A federal court jury in Illinois awarded $2.75 million last month to the estate of a deceased truck driver who was killed after he crashed into the back of another tractor trailer. The jury found that the driver of the struck vehicle, along with his employer JBS Carriers Inc., were 55 percent responsible for the incident. The estate of Hasib Karahodzic was awarded 55 percent of the $5 million the estate sought in the lawsuit against JBS carriers and individual Defendant Orrentio Thompson. The jury also awarded an additional $625,000 to Edin Karahodzic, who suffered injuries while attempting to rescue his father after the crash, and was also a Plaintiff in the suit.
The lawsuit was filed in 2012, just months after Hasib Karahodzic was killed. He died on impact after crashing his truck into the back of Thompson’s truck. The Plaintiffs alleged that at around 2 a.m. on March 17, 2012, Thompson had pulled his truck over to the shoulder of Interstate 70 just past an exit to inspect a blinking light on the side of his trailer. After unplugging the trailer lights from the tractor and then plugging them back in, it appears that Thompson got back in his truck. He left his flashing lights on and attempted to merge back onto the interstate highway from the shoulder.
Karahodzic’s truck collided into Thompson’s truck shortly after Thompson attempted to merge back onto the highway. There is a pronounced curve in the road where the Thompson truck pulled over. It was alleged that because of Thompson’s negligent attempt to get back on the highway, Karahodzic was endangered.
It was claimed by the estate that Thompson drove his truck onto the roadway with his flashing lights on, did not look back to check for oncoming traffic, or simply ignored the oncoming traffic, and did not use the blinking signal to indicate he was moving the truck back into a traffic lane. In addition, Thompson attempted to merge onto the highway at a speed of about 15 to 18 miles per hour even though the minimum speed limit is 45 mph. The Plaintiffs contended further that Thompson failed to follow the driver training he had received.
Karahodzic’s vehicle caught fire as a result of the crash. The burning vehicle caught the attention of his son Edin, who was driving his own truck in the vicinity of the accident. The Plaintiffs claim that after pulling his truck over, Edin attempted to pull his father from the burning vehicle, but was unable to do so because of the heat from the flames. The younger Karahodzic sustained physical and psychological injuries as a result. Other family members testified that they too were emotionally scarred by the incident. The Defendants claimed that Hasib Karahodzic was fatigued at the time of the accident and that he was in violation of federal regulations for driving time and time on duty.
The Plaintiffs are represented by Frank J. Niesen III, and by D. Keith Henson of Paule Camazine & Blumenthal PC. The case is Edin Karahodzic et al. v. JBS Carriers Inc. et al. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.
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