Careless and distracted drivers are a threat to everyone on the road. Truck accidents often cause more destruction than other auto vehicle accidents and leave victims with serious injuries, death, and financial loss. You could seek damages by filing a lawsuit if the trucking company or truck driver was negligent in causing the accident.
If you or your family member gets hurt during a truck accident, you may get compensation for your injuries, pain, and suffering. An experienced Chicago truck accident lawyer can help you recover medical bills and lost wages. Strong personal injury lawyers have the necessary resources and trial experience to build a winning strategy.
Causes of Truck Accidents
A recent National Safety Council report states that deaths due to traffic crashes are rising in Illinois. Truck accidents are sometimes fatal. Accidents involving commercial vehicles and semi-trucks can cause the worst imaginable fatalities and injuries. Factors that contribute to a truck accident include:
One of the common factors in truck accidents is driver fatigue. Truck drivers often work for long hours on end. Drowsiness can compromise a driver’s judgment and make them unable to comprehend speed, depth, and distance well.
Distracted driving is common among drivers. It is dangerous, irresponsible, and illegal. Sometimes, driving could become tedious, leading to inattentiveness. When something distracts a driver for a few seconds, accidents can occur. Distracted driving is often due to truck drivers looking at their cell phones. Safety experts attribute the increase in crashes in Illinois to distracted driving.
Drugs and Alcohol
Alcohol and drug use among truck drivers is a significant concern. Impairment or intoxication from drugs and alcohol is the leading cause of road collisions. Prescription medicines can also contribute to accidents.
Everyone understands that driving too fast can contribute to road accidents, yet, most truck drivers take road safety for granted. Commercial drivers often exceed posted speed limits. Poor driving habits, such as speeding, can cause truck accidents. The Chicago Department of Transportation reported a 14 percent hike in speeding incidents on city roadways.
Lack of Proper Training
A truck driver needs experience and proper training to operate a commercial vehicle. Inexperienced or untrained truck drivers are likely to make mistakes and endanger others on the road.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Commercial trucks, such as delivery trucks and tractor-trailers, can cause significant damage to passenger cars. Broken equipment could cause truck accidents resulting in serious injuries. Truck owners and operators must maintain their vehicles for the safety of everyone.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Most car accidents are minor such as sideswipe collisions, rear-end accidents, and fender benders, resulting in minor injuries. But everything can take a dramatic turn if you’re involved in a truck accident. Truck accidents are more likely to result in fatal or serious injuries than car accidents.
How severe a truck accident is depends on:
- Speed of the truck and car
- Weight of the truck
- Safety features of the car
A recent report by the Illinois Department of Transportation shows 12,267 truck accidents making up 3.8 percent of all crashes. Of these figures, 106 truck accidents ended in fatalities, while 2,075 involved injuries.
Common injuries in a truck accident include:
- Head trauma
- Brain injury
- Back and neck injury
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Smoke inhalation
If you’re injured in a truck accident, it’s crucial to care for your health first. After that, you should work with an experienced Chicago truck accident lawyer to protect your right to compensation.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
An accident may likely leave the victim severely injured, leading to financial loss. Victims can file a lawsuit to recover compensation for those damages. Before doing so, the following are the things to do immediately after a truck accident:
Contact the Police
The police report is the official report of the accident, and it must come in detail. The detailed police report may go a long way to help your attorney get justice for you through compensation for damages.
Take Pictures of the Scene and The Injury
Attorneys are glad when clients follow this step. Take pictures of anything that might help the case, such as property damage, the truck, license plate number, and your injuries. Taking photos is crucial as wounds may heal before the lawsuit begins.
Get a Witness Contact
Getting witness contact may help you come out victorious through negotiations or court cases. It will also be easy for your lawyer to contact the witness.
Get Medical Attention
Getting medical attention fast is vital. The sooner you visit your doctor, the sooner you get well, fit, and ready to claim compensation.
Speak With an Attorney
Consult a personal injury lawyer if you need legal advice after getting involved in a truck accident. If a lawsuit is necessary, the lawyer will guide you in starting the process.
How to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
Truck accidents involve sizable commercial vehicles such as 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, and more. Many highway drivers are afraid of getting involved in a truck accident, as a truck collision can destroy cars causing severe injury or death.
After an accident, victims face several damages, such as loss of wages, huge medical bills, funeral expenses, and more. Truck accident victims have the legal right to seek compensation, and the driver and the company are liable for compensation. We encourage you to consult an experienced personal injury attorney to claim damages. A truck accident lawsuit will help compensate you for losses and damages. Below are the steps involved in a truck accident lawsuit.
Hire an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer
Choosing an attorney is the first and crucial step when pursuing a truck accident case.
A truck accident is one of the most dangerous road accidents. The injuries victims sustain from it are likely to be more severe than minor auto-car accidents. To claim damages, you need an attorney who is well-experienced in truck accident cases.
- Determine liabilities for your injury
- Gather evidence to support your case
- determine your claim’s actual value
- Negotiate with an insurance company
- Fight on your behalf at trial
You will likely recover your damages when working with an experienced lawyer well-equipped with federal and state laws and experience handling insurance companies.
Communicate Only With Your Lawyer
Once you have chosen an attorney, limit communication with others and focus on giving your lawyer all necessary information. Lawyers handle truck accidents differently than passenger-style vehicle accidents. Your truck accident lawyer will guide you on protecting your right to compensation.
Investigate and Gather Evidence
Though gathering evidence to support your accident claim can sometimes be difficult, your claim requires it. Evidence is vital to making a factual claim against the at-fault driver, allowing you to achieve maximum compensation.
Besides the evidence you might have gathered from the scene, your attorney will immediately begin to gather more supporting evidence. An experienced lawyer will know what evidence will best support your case.
Below are the things your attorney might likely do:
- Review all police reports
- Meet with insurance adjusters
- Use the services of an accident scene investigator
- Locate more eyewitnesses
- Investigate the history of the driver and company
- Review all medical records and visits
- Use a drone to capture video and data
In most cases, witness memory may start to fade, and reconstruction may become difficult due to the crash scene changing. It is imperative that you start gathering evidence as soon as possible.
Moving forward with your demand and settlement is crucial after collecting and reviewing all evidence. At this point, your attorney will send a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance provider. This begins the negotiation process or resolves the claim out-of-court if the at-fault party meets the demand.
Engage in Negotiation for a Fair Settlement
Negotiation for settlement is the most common conclusion to a lawsuit on personal injury. It is an out-of-court agreement between the injured party and the at-fault party insurance provider. During this settlement, the at-fault party insurer may offer to pay a certain sum of money as compensation to the injured party for them to agree not to sue.
In most cases, insurance companies do not play fair. They may make offers that do not cover your present and future damages, deny responsibilities, or fight your claims. A well-qualified attorney will know the actual value of your claim, thereby advising you to reject insufficient offers. Your lawyer will also negotiate to ensure a fair settlement for your losses.
Mediation is not considered a trial but an alternative dispute resolution method. It only comes into play when both parties cannot meet a settlement agreement. During mediation, you, your lawyer, and a neutral third party will meet with the at-fault driver’s insurance company’s representatives. The mediator is not there to make decisions regarding your truck accident settlement but to guide the discussion. In mediation, each party presents its argument until an agreement is reached or the parties decide to litigate.
File a Truck Accident Lawsuit
Most cases settle before making it to court, but if negotiation fails, your lawyer will file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Your lawyer may advise you to take the matter to court earlier, depending on the information gathered during the investigation. For the parties liable for your claim, your attorney will advise who should be named in the lawsuit: the truck driver, truck manufacturer, trucking company, or the party responsible for maintaining the truck.
Use the Discovery Process
A formal investigation (discovery process) is necessary once the lawsuit begins. At this stage, you will have the chance to gather evidence by providing records, answering questions, and deposing (questioning) parties on both sides. The discovery process can be advantageous by providing more information to bolster your claims. The information can expose the other party’s fault, allowing you to justify more compensation.
Keep Negotiating for Fair Compensation
You may not make it to court even if you file a truck accident lawsuit. Most personal injury claims for truck accidents still settle before trial. With that, an experienced truck accident lawyer will keep pushing to negotiate for a fair settlement until fully convinced that the other party is unwilling to comply.
Go to Trial
You can proceed with a trial if the insurance company fails to give you fair compensation after negotiation. By this time, you must have gathered all possible and available evidence for the case. The court will set a trial date, and the judge or jury will determine the outcome of your claim.
Contact Our Truck Accident Lawyers Today
Hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer to pursue your case is crucial after a truck accident. Truck collisions often cause more significant injuries since they have a much greater force of impact than passenger vehicles. Your lawyer will work with you to design individualized strategies and uncover pertinent evidence to resolve your case quickly but fairly.
You can seek compensation for medical expenses to cover your present and future medical care, current lost wages, and loss of future earning capacity. In most cases, you can also receive compensation for pain and emotional distress caused by an accident.
An experienced truck accident lawyer can help protect your rights if you are involved in a truck accident. Contact a reputable truck accident attorney and get the attentiveness, resources, experience, and expertise you need to obtain the compensation you deserve.