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Articles Posted in Truck Accident

A collision on the Kennedy Expressway left one dead and backed up traffic for hours last week in Chicago.The crash occurred Monday morning near Cumberland Avenue as traffic began to slow. A 65-year-old man in a Ford Explorer began to slow his vehicle for heavy traffic and was struck from behind by a semi truck that failed to slow or stop. The collision forced the Ford to strike a Lincoln Town Car in front of him, causing a second impact for the Ford driver. His vehicle was destroyed and unfortunately the driver died as a result of his injuries.

The driver of the Lincoln was taken to Resurrection Medical Center where he received treatment for his injuries. The semi truck driver was not injured and did not receive medical treatment, according to authorities.

The collision closed all outbound lanes of the Kennedy Expressway between the Edens Expressway and Cumberland Avenue for three hours during morning rush hour but all lanes were reopened in the late morning.

Police have determined that the semi truck driver caused the collision when he was unable to slow down in time to avoid the crash. It is not clear whether the semi driver has been charged or will be charged with any violations in relation to the accident or why he failed to stop for traffic.

Crashes involving semi trucks are particularly dangerous due to the large size and mass of the truck when compared to a standard passenger vehicle. In fact, a semi with a trailer can be 20 times the size of an opposing car. This means that in a car versus semi collision, the car almost always sustains extreme damage and the passengers often are injured.

This size differential makes truck crashes more deadly than almost any other type of crash, as indicated by the collision that occurred earlier this week. With trucks making up a large portion of all vehicles on the road, it is nearly impossible to avoid them, making innocent car drivers at risk for crashes.

What many people do not realize is that commercial drivers, including semi truck drivers, have a different standard of conduct in some situations than others. This is because of the inherent danger that comes with driving a truck and the responsibility that is entrusted to truck drivers. While the increased regulations are designed to keep the roads safer, many of the semi crashes that result often occur as a violation of one or more safety standards or general regulations.
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A three vehicle crash on the Edens near Northbrook left four people injured on Sunday night, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Illinois State Police Department reported that a truck traveling northbound attempted to switch from the right lane to the center lane when it was not clear to do so, striking a vehicle in the center lane. The truck then veered hard to the right where it struck a second vehicle. After the second impact, the driver of the truck lost control, veered left across all lanes of traffic, and stuck a wall on the highway shoulder.

After the truck came to a rest, one of its gas tanks caught fire. Four people were injured in the collision and transported to local hospitals. A 10-year-old girl and a woman both suffered life-threatening injuries and their present conditions are not known.

Another woman and a man also were injured in the crash which caused traffic in both lanes to be diverted for a period of time.

Illinois State Police confirmed they cited the driver of the truck for improper lane usage, failure to have insurance, and failure to display a medical card and log book.

This collision is a reminder of just how serious crashes with semis can be. Semi trucks can be 20 times larger than a standard passenger car with a mass to match. This means that in a collision, a standard passenger vehicle is no match for a semi and often suffers extreme damage.

In 2011, there were 10,033 crashes involving semi trucks and 93 fatal crashes involving semis in Illinois. This number accounted for 3.6 percent of all crashes but 9.7 percent of fatalities. Of those fatalities, 74 were occupants in vehicles other than the semi and 4 were pedestrians, meaning that 15 of the deaths involved semi-truck drivers and occupants.

Semi truck collisions are also particularly deadly because semis often travel at high rates of speed. Truck drivers spend a large percent of their time on highways and freeways which allows the truckers to drive fast. Increased speeds means that the forces involved in any collision are significant and can lead to serious injuries.
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A 23-year-old driver of an Oldsmobile lost his life early Saturday morning in a collision with a semi truck in Chicago.

Early reports indicate that the driver was behind the semi on northbound State Street when the semi began to slow in anticipation of a left turn. It is not clear whether the semi truck driver used his turn signal or otherwise indicated his intention.The driver of the Oldsmobile reportedly did not slow down enough to avoid a collision and struck the rear of the semi’s trailer, causing significant damage to the vehicle. The driver was transported to John H. Stroger, Jr. hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Collisions between semi trucks and standard vehicles are often deadly. The most deadly car versus truck collisions are known as underride collisions, where a portion of the car or other vehicle is forced underneath a portion of the truck and/or trailer. Both rear end collisions and collisions from the side are likely to cause a degree of an underride crash. It is unclear at this time whether the collision that killed the Oldsmobile involved any underriding of his vehicle.

As a result of the serious injuries caused by collisions like this in the past, most semis are now required to have underride guards on the rear of their trailers. Though they can differ to some degree, most underride guards consist of a horizontal steel bar that hangs below the lower edge of the rear of a trailer. The bar is designed to withstand the force generated in a collision and prevent a vehicle from sliding underneath the trailer. Keeping a vehicle from being forced beneath a trailer means that the top of the vehicle is less likely to be sheared off, reducing the number of serious injuries, including decapitation.

Though the underride guards have improved safety, a new study suggests the guards do not do enough. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (“IIHS”) recently tested several models of underride guards and recorded the results. What IIHS learned was that the force created in many rear-end collisions is too great for the guards to be as effective as intended, meaning that stronger guards should be used for increased safety.

Also important, the study found that the guards were most successful at preventing vehicles from traveling under a trailer when the vehicle hit the rear of the trailer in a head-on manner. The guards were much less successful when a vehicle struck it at an angle or from the side. This means that drivers who rear end trailers while changing lanes are not as protected in a collision as those who strike trailers directly from behind.

This new study shows why it is important for safety devices to be evaluated and reviewed on a regular basis. Drivers should be aware that the guards are not effective in every type of collision and that underride collisions still occur far too often. The best thing any driver can do is be aware of the surroundings, pay attention to traffic, and make sure you you leave plenty of distance between your vehicle and a vehicle in front of you.
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Abogado de accidente de camión en Chicago Gary Annes ha arreglado un caso para un conductor que resultó herido en una collisión de febrero, 2011. En este caso fue un camionero que resultó herido debido a las acciones de un conductor negligente.

Nuestro cliente estaba conduciendo un semi-tractor-remolque hacia el norte en la I-94 en el tercer carril de tráfico en el Condado de Kenosha, Wisconsin. El conductor de en-defecto estaba conduciendo un1997 Oldsmobile Regency en dirección norte en la I-94 en el primer carril de tráfico. Un tercer vehículo estaba conduciendo en dirección norte en el segundo carril del tráfico. En ese momento el acusado perdió el control de su vehículo y golpeó el vehículo en el segundo carril del tráfico. Este impacto causó que el vehículo girara y golpeara el camión del demandante con un impacto fuerte.

El diputado de investigacíon del Departamento de Sheriff del Condado de Kenosha determino que el conductor del Oldsmobile estaba conduciendo demasiado rápido para las condiciones y aún más falló de mantener el control de su vehículo. El diputado también encontró que el acusado no estaba asegurado. Quedó claro en los hechos indisputables que la única causa próxima del camión vs. accidente de coche fue la negligencia del conductor sin seguro.

El conductor del camion tuvo un inicio inmediato de dolor de cabeza, de espalda y hombro derecho. Poco después de la colisión él desarrolló dolor en la cadera derecha y dolor de tobillo derecho. Fue trasladado por ambulancia del lugar del incidente a la sala de emergencia del Hospital St. Catherine’s.

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Chicago truck accident lawyer Gary Annes has settled a case for a driver that was injured in a February, 2011 collision. In this case it was a trucker who was injured due to the actions of a negligent driver.

Our client was driving a semi-tractor-trailer northbound on I-94 in the third lane of traffic in Kenosha County, Wisconsin. The at-fault driver was operating a 1997 Oldsmobile Regency northbound on I-94 in the first lane of traffic. A third vehicle was driving northbound in the second lane of traffic.

At that time the defendant lost control of his vehicle and struck the vehicle in the second lane of traffic. This impact caused this vehicle to spin out and strike the plaintiff’s truck with a heavy impact.

The investigating deputy from the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department determined that the Oldsmobile driver was speeding-driving too fast for conditions and further failed to maintain control of his vehicle. The deputy also found that the defendant was uninsured.

It was clear from the undisputed facts that the sole proximate cause of the truck vs. car accident was the negligence of the uninsured driver.

The truck driver had an immediate onset of severe head, back and right shoulder pain. Shortly after the collision he developed right hip pain and right ankle pain. He was taken by ambulance from the scene of the incident to St. Catherine’s Hospital’s Emergency Department.

Upon arrival at the Emergency Department a history was taken, he was examined and diagnostic tests were performed. The truck driver complained of severe head, back and right shoulder pain, as well as pain in his right hip and right ankle and pain with turning his head. X-rays showed separation of the acromioclavicular joint with the clavicle overriding the acromion in the right shoulder. His right arm was placed in a sling, he was given pain medication and muscle relaxants, told to stay off work and instructed to seek follow up care from an orthopedic surgeon.

Over the next couple of days the client’s pain worsened, especially in his right shoulder. He followed up with a medical doctor on February 23, 2011. There he complained of severe right shoulder pain with some low back pain as well. An initial conservative course of treatment was recommended. He was instructed to keep his arm in the sling, prescribed pain medication, stay off work and to seek follow up care.

On March 3, 2011 the trucker sought follow up treatment from an orthopedic surgeon. His most significant complaint was of right shoulder pain, loss of range of motion and loss of strength. The surgeon initially diagnosed him with a right shoulder Grade I acromioclavicular strain, prescribed a course of physical therapy and kept him off work.

Despite his compliance with the course of physical therapy he had no improvement in his shoulder. Based upon updated diagnostic testing the surgeon determined that the plaintiff may have torn and stretched the ligaments of his shoulder. He prescribed new medication and a course of occupational therapy.

Again, despite the truck driver’s compliance with the prescribed therapy he had no improvement in his shoulder pain. He went to see his primary care physician. He complained of right shoulder pain and head pain since the collision. His doctor instructed him to obtain a right shoulder MRI and head CT. There was a slight abnormality with the head CT and a brain MRI was ordered.

Following the head CT our client was seen by neurological surgeon on April 18, 2011. The doctor determined that the complaints of head pain were as a result of a concussion suffered in the motor vehicle collision.

The MRI revealed impingement in the shoulder. His orthopedic surgeon performed an injection of lidocaine into the shoulder on April 21, 2011. While there was some immediate pain relief, it only lasted a few days. The surgeon sent him for another course of therapy.

The orthopedic performed a second shoulder injection on June 16, 2011. Our client received limited relief from his shoulder pain with this second injection. The physician continued the plaintiff’s medication and instructed him on a home exercise program. He diligently performed the recommended course of home exercises.

He last treated with his surgeon on September 26, 2011. He had been continuing with his home exercise program and his shoulder was improved with better range of motion. He was cleared to return to work and discharged.

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Trucking accidents are a top concern for safety officials. What’s even more of a concern is tired truck drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are roughly 100,000 police-reported accidents every year that are the direct result of a drowsy driver. These accidents result in nearly 2,000 fatalities, more than 70,000 injures and nearly $13 billion in monetary losses.

Those concerns are exacerbated when the driver is at the wheel of an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer.

Definitions of drowsy driving generally involve varying degrees of fatigue, sleepiness, and exhaustion. For the purpose of the discussion at hand, drowsy driving is simply driving in a physical state in which the driver’s alertness is appreciably lower than it would be if the driver were “well rested” and “fully awake.”Our Chicago trucking accident lawyers understand that truckers face some tough schedules on the job. These drivers are oftentimes traveling our roadways on little to no sleep. Products are in demand and truckers are responsible for delivering the goods. Unfortunately, this demand often leads to fatigued and dangerous drivers. To help to reduce these accidents and to keep truck drivers awake and on their toes, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently issued a new rule to cut down on the number of hours that truck drivers are allowed to spend behind the wheel.

“Trucking is a difficult job, and a big rig can be deadly when a driver is tired and overworked,” said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The new hours of service (HOS) rule was finalized after the Administration held a number of public listening sessions across the nation. Within these sessions, trucking companies, employers, employees, safe driving advocates and members of the public were provided with an opportunity to bring up questions, comments and concerns regarding the issue and the dangers presented by tired truckers.

The Newly-Issued HOS Rule:

-Drivers’ approved work weeks have been reduced by 12 hours, from 82 hours to 70 hours behind the wheel in a seven-day period.

-Drivers are not allowed to drive for more than 8 consecutive hours without taking a 30-minute break.

-Drivers are allowed to take a 30-minute break whenever they feel it’s needed and whenever they feel drowsy.

-Drivers may drive only 11 hours a day. Researchers will be continuing research into the risks associated with an 11-hour work day.

-Drivers must rest for at least 2 nights when their 24-hour body clock demands sleep the most (from 1 to 5 a.m.).

-Drivers may use the restart provision once in a week.

-Fines for companies who violate the new rules will be strict. Companies can face maximum fines and punishments. Trucking companies can face fines of more than $10,000 for each offense. Drivers can face nearly fines of $3,000 for each offense.

Who is most at risk for drowsy driving?:

-People who drive after not getting enough sleep.

-Younger drivers. Drivers under the age of 30 are 4 times more likely to get into a drowsy driving accident.

-People who work long hours and shift workers.

-People who have undiagnosed or untreated sleep disorders. This accounts for roughly 40 million people.

-Business Travelers.
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An Illinois truck crash on Illinois 394 has claimed the life of a 49-year-old woman, according to Fox news. The incident occurred on Friday around 6 PM during the evening rush hour.

A semi truck driver traveling north on the highway somehow lost control and drove cross the grassy center median into oncoming southbound traffic. This occurred just as the vehicle passed Glenwood Lansing Road.

After the truck entered the southbound lanes it collided with an SUV, which burst into flames, killing the driver. She has been identified as Mary Lacy. There were no passengers in the SUV. The truck came to a stop in the middle of the southbound lanes. The driver, a Valparaiso Indiana resident, was reportedly not hurt.

The Illinois State Police are handling the investigation and crash reconstruction. They’re trying to figure out what caused the trucker to lose control.

It is being reported that several sand barrels were hit by the truck. The barrels were being used to mark a construction zone. The Fox news story is speculating that the truck driver possibly drifted off the side of the road, struck a guardrail and then lost control, driving across the median and into oncoming traffic.

Once the state police investigation has been completed, they should be able to determine if speed played a role in the crash.

Police are reportedly speaking with the trucker. They will also be checking his log books to see if fatigue may have been a factor, and they will also investigate whether he was on his cell phone or texting. There was supposedly no evidence of drugs or alcohol playing a role.

It has not been reported if a Chicago personal injury law firm is involved in the case yet or if there is a civil lawsuit on file.

After the crash, both sides of the highway had to be shut down for a period of time.

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, in the year 2010 alone there were 10,343 accidents involving tractor-trailers. Of those truck accidents, 84 resulted in fatalities and 1,836 resulted in injuries.

The State of Illinois further reports that semi truck accidents made up 9.8% of all fatal crashes last year. The number of fatal tractor-trailer crashes increased by over 35% from the year 2009, with the number of fatalities going up by 50%, from 64 in 2009 to 96 in 2010.

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Governor Pat Quinn recently signed several bills to regulate trucking in the state. One of these bills increased the speed limit for tractor-trailers from 55 mph to 65 mph on four-lane divided highways that are not interstates. Previous legislation increased speed limits to 65 mph on interstate highways outside of Cook County and many other northern counties.Our Chicago trucking accident attorneys believe that this is risky move as the perceived benefits of the increased limit could be outweighed by the risk of additional accidents.

A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety concluded that there were approximately 12,545 deaths because of car and truck accidents in Chicago that were caused by rising speed limits in the U.S. between 1995 and 2005.

Congress established a national speed limit of 55 mph back in the 1970s. It was effective at getting states to participate by threatening to withhold funds from states that didn’t comply. The requirement was loosened for rural interstates in 1987 and then it was completely repealed in 1995.

A motorist that experiences an accident with a semi-truck or a tractor-trailer may have the legal right to compensation for their losses and injuries from either the driver of the truck or the business that employs the trucker. If a person is killed in one of these accidents, his or her survivors may have the right to pursue a wrongful death claim.

With the list of simplified laws for truckers and trucking companies that Gov. Quinn recently signed, the Governor aims to clarify existing Illinois truck laws, improve trucking operations and allow for uniform speed limits on secondary highways.

Senate Bill 1644 will be used to standardize gross weight regulations for trucks. There was some prior confusion after the legislation allowed standard 80,000-pound trucks onto local Illinois roads. The bill also allows a 400-pound weight exemption for trucks fitted with auxiliary power units.

House Bill 2836 clarifies truck length limits. This limit depends on the type of equipment that is being pulled by a truck.

Senate Bill 1913 will give the state a unified speed limit of 65 mph on four-lane highways outside of the Chicago area.

The Mid-West Truckers Association thanked Quinn for signing the legislation. The organization believes that the new laws will make compliance easier. The laws are the result of a year’s worth of work between the industry, Illinois State Police and the Illinois Department of Transportation.

“We want to make sure we have simple, straightforward laws that can be complied with and can be enforced in a proper way,” Quinn said. He added that the changes will help create uniform rules for trucks, as well as help reduce emissions.

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The Illinois Injury Lawyers at Abels & Annes have reached a truck accident settlement on behalf of a client who was rear-ended on the highway due to the inattentiveness of a truck driver. The woman sustained several injuries to her neck and back that required medical care.

On May 25, 2010, the woman was driving northbound on I-55 through Bolingbrook, Illinois when a commercial Freightliner semi slammed into her 2008 Honda Accord as she reduced her speed to match traffic conditions. The Illinois State Police responded to the accident and conducted an investigation which placed the truck driver at fault. The report stated the driver had failed to exercise due care by reducing his excessive speed because he was admittedly not paying attention.

Unfortunately, the victim had an immediate onset of neck pain, and was transported by ambulance from the scene of the crash to the Emergency Department at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital for examination. Upon her arrival, doctors performed a host of diagnostic tests and x-rays to determine the source of her substantial pain, and she was diagnosed with a cervical strain and cervicalgia. The doctors prescribed pain medication and instructed her to seek treatment if her pain continued. The pain did not subside, however, and she was forced to seek further medical attention for her low back pain, muscle spasms, and a radiating pain in her left shoulder caused by the pain in her neck.

She was then treated at a chiropractic office in the Chicago area where she was diagnosed with cervical and lumbar sprian/strain, myalgia, and muscle spasms. Her treatment plan consisted of conservative chiropractic spinal correction and manipulation therapy, and physical therapy. She required 16 separate session of chiropractic treatment before she was finally discharged.

A lawyer at our office negotiated a $12,000 settlement without having to file a lawsuit, saving our client the cost of litigation.

Accidents between cars and commercial trucks happen fairly frequently on highways, and the attorneys at Abels & Annes settled another case recently involving an inattentive truck driver colliding with a passenger vehicle.

On October 20, 2010, a man and his passenger were traveling in the right lane going east on I-80 when a commercial tractor-trailer merged into their lane and collided with their 1994 Pontiac Bonneville. The truck’s front bumper struck the driver’s side door of victim’s automobile, causing the car to fishtail out of control before coming to a rest on the opposite side of the highway.

The Illinois State Police Department’s investigation determined that the truck driver was at fault for the incident. They cited him for an improper lane change, as he was traveling at an excessive speed for the conditions and failed to exercise due care in ascertaining whether a lane change could be made safely. The driver admitted that he did not see the victim until after contact had been made.

Shortly after the collision, our client began to experience stiffness and radiating pain in his left leg due to back pains sustained in the crash. The increasing pain forced him to seek medical treatment at St. James Hospital where various tests were administered. The x-rays showed a significant decrease in vertebral body between C3 and C4 and he was diagnosed with a sciatica on his left side, a neck sprain/strain, and a muscle strain/sprain.

After the prescribed pain medication did not improve his condition, the victim sought treatment from a neurologist for his neck and back pain, as well as pain and a limited range of motion in his left shoulder. The doctor noticed a bruising on his left shoulder and had the impression that he had suffered a sacroiliac and lumbosacral strain.

On December 21, 2010, the victim returned to the doctor and indicated he was still having pain and limitations in his lumbar spine region. The doctor recommended that he continue physical therapy and return in a month. He was discharged by the doctor on February 1, 2011 after completing 12 sessions of physical therapy at a chiropractic office.

The Illinois Injury Lawyers at Abels & Annes negotiated a $13,500 settlement pre-litigation, once again saving our client court costs.

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Those who oppose red-light cameras argue that the only thing they’re good for is to generate revenue for struggling towns and cities, according to MSNBC. Advocates for the red-light cameras argue that these devices are used not to make a quick buck, but to increase motorist safety on roadways nationwide. With the threat of a possible ticket, drivers are likely to pass through these intersections more safely and your risks for a car accident in Chicago and elsewhere decrease.

More than 500 cities and towns in roughly half of all U.S. states currently have red-light cameras. These intersection watchers snap pictures and take video of drivers who run red lights. As contract for early adopters begin to run out, many wonder if cities are going to keep them around.Our Chicago car accident attorneys note that guidelines through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) make revenue an invalid justification for the use of the these intersection cameras. Still, our 400 red-light cameras in Chicago generated more than $64 million in 2009 alone. Safety advocates continue to insist they have made intersections in the city and its suburbs significantly safer.

Because most red-light cameras are contracted out to private companies, they get a large percentage of each fine. This is where oppositional parties argue that there is a danger of “vendor overreach” in increasing the number of citations to generate more money for the contractor. Complaints in Chicago have ranged from targeting busy intersections regardless of accident statistics (and therefore maximizing revenue) to shortening yellow lights in an attempt to increase the number of offenders.

As we recently discussed on our Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, the NHTSA reported that more than 4,500 fatal accidents were at intersections or were intersection-related. Regardless of the presence of red-light cameras, nothing can replace safe driving skills.

Chicago started red-light camera enforcement back in 2003. Our city initially started the pilot program at two intersections, Peterson and Western and 55th and Western. Those locations were chosen based on crash data, according to The City of Chicago. As of May 1, nearly 200 intersections have been equipped with red-light cameras.

There have been a number of large studies over the past 10 years that have all concluded that these red-light cameras reduce accidents and injuries. The most recent study, published in February by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, analyzed 10 years of federal traffic data 99 of the largest U.S. cities. Nearly 15 percent of them have installed red-light cameras. The Institute calculated that had all 99 cities installed the devices, more than 800 lives could have been saved from 2004 to 2008.

“We still have thousands of people who die,” said Adrian Lund, the Insurance Institute’s president. “We look at where and how that’s happening, and one of the most dangerous (locations) is intersections.”

The U.S. Conference of Mayors recently approved a resolution that would endorse nationwide adoption of red light cameras.

These red-light cameras oftentimes lead to fines and, depending on the jurisdiction, can lead to costly points on drivers’ records. A number of these consequences result from borderline infractions like neglecting to come to a complete stop at an intersection before making a right turn.

Another recent study from the Insurance Institute found that there has been a significant decline in deaths from red-light accidents in cities that have installed these cameras. A number of researchers write off the cameras as the contributor to the decline because deaths from U.S. roadway accidents of all sorts have decreased significantly during the study period.

The City of Chicago offers drivers a map of red-light camera intersections throughout the city.
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