Last March, five Hudson, Illinois, firefighters were injured and another killed when a semi-truck driver crashed into the fire department's vehicle. One of the injured men is asking an Illinois court to allow his damage claims due to a recent criminal conviction the truck driver received.
The accident occurred on March 5, 2013, on I-39 close to Hudson. The driver reportedly lost control and crashed into the emergency vehicle, injuring four and killing one. He recently received a four-year prison sentence for reckless homicide causing the death of one man and serious injuries to the others. According to reports, the five injured men were inside the emergency vehicle at the time of the crash, while the man who died was standing nearby.
Two months after the accident, one of the firefighters filed a federal lawsuit, asking that both the truck driver and the owner of the truck, Move It Auto Transport, pay a minimum of $75,000. The firefighter's attorney recently filed a motion arguing that the truck driver's conviction may establish that the defendant, "breached his duty to exercise reasonable care by acting in willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others," when the accident occurred.
Specifically, the firefighter's lawyer was referencing the defendant's deposition in which he reportedly took responsibility for the crash, admitting he saw the emergency lights and was traveling near 50 mph. Police officer testimony regarding icy conditions and the truck driver's unsafe rate of speed also support his client's damage claims, the firefighter's attorney said.
This case provides an excellent example of the kind of truck accident that might happen when commercial drivers fail to follow basic road safety guidelines. While the driver is paying for the loss of life and the injuries by serving time, he still owes the injured firefighter recompense for his personal damages. The attorney representing the firefighter is doing the right thing by pressing to have his client's case heard.
Source: Firehouse.com, "Injured Illinois Firefighter Asks For Judgment in Lawsuit" Edith Brady-Lunny, May. 31, 2014