A fifth individual who was involved in a tractor-trailer accident in July along Interstate 55 was declared dead on Wednesday, Aug. 6. A 64-year-old man from Urbana was pronounced dead at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood after suffering injuries in a chain-reaction incident that was triggered when a semi-truck was speeding and trying to change lanes. Illinois State Police said that the truck struck two cars and a van that were stopped in a construction zone. Four women who were involved in the accident were declared dead on the scene.
The operator of the semi-truck, a 51-year-old man, was charged with two felonies for failure to maintain records of his duty status and falsifying reporting of his driving record. The truck driver is currently being held pending $1 million bail. The prosecution in the case has said that he was on the road for more than 12 hours, exceeding the 11-hour cap that Illinois imposes.
A wrongful death claim arising from a tractor-trailer accident may require dealing with multiple at-fault parties. While initial questions are likely to focus on the operator of the semi-truck, questions about the company that permitted the driver to be on the road may also need to be explored.
The loss of a loved one in a truck accident can be devastating. Family members may be able to seek compensation for medical bills accumulated prior to an individual's passing and money to address the deprivation of the victim's companionship. Punitive damages might also be sought if the driver behaved in a negligent fashion or if the company that employed the driver had knowledge of a negligent pattern of behavior.
Source: CBS Chicago, "Fifth Person Dies After I-55 Truck Crash", August 07, 2014