Articles Posted in Trucking Accidents

Jacob Lee, a teenager, was driving a Dodge Ram truck on a state roadway. After running a red light at an intersection, Lee approached a second intersection where he rear-ended a van carrying the Johnson family. Their van was stopped at a red light.

David Johnson, 35, suffered a concussion. His wife, Susannah, 34, pregnant at the time of the crash, suffered fractures to all of her ribs. Two of the Johnsons’ daughters, ages 8 and 10, suffered bilateral hip fractures and other orthopedic injuries. Tragically, their 6-year-old daughter suffered fatal injuries, and their 3-year-old son suffered a spinal injury, which resulted in quadriplegia.

The Johnson family sued Lee alleging that he had been driving 78 mph while under the influence of alcohol and the inhalant difluoroethane. Lee admitted liability. The jury signed a verdict in favor of the Johnsons for over $128.81 million. Lee was sentenced to 30 years in prison for a vehicular homicide.

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A tire company will not face a lawsuit involving the wrongful death of one of its employees who was killed in a truck crash. U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee wrote the opinion dismissing a wrongful-death lawsuit and survival claims against Pomp’s Tire Service Inc. on behalf of the Estate of Dustin Webster.

Federal District Court held that the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act bars the claims that the Estate of Webster brought against his employer. The original lawsuit by the estate was filed in LaSalle County, Ill., under Illinois law but was removed to the U.S. District Court in Chicago under diversity jurisdiction.

Webster was killed in November 2017 when the truck he was driving for Pomp’s collided with another truck in LaSalle County.

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A forklift operator, Olynthus Davis, was loading a tractor-trailer equipped with a securement system that consisted of metal tracks running the length of the trailer. Davis, 36, operated his forklift inside the trailer. The end of one of the tracks of the securement system pierced the cargo area and impaled Davis’s left leg near the knee. The impact also forced his right elbow into the steering wheel.

Davis underwent debridement and multiple wound care procedures. He required a wheelchair for several weeks and used crutches and a walker for months. Davis also underwent an ulnar nerve exploration surgery and has been diagnosed with having a neuroma, which will require surgery.

A neuroma is a painful condition sometimes called a “pinched nerve.” A neuroma has also been described as a thickening of nerve tissue that can develop in different parts of the body. More specifically, a neuroma of the ulnar nerve occurs most often because of a trauma such as what Davis experienced. The clinical presentation of a neuroma of the ulnar nerve is pain and tenderness to the touch. This would be the case of Davis’s injured elbow.

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Allison VanDerMaelen was riding on the back of a motorcycle that was approaching an intersection. A garbage truck driven by Robert Choinski for CWPM, LLC was traveling westbound while the motorcycle was eastbound.

Choinski’s garbage truck crossed the centerline and entered the eastbound lane crashing head on into the motorcycle.

VanDerMaelen suffered serious injuries including brain hemorrhaging, chest trauma, and multiple fractures. She underwent numerous surgeries and was hospitalized for almost three months. She then underwent six months of physical therapy, rehabilitation and additional leg surgeries. VanDerMaelen continues to suffer pain and restrictions in her daily living activities and uses a wheelchair or walker to move around.

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Jonathan Cunningham, a foreman for Troy Construction, was operating a pickup truck on his way to a job site. He drove through a red light and into an intersection at 36 mph striking the pickup truck driven by Jose Lara Sanchez. The crash caused Sanchez’s truck to strike a light pole, ejecting him from his vehicle.

As a result, in addition to fractures, Sanchez suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage that necessitated an emergency craniotomy. Sanchez also required an endovascular repair of a traumatic transection of his descending thoracic aorta.

After a three-week hospitalization, he was transferred to a skilled nursing facility for five months of aggressive rehabilitation. As a painter, Sanchez was unable to return to his job at which he earned approximately $28,000 per year. His medical expenses totaled $1.3 million.

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Diego Rodrigues Matos, 26, needed a truck replacement part to use for his landscaping business. He went to a truck lot owned by Rechtien International Trucks and showed an employee there a picture of the part that he needed. The employee directed him to drive around the lot in search of a truck similar to his so that he could identify the exact part that would need to be ordered.

Matos later found a truck, opened its unlocked door, and raised the truck’s bed. While Matos was lying under the vehicle’s chassis, the truck bed descended, pinning him down and crushing his neck. Matos, a father of one minor child, died from his injuries.

Matos’s fiancé, on behalf of his estate and the couple’s child, sued Rechtien International alleging liability for, among other things, choosing not to warn that the truck bed posed a dangerous condition, failed to lock the doors of the truck located on its property, and failed to accompany Matos around the property in search of the truck replacement part. The lawsuit did not claim lost income.

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Noemi Mendez, 15, was walking home from school with her older brother Elias.  As they were crossing the street in the crosswalk, the driver of a tractor-trailer truck began turning right into that intersection. The truck hit Noemi and the trailer’s rear wheels rolled over her. She died at the scene. Noemi is survived by her brother Elias, an older sister and her parents. In addition to the death of Noemi, her brother Elias, who was 18 at the time, suffered severe emotional distress due to witnessing his sister’s fatal injury.

Noemi’s family sued the truck driver and the trucking company, alleging that the driver was negligent and chose not to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. The Mendez family asserted that Noemi and Elias entered the intersection on a green light with a pedestrian “walk” signal and that they were already well into the intersection when the truck struck Noemi.

The parties had stipulated that the truck driver was in the scope and course of his employment. The parties presented a surveillance video recorded by a corner convenience store that captured some of the events at a distance. Although the video was of poor quality, the Mendez family maintained that it showed that Noemi and her brother were at the intersection at least 30 seconds before the truck arrived in the intersection.

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New construction in the U.S. is at an all-time high. According to the 2017 Rider Levett Bucknall Crane index, Chicago makes the top three, along with Seattle and Los Angeles, among cities with the most cranes in operation in the U.S. at the start of 2017.

In many of the construction sites as one travels into the Chicago Loop and surrounding area, you will see many towering cranes in operation. However, it has been noted by insurance specialists that when cranes are being moved on and off a job-site is the riskiest time because that is when most injuries or damages occur. Most of the cranes in operation in the Chicago area are mobile cranes.

Most of the insurance policies written for liability are on mobile cranes. In order to bring such a mobile crane to a construction site, particularly in Chicago’s Loop and surrounding areas, transporters use large flatbed trucks — usually those with 16 wheels or 12 wheels. To assemble the crane at the job-site, tower cranes and larger cranes have to be dismantled, trucked in and then reassembled on site.

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An Alabama Circuit Court jury signed a verdict in favor of the family of Larry Albritton who was killed in a rollover crash on Oct. 7, 2013.  Albritton was driving a log truck when it overturned. An eyewitness to this incident said the rollover occurred not at a high speed but as though it were happening in slow motion.

The load of logs apparently shifted when the truck rolled over and crashed through the truck’s cabin, killing the driver. The jury determined that the cab guard on this particular truck was defective in design, manufacture and in warnings. This was a truck product liability lawsuit.

The jury also determined that the manufacturer of the cab, Merritt Equipment Co., acted with reckless disregard for the safety of others and in the way it designed the guard, manufactured and provided warnings related to its cab guards and that the cab guard itself did not protect Albritton as it was designed to do. The defendants included Merritt Equipment Co. as well as Pitts Enterprises and Volvo Trucks North America Inc. Pitts and Volvo trucks settled prior to the entry of the verdict. The verdict was entered against Merritt Equipment Co. as the only defendant.

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The American Trucking Association is the largest trade association for the truck industry and is the lobbying arm of trucking businesses and companies. It is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry.

The American Trucking Association is pledging to seek passage of a new federal law when the Republicans control both the White House and Congress. This association has tried to block state laws that require additional rest breaks for truckers beyond what the federal rules require.

In other words, the American Truck Association is pushing hard to undo safety transportation regulations.

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