Mary Gates killed in Effingham big-rig wreck

On Saturday, September 1, 74-year old Mary Gates was killed in a traffic accident involving an 18-wheeler near mile marker 167 in Effingham, Illinois.

The accident began at approximately 1 am when the van Ms. Gates was travelling in, along with several other unidentified passengers, was struck from behind by a semi-truck driven by an unnamed party. According to investigators, Ms. Gates’ van was travelling in the right lane at a reduced speed because one of the van’s four tires had recently been replaced with a temporary spare, commonly referred to as a “doughnut.”

Apparently unable to gauge the speed at which the van was travelling, the big-rig struck the van forcing both vehicles from the road. According to investigators, two minor children were injured and had to be transported to an area hospital for further observation and treatment.

The unnamed party operating the big-rig was cited for failure to reduce speed and released.

Investigators are still determining if low visibility and other factors may have played a role in the incident.

All parties appear to have been wearing their safety belts at the time of the accident.

The Legal Claims

Missouri and Illinois offer a widespread system of personal injury laws meant to protect parties who are injured through another party’s negligent acts.

The party seeking relief will be entitled to compensation in the form of payment for any lost wages, pain and suffering, any damaged property, and any medical bills incurred as a result of the accident that are not a result of his or her own negligence.

Missouri law states that you have five (5) years to file your personal injury lawsuit, unlike Illinois law which allows only a two (2) year period, though you never want to wait that long to file a claim. Some cases require a good deal of discovery and preparation, so the sooner you contact an attorney to file the case, the better your odds of recovering everything you are owed will be.

Does it Matter That It Was a Big-Rig Wreck?

One of the most common questions we field when interviewing potential clients is; why does it matter if the vehicle that struck me was a big-rig or other large commercial vehicle? Large commercial vehicles often have different kinds of rules and regulations which govern their operation, and they always have a different type of insurance than that used by normal, non-commercial, drivers. All of these issues make big-rig wrecks unique, though just as easily handled by an experienced litigator such as those at the Roach firm.

Do I need an attorney?

Some accident victims are reluctant to hire an attorney because they think they cannot afford one. However, most personal injury attorneys, including Kevin Roach, are only paid if you receive a settlement or a verdict in your favor.

You do not pay anything up front.

Also, remember that the statistics show that people who hire a personal injury attorney usually end up receiving far more accident compensation than if they handled the case on their own – on average, 3.5 times more. The bottom line is – you will most likely receive more for your injuries by hiring an experienced and proven auto accident personal injury attorney.

Wrongful Death Claims

The Law offices of Kevin J. Roach is a serious injury and wrongful death firm that handles wrongful death cases throughout the state of Missouri.

As a Missouri wrongful death law firm we understand that a family member who has lost a loved one will be experiencing many emotions.  When you contact our firm we will guide you through every step of the legal process and fight for the legal rights of your loved ones.

Our law firm understands that no amount of monetary compensation will bring back your loved one, but we also strongly believe that people must be held accountable for their actions.  Additionally, the money recovered from a Illinois wrongful death lawsuit can assist with any outstanding medical expenses, funeral costs, as well as income replacement if the deceased was the primary income earner.

There are also statutes of limitations within each state that determine how much time you have to file the wrongful death claim. In Missouri, a wrongful death claim can be filed anytime up to three years after the death of the family member.

We at the law offices of Kevin J. Roach again extend our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of the parties involved.


If you still have questions about your car, truck, or motorcycle accident, please do not hesitate to contact Kevin Roach today for a free consultation, (866) 519-0085.