Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

A 61-year old woman was killed after she was suddenly hit by a pickup truck in Brighton Park. The truck, reported Chicago Tribune, was parked in an alley and left unattended by its driver when his 13-year old son climbed into the passenger seat and accidently bumped the gearshift with his backpack. When the boy realized the car was moving, he climbed into the driver’s seat and tried to hit the brake, but accidentally hit the gas pedal.

The truck was boosted forward and hit two garages and one car before it stopped after crashing into the woman’s backyard. She was struck by the truck and was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition. According to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, she was pronounced dead later that evening. Illinois State Police ruled her death accidental. The father was cited for leaving a running vehicle unattended and for driving with a suspended drivers license.

Our truck accident attorneys caution that an accident like this could happen to any driver who leaves children unattended in their vehicle. Children often play, kick, and change seats when traveling and could accidentally bump door handles, the steering wheel, or in this case, the gearshift. Toddlers can even potentially become strangled by seat belts. Leaving children unattended in a vehicle increases these risks and therefore increases the risk that you or other drivers and pedestrians could be in an unexpected 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.

ABC Local released an accident report last Thursday that authorities and witnesses are declaring nothing less than a tragedy. A family of seven, including three adults and four children, was traveling home on Interstate 65 around 10pm when traffic had slowed for construction. An inattentive semi truck driver suddenly rear-ended the jeep. As if this wasn’t bad enough, the impact pushed the jeep into another semi truck in front of it.

When state police arrived at the scene, a sergeant stated, “The Jeep was burned, for the most part, beyond recognition.” Because of the damage the vehicle sustained and the compaction of the vehicle after impact, authorities initially estimated that only two people were trapped inside. After looking more closely, they discovered that seven individuals had been killed: a 27-year-old mom with her 5 and 3-year-old daughters, the woman’s sister and her two young children, and the children’s uncle. The semi truck driver remained uninjured, and no citations or charges have been filed in the case so far.

Our wrongful death lawyers and many others were saddened by the number of individuals killed in this accident, in addition to the fact that four of those people were children under the age of 8 years old. Though details are continuing to be released about the collision, police say, “The cause of the crash was due to inattentive driving and negligence on the semi-tractor trailer driver’s part.” The report states that the driver has been ticketed for speeding at least five times since 2006 and has also been cited for failing to submit to a required truck weigh-in, both possibly contributing to the accident. A witness from a nearby day care center said, “There’s no reason for a family to be missing seven family members today due to somebody not paying attention.”

Have you ever experienced a sudden feeling of drowsiness when driving in your vehicle? This can be characterized by yawning repeatedly, having trouble keeping your eyes open, having a slowed reaction time, or even drifting out of your own lane. If the answer is yes, you have experienced the common case of driver fatigue, or “Driving While Drowsy” (DWD), a very large concern for many Illinois drivers.

The Illinois Department of Transportation lists DWD as a cause of around 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths every year. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This not only results in deaths and injuries, but also close to $12.5 billion in monetary losses.

Truck drivers are particularly susceptible to driver fatigue because of the long hours they travel each day and into the late hours of the night. A truck accident lawyer at our law firm recently learned that three people were killed and three were injured in an out of state accident after a semi-truck driver fell asleep at the wheel.

Tragedy struck this weekend in Chicago when a delivery truck killed a 5-year old girl while she was crossing the street with her family. CBS Chicago released that the accident occurred around 11:25am Saturday at 103rd and State Streets in the Roseland neighborhoods. The little girl was attempting to cross State Street with her mother and brother when the delivery truck struck and killed her. Witnesses say the girl had broken free from her mother and ran under the truck’s back wheels.

A witness stated that he tried to help the family after the accident by telling them to refrain from picking up the girl or moving her. But everyone soon realized that nothing could be done for her and that the truck had simply crushed her. The driver of the truck and his passenger stopped immediately after they realized the truck had hit something; he was devastated to see it was a child. Neither he nor the witness had noticed the girl behind the truck until it was too late.

A truck accident lawyer at our firm learned that the girl was rushed to the nearest hospital, but police say the girl was already dead when first responders arrived at the scene. Witnesses say her family was simply heartbroken, in disbelief, and almost hysterical at the scene, having just helplessly witnessed a vehicle so suddenly cut their 5-year old’s life short. Though it does not seem as though any charges will be filed in this case, the police Major Accident Unit is continuing to investigate the accident.

Car and trucking accidents range in type, cause, and severity and can have a variety of impacts on those involved. Personal injury, medical expenses, emotional damage, and/or vehicle repairs are just a few of the consequences that victims may face, either affecting them temporarily or for years after the initial accident.

It is a sad truth that besides those directly involved in an accident, others such as family members, friends, or witnesses of the accident can also suffer from psychological damage, grief, or fear of stepping behind the wheel. When someone is killed in a motor vehicle accident, many families find it necessary to make a claim for compensation after facing any of the above costs. This was recently the case when the family of a man killed by an impaired truck driver announced a wrongful death lawsuit against the owner of the truck and is seeking more than $50,000 in damages.

The 21-year old from Chicago was killed in November when he was on his way home from work around 1:30am. A drunk truck driver crossed five lanes of traffic and struck the victim’s vehicle on the Dan Ryan Expressway near 95th Street. The collision caused both vehicles to strike a concrete barrier wall. The victim suffered massive head trauma and was unconscious and without a heartbeat when paramedics arrived to the scene. He was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where doctors pronounced him dead at 2:30 a.m.

A drunk driver that killed a woman in a head-on collision pleaded guilty last week in Madison County Circuit Court. released that the driver’s trial began on multiple charges relating to driving under the influence of alcohol in a fatal accident. The 36-year old of Clinton County caused the accident in February of 2010 when his pickup truck crashed into the woman’s SUV on Illinois 160 near Highland Road.

The woman from Trenton was taken to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead. Her mother was a passenger in the truck and suffered critical injuries. The pickup truck driver pleaded guilty last Friday morning to two of the four DUI charges, which included aggravated DUI resulting in death, and aggravated DUI resulting in bodily harm. It was reported that he already had two DUI charges within seven years when the accident took place. He was sentenced to 42 months in prison on each count.

Cases similar to the one above are all too common in Illinois. 47% of Illinois motor vehicle fatalities are estimated to involve alcohol, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is also stated that nearly three of every ten Americans are involved in an alcohol-related traffic accident in their lifetime. Our truck accident attorneys represent individuals and families who have suffered due to a motor vehicle accident caused by a negligent motorist. We recently represented the family of a 32-year old woman who was killed by a semi-truck trailer driven by an impaired motorist.

“The worst rail disaster in North America in more than two decades” is the statement being used to describe last Saturday’s horrific train accident that presumably killed over 20 people and has left even more missing in a small Quebec town. highlights the accident, stating that the parked freight train hauling 72 tanker cars of crude oil derailed and slid downhill from the town of Nantes and into Lac-Megantic. The cars exploded upon impact and severely damaged the area.

The report released that the derailment may have occurred because of a fire that broke out on one of the locomotives in Nantes after the engineer had left for the night. The town’s fire department arrived to extinguish it and in the process, shut down the engine to minimize fire risk. Once the engine was turned off, however, the locomotive’s air brakes were no longer powered and gradually lost pressure.

A train accident attorney at our firm learned the owner of the train is the chairman of Montreal, Main & Atlantic Railway (MMA). He is also the president of Rail World Inc., a privately owned rail management and investment firm in Chicago, in which MMA is affiliated. The question at play for determining which claims he will have to face against the railway is whether or not negligence took part in the accident. This includes whether MMA acted appropriately in leaving the train unattended overnight in Nantes with an engine running, whether the handbrakes the engineer applied were sufficient to meet Canadian railroad regulation, and whether appropriate safety procedures were applied before the engineer left the train for the night.

With thousands of trucks, cars, and motorcycles traveling Illinois roadways, highways, and interstates each day, it is a sad truth that many accidents and collisions are bound to take place. As often as our truck accident law firm hears about various forms of motor vehicle accidents that occur throughout Illinois and across the country, it remains difficult to grasp that so many of those accidents are caused by careless drivers. The fact that so many injuries and deaths are placed upon innocent individuals and families is saddening when the accidents they were involved in could have easily been prevented. An example of an act of driver negligence that our lawyers are familiar with is driving while fatigued. As of yesterday, we learned that a federal investigation of a crash between a semi-truck and a police cruiser that killed an Illinois State Police trooper revealed the truck driver had been working more than 14 hours and fell asleep at the wheel.

The Chicago Sun Times and reported that Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) records show the 26-year old driver and United Van Lines have been fined for violating rules requiring truck drivers to get enough rest before driving. Though the driver has not yet been charged in connection with the death of the trooper, he and United Van Lines are cooperating with authorities and are “deeply saddened” by the trooper’s death.

This truck driver, along with many others, has violated the “14-hour rule,” which states that a commercial truck driver cannot work for more than 14 hours in a 24-hour period. In recent months, the FMSCA has created new federal hours-of-service rules designed to limit the number of hours a truck driver can operate, and many trucking organizations were less than pleased. Our lawyers read a report released by detailing the enforcement of these new rules, which as of recently had led to litigation.

According to an online news report by, bail has been set at $3 million for a West Side man charged with reckless homicide for the deadly hit-and-run accident that claimed the life of a man from Cook County. Our wrongful death lawyers read that the 38-year old was struck by a van while crossing California Avenue near 29th Street around 10pm. Authorities say the van hit him and threw him into the middle of the road, where he was then pinned by a sheriff’s squad car. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and was later pronounced dead.

Police say the driver of the van, a 57 year-old man of the 2900 block of West 25th Street, was taken into custody the following day after police found his van, which matched the description of the vehicle that hit the victim. He admitted to driving on California Avenue the night of the accident and “admitted to hitting something.” Police also talked to someone who told them he had seen the driver drinking alcohol last Wednesday night prior to the accident. A judge later set the $3 million bail and ordered the driver to return to court on Monday for a preliminary hearing. Dozens of the victim’s family members packed into court for the hearing, saddened by death of the husband and father of a 5 year-old girl.

Illinois Secretary of State records show that the driver’s license was revoked in 2010 from a DUI arrest the previous year. After finally becoming eligible to appear at an administrative hearing to attempt getting his license back, he never applied, according to an office spokesman. Thus, he continued to drive despite the fact that his license had been revoked. He had received court supervision for a 2002 DUI from LaSalle County, was issued a speeding ticket in 2008, and received a ticket for running a traffic light in 1999. The victim’s wife stated that the driver going behind the wheel with a revoked license added to her pain because he should not have been driving in the first place.

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