A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in connection with a tractor-trailer accident that occurred last month that resulted in the death of six people. The truck accident occurred when a tractor-trailer struck the back of a sports utility vehicle in which the six people were traveling. The six victims were killed after becoming trapped inside their vehicle after it caught on fire. A married couple, the couple’s daughter, the couple’s family friend and four children the couple were currently fostering were in the car when the car was hit by the truck, however two of the foster children were able to crawl out from the vehicle in time and survived the crash.
The lawsuit alleges wrongful death and names the trucking company as well as the driver of the tractor-trailer as Defendants in the lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs are alleging that the driver had been driving over the number of straight hours in a row allowed by law, which likely led him to be too tired to be operating a vehicle at the time of the trucking accident. In addition to driving excess hours, the complaint is alleging that the driver kept multiple books tracking the hours he was driving so he could keep the actual amount of hours he was driving a secret from the regulation agencies. According to the Courier-Journal, the plaintiffs are seeking both compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages aim to compensate the plaintiffs for costs that were incurred as a result of the accident and punitive damages are a type of monetary damage that aims to “punish” the person responsible for what has happened and to help deter that type of behavior from happening again.
Since the accident occurred, the United States Department of Transportation has ordered the trucking company to stop all operations because based on the information available, they believe that the company is a threat to the public, including allowing their drivers to alter their driving logs and not properly preserving the driver’s records. The driver of the truck has also been suspended by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration because of his violation of the maximum hours of continuous driving rules.
These are serious violations and it is disturbing that not just a single driver ignored these truck driving safety rules, but that an entire trucking company ignored rules that were enacted to protect both drivers and the driving public. The rules were carefully planned and thought out and the maximum about of hours that truck drivers can drive at a given time was chosen in order to make sure that truck drivers are not overly tired when on the road. Our Chicago attorneys remind all drivers to always follow all driving and safety laws because they are there for the safety of drivers and for the safety of others. If you or a loved one was injured as a result of another driver’s disregard of driver safety laws, please contact our offices today to talk to an attorney about what legal options may be available to your family.