The Alton Telegraph reported recently that a semi truck rear-ended a school bus full of special needs children from the Alton School District recently in East Alton, Ill. The children were taken to a hospital as a precautionary measure. I am glad that no one appears to have been seriously hurt in this accident. As a southern Illinois tractor trailer crash lawyer, I know how easily the outcome could have been much worse. This accident underscores how important it is for tractor-trailer drivers to carefully watch traffic ahead of them, as they are legally and ethically required to do.
The truck driver, Russell Farmer, 58, of Jerseyville, rear-ended the First Student bus just before 9 a.m. The bus had stopped at the railroad crossing near the intersection of Illinois Route 3 and St. Louis Avenue, as it was legally required to do. Luckily, none of the six students on board were injured, but a teacher’s aide complained of back pain after the crash. She and the students were taken to Alton Memorial Hospital for evaluation, after being transferred to another bus with a paramedic on board. The back window of their original bus was cracked by the big rig’s impact, and bus company officials felt that students should be moved to a new bus to prevent their breathing any exhaust fumes. Farmer was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash.
As a St. Louis semi truck accident attorney, I would like to point out how lucky everyone involved in this crash was. Over the last year, I’ve written about other big rig rear-endings that have resulted in serious injuries and deaths, caused by the tractor-trailer’s enormous weight and force. Loaded semi trucks are heavier than a school bus carrying six children, and semi trucks can weigh up to 22 times more than a typical car. That’s why 98% of fatalities in car-truck collisions are the deaths of people in the cars. That’s also why there are federal and state laws regulating trucks and truck drivers. Tractor-trailers have tremendous potential to harm others on the roads, and their drivers need to follow the rules carefully to make sure that others stay safe. Failing to pay attention to traffic conditions, and thus failing to stop in time to avoid hitting stopped vehicles, is very likely to be interpreted in court as negligent driving.
Innocent people harmed by a truck driver’s negligence can require the truck driver, and possibly the truck driver’s employer, to pay for the harm that the negligence caused. For example, the teacher’s aide who was suffering back pain immediately after the crash could suffer long-term chronic pain, even with medical treatment. Truckers’ insurance companies know that crash-related injuries can do this, even getting worse as time goes on, so some try to get victims to sign away their rights to sue, in exchange for far less compensation than they may be entitled to. That practice could leave a victim with chronic pain on the hook for expensive medical treatments for years after she receives a pittance from the insurance company. If the victim doesn’t have good health insurance, he or she could end up suffering, without the financial resources to get the treatment necessary to lead a full and pain-free life.
Issues like this are why it’s important for anyone involved in a crash with a semi truck to speak with a Missouri eighteen wheeler accident lawyer at Carey, Danis & Lowe right away. Insurance companies have trained professionals on hand to look after their interests, and they can be on the scene within hours — when victims and their families are still in shock. Hiring an attorney simply evens the playing field and protects the rights of people who were hurt because of the truck driver’s negligence. Our experienced attorneys help clients claim money for medical costs, lost income, pain, suffering and more, so that they can take care of themselves and get on with their lives after the disruption of a serious semi truck crash.
If you have been hurt in a tractor trailer accident through no fault of your own, please call Carey, Danis & Lowe for a free consultation, toll-free, at 1-877-678-3400 or contact us through our Web site.