$5 Million Settlement For Family Of Truck Driver Killed At Chicago Loading Facility
January 19, 2016, seemed like a typical day as Tracy parked his flatbed trailer in the loading zone of an industrial facility on the south side of Chicago and began preparing his flatbed to be loaded with large spools of wire.
As Tracy was in the process of removing equipment from a storage unit on the rear passenger side of his trailer, a semi tractor-trailer left a nearby loading bay, made a left-hand turn around the back of Tracy’s flatbed, and exited the facility along the passenger side of Tracy’s flatbed.
Approximately 15 minutes later, Tracy’s lifeless body was found next to his flatbed. There were no witnesses to the incident, and the driver of the truck denied striking Tracy. The investigating police department did not issue any citations to the truck driver.
Meyers & Flowers partners Craig Brown and Michael Lenert were contacted by Tracy’s wife and five adult children. The family wanted to know if anything could be done to address their father’s senseless death.
“When we initially evaluated this case shortly after Tracy was killed, we knew we had some evidentiary hurdles to clear because there were no witnesses to the occurrence and Tracy failed to wear a safety vest and take other precautionary measures for his own safety,” said Craig Brown. “Fortunately, Tracy's family hired us not long after Tracy was killed, so we were able to conduct a complete investigation before crucial evidence was tampered with or lost.”
After thoroughly investigating the incident, the firm filed a wrongful death action against the driver of the truck and the industrial facility. Mr. Brown and Mr. Lenert alleged that the loading facility was negligent because it failed to control truck traffic in the loading area where Tracy was parked. They also alleged that the truck driver was negligent because he should have passed Tracy's trailer on the driver’s side, not the passenger side, and because he ran Tracy over by driving within approximately 12-24 inches of the side of Tracy's flatbed.
The Defendants denied Tracy was killed by the truck and also claimed he was responsible for his own death because he was wearing dark clothing without a safety vest in a dimly lit high-traffic area and failed to keep a proper lookout for passing trucks.
The attorneys rejected the defendants initial $1.5 million settlement offer during an early settlement conference and began preparing for trial. They worked closely with an accident reconstruction expert, a trucking expert, a forensic pathologist, and a loading dock expert as they developed testimony that supported each of the allegations. The result: the defendants agreed to pay a $5 million settlement to Tracy's family shortly before the trial was scheduled to begin in Cook County, Illinois.
“From the outset, this case presented many unique evidentiary and liability challenges,” said Mike Lenert. “After completing more than 35 depositions and engaging in extensive motion practice on various pleading and discovery issues, we were ultimately able to secure a fair and just settlement for a wonderful family who lost an incredible husband and father.”
For three years, Mr. Lenert and Mr. Brown worked closely with Tracy’s family to be sure they understood how they were structuring the case and each step they were taking on the family’s behalf.
“There was a lot of appreciation for the fact that Craig and Mike could balance my family’s many voices,” said Jordan, Tracy’s son. “And, the fact that Craig gave me his cellphone number just gave me a sense of security and sincerity, with which he operates. I tried not to use it to much, but it meant so much to me that he was willing to give us that number and to be available to us when we needed him.”
With this settlement, the family has some closure and are finding ways to move forward with their lives while honoring their father. “The efforts of Meyers & Flowers have helped us out in a tremendous way,” said Jordan.
At Meyers & Flowers, compassion and vigorous advocacy are the cornerstones of our representation of families who have been forced to deal with unnecessary tragedy. Contact us if we can be of help, we can be reached online or at 877-221-2511 to request a case evaluation.