Posted On: March 31, 2009

Illinois Tractor-Trailer Accident Kills 25-Year-Old Pedestrian

Illinois State Police, the Green County Sheriff’s Office, and the Greene County Coroner’s Office are investigating the truck accident death of a 25-year-old pedestrian. Andrew Bishop, a Jerseyville resident, died after he was hit by a tractor-trailer driven by Fairview Heights trucker Mark Koltkamper.

The deadly Illinois truck accident took place early Saturday morning about three miles north of Carrolton on US 67. The 60-year-old trucker was reportedly trying to negotiate a number of curves when he hit Bishop, who was pronounced dead at the crash site. The motor vehicle accident caused severe damage to the semi-truck, which had to be towed.

Pedestrians hit by a large truck or bus will frequently sustain catastrophic injuries. It doesn’t help that the force of impact of colliding with a semi-truck, a tractor-trailer, or a school bus, will frequently cause the accident victim to strike the ground hard or get flung through the air until they land on or against a hard surface.

Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, limb loss, and death are common results whenever a large commercial truck or another common carrier strikes a pedestrian.

Our Chicago truck accident law firm represents pedestrians and pedalcyclists who were injured in Illinois motor vehicle accidents, including truck collisions involving:

• An accident victim who was run over or pinned by a large truck
• A person struck by falling debris from a large truck
• School children and other minors who were injured in Illinois truck accidents
• Hit-and-run truck accidents
• Drunk driving accidents

We also represent motor vehicle occupants who were injured in Illinois commercial truck collisions, as well as truckers who were injured because of a defective or malfunctioning truck.

Pedestrian dies after being hit by Fairview Heights truck driver,, March 29, 2009

Related Web Resources:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

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Posted On: March 29, 2009

Study Says Number of Truck Accidents Might Go Down If Truckers Were Tested for Sleep Apnea

A Cambridge Health Alliance study is reporting that the number of US truck crashes could be reduced if truck drivers were tested for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This is because drowsiness and driver fatigue are two common causes of truck accidents, which, according to Science Daily, are considered a major public health hazard. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 101,000 truck crashes injuries and 4,808 fatalities in 2007.

Sleep Apnea makes it hard for people to get a good night’s rest, which can cause them to feel very sleepy in the daytime. While most people know that they are prone to exhaustion or falling asleep, they are not necessarily aware that this condition can also be deadly. Sleep apnea increases the chances that a driver will become involved in a motor vehicle crash by up to seven-fold.

The Divided Attention Driving Test found that people who have sleep apnea might sometimes exhibit a driving performance similar to someone who is driving with a blood alcohol content that is above the legal limit. This can impair a truck driver’s ability to safely operate his or her vehicle and is especially frightening if one considers that many truck drivers operate large vehicles weighing up to 80,000 pounds.

The consequences for the trucker, as well as those in the vicinity, can be deadly during a motor vehicle crash. The Cambridge Health Alliance says there are anywhere from 2.4 million - 3.9 million US licensed commercial drivers with OSA. Another research study, sponsored by the American Transportation Research Institute of American Trucking Associations and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), reports that the prevalence of sleep apnea among truck drivers seemed to increase with obesity and age.

Surprisingly, sleep apnea is not uncommon. Some 20 million people are affected by this sleeping disorder, which can also lead to strokes, heart disease, muscle pain, depression, hypertension, excessive sleepiness, headaches, and fibromyalgia. The Cambridge Health Alliance study says obesity-driven testing strategies and OSA screenings could help identify the commercial truckers who have OSA.

The study can be found in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Obesity Linked To Dangerous Sleep Apnea In Truck Drivers, Science Daily, March 12, 2009

New Study Links Obesity to Dangerous Sleep Apnea in Truck Drivers, 24-7 Press Release, March 27, 2009

Related Web Resources:
A Study of Prevalence of Sleep Apnea Among Commercial Truck Drivers

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

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Posted On: March 28, 2009

$610,000 Chicago Truck Accident Verdict Awarded to Elderly Couple

In Cook County Circuit Court, a Chicago jury says that trucking company Inland Traffic Consulting Corp must pay an elderly couple $610,000 for their personal injuries. The couple was injured near the Illinois/Wisconsin border in 2004 when a semi-truck rear-ended their motor vehicle on I-90.

The jury awarded the 80-year-old man $60,000 for rotator cuff injuries he sustained in the Illinois truck crash. They awarded his wife, 86, $550,000 for soft tissue injuries to her upper back, shoulders, and neck. The approximately half a million dollar award is the highest verdict an Illinois jury has ever awarded to a plaintiff older than 60 for soft tissue injuries.

The woman incurred over $55,000 in medical costs and continues to receive physical therapy for her injuries. Her husband required surgery in 2007 for his torn rotator cuff and his medical expenses exceeded $25,000. While the trucking company had admitted negligence, it had argued that the couple was not hurt from the Illinois auto accident to the extent that they claimed.

Soft Tissue Injuries
The “soft tissue” refers to areas in the body that are non-bony, such as the tendons, muscles, and ligaments. These types of injuries are known to commonly occur during motor vehicle crashes, frequently leading to sprains, tears, soreness, and strains. Getting jolted in a truck accident, in addition to the force of impact, can cause significant damage to the soft tissue areas of the body. This can lead to swelling, pain, and loss of function. Whiplash is a common kind of soft tissue injury, which can result in joint dysfunction, chronic pain, and herniated discs.

Because soft tissue injuries cannot be seen via x-ray, they can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. It doesn’t help that it can take days for motor vehicle accident victims with soft tissue injuries to start exhibiting symptoms.

The Insurance Research Council conducted a study in 2002 that found soft tissue injuries to be one of the most common kinds of auto accident injuries. Recovery from a soft tissue injury will usually require the help of a medical professional. Physical therapy, as well as medications to relieve inflammation and pain, may also be required. In cases of severe soft tissue injury, surgery and rehabilitation may be required.

Illinois Jury Awards Record Verdict for Soft Tissue Injuries Arising out of Truck Accident,, March 27, 2009

What is a Soft Tissue Injury in a Car Accident?,'

Related Web Resource:
Looking Through the MIST - Minor Impact Soft Tissue Injury, Ezine

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Posted On: March 26, 2009

Illinois Senate and House Members Approve Bills to Raise Large Truck Speed Limit to 65 Mph

In Illinois, the Senate and House have approved bills to increase the speed limit for heavy trucks on rural interstate highways to 65 miles an hour. The two bills however, are not identical, so the legislation will need more work before it can go to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.

While the interstate highway speed limit for cars is 65 mph, the speed limit for semi-trucks is currently 55 mph. This has caused concern for traffic safety experts who think that having different speed limits increases the chances of traffic accidents. Illinois Senator Don Harmon from Oak Park, however, isn’t sure this is true. He points out that when the state of Missouri adopted a uniform speed limit on all state roads, the number of traffic deaths jumped.

House Bill 3956 passed with a 77-35 vote. A 38-14 vote lead to the approval of Senate Bill 1467. Cook County is not included in either bill. The five counties around Chicago are exempt from the House bill.

Large Truck Accidents
The owners and drivers of large garbage trucks, fully-loaded delivery trucks, semi-trucks, 18-wheeler trucks, and tractor-trailers have a responsibility to make sure that these vehicles are operated safely on US roads. A collision with one of these large vehicles can be deadly for the occupants of smaller vehicles and motorcycles, as well as bicyclists and pedestrians.

If you or someone you love was seriously injured in an Illinois truck crash, please contact our Chicago truck collision law firm today for your free case evaluation.

Although you cannot control a truck driver's behavior behind the wheel of a large truck, there are steps other motorists can take to avoid getting involved in a collision with a large truck, such as:

• Avoid cutting in front of a large truck and slowing down suddenly. The drivers of large trucks need more time to stop their vehicles than the drivers of passenger vehicles.
• Know that you if you are unable to see the trucker when you are looking at the truck’s side mirror, chances are the driver can’t see you and you should get out of the truck’s blind spot.

Legislators tackle speed limits for semis, overtime and steroids testing,, March 26, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Lawmakers Want to Raise Semi-Trailer Truck Speed Limit to 65mph, Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer Blog, March 12, 2009

The Large Truck Crash Causation Study, FMCSA

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Posted On: March 23, 2009

Will County Jury Awards $24 Million Illinois Truck Accident Verdict to Families of Victims and Crash Survivor with Serious Injuries

In Will County, Illinois, a jury has awarded $24 million to the families of two people who were killed in an April 1, 2004 truck crash and a survivor who was seriously injured. This is reportedly the highest verdict amount involving a Will County civil case in at least half a century.

42-year-old Seneca resident Thomas Sanders and 67-year-old Naperville resident Joseph Sperl were declared dead at the Illinois truck crash site. William Taluc, a 35-year-old Aurora man, broke 17 bones.

The defendants in the Illinois truck accident case included freight broker C.H. Robinson Worldwide and truck driver De An Henry. Henry was operating a semi-trailer full of potatoes on Interstate 55 close to Plainfield when he caused a 10-vehicle crash involving six cars and three tractor-trailers.

Common reasons why truck accidents happen:

• Driver fatigue
• Driver is trying to meet a delivery deadline and is in a hurry
• Driver doesn’t see vehicle or pedestrian in blind spot
• Vehicle malfunction
• Defective truck parts
• Truck is overloaded
• Speeding
• Poor driving conditions
• Drunk driving
• Driver inexperience

You do not want to try to represent yourself in an Illinois personal injury case against a truck driver and his or her trucking company, which will likely have the manpower and resources to deal with and minimize your truck crash liability claim. Truck accident cases may often involve more than one liable party, such as the shipper, the contractor, the driver, the owner of the trailer or truck, the trucking company, or the truck manufacturer.

$24 million award in fatal truck crash,, March 24, 2009

Naperville man dies in I-55 accident, Goliath/Daily Herald, April 2, 2004

Related Web Resources:
C.H. Robinson Worldwide

Center for National Truck and Bus Statistics, UMTRI

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Posted On: March 17, 2009

Illinois Truck Accident Verdict Awards Two Couples $113,000

In the Southern District of Illinois, a jury awarded two couples $113,000 for personal injuries they sustained during a 2007 truck accident. Ken and Leslie Richardet and Eugene and Virginia Sturm had sought $1.36 million.

The two couples got hurt at the Illinois-Kentucky border in January 2007 while returning home from a vacation. Their original complaint accuses Kevin D Harrison, a Murdale True Value company truck driver, of failing to properly operate his rear breaks and doing so at a speed that was beyond what was correct and reasonable. The company has admitted liability in the case.

Truck accident victim Virginia Sturm says she had to undergo hip replacement surgery after the multi-vehicle collision left her with serious hip damage. Another victim, Leslie Richardet, says that her rotator cuff was torn during the truck accident. Murdale True Value’s defense attorney, however, disputed both women’s claims.

The jury award for each plaintiff: Virginia Sturm received $41,000; Eugene Sturm received $27,000; Leslie Richardet received $24,000; and Kenneth Richardet received $21,000.

Proving Liability in an Illinois Truck Accident Case
It is important that you retain the services of an Illinois truck accident attorney who knows how to properly pursue your motor vehicle claim or lawsuit. There are going to be truck logs to peruse through and accident evidence to examine. Your Illinois truck crash lawyer should also be familiar with the state and federal regulations that govern truck drivers.

If the trucking company’s insurance company tries to settle your case before you’ve spoken to an Illinois personal injury attorney, please know that you are within your rights to ask them to wait until you’ve sought legal counsel about your truck accident case.

Jury awards plaintiffs a fraction of damages sought in federal injury trial, St Clair Record, March 16, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Murdale True Value

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Posted On: March 16, 2009

Danville Family to Receive Almost $1.41 Million Illinois Wrongful Death Settlement from City and Truck Company After Woman Dies in Semi-Truck Accident

In Vermilion County, Illinois, the family of a 49-year-old woman who died in 2004 when the vehicle she was riding in was hit by a semi-trailer truck has been awarded an Illinois wrongful death settlement of almost $1.5 million. Judge Michael Clary approved the $1.41 award to be paid to Carlos Cunningham, the widower of Debra Jean Cunningham.

Debra Jean died on August 25, 2004 in Danville at the intersection of Lakeshore Drive and North Vermilion Street. Because the power was down in that area, the city of Danville had put a four-way stop sign in the center of the intersection.

Carlos’s Illinois wrongful death lawsuit, filed in 2005, says witnesses saw his wife leave the Village Mall and make a complete stop. As she was pulling out of Vermillion Street and about to make a left turn, however, she was struck by a Dayton Freight Lines large truck operated by Champaign trucker Henry Butler.

Carlos’s truck accident lawsuit named the truck driver, the trucking company, the city of Danville, and the Illinois Power Company as the defendants of his wrongful death lawsuit, but a judge dismissed the power company from the case. Carlos's Chicago wrongful death lawyer says the city put the stop sign, which was non-reflective, in the wrong place. He also contends that the Illinois truck driver had driven through the intersection before and he should have known to stop.

Debra Jean left behind her husband and their five children.

Failing to Stop at a Stop Sign
Failing to stop at a stop sign can lead to deadly motor vehicle accidents—especially if the vehicle that failed to stop is an 18-wheeler truck or another large vehicle that is going at a regular speed. If you are faced with a four-way STOP at an intersection, you MUST stop and then wait your turn. Even if the four-way stop system is a temporary one or one that is handheld by a construction zone worker, a police officer, or a school guard, you must yield the right-of-way to other vehicles and pedestrians until it is your turn to go. Failure to do so can be grounds for Illinois personal injury or wrongful death.

City, truck firm paying family in fatal accident, The News-Gazette, March 14, 2009

Related Web Resources:

City of Danville, Illinois

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Posted On: March 12, 2009

Illinois Lawmakers Want to Raise Semi-Trailer Truck Speed Limit to 65mph

Lawmakers in Illinois are pushing to increase the semi-trailer truck speed limit to 65 mph on non-urban roads. This is their fourth attempt to up the current semi-truck speed limit to 55 mph. The first three attempts were vetoed by then-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

In the Illinois House of Representatives, Representative David Reiss is sponsoring House Bill 3956. The bill, if it becomes law, would not affect Cook County or the five “collar” counties (DuPage County, Will County, Lake County, McHenry County, and Kane County) around it. It also wouldn’t affect interstates that have lower speed requirements, including I-74, which runs through Peoria. In the Illinois Senate, Senator John Sullivan is pushing a similar proposal with Senate Bill 1467.

Proponents of the new speed limit say they believe that allowing large trucks to move at the same rate as the rest of the vehicles on the road could decrease the number of Illinois truck accidents. Cars, motorcycles, and SUV’s would be less likely to weave around trucks, trucks would more easily be able to get around other vehicles, and traffic jams might occur less often.

A uniform speed limit could also benefit the trucking industry. For example, Mid-West Truckers Executive Vice President Don Schaefer says that under the current 55mph speed limit, semi-truckers can’t legally make a full round trip between Chicago and St. Louis in one workday. A 65-mph speed limit would make this possible.

Also, those advocating for a higher speed limit are quick to point out that many truckers tend to break the current speed limit, so why not raise it altogether. That said, opponents of raising the current trucker speed limit say that a 65 mph speed limit will only compel these same truckers to increase their speed to up to 75 mph.

There is also the argument that a faster truck is a more dangerous truck that will have a harder time stopping in the event of an emergency or to avoid becoming part of an Illinois motor vehicle crash.

Semi-trucks and 18-wheeler trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. Colliding with one of these trucks can be catastrophic for the victims involved.

New Statehouse push would raise some truck speed limits,, March 11, 2009

Legislators seek boost in truck speed, Chicago Tribune, March 6, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Department of Transportation

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

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Posted On: March 9, 2009

Chicago Truck Accidents Can Occur if Trucker has Serious Existing Medical Condition and Gets Sick While Driving

While many Illinois truck accidents do occur in Chicago and throughout the state because a trucker or another motorist was negligent, there are truck crashes that can occur because a truck driver was suffering from a serious medical condition that has impaired his or her ability to drive. One way the federal government has tried to prevent this is to require that truckers take a medical exam every two years.

One of the problems with this, however, is that anyone who is a medical examiner but is not necessarily qualified to determine whether a truck driver is medically fit to operate a commercially licensed truck, can sign off on this exam. It also is pretty easy for a truck driver to download blank medical cards online and fill out the information while forging a medical examiner’s signature. Doctor names and medical license numbers are now easily accessible online.

Last year, a congressional probe determined that one out of every three medical certificates that were examined could not be verified. In some instances, the doctors that supposedly signed off on the certificates could not be found or, when they were approached claimed they never examined the trucker. Even when a truck driver’s doctor was contacted for information, medical confidentiality prevented him or her from revealing patient information without a special waiver.

In December 2008, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration approved a rule that gave the different states three years to start placing medical examination certificates and licenses for truckers and bus operators under one electronic source.

Illinois truck accidents
When a catastrophic Illinois truck accident happens because a trucker who was already suffering from a medical condition passed out, had a heart attack, or experienced another serious medical ailment, the consequences for the truck driver, other motorists, and pedestrians can be deadly. The Government Accountability Office reports that a May 2007 and June 2008 study shows that about 536,000 commercial vehicle operators were issued their commercial vehicle driver’s licenses even though they qualified for complete medical disability.

I-Team Investigation: Medically Unfit Truck Drivers, Kentucky, March 5, 2009

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Related Web Resource:
Truck Accident Laws, Justia

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Posted On: March 4, 2009

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