Matthew Wissmach Killed In Winnebago Township Semi-Truck Accident By U.S. Route 20 and Winnebago Road
Wrongful Death - October 12, 2021
Matthew Wissmach of Mount Morris Killed In Winnebago Township Tractor-Trailer Truck Accident By The Intersection of U.S. Route 20 and Winnebago Road
WINNEBAGO COUNTY, ILLINOIS (October 12, 2021) – A 31-year-old man from Mount Morris identified as Matthew Wissmach has tragically died in a semi-truck accident near the intersection of U.S. Route 20 and Winnebago Road.
Winnebago County police officials are saying that the accident took place on Monday afternoon. A semi-truck failed to stop at a traffic light and crashed into a northbound vehicle driven by Matthew Wissmach.
Firefighters and emergency responders were called to the scene of the collision to help the driver of the car. Life-saving measures were taken to help Matthew Wissmach, but those efforts were not successful.
He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police closed the intersection for seven hours as they continued their investigation. It remains unclear if the semi-truck driver will be cited for the crash.
Liability In Winnebago Township Semi-Truck Accidents
Nearly 4,000 people are killed every year in truck accidents. Unfortunately, fatal collisions have been on the rise in recent years. According to the IIHS, “The number of people who died in large truck crashes was 31 percent higher in 2019 than in 2009, when it was the lowest it has been since the collection of fatal crash data began in 1975.” There are a number of factors that could potentially influence the likelihood of a truck collision.
- Brake problems
- Traffic flow interruptions
- Inclement weather
- Over-the-counter drug use
- Driver fatigue
Fatigue, in particular, is one of the most common contributing factors for truck accidents. FMCSA guidelines require truck drivers to work no more than 70 hours in an 8 day period. They must also not drive more than 11 hours per day within a 14 hour driving window. Driving while fatigued is dangerous and studies confirm this. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that staying awake for only 18 hours reduces driving ability equivalent to driving with a BAC of 0.05%.
Commercial truck drivers must get a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and are held to a high standard in terms of safety. Traffic violations could jeopardize a truck driver’s ability to maintain their CDL. They could also expose the truck driver to liability in the event of an accident. According to Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-306), drivers must stop when faced with a steady red circular signal at a clearly marked stop line. Drivers that cause accidents by going past red lights could be held liable through a civil action.
The company that employed a truck driver could also be liable for an accident. Under Illinois law corporations are vicariously liable for the negligent actions of their employees – insofar as those employees were working within the course of their job duties. Many truck companies will try to evade liability for accidents by hiring truck drivers as “independent contractors.” It is therefore important to determine the status of a truck driver at the time of an accident.
Depending on the specific facts of any case, there could be additional sources of liability for a truck accident. Trucks must be well maintained so that they can function properly. When a truck is not well-maintained, this could lead to a catastrophic failure of the brakes, steering or other essential components. Maintenance for a truck should be properly documented and performed by a trained professional. There are number of steps that should be taken after any truck accident.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- Surveillance footage should be examined.
- A truck driver’s work records should be sought. Truck driver’s have set limits on how many hours they can work per week.
- A truck’s event data recorder (EDR) should be examined. The EDR on a commercial truck can offer a great deal of insight into what a truck driver was doing prior to a collision.
The family of any victim that died in a semi-truck accident may have recourse through a wrongful death claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover some of the unexpected expenses that often come with the sudden loss of a loved one. Potential beneficiaries in a civil claim will typically include a victim’s next of kin including their spouse, children or parents. An Illinois truck accident attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating A Winnebago Township Semi-Truck Accident
We at Horwitz Horwitz & Associates extend our deepest condolences to the family of Matthew Wissmach. Any person that may have information about what happened should reach out to police. This was a preventable tragedy that should have never taken place. There needs to be some accountability for the sake of all who have lost so much.
This accident also raises a number of safety concerns. Was this truck driver properly licensed? Were they distracted prior to the crash? Was the truck involved properly maintained and in working condition? The vast majority of truck accidents can be prevented when truck drivers follow FMCSA guidelines and traffic regulations. But far too often profit incentives push companies and drivers to make decisions which compromise safety.