A tractor trailer driver walked away from a fiery Central Illinois crash with minor injuries and citations for traffic offenses. A 53-year-old woman who was struck by the semi-truck while riding a farm tractor was not so lucky.
The accident near Hoopeston happened at a rural intersection on Illinois 1. The Rossville tractor driver was hauling an applicator tank. The woman was executing a turn when the truck driver rear-ended her. The truck shoved the tractor into a nearby concrete bridge causing a fire - sparked by liquid nitrogen from the farm tank and the truck's diesel fuel -- that engulfed both vehicles.
The 39-year-old trucker and his 24-year-old female passenger were transported to a Hoopeston hospital, treated and released. The woman who had been driving the tractor was hospitalized in Vermilion County and later transferred to a Chicago burn center. The extent of the woman's burn injuries was not reported.
Police cited the driver of the Kenworth semi-truck for improper passing. The driver also had an invalid truck registration. Authorities did not say whether further charges would be filed.
Burn injuries can be difficult, time consuming and expensive to treat. Recovery may be a lengthy, painful and agonizing process with possible burn reconstruction surgery, permanent scarring and short or long-term disability.
A person injured in a car crash may be temporarily or permanently unable to work, depriving family members of financial support. Medical expenses, pain and psychological trauma can exact a heavy toll on the victim and caregivers.
Investigators may determine that no extraordinary charges or punishment are necessary. A civil court would view the accident from a perspective of negligence and determine whether compensation is reasonable.
A jury award would ease an accident victim's hardships by providing financial support for recovery, future health care costs and wage losses. A legal victory also gives plaintiffs the satisfaction of public recognition of a defendant's negligence.
Source: news-gazette.com, "Woman in hospital after semi hits tractor on Illinois 1" Tracy Moss, Jun. 12, 2013