Posted On: October 29, 2009

Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Over Fatal Pole Truck Accident

The mother of a 28-year-old man who died after he collided with the back of a swinging pole truck load is suing the pole hauler, the pole maker, and the state of Oregon for wrongful death. Teri Stoffer is Jeffrey Little’s mother. The defendants in the truck accident lawsuit are truck company O’Malley Brothers Corporation, McCormick Piling and Lumber Company, the state, and the pilot car and pole drivers. Stofer wants the state to implement new rules that would prevent such a deadly truck crash from happening again.

Little’s death in 2008 is one of three pole-truck crashes to occur at the Intersection of Highway 30 and Bennett Road over a 5-month period. In April 2008, 82-year-old Evelyn Sanders sustained minor injuries during a collision with a logging truck. While truck driver Daniel Bunnell was turning, the pole truck swung out and a log crashed through her windshield. Two weeks after the deadly truck crash that claimed Little’s life, a third pole truck collision occurred at the same intersection.

All three large trucks involved in the accidents were headed for McCormick Piling and Lumber Company, located on Old Portland Road, and were turning onto Bennett Road when the collisions happened. In each case, a vehicle riding behind the pole truck collided with the swinging pole's load.

The truck crashes have raised concerns that the intersection’s basic design and the designated speed limits may have contributed to these collisions.

There are also questions about whether or not pilot car drivers are given enough training to safely operate their large trucks.

Mom of man killed in rig accident sues, Billings Gazette, October 28, 2009

Elderly driver injured when log crashes through windshield, Bend Weekly, April 4, 2008

‘Nothing was done to protect the public’, The Spotlight, September 24, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Wrongful Death, Nolo

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Posted On: October 28, 2009

Preventing Truck Accidents: NTSB Wants FMCSA to Put in Place Program to Treat Truckers with Sleep Apnea

The National Transportation Safety Board is suggesting to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that it put together a program to identify commercial truckers who are at high risk of suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. The NTSB is recommending that the FMCSA withhold medical certification until a worker proves that he or she has been medically examined and either doesn’t have OSA or is getting treatment for the disorder.

Sleep apnea has been cited as a factor in a number of US trucking accidents. In one case, a tractor-trailer crashed into a police car, killing the officer in the vehicle, and then drove across a median, injuring another driver. The trucker was suffering from sleep apnea.

According to a recent study, 12 – 17% of drivers do suffer from “significant” obstructive sleep apnea. Some members of the trucking industry, however, dispute that there is a link between OSA and truck crashes.

Regardless, drowsy driving (whether the motorist is suffering from a sleeping disorder or didn’t get enough sleep or is just tired after a long day of work) is known to cause catastrophic truck collisions and other deadly motor vehicle accidents. If a person is suffering from sleep apnea, managing to stay awake while driving can be tough—especially when the driver is driving long distances for hours at a time. A trucker who is driving a tractor-trailer, 18-wheeler truck, or another kind of large truck while his or her mind is foggy or who has fallen asleep is a danger to pedestrians and the occupants of other vehicles.

About 18 million people in the US suffer from OSA. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, because many investigators are not properly trained to identify the role sleepiness plays in causing a traffic crash, this contributing factor can get overlooked.

Getting behind the wheel of any motor vehicle when you are drunk, drowsy, or distracted is careless conduct. The negligent trucker, car driver, motorcyclist or bus driver can be held liable for Chicago injury or wrongful death.

Sleep apnea program should be law: US safety board, Today's Trucking, October 22, 2009

Study Says Number of Truck Accidents Might Go Down If Truckers Were Tested for Sleep Apnea, ChicagoTruckAccidentLawyerBlog, March 29, 2009

Sleep Apnea and Driving, American Sleep Apnea Association

Related Web Resources:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea

National Transportation Safety Board

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Posted On: October 24, 2009

Judge Approves $2.3 Million Illinois Truck Accident Over 16-Year-Old’s Wrongful Death

The parents of a 16-year-old boy who died when in February 2008 when his car was rear-ended by a truck have reached a $2.3 million Illinois truck accident settlement with the defendants. Patrick and Linda McMahon had sued truck driver Matthew Yon and Odesco Industrial Services for Michael McMahon's Illinois wrongful death. Their civil lawsuit had been scheduled to go to court this week.

According to the McMahon’s complaint, which they filed last year, truck driver Yon was following too closely and driving too fast. They also accused him of failing to keep a proper lookout.

Illinois Truck Crashes
Contacting a Chicago truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after a crash can give you some peace of mind as you find out about your legal options. Your Illinois truck collision law firm can send someone to the crash scene to gather and document evidence. They can also deal directly with the trucking company and its insurer so that you won’t feel pressed into settling before you know exactly how much you are owed.

If the person injured in the truck crash was a minor, a parent or guardian can file the Illinois injuries to minor lawsuit for the teenager or child. If the person died in the Chicago truck crash, immediate family members may be entitled to wrongful death recovery.

Trucker error is a common cause of truck crashes. Defective truck parts, defective roads, and negligence on the part of another motorist are also common causes of truck accidents.

An experienced truck collision attorney will know what to look for to prove liability. He or she can also determine how much it will cost for you to receive the medical care that your injuries warrant.

Crowder approves $2.3 million settlement in wrongful death suit, The Record, October 23, 2009

Related Web Resources:
US Department of Transportation


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Posted On: October 22, 2009

Jury Awards $49 Million Truck Accident Lawsuit for Traumatic Brain Injury

A jury has awarded a former college student $49 million for the traumatic brain injury he sustained during a 2007 truck crash involving two tractor-trailers. Drew Bianchi, then 21, was on his way to a camping trip when he was struck by one of the large trucks after the two other vehicles collided. Because of the injuries he sustained from the catastrophic truck accident, Bianchi now requires round-the-clock medical care.

The jury found Samuel Bimbela, the driver of the truck that struck Bianchi, 60% liable. It found the other truck driver, Michael Demma, and Gordon Trucking 35% liable. It also found the state of California 5% liable.

Bianchi was awarded $27.6 million for future medical costs, $3.4 million for past medical bills, $13.5 million for general damages, and $4.5 million for future lost wages.

The transportation department for the state settled with Bianchi for $10 million. Salazar Equipment, Salazar Construction, and Salazar Trucking settled for $2 million.

Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries can seriously impair a person’s ability to live a normal, independent life. A TBI patient may not be able to hold a job, sustain healthy relationships with a spouse or children, take part in normal, daily activities, or enjoy the daily, regular experiences that everyone else gets to take part in. Loved ones and friends also experience the loss of the person as he or she was prior to the injury accident.

TBI’s are one of the common kinds of catastrophic injuries a truck accident victim can sustain during a serious truck crash. In Illinois, an experienced Chicago truck crash lawyer can make sure that all negligent parties are held liable.

Calif. Jury Awards $49 Million in Personal Injury Case, The Recorder, September 24, 2009

California Truck Accident Lawsuit Results in $49M Verdict for Brain Injury, About Lawsuits, October 15, 2009

Related Web Resources:
NINDS Traumatic Brain Injury Information Page

Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) Analysis Series: Using LTCCS Data for Statistical Analyses of Crash Risk, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

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Posted On: October 20, 2009

NHTSA Reports 136 Fatal Illinois Large Truck Crashes for 2008

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 136 of the the fatal Illinois traffic crashes that occurred last year were large truck accidents. As far as our Chicago truck crash law firm is concerned, this number are still too high and more should be done to prevent Illinois truck collisions from occurring.

More 2008 NHTSA Truck Crash Facts:

• There were 380,000 large truck crush accidents throughout the US last year.
• 4,066 of these truck collisions resulted in fatalities. That’s one out of nine traffic deaths.
• 4,229 large truck crash fatalities.
• 90,000 large truck crash injuries.
• 74% of the people killed in large truck crashes were riding in the other vehicles that were involved.
• 26% were riding in the large trucks.
• 3% were not riding in vehicles when the fatal large truck crash happened.
• Large trucks have a greater chance of being involved in deadly multi-vehicle collisions than passenger vehicles do.
• In 50% of large truck crashes involving another vehicle, both autos were going straight when the fatal collision happened.
• Most deadly large truck crashes happen in rural areas, in daylight, and during the week.
• Drunk truck drivers: There was a 2% increase from 2007 in the number of truckers driving with a BAC of .08% or more.
• 24% of large truck drivers involved in deadly accidents had at least one previous conviction for speeding.

If you were injured in an Illinois truck crash in Cook County, Will County, Lake County, or DuPage County, do not hesitate to contact our Chicago truck accident law firm for your free case evaluation.

Truck accidents involving tractor-trailer trucks, 18-wheeler trucks, garbage trucks, semi-trucks, delivery trucks, and other large trucks can result in traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, organ damage, burn injuries, and death.

Large Trucks, 2008 Traffic Safety Facts, NHTSA

Related Web Resources:
Truck Safety Coalition

Large Trucks, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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Posted On: October 16, 2009

Couple Seriously Hurt in “Rock of Love Bus” Truck Accident Settle Their Illinois Injury Lawsuit for $16 Million

A couple that sustained serious injuries in an Illinois truck accident with a large truck in September 2008 has settled their personal injury lawsuit for $16 million. William and Colleen Wiley had sued VH-1, MTV, Music First, two entertainment companies, and an employee affiliated with the “Rock of Love Bus” reality series starring rocker Bret Michaels. According to the Madison Record, the couple’s Illinois injury lawyer says the settlement was reached with 51 Minds Entertainment.

The Wileys were on I-57 close to West Frankfurt when a truck hauling equipment for the reality program struck their vehicle. Truck driver Dennis Hernandez reportedly fell asleep at the wheel. After the Illinois truck crash, Hernandez, who did not have a valid driver’s license, tested positive for marijuana.

William suffered a lung contusion, a sternal fracture (and associated anterior mediastinal hematoma, head contusions, a displaced rib fracture, an intraarticular fracture to his left radial syloid, and an avulsion fracture to the left triquetrum. Colleen suffered cardiac arrest six types and had to be resuscitated and intubated. She also injured her back, shoulders, chest, neck, legs, pelvis, hands, and knees.

The couple experienced severe mental and physical pain from the Illinois truck crash and sustained permanent, disabling, and progressive injuries. In addition to incurring over a million dollars in medical expenses and losing wages from not being able to work, they have been deprived of each other's comfort, care, society, protection, services, support, and consortium.

They accused Hernandez of negligent operation and the four companies of breach of duty when they hired, trained, and retained the truck driver.

Our Chicago truck accident lawyers recently posted a blog about an Illinois wrongful death case involving same truck crash. Last month, the family of 19-year-old Kevetta Davis agreed on a $6.5 million wrongful death settlement in their truck accident lawsuit against 51 Minds Entertainment, VH-1 Music, Viacom, and Hernandez. Davis and her friend Yasmin Jackson died from their injuries.

Rock of Love Bus' suit settles for $16 million, Madison Record, October 15, 2009

Suit: MTV's 'Rock of Love Bus' driver asleep at the wheel, The Record, December 30, 2008

$6.5 million settlement in death of college student struck by truck from VH1 series, Chicago Tribune, October 2, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Rock of Love, VH-1

'Rock 3' puts on the brakes, NY Post, October 2, 2009

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Posted On: October 13, 2009

Wrongful Death Lawsuit by Woman Seeks Damages for 18-Wheeler Truck Accident that Killed Her Dad and 13-Year-Old Son

Melissa Hinkle’s life changed forever when she was seriously injured in a catastrophic tractor-trailer crash on July 5. Hinkle, her dad Gervious Dale Hinkle, and 13-year-old son Casey were riding a Ford Explorer on I-35 when their vehicle was rear-ended by an 18-wheeler truck as they were going into a construction zone.

Melissa’s father, 63, and son died in the truck accident while Melissa sustained serious physical and emotional injuries. She ended up in the ICU and must now cope with recovery and getting back to a life that her father and son will no longer be a part of.

In her wrongful death lawsuit, Hinkle is suing Refrigerated Delivery, the Texas Department of Transportation, truck driver Randy Crume, and KKM Construction Inc. for damages. A police officer says that Crume neglected to control the speed of his 18-wheeler truck before slamming into the Hinkles' auto and a number of other vehicles. The construction company is under contract with TxDOT.

Hinkle’s wrongful death complaint accuses KKM Construction Inc of causing the traffic to back up for miles on the interstate bridge. Almost a month later, on August 3, three people died in another tractor-trailer accident when the large truck drove into vehicles that were stuck in another traffic jam.

Truck drivers know that they have to slow down and even stop whenever they are driving through a highway construction zone. Failure to do so, especially when there are other vehicles and highway construction workers in the area, can lead to catastrophic consequences. That said, the parties in charge of a highway construction zone must also execute the necessary safety measures to prevent highway work zone accidents from happening.

Deadly Construction Zone Leads To Lawsuit,, August 6, 2009

Texas Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed After Truck Accident Kills Two, About Lawsuits, August 13, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Work Zone Safety

Truck Safety Coalition

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Posted On: October 9, 2009

Murder Charges Dropped Against Big Rig Trucker Involved in Deadly Truck Crash that Injured 10 People and Killed a Man and His Daughter

A judge has thrown out the murder charges against the trucker accused of causing the deadly truck accident that killed a man and his daughter and injured 10 people on Angeles Crest Highway in Southern California in April. The judge said that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that truck driver Marcos Barbosa Costa had implied malice when he lost control of his large truck and rammed into several cars.

Angel Posca and his daughter Angel, 12, died in the tragic truck crash.

According to prosecutors, Costa could have prevented the deadly big rig truck accident from happening since he was warned by an off-duty firefighter the road was steep, Costa was driving too fast, and smoke was coming out of the truck’s brakes.

The 44-year-old trucker still faces two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and three counts of reckless driving causing injury to three victims.

Illinois Truck Accident Cases
Large trucks, such as 18-wheeler trucks, tractor-trailers, garbage trucks, and semi-trucks tend to be significantly larger in size than most vehicles on the road. This places motorcyclists, passenger vehicles, SUV’s, and pickup trucks at a huge disadvantage during a large truck collision.

Regardless of whether or not police decide to press criminal charges against a negligent motorist, a truck accident victim and/or his or her family can still exercise their right to sue all liable parties for personal injury or wrongful death regardless of the outcome of any criminal proceedings. In Lake County, Cook County, Will County, and DuPage County, Illinois, our Chicago truck accident lawyers would be happy to offer you a free case evaluation.

Many trucking companies are prepared to combat any truck accident claims against them. This is why you need an experienced Chicago truck collision law firm representing you.

Murder charges dismissed against driver in fatal big rig crash, Los Angeles Times, October 9, 2009

Murder charges dismissed in fatal crash, La Canada Valley Sun, October 9, 2009

Related Web Resources:
CyberDrive Ilinois

FARS Encyclopedia

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Posted On: October 6, 2009

Tractor-Trailer Collision Lawsuit Seeks Wrongful Death Damages for Families of 10 People

A 76-year-old truck driver, two insurance companies, Associated Wholesale Grocers, and G.D. Transport Inc. are just some of the defendants named in a truck accident lawsuit seeking wrongful death damages for the families of 10 victims who died when a tractor-trailer drove into a line of stopped vehicles on a turnpike on June 26. The truck driver, Donald L. Creed, was charged with 10 misdemeanor counts of negligent homicide. Last month, he pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges.

Police say that Creed’s tractor-trailer was set to cruise control and appeared to be moving at a speed of about 70 mph—5 miles under the speed limit for the turnpike—and he does not appear to have taken any action to prevent the truck crash from happening. The cars he struck with his truck were stopped because of another truck accident that happened earlier in the day.

Police attribute the deadly multi-vehicle collision to driver inattention on Creed's part. According to their report, Creed did not seem to be aware that he had struck anyone. He also allegedly said that he thought the autos had driven under his truck while he was parked.

According to the tractor-trailer accident lawsuit, Creed neglected to slow down and stay in control of his truck as he collided with stopped traffic. The complaint accuses Associated Wholesale Grocers of failing to properly choose, train, and supervise the elderly truck driver and for allowing him to work into the early afternoon (when the truck crash happened) even though he started work at 3am that day.

The truck crash fatalities: 69-year-old Oral Hooks, his 63-year-old wife Earlene, his two adult sons, Dione and Antonio, 39-year-old Ricardo Reyes, his wife Ernestina, (their 12-year-old daughter Andrea survived the catastrophic tractor-trailer accident), 38-year-old Randall Hayes, his 35-year-old wife Shelby, their 7-year-old son Ethan, and his 55-year-old mother-in-law Cynthia Olson.

Also named as defendants in the large truck crash lawsuit were driver Erin Alf and trucker Rajeev Sharma. The two motorists were involved in the earlier accident that prompted the other vehicles to stop.

Accident victims' families sue driver,, October 6, 2009

Trucker Pleads Not Guilty in Deadly Turnpike Crash,, September 23, 2009

Related Web Resource:
Trucking Accidents Caused by Driver Error, Nolo

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Posted On: October 1, 2009

Despite Findings that Texting While Driving Dramatically Increases Truck Driver Accidents, Some Trucking Associations Oppose Possible Ban

A number of trucking associations in the United States are reportedly worried that a federal ban barring drivers from texting could seriously affect the way trucking companies do business. Many truckers have to use an on-board computer system that allows drivers and trucking companies to communicate with one another.

Lawmakers, safety experts, and law enforcement officials have spent the last two days in Washington DC attending a Distracted Driving Summit. Distracted driving has become a serious concern especially in light of the number of traffic crashes that have happened because a driver was texting while driving or talking on a cell phone. While texting or cell phone conversations increases all motorists’ crash risks, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute reports that cell phone dialing increases a truck driver’s risk of being involved in a truck accident by 5.9 times. Texting increased the truck crash risk by 23.2 times.

On Wednesday, the Obama Administration announced that it was banning federal workers from texting while driving when on the job or riding in a government-owned vehicle. US Transportation Department Secretary Ray LaHood announced that the government intends to push states to ban school bus drivers from distracted driving. The administration is also considering restricting truckers and rail drivers from using a cell phone.

While trucking companies undoubtedly want to be able to communicate with their truck drivers, there is no longer any way to justify texting while driving even if the reason is job-related. Just a few seconds spent with eyes off the road while reading a text can result in a catastrophic Chicago truck crash.

LaHood said that the public should learn to think of distracted driving as an activity that is as dangerous as drunk driving or driving without a seat belt.

New data from Virginia Tech Transportation Institute provides insight into cell phone use and driving distraction, Virginia Tech, July 29, 2009

New regulation bans federal employees from texting while driving, Los Angeles Times, October 1, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Distracted Driving Summit

Distracted Driving, CyberDriveIllinois

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