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Contaminated Lettuce Leads to Widespread E. Coli Outbreak

Web Admin - Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Rolling Meadows product liability attorney food poisoningWhen you purchase food at a grocery store or restaurant, you expect it to be safe to eat. Unfortunately, cases occur all too often in which foods containing pathogens are provided to consumers, resulting in serious diseases and even death. A currently-ongoing case involving romaine lettuce illustrates the dangers of contaminated foods, and people injured by food poisoning should be sure to understand their options for recovering compensation under product liability laws.

E. Coli Contamination

An outbreak of food poisoning from romaine lettuce contaminated with E. Coli began in March of 2018. In the ensuing weeks, 149 cases have been reported across 29 states (including Illinois), with 64 people being hospitalized and one person dying so far. These cases were linked to lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona region, and the strain of E. Coli in this case is especially virulent, resulting in a high rate of complications.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has advised consumers to avoid eating any romaine lettuce, including whole heads or hearts, bagged lettuce, organic romaine lettuce, and salads containing mixed greens, unless they can confirm that the lettuce was not grown in the Yuma region. While some restaurants and grocery stores have announced that the lettuce they are selling or serving is not from the Yuma region, consumers may prefer to avoid romaine lettuce altogether. People should also be aware that rinsing or washing lettuce is not an effective way to remove E. Coli.

The strain of E. Coli in this case is known as a Shiga-toxin producing E. Coli (STEC). After consuming STEC, symptoms will typically occur within three to four days, and they may include severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting. This strain has been shown to result in hemolytic uremic syndrome, a life-threatening form of kidney failure.

Contact a Palatine Personal Injury Attorney

Food poisoning from contaminated foods can lead to severe, life-threatening illnesses that can have long-lasting effects on a person’s health and well-being. If you have contracted E. Coli or another disease after eating food bought from a restaurant or grocery store, you may be able to recover financial damages from the party or parties who were responsible. At Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, our Des Plaines product liability lawyers can help you understand your rights and options, and we will advocate for you to receive the compensation you deserve for the damages you have suffered. Contact us at 847-934-6000 to arrange a personalized consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.



Sources:
https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2018/o157h7-04-18/index.html
https://www.consumerreports.org/e-coli/romaine-lettuce-e-coli-cases-climb-what-you-need-to-know/
https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/09/health/romaine-e-coli-outbreak-spreads/index.html

Common Causes of Dangerous Truck Accidents

Web Admin - Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Schaumburg truck accident attorneyDriving is such a commonplace activity that many people do not consider the risks inherent in operating a vehicle. While modern automobiles have a wide variety of safety features, they can only do so much to protect drivers and passengers in a collision, especially when large vehicles such as semi-trailer trucks are involved.

Due to their massive size and weight, accidents involving tractor-trailer trucks can be especially deadly. Every year, there are an average of almost 4,000 deaths and 100,000 injuries in truck accidents in the United States. Many of these accidents are preventable, and people who have been injured in these types of collisions should be aware of the reasons these accidents can occur and understand their options for receiving compensation for their injuries.

Factors Leading to Truck Crashes

Drivers of commercial vehicles such as semi-trailer trucks must obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), and they must follow certain rules and procedures when operating their vehicles. Trucking companies must also meet certain requirements, including keeping equipment maintained and following proper safety procedures. When drivers or their employers fail to follow the correct procedures or act in violation of the law, they put other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and anyone using the road in danger. 

Some of the most common reasons that truck accidents occur include:

  • - Driver fatigue - When truck drivers are on the road for over eight hours, their likelihood of becoming involved in an accident doubles. Unfortunately, many of these drivers regularly drive for longer than is safe, often due to encouragement or even requirements from their employers, and their fatigue can lead to deadly accidents.
  • - Equipment problems - Tractor-trailer trucks have a large amount of equipment that must be properly maintained, and failure to perform regular maintenance can lead to tire blowouts, engine failure, brake failure, detached trailers, or steering problems, all of which can cause accidents. Failure to properly secure loads can lead to shifting cargo that can cause a driver to lose control of their truck, and objects which fall from trucks can cause serious injuries to other drivers.
  • - Driver error - Truck drivers who drive at excessive speeds, follow too closely behind other vehicles, make improper or unsafe lane changes, fail to slow down or stop in time, run their vehicle off the road, or fail to properly account for road conditions or weather risk the safety of everyone around them.
  • - Distracted driving - Attempting to make a phone call or texting while driving is dangerous for any driver, but especially so for truck drivers. These drivers are often prone to distraction from a variety of sources, including radios or equipment used to log the time and distance they have driven.
  • - Intoxicated driving - The legal limit for blood alcohol content for commercial drivers is .04%, as opposed to .08% for other drivers. Truck drivers must take extra care to avoid impairment from alcohol, prescription medications, or other drugs. Unfortunately, these drivers often use stimulants or illicit drugs to combat fatigue, and impairment from these drugs can cause deadly collisions.

Contact a Palatine Truck Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in a truck accident, the attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you pursue compensation for the damages you have suffered, including the costs of medical care, lost income from missed work, and pain and suffering. Contact a Schaumburg personal injury lawyer by calling 847-934-6000 to schedule a personalized consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.



Sources:
https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-analysis-brief
https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts-2015
http://www.trucking.org/ATA%20Docs/News%20and%20Information/Reports%20Trends%20and%20Statistics/02%2012%2013%20--%20FINAL%202013%20Car-Truck%20Fault%20Paper.pdf
https://www.truckdrivingjobs.com/faq/truck-driving-accidents.html

Strict Product Liability Claims

Web Admin - Monday, September 21, 2015

When an individual is injured by a product, recovery of damages may be possible through a products liability claim. Under this type of claim, manufacturers, sellers, or other suppliers of products are held liable to consumers who are harmed by those products. And in some cases, product liability claims may fall under the theory of strict liability.

Defective Products

In order to recover under a products liability claim, the plaintiff must show that the product was dangerous or defective. Generally, the law requires that products meet the ordinary expectations of consumers. When a product defect exists, those expectations are not met. A defective product is one that, at the time of its sale or distribution, contains a manufacturing defect, is defective in its design, or that has a marketing defect.

A manufacturing defect occurs when a product is not made according to its intended design. A design defect occurs when the foreseeable risks of harm posed by the product could have been reduced or eliminated by the adoption of a reasonable alternative design. A product contains a marketing defect when it has inadequate instructions or warnings and the foreseeable risk of harm could be reduced by the inclusion of reasonable instructions or warnings. Additionally, the omission of such instructions or warnings must cause the product to be unreasonably dangerous.

Strict Liability

Pursuant to Illinois law, product liability claims are any action based on strict liability brought against the seller, manufacturer, or distributor of a product that causes personal injury. Under this type of claim, a defendant pays for harm caused by a product even though the defendant did not act intentionally or negligently. In other words, the defendant’s actions or behavior is not relevant to the determination of liability. Rather, for a strict liability claim, the plaintiff must show the following:

  1. 1. The injury resulted from a condition or defect of the product manufactured or sold by the defendant;
  2. 2. The condition or defect of the product was unreasonably dangerous; and
  3. 3. The condition or defect existed at the time that the product left the control of the manufacturer.

Product liability claims are commonly brought against the manufacturer of a product, but they may also be brought against:

  • - Manufacturers of component parts that go into a product;
  • - Parties that assemble or install a product;
  • - Wholesalers;
  • - Retail stores that sell a defective product to a consumer; or
  • - Under Illinois law, anyone involved in the placement of a product into the stream of commerce.

Under the statute of limitations, product liability claims must be brought within two years of the date on which the plaintiff knew, or should have known through the use of reasonable diligence, of the personal injury.

Product liability claims can provide compensation for victims, while also holding those involved in the production and sale of defective products accountable. For more information about product liability claims, contact a dedicated Illinois personal injury attorney today. Our firm provides representation throughout the northwest suburbs, in the communities of Crystal Lake, Schaumburg, Palatine, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove, Barrington, Arlington Heights, Inverness, and Deer Park.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/073500050K13-213.htm

Pain and Suffering in Personal Injury Cases

Web Admin - Tuesday, April 14, 2015

pain and suffering, Rolling Meadows personal injury attorneyWhile advances in technology have greatly improved vehicle safety, severe injuries still occur in automobile accidents. When an individual’s injuries are the result of the fault of another person, it is possible for that individual to file a personal injury lawsuit. A difficult, but important, part of a personal injury damage award to determine is an individual’s pain and suffering.

What is Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering is a form of non-economic damage, which means, unlike a person’s medical bills, for example, it is not readily quantifiable. Pain and suffering may be requested as part of a personal injury claim, in addition to other claims, such as medical expenses. Critically, an individual has two years from the time of the accident to file a lawsuit, which is known as the statute of limitations. There are two forms of pain and suffering: physical and mental. Physical pain and suffering involves a person’s actual physical injuries, like pain or discomfort.

Mental pain and suffering involves the negative emotions that are connected with physical pain or the trauma associated with the accident and the injuries that result. These emotions may include, but are not limited to, mental anguish, emotional distress, fear, anger, humiliation, or anxiety. If the mental pain and suffering is severe enough, it may result in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Calculating Pain and Suffering

Because pain and suffering is subjective, it can be difficult to value. Different individuals will respond differently to injuries and trauma they experience. As a result of the subjective nature of valuing pain and suffering, it is common that the judge will not have specific guidelines to give to the jury. In Snover v. McGraw, the Supreme Court of Illinois held that, “an award for pain and suffering is not as readily calculable…and jurors must draw on their real-life experiences in making an award.” As a result, it is critical to present as much evidence as possible to best convey to the jury the pain and suffering endured.

One way to determine the value of pain and suffering is to multiply the total medical bills and lost earnings (known as actual or special damages) by some factor, usually between 1.5 and four. For example, if an individual’s actual damages are $50,000 and the multiplier is two, the pain and suffering award would be $100,000. The multiplier is usually determined after considering various factors, such as the severity and long-term health consequences of injuries sustained.

There are some other factors that can affect a plaintiff’s pain and suffering award, including:

  • - Whether the plaintiff is credible and likeable;
  • - Whether the plaintiff’s testimony relating to his or her injuries remains consistent; and
  • - Whether the opinion of the plaintiff’s physician supports the plaintiff’s claims of pain and suffering.

An accident can be a frightening ordeal, even if no injuries result. If you have been involved in an accident caused by another person that resulted in harm to you, contact an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney today. Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC provides representation to individuals located in the northwest suburbs, including Rolling Meadows, Palatine, and Barrington.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

Thanksgiving Day Massacre: If Turkeys Had Legal Rights

Web Admin - Friday, November 21, 2014
turkey Thanksgiving criminal charges, Schaumburg personal injury lawyer

Thanksgiving is just around the corner now, so it seems like a good time to engage in an educational hypothetical: “what if turkeys had legal rights?” Suppose Chris Carver is just about to start preparing Tom Turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, when Governor Rauner, taking his cue from the annual presidential turkey pardon, decrees that all turkeys are protected and have the same rights as people. The police break down Chris's door, taking him away in handcuffs and saving Tom. This leads to two questions: “what, undoubtedly delicious, crimes could Chris be charged with?” and “what civil claims could Tom bring against him?"

Criminal Charges

There are a variety of crimes that Chris may be guilty of. The two major ones are kidnapping and attempted murder. Kidnapping is defined under Illinois law as “secretly confining someone against their will.” Chris was clearly confining Tom. Assuming it was done secretly, Chris may actually be guilty of aggravated kidnapping, a more serious version of the crime, because he had a carving knife, which would be a deadly weapon for purposes of the law. Aggravated kidnapping is a Class X felony in Illinois, which carries a sentence of between six and 30 years in prison.

However, Chris was doing more than just confining the turkey; he was preparing to cook him, which would be first-degree murder in Illinois. The different degrees of murder in Illinois are based on what the offender was attempting to do. Chris's qualifies for first-degree, the most serious, because he was intentionally trying to kill Tom. The fact that Chris did not succeed in killing Tom Turkey does not matter because he took a “substantial step” towards the murder when he kidnapped Tom. This means that the state could still charge him with attempted first-degree murder, also a Class X felony.

Civil Claims

While the criminal charges would take care of punishing Chris for his crimes, they do not provide Tom with any restitution for his ordeal. Fortunately, Tom can also sue Chris in civil court for several different claims. For instance, Tom can sue Chris for false imprisonment, the civil version of kidnapping, because he held Tom against his will. Tom could also sue Chris for assaulting him, since Chris intentionally acted in a way that put Tom in fear of an immediate harmful contact. Assuming Tom succeeds on these claims he can recover a variety of damages including payment of any medical bills, any wages he lost from his job during his confinement and recover, and compensation for the emotional pain and suffering of almost becoming Thanksgiving dinner.

If you believe you have been a victim of harms like Tom's, or you want to learn more about your criminal rights if you have been charged, contact the Schaumburg personal injury and criminal attorneys at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC today. We assist clients in Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove, Barrington, and throughout the Chicago suburbs. Call 847-934-6000 for a free consultation.

About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

Boating Safety Laws in Illinois

Web Admin - Tuesday, July 22, 2014

illinois boating accident lawyerOne of the most common summer activities around Illinois is boating. It is a great way for people to get out and enjoy the water and the good weather. However, boating is also a dangerous activity if people do not do it with the proper care. 

Consequently, Illinois has a variety of boating safety laws in place to help ensure that everyone can safely take advantage of the summer weather while it lasts. These laws were recently updated following the death of a 10-year-old boy in an alleged drunk boating accident. The new laws include further restrictions and increased penalties on operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol, special signaling requirements for safety and visibility, and boating licenses for younger operators.

Boating and Alcohol

One of the most common causes of boating fatalities is the improper use of alcohol while boating. Just like driving a car, operating a boat while intoxicated increases the risk of death or serious injury while on the water. In fact, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, despite alcohol being involved in approximately one in six boating accidents overall, it has been a factor in one-third of the boating deaths this year.

Boaters should keep in mind that the legal limit for operating a boat or personal watercraft is the same as it is for driving a car: 0.08 percent blood alcohol content. The penalties for such violations can be severe, including thousands of dollars in fines and up to 14 years in prison if the impaired boat operation results in a person's death. Additionally, if a person is convicted of three DUIs, then the state may take their boat from them as part of the penalty. Boating DUIs can also affect a person's ability legally to drive their car since courts may punish intoxicated boaters by suspending their driver's licenses.

Signaling and License Requirements

The updated laws also have new requirements as far as signaling and licensing requirements are concerned. Now, any boat that is pulling someone behind it in a tube or on water skis must display a bright orange flag from the highest point on the boat. The flag must be at least a one-foot square, and it must stay out the entire time that the boat pulls the person. The law also added a new license requirement for boat operators between the ages of 12 and 17. Starting in 2016, minor operators must complete a boating safety course before they can operate a motorboat.  

If you have recently been involved in a boating accident caused by the negligence of others, contact an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney today. Our skilled team of lawyers represents clients in many northwest suburban towns like Rolling Meadows, Barrington, and Crystal Lake.

About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

Bicycle Dooring Accidents in Illinois

Web Admin - Wednesday, July 09, 2014

bicycle dooring accidents in IllinoisWith the summer weather in full effect, more and more bikes have begun to appear on Illinois streets. o the colloquial term for a driver opening a door into the path of a bicyclist. This can result in either the door hitting the cyclist and injuring them, or the cyclist being forced into traffic to avoid the door, which can also result in serious injuries.

These types of accidents used to be a legal gray area, with both bicyclists and motorists sometimes being found at fault for the collision. However, a recent change to Illinois law now plants the fault squarely on motorists, giving them the responsibility to watch for passing bicyclists.

A Change to Illinois’ Vehicle Code

Illinois’ vehicle code contains a law forbidding any two-wheeled vehicle from passing another vehicle on the right without eight feet of unobstructed pavement. It was not clear that this portion of the code applied to bicycles since they do not technically fall under the vehicle code’s definition of a vehicle. However, they are required to obey all of the same rules as vehicles. Consequently, some bicyclists who were being doored were also being found at fault for the accident since they were passing too close to the car whose door they hit.

However, at the start of 2014 a new version of the law went into effect. This version clarifies that vehicles that operate under human power are not subject to that portion of the law. With that change, it is now clear that motorists are the party with the responsibility to watch out for bicyclists before opening the door.

The Law Against Dooring

This responsibility comes from another portion of the vehicle code. This section (625 ILCS 5/11-1407) forbids drivers from opening the door of their vehicle “on the side available to moving traffic,” when it is not reasonably safe to do so. Some municipalities will fine a motorist for carelessly opening their door into traffic, but that is not the only legal implication. An injured cyclist may also sue a driver for negligently opening their door into traffic. If the motorist failed to use due care when opening the car door, then the cyclist may be able to recover for their injuries. Such recovery may include medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by the motorist’s carelessness.

If you have recently been involved in a bicycle dooring accident, contact an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney today. Our skilled team of lawyers represents clients across the northwest suburban area, including in towns like Arlington Heights, Deer Park, and Inverness.

About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

Liability for Accidents on the Golf Course

Web Admin - Tuesday, June 03, 2014

illinois golf accident lawyerWith the warm weather finally here, many people have already begun making their way back to the golf courses. Yet, the sport is not without its legal liabilities. Errant golf ball strikes are a common hazard that can result in damage to nearby property, harm to other players, and even death in some more serious circumstances. Additionally, many golf games involve the players drinking during the game or at the clubhouse afterwards. While the players themselves should always monitor their own intake and drink responsibly, the golf course may also be responsible for damage caused by their drinking if it sells them the alcohol.

Errant Golf Balls

The question of liability for errant golf balls hinges on whether the person or property that was damaged was actually on the course or simply nearby.  One of the most common types of accidents on the course occurs when one player injures another. The occasional poorly aimed shot can go awry and hit another player on another hole or standing off the course. Ordinarily, landowners, like the golf course, do not have a duty to protect people on their land from obvious dangers, like errant shots on a golf course, but such a duty does arise when the owner can reasonably anticipate the danger. Consequently, if there is an area, such as a clubhouse deck, where missed shots land with some frequency, the course may be liable to the injured player.

Importantly, this protection does not necessarily extend to people who have purchased homes near the golf course. Errant shots do occasionally hit those homes or the people in them, and when that happens courts have found it to be the homeowner’s responsibility. One example of this happened in 2005 when a missed drive struck a woman sitting in her garden. The court refused to award damages based on the legal doctrine of “assumption of risk,” which means that homeowners who buy houses near a course are aware that shots may occasionally land on their property and they accept that risk when they buy the house.

Alcohol on the Course

That golf courses tend to sell alcohol also implicates something known as “dram shop laws.” These are laws that make alcohol distributors liable for the damage caused by drunken patrons in certain circumstances. These laws allow people who have suffered injury or property damage because of a drunken person to sue the business that furnished the liquor, provided that the business sold enough alcohol to be responsible for the person’s drunkenness and that the drunkenness was the cause of the damage.

If you were recently injured on a golf course, contact a skilled Illinois personal injury attorney today. Our firm counsels clients in towns around the northwest suburbs, including in Crystal Lake, Buffalo Grove, and Deer Park.

About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

Truck Accidents in Illinois: Understanding the Types of Collisions

Web Admin - Tuesday, May 06, 2014

illinois truck accident lawyerAccidents involving commercial trucks are a special type of traffic accident that differ from normal car wrecks in both practical and legal matters. From a practical standpoint, accidents that include a commercial truck can be especially dangerous. Even though truck accidents only account for three percent of all accidents in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Transportation reports that they make up nine percent of all accidents involving a fatality. Furthermore, nationwide statistics reveal the 83 percent of people killed in truck collisions are either pedestrians or occupants of other vehicles. Given the abnormally severe consequences of truck accidents, it can be important to understand the general law surrounding them, as well as the specific concerns that arise in truck accidents as opposed to other types of crashes.

The Law of Truck Accidents

Truck collisions are governed by the same law that governs most traffic accidents. This means that the lawsuit will most likely proceed under a theory of negligence. In order for the victim to succeed in showing that the defendant acted negligently, they will need to prove four things:

  • - That the defendant had the responsibility to use “reasonable care” to prevent harm from coming to the plaintiff (motorists almost always have this responsibility towards each other);
  • - That the defendant acted carelessly;
  • - That the defendant’s careless act caused the accident; and
  • - That the plaintiff suffered harm in the accident.

While these four things, often called the elements of negligence, arise in most traffic accident lawsuits, the fact that a commercial truck was involved creates unique considerations, especially because the truck driver may be an employee of a company.

Distinct Considerations for Trucks

Commercial trucking accidents differ from normal automobile crashes in a variety of ways. One of the most common changes is the fact that commercial truck drivers are often employees of a company. This means that the person whom the truck driver injured may be able to hold the corporation responsible for the acts of its employee. This could happen through two different methods.

First, the plaintiff could try to show that the trucking company was in some way negligent. Examples of negligent behavior on the part of companies might include improper maintenance of the trucks, insufficient training of the employees, or a failure to properly supervise employees. This last issue of improper supervision can be important since there are particular regulations related to the trucking industry that govern things like the amount of time that a driver may spend on the road consecutively. Failing to abide by these regulations could increase the chance of a serious accident.

Even if a corporation is not negligent in its own actions, the court may still hold it responsible for its driver’s actions under a doctrine known as “vicarious liability.” This doctrine states that employers may be held liable for their employees’ actions in situations where an employee is acting on behalf of the employer.

If you have recently been the victim of a truck collision, reach out to a skilled Illinois personal injury attorney today. Our experienced team helps clients in towns all over the northwest suburban area, including in Palatine, Arlington Heights, and Des Plaines.

About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


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