Understanding Wrongful Deaths in Illinois Truck Accidents

Death Accident Semi Truck Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has an entire team ready and in place to assist truck accident victims and their families across Chicago and Illinois in general. We know that these incidents can be completely life-altering, even if no one dies. When someone does pass away following a truck crash, then it is even more devastating. Also, there will be a lot more to do in that event in order to right the wrong that was done in the collision. However, our experienced group members can come in and make sure that everything is accomplished to secure your legal rights in Illinois or any other state if your loved one is taken in a truck incident. To help you understand the mechanics and opportunity of a truck accident lawsuit, review the next few sections and give us a call to learn more. We can show where and just how much you can recover.

How Fatalities Happen in Truck Accidents

Trucks and the trucking business have become such a fundamental part of our economy that we have grown accustomed and possibly even acquiescent to the crashes that they produce. They get into accidents with other trucks, cars, motorcycles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. When they do, the consequences can be severe. Peoples’ whole lives can be irreparably altered. In fact, many people die every year because of truck accidents.

How do people die in truck accidents across Illinois or any other state? The Department of Transportation has conducted a wide-ranging study in coordination with the trucking industry to get to the bottom of these accidents occur and how they leave so many people injured or killed. You might be surprised but most truck accidents that cause fatalities do not happen because of driver error. They generally come about through external forces such as distractions. Even when drives are at fault, it is normally because of an overreaction (like oversteering) or fatigue rather than some other irresponsible reason. Here are some other circumstances that produce fatalities in Illinois truck accidents:

  • Rollovers
  • Drivers falling asleep
  • Bad road conditions
  • Inclement weather
  • Cargo spill
  • Tire blowouts
  • Truck malfunction
  • Intervening vehicle
  • Stopped car
  • Lane changing

Trucks get into accidents thousands of times every year. These take many lives and cost millions of dollars. It is important to get the facts on truck crashes so that you can better prepare yourself on the road and make sure you don’t get into a similar incident.

Fatality Statistics in Illinois Truck Accidents

What are the facts on truck accidents? When someone gets injured or a family member gets killed in a tragic event like this, most people just want the facts. This helps them understand how a horror like this could have happened and get a bit of context. Here are some facts and figures that touch upon truck accidents and wrongful deaths:

  • Almost 4,000 people died in 2015 from a large truck crash.

  • Passengers in cars die almost six times more than those in large trucks when the two get into an accident.

  • Over the last forty years, truck fatalities have decreased by almost twenty percent.

  • In truck accidents, the vast number of fatalities are actually people travelling in cars. Their deaths outnumber the deaths of people in trucks involved in these incidents by a factor of four or five.

  • Tractor-trailer trucks are three times more responsible for fatalities in accidents than single-unit trucks.

  • More than half of the time that someone dies in a truck accident, more than one truck is involved in the collision.

  • Over the last forty years, the rate of fatalities for truck accidents have decreased per mile driven by almost a factor of four.

  • Most deaths from truck accidents occur on major roads, freeways, or interstates.

  • Nearly half of all deaths from truck accidents occur during 3 pm and midnight.

  • The day of the week is normally not an indicator of a potential truck accident fatality because they are pretty evenly split from Sunday to Saturday.

Hopefully, this information gives you some more insight into the problem and tragedies of Illinois truck accidents. To get a better understanding on these incidents, call our offices and speak to someone from the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers. We can show what you can do to recover (as well as how much you can recover) and achieve justice and compensation.

Claims and Defenses in Wrongful Death Lawsuits after a Truck Accident

The most common form of cause of action, often referred to as a claim, in truck accident lawsuits with fatalities is wrongful death. Basically speaking, in this type of case, the plaintiffs allege that the defendants caused someone’s death through their unreasonable or inappropriate behavior. The plaintiffs must have some type of special relationship with the decedent in order to bring this case in most states including Illinois. Generally, siblings, parents, and spouses qualify as persons entitled to bring these actions but there may be others allowed to as well. Here are the boilerplate elements to truck accident wrongful death claims:

  1. Someone died
  2. Due to the intentional or negligent conduct of the defendant and
  3. The plaintiffs (with a special relationship to the decedent) suffered economic or non-economic damages as a result.

How do most defendants respond to these allegations. There are a number of tried and true tactics they use to defeat wrongful claims in Illinois truck accident lawsuits. First, they might say the driver was an independent contractor thus the driver and not the company should be held responsible. Second, they might say it was the decedent’s fault. Third, they might say the was the result of some intervening force such as another driver or act of God (like lightning) and that they should be held blameless as a result.

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has built and protected successful claims and dismissed these same and many other defenses in truck accident litigation. We can help you build a solid legal case that preserves every ounce of recovery that you deserve under Illinois law. Call us today to learn more about what you can do if you have lost a loved one in a truck crash.

What is the Value of Truck Accident Wrongful Death Claims?

“What are wrongful death claims worth?” With truck accident disputes in Illinois, this is one of the most important questions because lawsuits take time and effort. Grieving families don’t want to go through the process if they don’t have to. It is completely understandable. Here are a few things to consider if you have lost a loved one and are trying to estimate the value of your claims:

1. Did the person suffer prior to passing away? Illinois allows plaintiffs to recover for the pain, suffering, grief, and agony before death. The defendant’s obligation for these damages does not extinguish when the person dies.

2. How much did the loss cost you? Deaths create unexpected and significant expenses including but not limited funeral bills and burial costs. Also, the loved ones miss out on all of the income that the decedent would have made had he or she not died. In Illinois track accident lawsuits, you can recover for all of these and other out-of-pocket bills the tragedy created.

3. How much did the loss affect your life? Many times, a loved one’s passing can intangible damage our lives. We lose the affection, compassion, and support that we could have expected but for their passing. If you were close to the decedent and can make a genuine argument that your quality of life was diminished because of the truck accident death in Illinois, then you can recover for these non-economic claims.

These simple questions shed light on what the value of a wrongful death claim in Illinois might be for a truck accident lawsuit. However, to get a tailored answer to your facts and circumstances, contact our office. Our attorneys are experienced and can help you estimate your potential recovery.

Illinois Truck Accident Lawsuits with Wrongful Deaths

Sadly, even horrendous injuries are not the worst outcome of some truck accidents. Too many of these crashes involve the deaths of drivers and passengers. Here are some Illinois truck accident verdicts and settlements that involve fatalities.

2014; ILLINOIS; $1,250,000 SETTLEMENT:
This case was a complicated collision. The victim, a 61-year-old woman, was driving down an interstate in Kane County when a truck clipped her from behind but the incident did not stop there. Immediately after the truck rear-ended her, her vehicle was sent over the median and slammed into by a semi-truck. She died right after this Ping-Pong collision.

Representatives of the woman’s estate sued both truck drivers for negligence and wrongful death damages. Specifically, the plaintiffs contended that the first truck driver did not maintain adequate brakes sufficient to avoid rear-ending her and that the second driver did not maintain requisite attention to avoiding hitting her head-on.

Neither defendant could conjure a decent explanation so they both sought to settle. The plaintiffs received $1,250,000- $250,000 from the first truck driver and $1,000,000 from the second truck driver.

2013; ILLINOIS; $4,640,000 SETTLEMENT:
This Illinois accident had a lot of drama and a sad ending. A middle-aged man was riding along a highway in Cook County when debris flew into his direction. The debris was actually two tires that fell off a truck driving in the opposite direction. The tires hit his car and killed him instantaneously.

The man was survived by his wife and children. They sued the truck driver not long after the accident for various damages arising out of his negligent conduct. The lawsuit alleged that the defendant did not properly maintain his vehicle’s tires, did not keep proper control of his vehicle, and did not hold sufficient records of the vehicle (a statutory requirement for trucks of that size).

At first, the defendant denied any responsibility and claimed that the incident was beyond his control, but eventually he realized that his statutory violations and the decedent’s death spelled defeat at trial. Thus, he was willing to compromise. The plaintiff’s estate received a $4,640,000 settlement.

2011; ILLINOIS; $1,000,000 SETTLEMENT:
A truck driver was proceeding along the 90/94 highway on the south side of Chicago when his vehicle suddenly stalled. The car driver behind him could not respond fast enough and crashed right into him. He died upon impact. The decedent was survived by a wife, two girls, and one boy.

Representatives of the deceased man sued the truck driver in a wrongful death action under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act. They claimed that the defendant did not sufficiently keep his truck in a proper condition, left it stalled on the highway, and did not give the decedent enough space to slow down and avoid the accident. The defendant could not measurably combat any of these allegations so he agreed to the sizeable settlement amount of $1,000,000.

2011; ILLINOIS; $1,275,000 JURY AWARD:
A truck driver was proceeding along Route 31 in McHenry County when he fell asleep and drifted into the opposite lane. At that exact moment, another car was passing him and the two ran smack into each other. The car driver died at the scene of the accident. The decedent was only 25 years old.

Apparently, the truck driver was on medication and had foolishly mixed that with alcohol earlier in the day. That combination likely impaired him and led to the accident. The victim’s estate sued the truck driver for damages and the defendant admitted responsibility prior to trial so the only issue in court was the extent of non-economic damages.

The two sides were far apart: the plaintiffs claimed their damages were approximately $5,000,000 while the defendant contended they were closer to $100,000. The jury decided that $1,275,000 was appropriate-$62,000 for past and future services and $1,212,500 for loss of society.

2005; ILLINOIS; $4,203,743 JURY AWARD:
A woman in her early seventies was driving through the Illinois countryside when she entered an uncontrolled intersection. Without signaling and without yielding to her, a truck driver also entered the crossing and ran right into her broadside. She died from injuries related to the crash almost two months later.

Her husband brought suit against the driver and the driver’s employer for damages from the crash. He claimed the driver was negligent in the operation of the vehicle and that the employer was negligent in supervising him and entrusting the vehicle to him.

The defendants denied all liability so the matter proceeded to trial. Even though the woman was relatively old, the jury still awarded her estate a hefty compensation package as you can see below:

  • Medical: $503,743
  • Pain and Suffering: $2,000,000
  • Punitive: $1,700,000
  • Total: $4,203,743

2009; ILLINOIS; $7,250,000 JURY AWARD:
This rear-end collision took the life of a 66-year-old man. He was driving his truck along a Will County interstate highway when a semi-truck hit him from behind and caused him to loose control of his vehicle. He died not long after from injuries related to the crash.

Representatives of the decedent, including his wife and two kids, sued the other driver and the other driver’s boss for damages. They claimed that the defendants’ negligence caused the victim’s death and that they suffered damages because of it including loss of support and companionship. The defendants refused this rationale and the controversy went to trial where a sympathetic jury award the plaintiffs $7,250,000.

Truck Accident Lawyers that Can Fight for You in Chicago!

Hopefully this information shows you that you have options if your loved one is taken in a truck accident tragedy. Remember, we can fight for you to make sure that you successfully achieve every option available under the law. Our lawyers work on contingency so that you don’t need to worry about anything upfront. Just contact our offices and tell us what happened so that we can tell you what you can do!

If you would like to learn about other kinds of injuries sustained in Illinois truck accidents, then please read the following pages:

Understanding Brain Injuries in Illinois Truck Accidents

Understanding Back and Neck Injuries in Illinois Truck Accidents

Understanding Bone Fractures in Illinois Truck Accidents

Understanding Paralysis Injuries in Illinois Truck Accidents

Understanding Joint Injuries in Illinois Truck Accidents

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