisions were the result of accidents involving large trucks. In two-vehicle crashes involving passenger vehicles and large trucks, 98% of the fatalities were occupants of the passenger vehicle.

In addition to injuries and fatalities, the issue of cost is at hand. Truck related accidents cost up to $19 billion each year, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Fatal truck accidents create the highest costs, with an average of $3 million spent per accident. These costs include medical bills, lost wages, road damage, and other projected costs. Specifically, road damage has become a serious issue in that one legal 80,000-pound tractor-trailer truck does as much damage to road pavement as 9,600 cars. By damaging roads, large trucks further degrade highway safety and continue to add to the costs caused by trucks. With even heavier trucks, interstate highways would simply be unable to accommodate them.

Interstate 55 was closed for eight hours last Tuesday after a semi truck accident resulted in a massive vehicle fire. CBS Chicago reported that the crash took place near southwest suburban Channahon last Tuesday around 6:20am. Police say a 66-year old Freightliner semi truck driver was approaching a construction zone in the southbound lanes of the interstate when he failed to stop and crashed into the back of a second semi truck, driven by a 48-year old Joliet man. This semi was then pushed into the passenger vehicle in front of it.

Soon after the accident, the Freightliner caught fire due to its load consisting of paper products, according to authorities. The drivers involved were thankfully able to make it out of their vehicles before the fire had begun. Witnesses were shocked to travel past the huge clouds of black smoke and flames that consumed the semi truck. Crews from the Channahon Fire Department rushed to the scene and put out the fire by 8:15am, although a district sergeant told reporters that the truck was still burning hours later. The driver of the Freightliner was ticketed for failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

From the perspective of our personal injury lawyers, although no injuries were reported in this accident, there are many ways it could have been much more severe. The consequences of any type of road accident often bring harm or suffering to those involved, including injury, medical bills, property damage, or the loss of a loved one. Vehicle fires, a common result of car and trucking accidents, are known to increase the risk of these expenses. We would like to take this opportunity to present some fire safety rules that all drivers should be aware of in the case that you experience a fire in your vehicle.

On May 21st, 2011, a Chicago Streets and Sanitation worker drove under the influence of alcohol, lost control of his vehicle, and struck four pedestrians. One of these pedestrians, Stephen Dewart, a 27-year old formerly from Chicago suffered from multiple severe injuries that required hospitalization, various surgeries, and months of physical therapy. We filed an accident lawsuit for the victim in June of 2011, naming the negligent driver and the City of Chicago as defendants. Attorneys Susan Novosad and Jordan Powell from our office represented the Dewart in the case, and last Friday, just was served when he was awarded a $2.4 million verdict by a Cook County jury.

Our press release announcing the verdict notes that the accident took place at the corner of Rush and Cedar Streets when the 61-year old laborer driving a city-owned truck was traveling at a high rate of speed. The lawsuit alleged that the driver failed to yield to the victims or to slow his vehicle to prevent a collision. Police say he tested over twice the legal blood alcohol limit and an open bottle of brandy was found wedged beneath his gas pedal when the vehicle left the roadway. The City of Chicago was named as a defendant in this lawsuit because the negligent driver was an employee and therefore, the company was responsible for his actions.

Novosad stated that the victim was hospitalized for almost a week following the accident after suffering from several spinal fractures and a broken leg in two places, both injuries requiring three surgeries and months of physical therapy. The jury deliberated for less than two hours to determine how the victim should be compensated for his injuries and disabilities sustained as a result of the accident.

An Illinois semi truck driver is facing severe consequences after his vehicle struck and killed four family members. The accident was caused by driver fatigue. The Chicago Sun Times released a report detailing the accident that occurred when the 36-year old truck driver of River Grove slammed into the back of another car while travelling westbound on Interstate 80. The impact caused this car, driven by a 30-year old man, to crash into a nearby car, driven by his 28-year old wife and carrying his two young children in the backseat. This car was then propelled underneath a truck and trailer nearby on the roadway. All vehicles burst into flames, and all four family members in both cars were pronounced dead at the scene.

The semi driver currently remains in jail and had a bond review hearing for $1 million. He was charged with four felony counts of manslaughter and four more counts of vehicular homicide due to driver fatigue. The manslaughter charges carry penalties of twenty years imprisonment and a fine of up to $25,000 on each count upon conviction, and the motor vehicle homicide counts carry a sentence of up to five years incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000 on each charge upon conviction, according to the report.

Our truck accident lawyers learned that the driver’s truck company, AKI Trucking Inc. of Romeoville, has been in operation since 2010. Online records from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) reveal that the company’s recent Driver Fatigued Scores were notably alarming. During the last two years, the company has received a composite Fatigued Driving Score of 80.9%; the threshold allowed before FMSCA intervention is 65%. These percentages come from compilations of out of service violations or poor inspections. During a recent inspection, an operator was cited for failure to retain his previous seven days’ hours of service logs, as required by law. Incomplete logs often signal that a particular driver is operating his vehicle past the 14-hour service or 11-hour driving limit, per service day. The FMSCA will now possibly conduct an investigation of the company.

It is obvious that the height and weight of a semi truck is massive compared to the size of a typical passenger vehicle. When a semi truck is traveling in the lane next to a passenger vehicle on a highway or interstate, their size seems even larger and causes many drivers to feel anxious and intimidated. Recently, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois Trucking Association, and the Illinois State Police have spoken out about the importance of commercial trucking on Illinois highways and released some basic tips for driving near semi trucks. Our truck accident law firm thought our readers would benefit from learning of these tips to help reduce the fear of semi trucks that many motorists have, as well as to help keep roadways safer for all vehicles.

-First, giving semi trucks enough room to travel on side roads and highways is essential. This is especially true when roads are congested due to traffic or construction. Give trucks room to change lanes, make turns at intersections, and to enter freeways through exit ramps, and remember that it takes additional time for semi trucks to complete these actions.

-Try to avoid making sudden lane changes, stops, or changes in speed when a semi truck is traveling immediately behind you. Because trucks take longer to stop, driving in a manner that a truck driver would not be able to anticipate could result in a chain-reaction collision or accident. Maintaining a safe distance from semi trucks will also help to prevent an accident.

We’ve all driven near bicyclists before, sometimes on smaller roadways or intersections, and other times on larger roadways or even highways. Occasionally, passing motorists become irritated by bicyclists, especially if the bicyclist is traveling directly in the middle of a lane instead of on a bike trail or sidewalk nearby. These bicyclists instantly become disliked because they are “in the way” or are slowing traffic.

Even so, we commonly see street signs that say, “Share the Road” in reference to bicyclists. Many motorists are unaware that bicycles have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles and therefore have every right share the road with them. Instead, they are commonly disregarded by drivers who may fail to yield to them, fail to give them the space they need while riding on roadways, disregard the rules of the road, or become distracted while driving. This only increases the chance that a bicyclist will become a victim in serious accident or collision.

Chicago Tribune recently reported that a bicyclist was struck and killed by a semi-trailer truck in Chicago last week. Our personal injury attorneys read that the semi struck the 40-year old woman around 1:30pm when she was riding on the side of a road in a small South Side neighborhood. Authorities say the woman was dead at the scene and the Cook County medical examiner’s office was then notified.

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