Articles Posted in Truck Accident

The Illinois Supreme Court issued a recent opinion in an Illinois truck accident case, addressing whether Cook County was the proper venue for the plaintiff’s lawsuit. The plaintiff was driving a tractor-trailer when another tractor-trailer slammed into his truck. The plaintiff suffered serious injuries requiring amputation of both legs. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the truck driver for the negligent operation of a vehicle and his employer under the agency theory of liability. The plaintiff filed the lawsuit in Cook County, arguing that the venue was proper because one of the defendant’s employees maintained a “home office” in Cook County. In the alternative, the plaintiff claimed that the defendant was “doing business” in the county. The defendant moved to transfer venue, and the circuit court denied their motion.

Illinois has long held that the purpose of the venue statute is to ensure that “that the action will be brought either in a location convenient to the defendant, by providing for venue in the county of residence, or convenient to potential witnesses, by allowing for venue where the cause of action arose.” Venue choice is a defendant’s privilege and reflects the idea that defendants should not have to defend a lawsuit in a county where they do not conduct business, maintain an office, or where no part of the incident occurred. Where venue is in dispute, the defendant bears the burden of establishing that the venue is improper. The law distinguishes between improper venue and forum non conveniens. The latter asks the court to move the claim from one proper venue to another. Unlike forum non conveniens, improper venue issues are strictly statutory and do not concern public or private interests.

In this case, the accident occurred in Ohio, and no part of the action occurred in Cook County. In determining whether the defendant had an office in Cook County, it had to establish whether the defendant’s home office was an office “of” the defendant. In this case, the court reasoned that the defendant did not “purposely select” Cook County to carry on its business activities. Instead, it chose the employee to provide customer service to clients. They did not choose the employee based on his location, and it did not play a role in his hiring. Further, the defendant did not own, pay, or lease any expenses associated with the employee’s home office. Ultimately, the court found that the fact that the employee did work for the defendant from his office is insufficient to bolster the plaintiff’s claim that the home office was the defendant’s “other office”.

Trials in Illinois personal injury cases can be long and grueling, but even the most hard-fought cases can be overturned for seemingly small decisions during trial. An Illinois appeals court recently overturned a multimillion-dollar verdict because the trial judge barred testimony from a witness.

According to the court’s opinion, a truck driver was driving a semi-tractor trailer on a highway when he started to have engine trouble. The driver pulled over to the shoulder of the highway and turned off the vehicle. He could not restart the vehicle and called his employer, who told him to call the manufacturer of the truck’s engine. The driver eventually called a towing company, which sent two tow trucks to tow the tractor and the trailer. One tow-truck driver parked in front of the tractor-trailer, and the other driver parked behind it. Soon after, another semi-tractor trailer driver was passing by on the highway and sideswiped the rear tow truck, crashing into the back of the tractor-trailer. The crash resulted in the deaths of all four men.

The wife of one of the tow-truck drivers filed suit against several defendants, including the employers of both of the tractor-trailer drivers. She claimed the employer of the first tractor-trailer driver was negligent for several reasons, including for failing to properly maintain its tractor-trailer and for its driver’s decision to pull onto the shoulder rather than driving to the next exit. She claimed the employer of the driver who sideswiped the truck was negligent for several reasons as well, including failing to watch the road properly, and crashing into the vehicles. The case went to trial and a jury found both employers liable. The jury divided the liability, assigning 57% to one employer and 43% to the other. The jury awarded the plaintiff over $19 million in damages.

What concerns you about the conduct of other drivers? Do you worry about people driving while using their cell phone? What about driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs? Are those who speed and dart in and out of traffic your primary concern? What about confused motorists who brake or stop in the middle of heavy traffic simply because they do not know where they are going?

Everyone has concerns about the actions of others and for good reason – your safety on an Illinois roadway depends in part upon your conduct and in part upon the conduct of others. But while speeding, failing to yield, and driving erratically are widely understood, few people realize how much of a threat truck driver fatigue poses to them and to those they love.

Truck driver fatigue accidents plague Chicago and the rest of our state just as they plague roads all across our country. These collision occur when the driver of a semi-truck or other large truck operate while they are tired or sleepy, limiting their ability to act in a reasonable and responsible manner and increasing the odds that they will be involved in a crash. It is hard to know exactly how many lives are affected by truck driver fatigue crashes annually but the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that nearly 4,000 people die every year in large truck accidents and that driver fatigue is believed to be a leading cause in those crashes and the resulting deaths.

Continue reading

An average American driver is involved in two to three car accidents or traffic incidents in her lifetime. Those who drive more miles or more minutes than average are at an increased risk for collisions and many drivers will experience far more than three accidents during their driving careers, some of which may cause damages that last long after the dust settles. While a vehicle can always be repaired or replaced, the personal injuries sustained by a victim may not heal as easily or may be permanent in nature.

If a large truck is involved in a collision, the damages that result are likely to be greater than if a smaller vehicle were to take the truck’s place. Simply put, the overwhelming size, weight, and build of a truck means that another vehicle is not going to put up much resistance if the truck strikes it and the results can be catastrophic. The propensity of a truck to cause such extreme harm is one of the reasons that commercial truck drivers must undergo additional testing and maintain certain national and state eligibility standards before they can drive legally in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois. Nonetheless, even with these semi stringent restrictions, truck accidents take place every day in this country and victims are left wondering how they can pick up the pieces and move forward with their lives.

Continue reading

A recent truck accident in a southern Chicago suburb is bringing renewed attention to the dangers posed by large vehicles on public roadways as well as reminding motorists of what they should do to keep themselves as safe as possible.

Because of semi-truck’s large size, when one is involved in a collision the results can be disastrous. The maximum weight of a semi-truck and full trailer is 80,000 pounds, while the average passenger vehicle weighs less than 3,500 pounds, meaning a semi-truck can be 22 times the size of a car. With this it is easy to see how a collision with a big rig can be deadly, especially when factoring in high speeds and potentially dangerous cargo.

“Almost 4,000 people lose their lives in large truck accidents every year, and truck driver fatigue shares a large portion of the blame.”
– Attorney David Slepkow, this website

Although most truck drivers are responsible and abide by hours of service rules, there are many who ignore regulations.

Continue reading

Not all car accidents are the same. It is a simple statement but one that needs to be understood for the sake of all those who use the streets, expressways, and interstates in and around Chicago. Fortunately, a number of collisions that happen annually are minor and cause only damage to the vehicles involved, sparing drivers and passengers from any harm. Unfortunately, the remaining incidents can cause a range of injuries that may leave a victim in need of immediate medical help or that may even claim her life.

Car accidents regularly range from the very minor to the extremely critical, but when it comes to a truck accident, there is far less variability. Truck accidents and collisions are less common than those only involving cars in Illinois but they are disproportionately responsible for traffic-related injuries and fatalities here and across the county. The physics behind these incidents are simple: trucks are large, heavy vehicles that take a long time to start and stop. When they are traveling at a moderate or high speed and collide with a vehicle much smaller than them, the forces involved in the incident will cause heavy damage to the smaller vehicles, threatening the safety of those inside the cars.

One of the most troubling types of truck incidents continues to be truck underride accidents, a type of collision where a passenger vehicle goes partially or entirely under a truck or trailer. These crashes lead to damage to the passenger compartment of the vehicle, increasing the odds of an injury or death among those in the vehicle.

Continue reading

On some days, trucks seem like a constant presence on Illinois roadways, winding their way from one spot to another and keeping to themselves. They may inconvenience other drivers who get stuck behind them or who wish the truck would move a little quicker but mostly, they present a minor issue or annoyance. This can change in moment, however, if a truck accident takes place in Chicago or elsewhere in the state. In those cases, the lives of the motorists and passengers involved may be altered forever by the fallout from the collision and from any injuries that result.

Truck accidents are less common than car crashes but the harm that spreads from truck collisions may cause a greater amount of devastation. A typical truck is large, heavy, and difficult t slow or stop which means that it is capable of doing great damage to another vehicle – particularly if that other vehicle is smaller and lighter, like a car, truck, or SUV.

Continue reading

Trucking is an important industry for the country as a whole as it moves product across the nation and employs millions. But trucks are forced to share the same roads as passenger vehicles, a fact that can sometimes lead to conflict when an impact occurs. No matter the cause of a crash, odds are that those in a passenger car, SUV, or pickup truck will bear the majority of the force – these vehicles simply are not constructed to withstand an impact with a large, heavy, and often difficult to maneuver semi-truck.

Decades ago, national regulations were implemented to consider the consequences of passenger safety when a semi-truck accident happens on America’s roads. One provision required the use of underride guards, commonly visible to motorists as the metal crossbar that hangs down from the rear of a semi’s trailer. These underride guards are designed to stop a car that is colliding with the rear of a truck, thereby preventing the car from becoming lodged underneath the trailer. By preventing a car from traveling under a trailer, the odds of serious injuries to those in the car decrease significantly, limiting the harm sustained and the number of fatalities that can be attributed to truck accidents.

Continue reading

The average driver believes she is safer than most when on the road. She claims that she drives reasonably, defensively, and appropriately most of the time or at least more often than not. Though studies continue to reveal that Americans pride themselves on their individual skills in a car, they are distrustful of others and consider the majority of motorists to be sub-par. This disconnect means that many see themselves as the measuring rod of driving abilities while in fact, they may fall short of being considered a motorist of even average skill.

Removing complacency from your daily driving habits is an expert-recommended way to sharpen and hone your skills. This means thinking about your actions and the effects that result from them, both for you personally and for others on the road. It also means refreshing your knowledge and continuing to learn about safety programs, tips, and advice that can help keep you safe and prevent a collision.

As semi-truck accidents are a very deadly reality in the Chicago area, it is a good idea to realize why these crashes take place and what can be done to avoid them.

Continue reading

The trucking industry is vital to the American economy and is responsible for the transit of a large amount of goods across the nation. From coast-to-coast, trucks take to the roads and haul everything from produce to textiles to machinery, enabling work to get done and products to reach consumers.

But trucks have plenty of drawbacks as well as the benefits they provide. When compared to a typical passenger vehicle, trucks are large, heavy, and difficult to operate. They require additional maintenance to keep them moving and they are harder to start and stop than a car. And the most troubling thing about trucks is the threat they pose to public safety.
Continue reading

Contact Information