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Articles Posted in Truck accidents

The recent truck fire in Willow Springs serves as a stark reminder of the risks associated with trucking in Chicago. At Zneimer & Zneimer P.C., we concentrate in handling the aftermath of such incidents, recognizing the profound impact they can have on those involved. As details emerge about the cause of the fire, it is clear that the incident, which involved two commercial vehicles, could have had even more dire consequences. Thankfully, the driver sustained only minor injuries, a fortunate outcome given the potential for much worse.

The scene of the accident had extensive traffic disruption following the accident. As emergency services worked to clear the scene and extinguish the fire, traffic was backed up, prompting a need for alternate routes to alleviate congestion.

Such events bring to light the critical role of trucking regulation, specifically the rules governing the hours that truck drivers can be on the road. Federal regulations stipulate that truck drivers adhere to strict hours-of-service regulations to prevent fatigue-related accidents. For example, property-carrying drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. Additionally, the 14-hour window rule limits drivers to not driving beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. These regulations are designed to keep drivers alert and to ensure the safety of all road users.

Our personal injury lawyers handle many accidents caused by impaired driver.  Many impairments result from intoxicating substances recently taken or still lingering in the driver’s body.  According to Illinois Secretary of State statistics, in 2020

  • 254 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, which was approximately 21% of the 1,195 total crash fatalities
  • 20,131 DUI arrests were recorded by the Secretary of State’s office

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The rise in popularity of larger and higher vehicles has raised concerns about the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists on the road. These types of vehicles pose a unique threat to people on foot or on bikes because of their size and height, which can make it more difficult for drivers to see them and more dangerous in the event of a collision. The Chicago personal injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer have seen some devastating

One of the biggest dangers that larger and higher vehicles pose to pedestrians and bicyclists is the difficulty they can have in being seen by drivers. These vehicles are often much taller than smaller cars and trucks, which can block the view of drivers and make it harder for them to see people on foot or on bikes. Additionally, the high hoods and large bumpers of these vehicles can also make it more difficult for drivers to accurately judge the distance between their vehicle and pedestrians or bicyclists, making it more likely for an accident to occur.

Another issue with larger and higher vehicles is the impact they can have in the event of a collision. These vehicles are often much heavier than smaller cars and trucks, meaning that they can cause much more severe injuries in the event of a collision. Furthermore, the high ground clearance of these vehicles can also make it more likely for pedestrians and bicyclists to be hit in the head or torso, which are the areas most likely to result in serious injury or death.

AAA estimates that the U.S. will see about 112.7 million people travel 50 miles or more this holiday season from December 23 to January 2. This is the largest increase since the pandemic and will be the third highest number of drivers on the  road.  Here in Illinois, about 5.8 million are projected to continue to travel during the holiday season.

The Chicago personal injury attorneys have observed based on the calls we receive that many people do not slow down despite the weather conditions.  The rules of the road require all drivers to maintain reasonable speed, and often the speed limit may not be reasonable if the weather conditions are difficult.

Unfortunately, as many people geared up to travel across the country, we experienced some of the coldest temperatures we’ve had during a Christmas since 1983. Many people’s holiday travel plans were impacted by the weather. The snow, ice, frigid temperatures and wind gusts up to 45mph made traveling particularly difficult for those who attempted to get on the roads and travel. Although snow measurements were relatively low in the Chicago area, winds made visibility poor, as the winds picked up snow and carried it across the roads. The extreme weather made roads and bridges slicked and accident prone.

As winter is just getting underway, we can expect to have more days of frigid temperatures and poor weather conditions. At personal injury law firm Zneimer and Zneimer P.C. we encourage drivers to take the necessary precautions to drive safely, which may even mean not hitting the roads based on the weather conditions.

When the weather can pose a problem, the National Weather Service issues specific statements regarding the weather and advising the public on how to act. It’s important to pay attention and listen when these statements are issued to plan accordingly. To do that though we must understand what the different type of statements are and what they mean. Continue reading

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Injury Lawyer Chicago IL

Physical injury has a domino effect on our ordered lives. After an injury, first comes the pain, then the need for medical care, and later come medical bills.  Hiring a good personal injury lawyer is an important step to discover and secure evidence and to ensure that medical debt does not negatively impact creditworthiness.

The torrent of medical bills begins very soon after medical treatment for personal injury. A visit to the ER typically results in at least two bills: one from the ER and another from the ER physician.  If the ER doctor orders X-rays, the radiologists will send a third bill for reading the films. If the ER doctor needs a consultation with a specialist, the specialist will send the fourth bill for the consultation.  If an ambulance took the personal injury victim to the ER, the ambulance ride will generate a fifth bill for the day.  Further treatment for the injuries brings more and more bills, loss of wages, decrease in credit score, and loss of the peace of mind.  At some point people start feeling helpless and lost and start asking around how to find a good personal injury lawyer to help them sort out the bills, the property damage, the loss of wages.  They search for “injury lawyer near me” and rely on search engines or referral of friends or family to find the best personal injury lawyer.  We often receive referrals from former clients who send us their friends or family to help.

When the Chicago personal injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer meet with injury clients for the first time, we often receive folders or large envelopes stuffed with unpaid medical bills.  We organize the bills chronologically by date of service to determine whether we have a comprehensive picture of the medical treatment to date.  We also start investigating the facts of the accident to determine whether there are witnesses, cameras, or other facts that can help to identify all responsible parties. We research the applicable law, and the responsible parties’ insurance to determine whether there is insurance coverage for the personal injury accident.  Sometimes, insurance companies may have exclusions and finding insurance coverage may become a challenge. Continue reading

Working as a truck driver is difficult and dangerous job.  The Bureau of Labor Statistic’s National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries reveals that between 2015 and 2016 all fatal work injuries in the United States jumped by 7%.  Reviewing the Census, the Chicago truck accident attorneys at Zneimer & Zneimer noted that driving a truck is a dangerous jobs, with increasing numbers of fatal injuries.  In 2016, for example, in transportation and material moving occupations fatalities increased by 7 percent from the year before.  The 2016 count is highest since 2007 and accounts for more than one-quarter of all work-related fatalities in the United States.  There were 24.7 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers in 2016.  The industry employs approximately 3 million drivers, the most jobs in this very dangerous field.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s research a number of factors contribute  to  fatal  highway  crashes  of truckdrivers, including:  the type of truck, whether it was maintained, the time of day, and the weather conditions.  According to the DOL, two-thirds of truck driver fatalities involved a driver behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer truck.  Incidents involved brake failure, road, and weather conditions.

Important factor contributing to truck driver fatalities is driver fatigue.  Data shows that approximately one-third of the fatalities occurred between 12 a.m. and 8 a.m. when the body naturally wants to rest, and almost half occurred during standard work hours, between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  On average approximately 200 truckdrivers were fatally struck by vehicles while out of their trucks; half of these occurred during hours of twilight or darkness, 4 p.m. to  8  a.m., but  almost  half  were  fatally  struck  during  the day.

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A company’s thirst for profits with little regard for the employee’s welfare has always been problematic. Scores of extremely fatigued employees work daily for companies that only care for their bottom lines. This poses a danger not only to the employees’ well-being but to the general populace, as well. Trucking companies, for one, are notorious for dispatching drivers to work unreasonable hours without enough sleep. The result: hundreds of impaired drivers on the streets and senseless deaths.

Personal injury attorney, Peter Zneimer finds it alarming that despite federal safety regulations in place to prohibit trucking companies from pushing drivers to work without adequate sleep, a significant number of accidents still occur because of this foul practice.  USA Today conducted an investigation on several trucking companies and the investigation unearthed dreadful data proving just how much trucking companies take advantage of their employees for their own gains. Their research showed that 470 trucks serving the ports in the Los Angeles and Long Beach areas operated nonstop without the requisite and federally-mandated full 10-hour break. The harmful effects of sleep deprivation go beyond bleary-eyed days and irritability—it costs lives. One such incident that occurred in August 2013 cost the life of a teenager and injured seven people.

A Mr. Jose Juan Rodriguez who used to work for Morgan Southern for five years would be on the road for 16-hour shifts, with a bucket of ice by his seat to splash on his face whenever he felt himself slipping away behind the wheel. Extreme cases of sleep deprivation cause cognitive impairments, affecting the memory, performance and alertness. It is crippling when you have to commute to work but to be the operator of a vehicle working 15 hours straight is reckless. The reality is most of these truck drivers are under pressure to meet deadlines and/or to pay their debts to their own employers under their lease-to-own programs. Many of them are trapped and are forced to work unforgiving shifts.  The lawyers of Zneimer and Zneimer, P.C. applaud the fact that Electronic log devices are now required to be installed in commercial trucks to prevent violations of federal rules but it is uncertain how many trucking companies have complied since the enforcement in December 2017.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Chicago Mayor Emanuel’s plan to make city trucks safer has been advanced in the Chicago City Council.  Chicago lawyer, Peter Zneimer observes that many fatal bike accidents that have occurred in the last few years in Chicago have involved trucks.  Visibility for bicyclist riding in traffic is always a major problem even for people driving automobiles.  The visibility of bicyclists is a much greater problem for truckers.  Almost all of the bicyclist accident cases handled by the attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer involve a motorist not seeing the bicyclist  prior to the crash either due to distraction, lack of attention or the bicyclist was in a blind spot.  Guarded bike lanes are the best solution but they are cost prohibitive to construct everywhere.

The Mayor’s proposes to require city trucks to install side guards, which cover the area between the front and rear wheels of a truck to make it harder for pedestrians or bicyclists to be caught under the wheels of the truck after a crash.  The ordinance would also require trucks to have additional convex mirrors.  The law would also mandate additional training for city employee truck drivers and contractors to improve safety awareness.

The one downside of the proposed law is that the ordinance would give the city almost ten years to make the changes on city trucks.  Contractors who do business with the city would get four years to make the safety changes on their trucks.

The Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. take note of two lawsuits filed in connection with last month’s truck crash that took the lives of three pedestrians—30-year-old Elizabeth Peralta-Luna, and her two children, 4-year-old Dylan Peralta and 9-year-old Elizabeth Peralta—as they were attempting to cross a busy intersection on Chicago’s South Side.

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The Chicago Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. take note of some justice handed down by the court in the state’s case against a trucker charged with several felonies in connection with a January 2014 crash that killed an Illinois Tollway worker, and severely injured a State Trooper. We must emphasize the word ‘some,’ in terms of justice though, given the quite disturbing circumstances surrounding this horrific wreck, and the inexcusable actions of the truck driver.

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