Trucking Collisions

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ryan, Ryan & Landa Settles Seven Figure Trucking Case

Attorney Philip Ryan recently finalized settlement of a $2.575 million dollar trucking collision case.  The lawsuit, which was filed in Cook County, IL, sought recovery for a young woman who sustained catastrophic injuries when a semi-truck jack-knifed across traffic in a snow storm and the vehicle in which she was a passenger was caused to crash into it.

Attorney Ryan was able to successfully prove that the professional truck driver deviated from industry safety standards in negligently operating his vehicle at a speed too fast for conditions, and in negligently pulling his vehicle across traffic as opposed to steering it onto the roadway shoulder.

Attorney Ryan was also able to substantiate his client's catastrophic injuries by drawing upon the expert medical opinion testimony of her treating physicians.  This was vital in illustrating the client's profound injuries and achieving a full recovery for her.

This settlement constitutes the latest trucking collision recovery for Philip Ryan, who also recently recovered $4.5 million dollars for the estate of a father of four who was killed by a truck that ran off the road in Boone County, IL.  




Monday, March 16, 2015

Tractor Trailer Accidents in Illinois

Can Truck Accident Victims Sue for Negligence When Truck Drivers Fail to Follow Safety Mandates?

When a car, pick up or SUV driver hits the road, ensuring that he or she is well rested before getting behind the wheel is common sense. When a semi truck driver hits the road, being well rested is the law.

Yet, each year, thousands of commercial truck drivers who are involved in truck accidents are charged with failing to obtain adequate sleep prior to operating their rigs. In some cases, drivers even face charges of falsifying drivers’ logs and destroying receipt evidence to hide their lack of compliance with safety regulations. In rare instances, drivers will even admit to regular “cheating” with regard to laws governing rest-to-drive ratios. Such was the case in a recent, fatal truck collision occurring on I-88 near Aurora.

On the evening of January 27, 2014, Hanover Park resident and commercial truck driver Renato Valaquez had just completed a delivery job that paid almost $1,300. Allegedly already fatigued and having failed to meet federal rest-to-road time limits, Valaquez decided to make additional money by picking up an on-the-spot job to deliver 42,000 pounds of steel. As he approached a parked squad car and disabled semitrailer surrounded by flares on I-88, prosecutors attest that Valaquez’s truck struck the vehicles from behind at 63 miles per hour, killing a toll operator and severely injuring a police officer. Valaquez also allegedly:

  • Admitted to exceeding rest-to-road mandates “all the time”;
  • Rested for only 3.5 hours during the 37.5-hour time period preceding the fatal accident; and
  • Falsified his driving record to cover up his infractions.

In addition to being charged with operating a commercial motor vehicle while fatigued or impaired and making a false report of his record and duty status, Valaquez faces charges of failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident and failing to yield to stationary emergency vehicles.

If you or someone you love was injured in a truck accident in Chicago, Waukegan, McHenry or any other city in Illinois, it is essential that a full investigation be conducted to determine whether negligence on the part of the driver or transportation company contributed to the incident. For experienced assistance following an Illinois truck accident, contact Ryan, Ryan & Landa. Call (847)416-1989.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Truck Accident Caught on Camera Results In Wrongful Death Suit

Automobile accidents are a leading cause of death in the United States.  The presence of commercial trucks on the road makes driving even more dangerous.  Due to the size and weight of these vehicles an accident with a truck can have devastating results.  

Many parties can contribute to a trucking accident and many cases revolve around misconduct by the truck driver.  Truck drivers work long hours, usually by themselves, which can cause them to fall subject to fatigue and boredom.  These two factors often cause drivers to engage in negligent and reckless conduct while behind the wheel.  Now, many drivers are monitored using cameras installed in the cabs of their trucks.  A recent Illinois case is centered on footage recorded by one of these cameras.  

Jeanette Pivot, 64, was killed in an accident with a tractor trailer.  She was traveling down I-80 at night when she realized there was a car accident ahead due to the flashing lights of a police vehicle.  She stopped at the accident and was then hit in the rear by a tractor trailer traveling in the same direction who failed to stop in time.  A camera installed in the driver’s truck shows him with heavy eyelids and nodding off.  It also shows that he does not react to the scene until 1 second before colliding with Pivot.  

The driver has been charged with reckless homicide and accused of falling asleep at the wheel.  His attorneys claim that he did not fall asleep but was blinded by the scene ahead.  Pivot’s daughter has also filed a wrongful death suit against the driver and his employer, Black Horse Carriers, seeking damages for the death of her mother.  It is unclear how the video will be perceived in this case.

For now, the debate about the use of cameras in trucks and busses is ongoing.  While these devices can show what happened before and after a crash, it is unclear if they actually prevent accidents from occurring.  

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a trucking accident, you need an experienced attorney.  Contact the Chicago, McHenry and Waukegan, Illinois attorneys at Ryan, Ryan & Landa today by calling (847)416-1989.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Judge Rules Negligent Driver's Statements Admissible

A DuPage County judge ruled that statements made by a negligent truck driver to police following a collision wherein he killed an Illinois Tollway employee and badly injured a state trooper were admissible in court.  Renato Velasquez had asked the Court to bar statements he made to police following a January 27, 2014 trucking accident caused when he struck a broken down vehicle on I-88 near Aurora.   A link to the Chicago Tribune story concerning this development is below: 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

An Illinois Truck Accident Claims a Fifth Victim

In July, a truck accident on I-55 instantly claimed the lives of four people ages 11 to 54. Earlier this month, a local news service published a story reporting that a fifth accident victim had died. The high fatality rate of the accident is consistent with national statistics, which reveal that more than 5,000 people die in truck accidents in the U.S. each year. 

The ratio of the number of trucks to truck accident fatalities is significantly higher than the ratio of the number of cars to car accident fatalities, and this is true for several reasons.  Substance abuse issues are common among long-haul truck drivers, who often need to drive hundreds of miles and stay awake for many hours each day.  Also, trucking companies sometimes fail to provide the necessary vehicle maintenance needed to keep eighteen-wheelers safe. Eighteen-wheelers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and are highly dangerous when improperly maintained.  In addition, truck drivers sometimes choose to, or are pressured to, drive more than the legally mandated number of hours allowed without a rest break.  Trucking companies sometimes fail to effectively screen hired drivers, resulting in unqualified drivers, drivers without necessary licenses and drivers with criminal records and/or DUIs/DWIs.  Another reason is that semi truck cargoes are sometimes improperly loaded, resulting in shifted cargoes that can cause trucks to go out of control.

The July accident on I-55 appears to be consistent with national data. Truck driver Francisco Espinal Quiroz was charged with a felony for falsifying his driving records and charged with a felony for failing to maintain record of duty status, as well as cited for failure to reduce his speed in order to prevent an accident.  Additionally, prosecutors state that Quiroz had been on the road twelve hours at the time of the accident. Illinois law allows truck drivers to drive only eleven hours without rest.

When drivers and transport companies break laws and injuries result, injury victims and their families should work with experienced truck accident attorneys to prove negligence and recover needed and deserved compensation. The Chicago and Waukegan, Illinois, law firm of Ryan Ryan & Landa has handled numerous truck accident cases, including a case involving a fatigued truck driver that settled for $4.5 million. For qualified truck accident legal help in Illinois, contact our firm at (847)416-1989.

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Ryan Ryan & Landa represents clients in matters involving catastrophic injuries, wrongful death, medical malpractice, personal injury, insurance litigation, worker’s compensation, construction accidents, and motor vehicle accidents in the Chicagoland area and throughout Illinois.

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