Two lawsuits filed in relation to fatal I-55 truck accident
Truck driver has admitted to lying about number of hours worked
Two lawsuits, including a wrongful death lawsuit, have been filed against a truck driver who caused a pileup on Interstate 55 in July that led to the deaths of five people, according to the News-Gazette. The driver is already facing criminal charges of reckless homicide and charges related to falsified and improperly maintained driver records. The truck driver, who has a history of speeding and other traffic infractions, has admitted that he was driving for longer than federal laws allow and therefore may have been suffering from fatigue.
The accident occurred in a construction zone where a number of vehicles had stopped. The truck driver, who witnesses say appeared to be speeding and did not apply his brakes, plowed into the stopped vehicles, killing five people.
The truck driver has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of reckless homicide as well as falsifying and improperly maintaining driving records, according to the Joliet Bugle. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges. The driver first told police he began his shift at 6 a.m., but later admitted he actually began it at around 2:30 a.m. Federal law restricts how many hours truck drivers can be behind the wheel in a given day.
Wrongful death lawsuit
The latest lawsuit against the driver, filed by the family of those who were killed in the accident, alleges that the truck driver was driving over the maximum amount of time permitted by law, was speeding in a construction zone, and was driving while blind in one eye. A federal exemption program allowed the truck driver to drive despite the partial blindness. Plaintiffs of an earlier lawsuit against the driver have asked their congressman to review whether to continue the exemption that allows partially blind drivers to continue driving semi-trucks.
The wrongful death suit also claims that the truck’s owners and the driver failed to properly maintain and inspect the vehicle. The suit claims that the vehicle was unsafe and failed to abide by federal safety regulations.
Truck accidents, as the above story shows, can often lead to injuries that are much more catastrophic than accidents that only involve smaller vehicles. Furthermore, truck drivers, because of demands made on them by trucking and other companies, may drive for excessively long shifts, thus leading to driver fatigue.
Anybody who has been injured in a truck accident or who has lost a loved one in such an accident should contact a personal injury attorney today. Truck accidents not only lead to immense physical and emotional suffering, but they can also leave behind a trail of expensive medical bills and lost wages. An experienced attorney can discuss with victims of such accidents what their rights are and whether compensation can be sought against any negligent parties.