Articles Posted in Uncategorized

As our readers know, truck accidents can be deadly, but this severity is multiplied in multi-vehicle accidents, especially when there is more than one large truck involved. Trucks, due to their large weight and height, pose great dangers to other drivers just because of their sheer size. Combine this with the high speeds at which vehicles travel on interstates, and accidents become even more dangerous.

According to a report by WSBTV, a multi-vehicle truck accident occurred on Interstate 85, killing a truck driver. Multiple tractor-trailers collided in the crash, creating a deadly impact. According to police reports, a Millis Transfer truck lost control when exiting I-285 west and jackknifed on I-85. At the same time, another tractor trailer that was headed north on I-85 could not stop and crashed into the truck. As a result of this collision, the Millis Transfer truck was cut in half, and the cab was crushed, which ultimately killed the driver. In fact, this collision so severely crushed the cab that investigators had to transfer the whole structure to the Medical Examiner, and the accident is still under investigation.

Truck accidents, particularly multi-vehicle crashes, account for a significant number of reported crashes, injuries, and fatalities. According to studies conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2008 alone, 11% of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities involved large trucks. This means that every one out of nine traffic fatalities in 2008 resulted from collisions involving a large truck, such as a semi. Additionally, multiple-vehicle crash fatalities with large trucks accounted for 247 accidents.

While our wrongful death attorneys commonly learn of accidents in which an innocent motorist, bicyclist, or pedestrian is injured due to a negligent driver, it is especially saddening to learn of hit-and-run accidents. Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents are common throughout Illinois and often result in serious injuries or fatality. This was the case last Thursday when a tractor-trailer driver killed two people as they changed a tire on the side of the highway and then fled the scene.

CBS Chicago reports the accident took place shortly before 8pm when the couple, 24 and 19-years old, was properly off of the roadway and onto the road’s shoulder. The northbound tractor-trailer flatbed then veered off of the main roadway for unknown reasons and struck them. The report states the couple was dead at the scene and the tractor-trailer driver immediately drove away. Authorities are still searching for the driver and the trailer itself, which a Highway Patrol spokesman believes has damage to its front bumper and headlights. Investigators spoke to representatives from the company that supposedly owns the truck, but they were still unable to locate the driver.

The American Automobile Association found that Illinois hit-and-run accidents have increased by 15% since 2000. From 1994 to 2003, a total of 14,914 people were killed in hit-and-run crashes in the United States, about 60% of these victims having been pedestrians. Chicago Tribune reports that there have been three serious hit-and-run accidents downtown already this month. Surviving victims of these accidents report that they feel especially violated because they were not only struck by a vehicle, but the driver of the vehicle showed no remorse and failed to stop to see if the victims were okay.

After a 2-year old boy was tragically killed in a 2011 traffic accident caused by a negligent truck driver, his family has been seeking justice for his death for nearly two years. World-Herald Bureau recently reported that last month, the driver responsible for the accident was finally charged and arrested in southwestern Illinois.

In the December 2011 crash, the 53-year old truck driver was eastbound on Interstate 80 when his truck rear-ended the passenger vehicle driven by the boy’s father. Though the boy was properly secured in a child seat, he was killed upon impact. The father suffered severe injuries, while the boy’s mother and sibling, also passengers in the vehicle, suffered minor injuries.

The report states that the truck driver was driving for a local trucking company when the accident took place. An accident reconstruction specialist concluded that he was driving at an excessive speed while the roads were slick due to poor weather conditions and declared this as the primary contributing factor in the collision. Police also reported that the driver was charged with many additional offenses in the past and proving that he has no regard to the law. He was arrested and charged with misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide.

While driving down highways and interstates, we commonly see cars or trucks stopped on the side of the road. Whether a vehicle ran out of gas, a driver needs to make a phone call, or in worst-case scenarios, an accident took place, many motorists pull over onto the shoulder of the roadway when necessary. However, many drivers fail to realize how dangerous this simple action can be. Just last Monday two truck drivers were killed after a semi tractor-trailer struck both of their tractor trailers parked on the side of southbound Interstate 65 near the Illinois/Indiana border.

Jconline.com released that the first truck driver, a 44-year-old man from Downers Grove, pulled his Freightliner semi trailer on the southbound shoulder of the interstate around 7:15am. The second truck driver, a 31-year old man from Romeoville, also parked his Freightliner on the shoulder. Both men were standing outside of the trucks and were working to unhitch one of their trailers.

A southbound semi-tractor trailer driven by a 42-year-old from Berwyn reportedly failed to notice the stopped trucks. He clipped the back of one of the trucks and then hit both of the drivers, continuing down the interstate until he veered off of the road and into a ditch. The impact killed the first driver right away, while the second driver died at a local hospital. The southbound lanes of the interstate were closed for more than three hours as authorities investigated the scene. Police determined that both drivers had reflective vests on, but their trucks’ flashers were not working.

Charges have been filed against a driver who caused a fatal accident early Saturday on the Dan Ryan Expressway in which alcohol was a factor, killing the 21-year old driver of a pickup truck. Chicago.cbslocal.com reports that the two-vehicle accident happened at about 1:30am in the southbound lanes of the interstate when a 42-year old GMC Crew cab truck driver of Chicago suddenly crossed from the far right lane to the far left lane of the five lane highway near 95th Street and struck the pickup truck. Witnesses told police that both trucks then hit the median wall, crossed traffic again, and hit the right wall of the interstate before finally coming to a rest.

Authorities say the driver of the pickup truck was pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn at 2:05am Saturday, autopsies determining that he died of serious head injuries from the collision. Family reports that the man was heading home from his shift at work when the crash occurred. The driver of the GMC truck, however, was uninjured in the accident and submitted to standard field sobriety tests administered by Illinois State Police troopers on the scene. His blood-alcohol content was measured at 0.106, more than the legal limit of 0.08, according to a police report. He was charged with aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol in the death of a man and was held in lieu of $450,000 bail in a midday hearing in Cook County Bond Court on Sunday.

The pickup driver’s brother stated, “I knew that they had (the driver) in custody, which means he walked away from the crash and my brother didn’t. We just want justice to be served.”

A spontaneous sequence of events on Thursday left a local highway department truck smashed into the dining room of a nearby home, authorities repairing the damage, and police examiners investigating what exactly caused the accident to occur. Our law firm learned that around noon last Thursday, the 53-year old employee of the International Homer Township Highway Department was driving south on Will-Cook road in Will County when his truck suddenly veered off the pavement, traveled through numerous families’ back yards and struck a number of bushes and trees, and came to rest in a home’s dining room at the southwest corner of the 14000 block of Whirlaway Court in Homer Glen.

Nbcchicago.com states that after talking with the driver, police learned he may have suffered a medical emergency before his truck veered off the roadway. According to a Will County Sheriff’s spokeswoman, the driver reported that he does not remember what happened, but believes he blacked out before he lost control of the vehicle while driving. A woman who lives in the home where the accident took place told reporters, “It sounds like he was completely unconscious when he hit the house. The wheels were still turning.”

A relative who was inside of the home at the time of the accident was taken to Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet for precautionary measures, police said. The driver of the truck was conscious at the scene when police arrived and was also taken to Silver Cross Hospital. A tow truck removed the vehicle from the home and a board-up company later repaired all of the damage the home sustained in the accident.

In previous posts, our Chicago accident attorneys have made driver negligence our primary concern, discussing the various causes of many accidents including driver fatigue, driving under the influence, and distracted driving, in addition to discussing the preventative steps drivers can take to avoid these accidents. Just as important, our attorneys must also consider whether other factors besides driver negligence may have led to an accident, such as defective vehicle parts, improper use of road signs, or other factors. This was the case last week when Digitaljournal.com released a report regarding the recent Megabus accidents and their causes due to excessive weight and tire blowouts.

Last month, two serious Megabus accidents occurred due to tire blowouts, one in Illinois and one in Georgia. The former resulted in a passenger fatality and multiple serious injuries to 47 people when the double decker bus carrying 81 passengers struck a bridge support pillar after one of its tires blew out. Less than a week later, a tour bus operated by Megabus caught fire on Interstate 85 near the South Carolina-Georgia border, according to the report. The bus driver stated that a tire had blown before the fire erupted, and fortunately all passengers were evacuated before anyone was injured. The fire nearly destroyed half of the bus by the time the fire was extinguished.

These accidents, in this case, were not due to driver negligence but instead a defective part of the vehicle, the tires. Our bus accident attorneys learned that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently issues a safety advisory bulletin to transportation companies warning them that double decker buses may be susceptible to tire blow outs if they are carrying too much weight. The agency noted the increase of travel on intercity double-deck buses and the high numbers of passengers and associated baggage they carry, and pointed to potential aggravating factors such as excessive speed and high pavement temperatures. As a result, the report states that the FMSCA will immediately revoke operating authority of carriers that exceed relevant tire load limits, in addition to working with state officials to increase enforcement of safety regulations.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has recently released a large number of truck accident statistics in which our Chicago truck accident lawyers were interested to read. While many people are aware that truck accidents continue to happen in Illinois and throughout the United States, the actual numbers can be very alarming.

Around 500,000 truck accidents occur every year in the United States. Of these, approximately 5,000 truck accidents result in fatalities each year, 98% of these fatalities occurring not to the truck driver, but to the individuals in passenger vehicles involved. Last year, about 2,500 serious truck accidents took place in Illinois, 148 of them fatal to over 154 people, with the remaining accidents resulting in over 3,600 injures to those involved. These accidents appeared to be more common in rural areas as opposed to cities, and during the afternoon and evening hours of the day. In addition, weekends accounted for about 75% of the total fatal truck accidents.

The report by IDOT continues to state that trucking revenues totaled $610 billion last year and are estimated to nearly double by 2015. Though this growth is good news for trucking companies, the motorists and pedestrians that share the road with these 10,000-pound trucks are generally the ones who suffer the most.

Earlier this week, a Chicago truck accident lawyer at our firm read a news report detailing the American Trucking Associations push for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to change its approach to measuring crash accountability in its CSA (Compliance, Accountability, Safety) program. According to the article, published on TruckingInfo.com, the American Trucking Associations has continued to challenge the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in an effort to have the agency release their study regarding the feasibility of using police reports to measure crash accountability.

Our Chicago truck accident attorney learned that although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s study was completed several years ago, the agency refuses to disclose the information contained in the study. According to the ATA, the association attempted to review the findings in 2010, however, the FMCSA refused on the basis that the study’s findings were preliminary and still being reviewed. Since then, the ATA has continued to request the information with no success.

According to a statement released by the Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, it was revealed the ATA has raised questions about the plan that need to be answered before the study can be released. The questions deal with the uniformity and consistency of the Police Accident Reports that provide basic accountability data, and lack of public input into the determination of accountability. Ultimately, the FMCSA will need more information on ways to identify trucking carriers with the greatest risk of future crashes.

ConsumerReports.org released an article earlier this week discussing a recently completed study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which highlights the dangers associated with underinflated and worn-out tires.

Our Chicago truck accident attorneys learned that the study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration looked at crash data from 2005 through 2007 – before tire-pressure monitoring systems were required to be installed on all vehicles. It was revealed that vehicles driving on tires underinflated by more than 25 percent are three times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident than vehicles with proper inflation. Additionally, it was found that underinflated tires of up to 25 percent run the risk of overheating, causing vehicle failure, and even adversely affecting the handling and treat life of the motor vehicle.

Another component of the study revealed that roughly around 5 percent of all vehicles studied experienced some sort of tire issues almost immediately prior to a collision – with approximately 66 percent of those vehicles representing passenger cars, 17 percent Sports Utility Vehicles, and 31 percent of single vehicle accidents were not related to tires. Ultimately, this reinforces the fact that tire problems are evident during the period of time before a collision – which, our Chicago truck accident lawyers learned, often leaves a very small window for attempting a crash avoidance maneuver.

Lawyer Monthly - Legal Awards Winner
The National Trial Lawyers
Elder Care Matters Alliance
American Association for Justice
Fellow Litigation Counsel of America
Super Lawyers