Last March, an Illinois state trooper lost his life when the driver of a semi-truck collided with the trooper’s parked car. Now, the trooper’s widow will receive a sizeable award from a wrongful death lawsuit filed after the law enforcement officer’s death.
While there is no way to put a pleasant spin on the death of a member of our nation’s police force, the case illustrates that often under the guidance of a strong personal injury attorney, it is possible to hold the guilty party accountable and receive at least some form of compensation.
The fatal car crash occurred as the trooper was parked on the shoulder of Interstate 294. At that time, the truck driver, who was operating a 2005 Freightliner with a load weighing over 26,000 pounds, fell asleep behind the wheel and crashed into the back of the trooper’s car. The lawsuit indicates the officer became engulfed in flames, causing him to die of thermal injuries received in the fire.
According to the lawsuit, the semi driver had already worked for 12 hours that day loading the semi, then he took the wheel and drove for approximately two hours and 15 minutes until the fatal truck accident occurred. Federal rules forbid drivers who have already been working 14 hours or more drive before resting for at least 10 hours.
Last Wednesday, the widow received an award of $10.9 million in a settlement with the driver and the two companies he was working for on the day of the accident. The truck driver as well as one of the companies had already received a fine in the past for violating the rules that govern the amount of time a truck driver must rest before driving.
Source: Chicago Sun-Times, “Widow gets $10.9 mil. settlement after state trooper’s death” Maudlyne Ihejirika, May. 14, 2014
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Settlement reached in wrongful death of Illinois state trooper