Farm tractors are constructed first and foremost with functionality and productivity in mind. And while tractor manufacturers don’t completely ignore driver safety, they certainly don’t equip tractors with the safety features that are found in passenger vehicles – for the simple reason that tractors spend most of their time in fields and dirt roads instead of on streets and highways. Unfortunately, on the somewhat rare occasions that tractors do drive on public roadways, their operators are put in danger if a careless driver of another vehicle happens by.
Such was the case in Vermilion County this week. On Tuesday morning around 7:30am, an 18-wheeler was traveling north on Illinois Route 1 a couple miles south of Hoopeston, which is about ten miles west of the Indiana border. The tractor-trailer approached a farm tractor from behind and apparently tried to pass it. But the tractor began making a left turn onto County Road 3870 N, and the semi clipped it, sending the tractor into a concrete bridge rail. The tractor’s driver, a 53-year old woman, had to be pulled from the wreckage by passersby, and was eventually airlifted to a Chicago hospital with burn injuries. The 39-year old man driving the semi was cited by Illinois State Police for improper passing at an intersection.
It’s pretty apparent that the truck driver will be held primarily or solely responsible for the truck accident as well as the injuries to the woman. Should she choose to do so, the victim could file a personal injury lawsuit not only against the 39-year old man, but also the company he drives for (since Illinois law designates that all companies are responsible for the actions of their employees). The woman could receive reimbursement for medical expenses, estimated lost wages from missing work, and possibly even monetary damages for pain and suffering.