Posted On: February 27, 2010

Jury Awards $4 Million Illinois Wrongful Death Verdict to Children of Couple Killed in Interstate 39 Truck Accident

A jury has awarded Adam and Eric Rautio $4 million in their Illinois wrongful death lawsuit over the truck crash that killed their parents. Faye and Donald Rautio died in a seven-vehicle crash on Interstate 39 in 2007.

The defendant in the Illinois semi-truck case, trucking company Heartland Express, had admitted liability because trucker William Hinds fell asleep at the wheel. This means that all the jury had to do was decide how much should be awarded in damages to the men.

After dozing off, Hinds’s semi-truck struck a Ford Taurus, killing the Rockford woman driving the vehicle and triggering a multi-vehicle La Salle County auto crash. One of the vehicles involved in the truck accident was the Toyota Camry that 67-year-old Donald Ratio was driving. The impact pushed his vehicle into another semi-truck, fatally injuring him and his 65-year-old wife Faye.

Hinds was also seriously injured in the Illinois truck collision. Originally named a defendant in the Rautio’s wrongful death lawsuit, his name was later dropped from the complaint.

Chicago, Illinois Truck Accidents Involving Drowsy Truckers
Unfortunately, drowsy driving is a common hazard when working as a commercial truck driver. Long hours on the road, not enough rest in between shifts, driving alone and without much scenery, and undiagnosed sleep apnea are some reasons why a trucker operating a vehicle weighing tens of thousands of pounds might become drowsy and fall asleep at the wheel. When this happens, the consequences to the truck driver and others on the road can prove fatal.

Family wins $4 million lawsuit over I-39 pileup, Newstrib, February 26, 2010

Former Minnesota educators die in Illinois car crash, Kare11, 2007

Related Web Resources:
Interstate 39, Interstate Guide

The Drowsy Driver

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Posted On: February 26, 2010

$4 Million Wrongful Verdict Awarded to Family of Man Killed in Truck Accident

A jury has awarded the family of James Brashear $4 million in their wrongful death case against a construction company and one of its subcontractors. The 42-year-old father died late at night on October 1, 2007 when his car was rear-ended by a semi-trailer going at 70 mph.

Brashear’s vehicle was at the end of a line of cars that were stopped in traffic on Interstate 75. His son Tyler sustained serious injuries during the truck crash. One other man and at least nine other people were injured.

Brashear’s family has resolved their wrongful death case with the trucking company that employed trucker Pablo Merlos. The trucker was eating while driving and was not wearing shoes when the semi-truck crash happened. Merlos was accused of not making much of an effort to stop the large truck for 10.5 seconds as it proceeded to hit other vehicles. His truck left 27 feet of skid marks at the crash site.

This $4 million wrongful death verdict was awarded against Zep Construction and Traffic Control Systems Inc. The jury is deciding how much in punitive damages the two defendants should pay for consciously ignoring drivers’ safety on the highway.

The Brashears had accused Zep of failing to proper the proper safety procedures before stopping traffic. They noted that electronic warning signs, which Traffic Control Systems was contracted to provide for the bridge repair project, were not in place that night.

Zep’s attorneys tried to blame the semi-truck crush on Merlos, but the jury only found him 5% liable.

Chicago, Illinois Truck Crashes
There may be more than one party that should be held liable for your Chicago, Illinois truck accident case. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your large truck crash, construction companies in charge of traffic zones, vehicle manufacturers, and government entities are just some of the possible liable parties.

Jury awards family $4 million for fatal accident, Herald Tribune, February 25, 2010

Efforts Lag to Improve Safety at Work Zones, The New York Times, December 21 2010

Related Web Resources:
Truck Accidents, Nolo

Road Construction, Getting Around Illinois

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Posted On: February 24, 2010

Chicago, Illinois Truck Crashes Can Cause Injuries to Truckers Too

Our Chicago, Illinois truck accident law firm represents persons injured in semi-truck crashes, garbage truck collisions, 18-wheeler truck accidents, and other large truck crashes that were caused by another parties’ negligence. In many cases, the victims of truck collisions are pedestrians, motorcyclists and the occupants of the other vehicles, and the liable party is a negligent trucker or trucking company.

However, truck drivers aren’t always the ones responsible for causing large truck accidents. Truckers can be accident victims too.

For example, just last week, five semi-trucks were involved in a collision on Interstate 29. According to police, semi-truck driver Karl Krueger rear-ended the semi operated by Charles M. Sundt, causing a chain reaction with the other large trucks.

Sundt, 62, was injured in the large truck crash and was transported to a hospital. Krueger, also 62, died from his truck accident injuries. The other two truck drivers did not get hurt.

Truckers have to exercise due care to prevent themselves from getting involved in a traffic crash. However, there are those accidents are completely beyond a truck driver’s control, such as when a Chicago truck collision is caused by a negligent motorcyclist, car driver, pedestrian, or another party.

Five semis collide, killing S.D. driver, Nonpareil Online, February 17, 2010

Five semi-truck chain-reaction crash results in death and injury, JusticeNewsFlash, February 17, 2010

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Trucking Associations,

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Posted On: February 19, 2010

Woman Files Illinois Garbage Truck Lawsuit Seeking Personal Injury Recovery

A woman who says that she hurt her shoulder, back, and neck when she was involved in a garbage truck crash is suing Robert "Bob" Sanders Waste Systems and Brent A. Sanders for personal injury. Lakisha A. Barnes filed her Illinois truck accident lawsuit on Tuesday.

She claims that she was rear-ended by the 2006 International CF600 garbage truck, driven by Sanders, on the morning of March 17, 2008. She says the trucker caused the Illinois garbage truck collision when he failed to lower his speed and/or brake to avoid a crash and neglected to keep a proper lookout for other autos.

Barnes says the truck crash caused her to become lame, sick, sore and disordered, as well as experience suffering and pain. She claims that her earning capacity was impaired, she lost income, and accrued medical expenses. Barnes is seeking over $150,000.

Garbage Truck Accidents
Getting hit by a garbage truck that weighs tens of thousands of pounds can prove catastrophic for pedestrians and motorists on the receiving end of this type of collision. Common causes of Illinois garbage truck crashes include:

• Falling garbage
• Drunk driving
• Drugged driving
• Faulty brakes
• Faulty maintenance
• Trying to stick to the garbage pickup schedule
• Poor visibility
• Not being able to stop fast enough during an emergency
• Distracted driving
• Inadequate driver training
• Failure to yield
• Driver fatigue
• Difficulties maneuvering vehicle

Garbage truck rear-ends Honda, suit claims, The Record, February 19, 2010

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Posted On: February 17, 2010

Cook County Semi-Truck Accident Kills Woman Who Had Just Changed Tire on I-294

A Frankfort, Illinois woman died late Monday night when she was struck by a semi-truck on I-294. Stacy Mchale, a 36-year-old mother of two, had just finished changing her flat tire and was about to sit back in the driver’s seat when the tragic Cook County truck crash happened. No charges have been filed against the truck driver.

She leaves behind her husband, 9-year-old daughter, 13-year-old son, mother, and siblings.

Chicago, Illinois Truck Accidents
If you believe that a negligent semi-truck driver caused your traffic accident, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced Chicago, Illinois truck crash lawyerr. Your first consultation is free and this will allow you to determine whether you have grounds for a Chicago personal injury lawsuit.

18-wheeler trucks, big rig trucks, garbage trucks, semi-trailers, and other large trucks are so massive in size and weight that most motorists and pedestrians involved in a Chicago truck crash will likely have sustained serious if not fatal injuries. Burns, disfigurement, spinal cord injuries, severed limbs, traumatic brain injuries, and other serious injuries can result. It is important to determine whether distracted driving, drowsy driving, cell phone use, text message, drunk driving, failure to abide by the hours of service rule or other commercial traffic regulations, poor truck maintenance, truck malfunction, or a defective truck part contributed to causing the collision.

Homewood mother of 2 killed on tollway, SouthtownStar, February 17, 2010

Woman with flat tire struck, killed by semi, ABC Local, February 16, 2010

Related Web Resource:
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

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Posted On: February 12, 2010

Icy Roads Can Increase the Risk of Chicago, Illinois Truck Accidents

Large truck drivers and other motorists must drive carefully, pay attention to the roads and traffic, and obey traffic signals at all times. They must also adjust their driving to the road conditions.

During the winter, wet and frozen roads are inevitable when rain or snow falls over Chicago. It is important for truck drivers to adjust their driving so that they don’t cause any Chicago, Illinois truck crashes.

The other day, 29-year-old Joshua McKinley sustained facial injuries when the van he was driving collided with a semi-truck driven by 49-year-old Timothy May. The trucker sustained minor injuries and was treated at the crash site. Snow and ice may have contributed to the large truck crash.

Ways to avoid causing an Illinois truck rash when the roads are icy:

• Brake gently.
• Slow down so that there are at least three car lengths between you and the vehicle in front of you.
• Don’t drive on cruise control.
• Activate your headlights.
• Look out for black ice.
• Wear a seatbelt.
• Don’t drive drunk.
• Don’t text or talk on the cell phone.

If your vehicle skids on ice or snow, release your foot from the accelerator and steer your vehicle in the right direction.

Proving liability in any kind of Chicago, Illinois motor vehicle crash is challenging. It is even more difficult when you attempt to pursue recovery from a trucking company.

Slippery Slope: Driver of van injured in crash with semi-truck, News & Tribune, February 9, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Driving in Snow and Ice, The Weather Channel

Chicago Weather, Chicago Tribune

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Posted On: February 9, 2010

Teenager Struck by Cement Truck Sustains Head Injury and Broken Pelvis

A 17-year-old boy who was struck by a cement truck is expected to recover. Mike Philbrook, a high school junior, was crossing the street on Thursday morning when the truck accident happened.

Philbrook went under the truck after he was struck. He had to be flown to the hospital. The teenager suffered a head contusion and broke his pelvis. He was scheduled to undergo surgery over the weekend to repair the pelvic area.

According to investigators, who are investigating the cause of the cement truck accident, sunlight may have been a factor in causing the collision. Following the truck crash, the truck was weighed, unloaded, weight, and brought to the police station where it will stay while the probe is under way.

Illinois Cement Truck Accidents
Cement trucks are large, heavy vehicles that can cause serious injuries during a traffic accident—especially if the victim is a pedestrian who has no protection whatsoever from the impact of the collision. Broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and internal injuries can be life altering and very expensive to treat. It can be hard to prove liability in any kind of truck crash without the help of an experienced Chicago, Illinois truck crash law firm representing you.

While truck crashes are not always the trucker's fault, there is a lot that he/she can do to prevent these collissions from happening. Large truck occupants are always at an advantage over other motorists and pedestrians when it comes to safety during a collision.

It is important that you know the extent of your injuries, damages, and costs before agreeing to settle your Illinois truck crash case.

Cement truck accident victim doing well, parents say, Wicked Local, February 4, 2010

North Shore Tech student hit by concrete truck, suffers broken pelvis, Eagle Tribune, February 5, 2010

Related Web Resource:
Truck Accidents, Nolo

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Posted On: February 5, 2010

Woman’s Legs Severed in Garbage Truck Accident

An 86-year-old woman sustained serious injuries on Wednesday when she fell under a garbage truck. Grace Steckel’s legs were severed in the truck accident.

She was reportedly walking down a street when she fell under the large vehicle that then pinned her, causing both her legs to become severed. Steckel was airlifted to a hospital where doctors placed her in a medically induced coma. She did not sustain internal injuries.

One witness says that he saw the elderly woman standing next to the truck in a driveway. The man says he looked away for one second and when he looked back she had disappeared. He saw that her body was under the truck near the dual tires on the passenger side, and he and another man ran forward to stop the truck driver.

Pedestrians are nearly always at a disadvantage when they are involved in a traffic accident with a motor vehicle—especially a large truck. Most garbage truck crashes are accidents involving pedestrians. According to pedestrian safety advocate group Right of Way, garbage truck accidents involving pedestrians result in 24 deaths/100 million miles traveled—that’s 8 deaths annually.

Common causes of garbage truck-pedestrian accidents:

• Poor visibility for the garbage truck driver
• Garbage trucks are always on the move, stopping and going
• Failure by the garbage truck driver to to check all mirrors and blind spots before backing up
• Driver inattention
• Pedestrian errors

Garbage trucks are extremely heavy vehicles and serious injuries can result when a pedestrian or pedalcyclist is struck or run over by such a large, heavy vehicle.

Easton woman loses legs in garbage truck accident, The Morning Call, February 5, 2010

Easton pedestrian struck by trash hauler loses legs, but son says she's 'feisty',, February 5, 2010

Related Web Resources:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Truck Accidents, Justia

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Posted On: February 2, 2010

US Bus Drivers and Truckers are No Longer Allowed to Text Message While Driving

In the US, it is now illegal for truck drivers and bus drivers to text message while behind the steering wheel. This is good news for everyone else on the road, since it is often pedestrians and the occupants of the vehicles involved in the truck crash or bus accident that sustain serious injuries. Bus and large truck drivers caught violating the ban may be ordered to pay a maximum $2,750 fine. says bus and trucking industry officials are supporting the texting ban.

According to research from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, motorists who text message have their eyes off the road for about 4.5 out of every 6 seconds. That’s plenty of time for a large truck crash or bus accident to happen. Truck drivers are up to 23 times more likely to crash a semi-truck, 18-wheeler truck, tractor-trailer, or any other kind of large truck when they are texting.

While Illinois is one of 19 US states that ban texting while driving for all motorists, that doesn’t mean that people are actually obeying the law. Unfortunately, many motor vehicle drivers continue to check, text, send, and receive messages when they are on the road, which can lead to Chicago motor vehicle crashes.

Distracted driving of any kind can kill people. Texting and talking on a cell phone have proved particularly dangerous. Many people simply cannot comprehend that what they are doing can destroy lives.

It’s bad enough to get involved in a bus accident or large truck crash with a driver who is paying attention. To get involved in a motor vehicle crash with a vehicle weighing thousands of pounds operated by a driver who isn’t paying attention to the road or doesn’t have both hands on the steering wheel because he/she is too busy sending a text message can lead to devastating consequences.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces Federal Ban on Texting for Commercial Truck Drivers, US Department of Transportation, January 26, 2010

Officials With Trucking and Bus Industries Support New Texting Ban, Fox News, January 26, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Cellphone laws, IIHS, January 2010

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

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