Marion, IL — October 10, 2017, Wayne Maxwell was killed as the result of an accident where his vehicle was rear-ended by an 18-wheeler.
Illinois State Police reported that the fatal incident happened Tuesday morning near the intersection of I-57 and Highway 148.
Preliminary reports indicate that 57-year-old Maxwell slowed to a near stop on the northbound interstate due to construction. As he did so, a tractor-trailer reportedly failed to slow down in time and crashed into the back of the line of traffic.
Maxwell’s vehicle was the first hit, and he was killed in the collision. It’s unclear if anyone else sustained injury.
Police issued a citation to the truck driver for failure to reduce speed. No additional details are currently available.
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It’s almost unfathomable that nearly every week for the last 27 years, I read about at least one fatal accident caused by a tractor-trailer rear-ending traffic. Most people will read these accidents–especially seeing one where a truck driver is cited–and think the victims and their families will have no problem getting justice for their injuries. In reality, trucking companies will always fight to avoid liability after an accident, no matter how clearly the facts seem stacked against them.
But how exactly can a trucking company avoid liability when reports seem to put them at fault? The most common strategy they use is shifting blame to anything and anyone besides their driver. They could say that the driver in front of them hit their brakes too suddenly; they could say the construction crew routed traffic improperly; they often claim the truck experienced sudden, unpredictable brake failure. Whatever they can think of to minimize their own fault.
Most people probably think these sound like flimsy excuses which couldn’t possibly be effective. If the trucking company is up against an experienced attorney, they likely won’t; but trucking companies are counting on catching victims and their families off-guard. Quite frankly, most personal injury lawyers will see only one, maybe two big commercial vehicle accidents over their whole careers. An inexperienced attorney might see a fact pattern like this and think the case is open-and-shut. Weeks, maybe months go by, and all the sudden they realize they don’t have the right evidence to counter these trucking companies’ blame-shifting strategies. By the time that happens, the case has already been irreparably damaged.
Now I don’t want all of this to sound alarmist or like holding trucking companies accountable after an accident is impossible. Like I said, trucking companies are counting on going up against someone who isn’t prepared to deal with them. Victims and families who seek out an experienced professional as soon as possible can help ensure they have the necessary evidence to prevent trucking companies from tipping the scales in their favor. Getting justice after a serious truck accident is well within reach, but it takes the right tools and the right allies.
–Grossman Law Offices