As a St. Louis 18-wheeler accident attorney, I was surprised and disappointed to read about a rare accident involving a large truck and a pedestrian. According to the Alton Telegraph, 80-year-old Robert Schaefer died Nov. 18 after he was hit by a semi truck while crossing the highway. Schaefer was crossing Illinois Route 3 at West Chain of Rocks Road, the road where he lived, in Granite City, around 3 p.m. The article says the truck was stopped for a red light when Schaefer began crossing, but the light changed and the truck driver pulled out. The driver said he did not see Schaefer, and a Granite City police officer said there is no crosswalk at the intersection. Schaefer was airlifted to Saint Louis University Hospital but pronounced dead the same evening. The article said the incident is still under investigation, but no criminal charges are expected.
I am very interested, as a southern Illinois tractor-trailer crash lawyer, by the statement that there will probably be no charges. This is not normally true in accidents involving pedestrians who were legally crossing at an intersection. In fact, the officer’s statement about the crosswalk is technically not true — there is no marked crosswalk at the intersection in question, but Illinois law creates unmarked crosswalks between curbs or the edges of the road at any intersection. Illinois law requires vehicles to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks in most situations. Of course, it’s possible that there were special circumstances here — for example, the truck driver would not be legally responsible if Schaefer stepped out in front of the truck suddenly.
But regardless of whether prosecutors believe there was a crime or traffic infraction, Illinois law also gives all drivers a responsibility to “exercise due care” to avoid hitting pedestrians. That’s true for all drivers, not just truckers. However, it’s especially important for truck drivers to watch for pedestrians and generally take care, because their vehicles are many, many times the size and weight of a human being. In a collision, that means they can do very serious damage — almost certainly killing pedestrians or leaving them with catastrophic and permanent injuries. Truck drivers already have special obligations to make sure their driving is safe, including strict limitations on intoxicated driving and how many hours they may drive without rest. Failure to take this basic care can lead to terrible accidents even with other vehicles — and with someone on foot, it’s no contest at all.
After a serious truck accident, victims and their loved ones should never hesitate to call Carey, Danis & Lowe for help. Crashes are a catastrophic event for ordinary people, but for trucking companies and truckers, they are an accepted part of their business. That means that while victims and their families are still shocked or grieving, trucking companies are already in touch with their insurance companies and attorneys. The job of these insurers and attorneys is to minimize how much money the trucking company and trucker must pay victims — that is, they are not on victims’ side. Our Missouri semi truck accident attorneys even the score by advocating for victims and their families to get the fullest possible compensation for their injuries. That includes compensation for medical bills and other financial costs as well as for their physical pain, emotional trauma and permanent loss of abilities or a loved one.
If you or someone in your family was hit by a large truck whose driver was not taking reasonable care, you should call us as soon as possible to make sure your rights are protected. To learn more or set up a free consultation, send us an email or call toll-free at 1-877-678-3400.