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Illinois settlement benefits daughters of fatal accident victim

Trucking companies, like other employers, can be held accountable for the actions of the people who work for them. Companies who employ truck drivers are responsible for hiring, training and monitoring licensed drivers. Even companies that hire drivers who are independent contractors may be found negligent.

A Wenona, Illinois, firm owes $1 million to the daughters of a truck accident victim. That's the amount Breckenridge Trucking agreed to pay for a driver's involvement in a fatal accident last year that took the life of a 61-year-old Aurora woman. The siblings will receive an additional $250,000 from a car driver, minus legal costs of about $448,000.

The wrongful death case was resolved through the $1.25 million settlement. The lawsuit also had named the driver of the semi-truck that slammed into the victim's Nissan Sentra, after the vehicle was rear-ended by another car on Interstate 88. The surviving car driver was cited for failure to reduce speed following the April 2013 crash, but the truck driver was not cited.

The complaint was filed by one of the victim's two daughters. A mid-January hearing will resolve how the sisters will share the settlement.

Parties other than drivers and trucking companies may be faulted in some accident cases involving Illinois 18-wheelers. Tractor-trailer owners, which are often different than drivers or trucking companies, may be liable for injuries or deaths. Firms involved in truck maintenance, leasing, inspection, loading and repairs can be held accountable; even truck manufacturers may be placed on the list of defendants.

Fault depends upon whether defendants took reasonable actions to safeguard road users. There may be a chain reaction of misconduct. For example, a truck driver's fatigue may be traced to an employer with policies violating hours of service regulations.

Attorneys are aware of the complexities involved in proving fault in truck accidents. Lawyers identify defendants and support allegations of negligence with evidence.

Source: Daily Herald, "$1.25M settlement in I-88 crash that killed Aurora woman" Harry Hitzeman, Dec. 14, 2014

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