A recent story in the Belleville News-Democrat caught my interest. An 18-wheeler slammed into a guardrail in East St. Louis after its driver lost control of the truck, and several cartons of liquid that the truck was carrying spilled across Interstate 55/70. I am glad that no serious injuries resulted from this accident, but I am very troubled, as a St. Louis semi truck accident lawyer, that the trucker was reportedly driving on a suspended or revoked license. Regulations on truckers and trucking companies, such as requiring them to be licensed, are not onerous and exist for the sake of public safety. As this accident shows, flouting these regulations is dangerous to everyone on the roads, including unlicensed or otherwise unsafe drivers.
According to the article, trucker Larry Weissman, 55, of California, lost control of his rig just before midnight on June 24. He was taken in an ambulance to St. Louis University Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Illinois authorities cited him for improper lane usage and driving on a suspended or revoked license. The article did not say what type of liquid Weissman was carrying, but the Environmental Protection Agency and an environmental cleanup company inspected the liquids that spilled across the interstate and determined that they were not hazardous. Even though this crash was minor compared with recent tragic accidents involving semi trailers and multiple cars, traffic on the Interstate had to be diverted and was backed up for several hours.
We don’t know from the news report why Weissman’s license was revoked or suspended, but generally, driver’s licenses are revoked or suspended because of unsafe driving behavior including speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or reckless driving. That makes me wonder, as a southern Illinois tractor trailer crash attorney, whether Weissman was also ignoring other important trucking safety laws. This could incude restrictions on the number of hours that a trucker can drive before having a rest period, or inspecting the condition of his truck before setting out on each day’s drive. If he was employed by a trucking company that knew that his driver’s license was not in good standing, that company could also be considered negligent — and it could face administrative or criminal penalties as well as a lawsuit from anyone hurt by its negligence. Putting a potentially dangerous driver in charge of a truck that weighs up to 22 times more than other vehicles on the road risks public safety.
Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt in this accident. But if an innocent victim, such as a motorist in a nearby car, had been hurt or killed, they or their family members would do well to talk to an experienced Missouri 18-wheeler accident attorney to learn about their rights. Negligent truck drivers and their employers do not have the right to ignore the law, and if they do it anyway and other people are hurt, they should be held accountable. Victims of accidents with large trucks often sustain serious injuries that are costly to treat, and the law says those costs should come out of the pockets of those who are responsible for their injuries. That’s why the law allows victims to sue negligent truck drivers and the trucking companies that employ them to recover financial compensation. Victims can claim medical costs, pain and suffering, lost quality of life, lost past and future wages, damage or loss of personal property such as a vehicle, and damage to close relationships.
If you or a loved one were hurt by a negligent semi truck driver, please contact Carey, Danis & Lowe for a free consultation about your situation. Speaking with an attorney right away after an accident can help ensure that all relevant evidence from the crash is preserved, and helps avoid letting the negligent driver’s insurance company take advantage of your distress and injuries to convince you to sign away your rights. Trucking accidents frequently cause very serious injuries or wrongful deaths, presenting substantial financial and legal issues to the victims. Our law firm has extensive experience navigating those issues and helping clients get through them to recover the best possible compensation. To learn more about how we can help or set up a free consultation, please contact us online or call toll-free at 1-877-678-3400.