Peoria is a major point on I-74, which runs from Iowa through Ohio and serves as a truck route for deliveries throughout the Midwest. Commercial trucks commonly known as semi-trucks or tractor-trailers commonly travel through the area. Unfortunately, where there are trucks, there are also truck accidents.
Truck accidents create complex legal claims due to the high likelihood of serious, catastrophic, or even fatal injuries and because truckers owe a higher duty of care to other roadway users.
If a Peoria truck accident injured you, an experienced lawyer from Zayed Law Offices can explain the claims process to seek compensation for your injury and the type of assistance we can provide you to navigate this process. We are pleased with the results we have garnered for our clients, resulting in millions for families injured on the road.
- Zayed Law Offices: Vital Help for Peoria Truck Accident Victims
- How a Peoria Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help With Your Claim
- Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Peoria
- Peoria Truck Accident Injuries and the Damage They Cause
- Seeking Compensation for Injuries Incurred in a Peoria Truck Accident
- Frequently Asked Questions About Peoria Truck Accident Claims
- A Peoria Truck Accident Lawyer to Help With Your Claim
- Peoria Personal Injury Lawyer
Zayed Law Offices: Vital Help for Peoria Truck Accident Victims
When you sustain severe injuries in a truck accident, you need a truck accident attorney who will relentlessly pursue justice for the injuries you endured due to another party's negligent actions. Zayed Law Offices has helped many truck accident victims pursue much-needed compensation for their injuries.
Our past claim results cannot guarantee your claim results, even under similar circumstances. However, when you work with Zayed Law Offices, you will receive comprehensive legal support from attorneys dedicated to the pursuit of justice on your behalf. Working with our team can offer many advantages to your truck accident claim.
We investigate all the details of your truck accident, pursuing the evidence you need to establish liability.
Truck accident claims can become incredibly complicated, particularly during the truck accident investigation. It is important to review the truck driver's logs, maintenance records, and company policies to determine whether the trucking company contributed to the accident. At Zayed Law Offices, we evaluate all of those crucial details to build a comprehensive claim against the liable driver and, if needed, against the trucking company.
We estimate how much compensation our clients deserve for their losses.
Truck drivers spend many hours on the road and cause traffic accidents frequently. Truck drivers' insurance companies have considerable experience with truck accident claims and use many tactics to minimize their payout. For example, they commonly start with a low settlement offer that does not reflect the victim's true damages.
Unfortunately, many Peoria truck accident victims accept low offers because they do not realize how much compensation they deserve for their injuries. At Zayed Law Offices, we help break down the damages our clients sustained so that we can present a compelling argument that fully displays the compensation they deserve.
We negotiate with insurance companies for our clients.
All too often, dealing with the insurance company becomes the most frustrating part of a Peoria truck accident claim. You may feel that the insurance company will use anything you say against you or that you cannot get a straight answer from the insurance company.
At Zayed Law Offices, we ensure our clients receive the comprehensive support they need to deal with the insurance company, including handling communications on their behalf and negotiating.
How a Peoria Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help With Your Claim
Around 10 percent of all fatal crashes in Illinois involve a tractor-trailer and trucks cause nearly 3 percent of all the state's injury crashes.
If a commercial truck accident injured you, a Peoria truck accident lawyer can provide many services to assist you with your claim, including:
- Determining liability
- Valuing your claim based on the expenses and effects of the accident
- Managing communication with the at-fault party's insurance provider
- Helping you make decisions about your claim, such as accepting a settlement or filing a lawsuit
- Obtaining evidence and witness testimony to prove your claim in court
- Negotiating a settlement or litigating your claim in court
- Helping you collect your settlement or award
Most claimants cannot procure the evidence needed in a truck accident claim on their own, as the truck driver or the trucking company has it in their possession.
This evidence can include:
- Pre-trip inspection reports and maintenance records. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) the federal agency responsible for regulating the trucking industry requires truck drivers to perform a pre-trip inspection before every trip to search for visible signs of wear that could create a safety risk. Additionally, the FMCSA requires the owners of commercial trucks to commit to a regular maintenance schedule to replace worn parts such as the brakes or tires that cause an accident.
- Electronic logs that the truck driver must use to record their on-duty hourly record compliance with the FMCSA Hours of Service. This requirement limits the hours a driver can operate a truck before taking an off-duty break and how many hours a driver can drive in a week before taking a lengthier break.
- Alcohol and drug testing results from the driver immediately following the accident and random drug and alcohol screening results that the truck driver is required to submit to obtain or maintain their commercial driver's license (CDL).
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Peoria
Like other motor vehicle accidents, most truck accidents result from human error. In high-traffic places like Peoria, congestion causes more accidents. This high rate is particularly true with commercial trucks, which are harder to maneuver than other vehicles because of their size. Here's a look at some common risky driving practices that can lead to a truck accident.
Many truck drivers speed to make up lost time or get to their destinations faster. Since many trucking companies have policies that pay by the mile rather than by the hour, truck drivers may feel that they can increase their pay rate by increasing their speed, and they may engage in dangerous behaviors despite the risks. Peoria's MacArthur Highway corridor may even seem like the ideal place to speed and ensure that the truck driver reaches their destination faster.
Speeding is a dangerous driving behavior as it makes the truck harder to maneuver and deprives the driver of time to see and respond to a hazard. At higher speeds, the truck will have more force behind it, which can mean more severe damage for everyone in the accident. It also increases the distance the vehicle needs to stop. A commercial truck weighs 20 to 30 times more than other vehicles on the road, and it takes up to 40 percent further for a truck to completely stop—even more if the truck is speeding.
#2. Driver Fatigue
Fatigue can cause some of the same symptoms on the road as driving while intoxicated. Fatigue can impair drivers' overall attention or slow reflexes. In some cases, fatigue can also cause problems with decision-making that can spell disaster for truck drivers. Unfortunately, truck drivers can easily fall prey to exhaustion.
According to federal guidelines, truck drivers can only spend 11 hours out of a 14-hour shift on the road before they have to take a break. Nevertheless, many truck drivers find themselves growing fatigued as they try to manage their shifts, especially near the end of the shift.
According to FMCSA, about 13 percent of all truck drivers involved in accidents reported they were tired when they crashed. Despite hours of service requirements, truck drivers are at higher risk of suffering from driver fatigue because they choose to drive late at night to avoid traffic congestion. The body's sleep/wake cycle generally causes an instinctive drop in energy late at night.
#3. Impaired Driving
Truck drivers are subject to random drug and alcohol testing and face a lower legal impairment limit than other adult drivers in Illinois. However, these regulations do not stop some drivers from indulging in prohibited substances or even accidentally impairing their driving through the use of over-the-counter prescriptions that cause drowsiness or other side effects that do not mix well with driving.
#4. No Zone Accidents and Blind Spot Collisions
The No Zone refers to the significant blind spots on all four sides of a truck. The driver cannot see these areas in their side-view mirrors; they must look over their shoulder to clear these spots before changing lanes or backing up. Though the term suggests that other drivers must stay out of the truck's blind spots, the truck driver must clear these spots. When truck drivers fail to look before they turn or change lanes, they can quickly lose track of other drivers beside them, causing a collision.
#5. Distracted Driving
With the sheer number of hours they spend on the road each day, it comes as little surprise that many truck drivers struggle with distraction. Not only do many truck drivers engage in activities other than driving while behind the wheel, including eating and drinking, changing radio stations, or working with a GPS device, they may zone out and stop paying attention to the road after several hours. Distracted drivers, unfortunately, often have a tough time controlling their vehicles.
#6. Improper Training
Truck drivers must obtain a CDL to operate the vehicle on public roadways. While the training required to pass the test for the license does provide the driver with basic knowledge about the vehicle, it doesn't prepare them for the day-to-day hazards of the job. Trucking companies must properly train their drivers, and some provide co-driving options with more experienced drivers.
With trucking companies across the nation struggling to find enough drivers to dispatch for their regular runs, many companies put drivers behind the wheel before they have the experience they need to navigate the streets of Peoria safely. Inexperienced truck drivers may not realize they have exceeded the number of hours they can drive or may have difficulty navigating out of a dangerous situation without causing an accident.
#7. Mechanical Problems and Improper Maintenance
Brake failure, engine trouble, or steering failure can all create issues that a trucker cannot cope with on a major road.
Commercial trucks travel more miles than most other vehicles and can carry up to 80,000 pounds when their trailer is loaded. The miles and weight cause vehicle parts to prematurely wear.
Truckers and trucking companies must regularly maintain their vehicles. Unfortunately, many trucking companies ignore needed maintenance on their fleet, choosing instead to push the truck back out on the road for as long as possible before actually taking care of repairs.
#8. Driving Improperly for the Weather
Peoria drivers often face dangerous weather. The area receives an average of 38 inches of rain and 23 inches of snow annually near the United States average, but still potentially dangerous on those foul weather days. Snow, ice, and rain can make it more difficult for truckers to drive safely, especially if they lack experience navigating in dangerous conditions. Furthermore, dangerous weather can interfere with visibility, increasing the odds that a truck driver will commit an error that leads to an accident.
#9. Shifting Loads
The cargo in a truck's trailer requires a careful balance, whether the semi hauls a load in an enclosed trailer or on a flatbed. Shifting cargo can make it much more difficult to control the truck and can even lead to a jackknife, in which the trailer swings out away from the cab. Sometimes, shifting loads can even fall from the truck, creating a hazard.
#10. Other Dangers Associated with Commercial Trucks
Some other common causes of truck accidents include:
- Unfamiliarity with the road. Many commercial truck drivers in Peoria are from out of town and have never been here before. Unfamiliarity can lead to driver confusion, missing turns, or going the wrong way on a one-way road.
- Medical conditions. Truck drivers spend hours in sedentary positions, and many are middle-aged and suffer from medical conditions. Truck drivers must have regular physical exams to ensure that they are medically fit for the job. However, undiagnosed conditions can arise between exams, and certain conditions that did not disqualify can become less manageable and dangerous.
Peoria Truck Accident Injuries and the Damage They Cause
Truck accident injuries can cause immense pain and lead to substantial medical bills. Because of their greater size, big trucks often cause severe injuries when a truck driver's negligence causes or contributes to an accident. Peoria truck accident victims may face traumatic brain injuries, severe soft tissue damage, back and neck injuries, or broken bones, among other things. Those injuries affect every aspect of the victim's life.
hile recovering, the victim might lose the ability to handle their usual work tasks, leading to a drop in income. When you file a personal injury claim, you can include all of your relevant financial losses, such as your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. At Zayed Law Offices, we can help you determine what types of damages you should seek in a claim.
Seeking Compensation for Injuries Incurred in a Peoria Truck Accident
Most truck accident lawsuits begin as claims against the at-fault party's liability insurance policy. The policy provider will assign an adjuster to evaluate the claim and determine what the company is responsible for paying.
The adjuster can accept the claim as submitted, deny the claim, or offer a settlement. If they offer a settlement, your lawyer can negotiate to increase the offer. If they deny the counter-offer or fail to offer fair compensation, you can file a lawsuit for the courts to determine liability and compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Peoria Truck Accident Claims
Truck accidents are particularly complex due to the regulations imposed on the trucking industry. Those seeking compensation after an injury from this type of accident may have many questions.
Here are answers to some questions asked of our Peoria truck accident lawyers.
Who is liable for a Peoria truck accident?
If the truck driver's negligence caused the accident, the driver is the liable party. This liability is particularly likely in cases involving drivers who are independent contractors or who own their own trucking company, own their truck, and are responsible for properly insuring and maintaining the truck.
If a trucking company employs the driver, the company can also be liable because they are responsible for conducting background checks on prospective drivers and ensuring their drivers are properly licensed. Truck companies must also provide a properly insured and maintained truck for the driver's work use and ensure that a properly trained driver can physically handle the job's rigors.
Other potential sources of liability in a truck accident, depending on the circumstances, include:
- Other roadway users whose negligence contributed to or caused the accident with the truck that resulted in your injury.
- The entity responsible for servicing the truck.
- The manufacturer of truck parts or other vehicles involved if the accident resulted from a defective product.
- The loading company, if it negligently fills a truck by failing to account for balance
- The government agency responsible for maintaining the road where the accident occurred. Most of the streets within Peoria are the responsibility of the City of Peoria. However, both the Illinois Department of Transportation and Peoria County maintain roads within the city's limits.
How long do I have to file a truck accident claim?
In most cases, individuals in Peoria injured in a truck accident have two years from the accident to file their claim in court.
What type of compensation can I receive for my injuries in a truck accident?
If a truck accident from someone else's negligence injured you, you can seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and property damage. You can also seek compensation for the effects of your injury, such as physical pain, suffering, and mental distress.
My husband died in a truck accident. Can I file a claim?
Yes, you can seek compensation for the expenses and effects of your loss through a wrongful death claim. This claim follows a similar process as personal injury claims and can also be filed as a lawsuit in court within two years of the death.
You can seek compensation through a wrongful death claim. This compensation can include loss of financial support provided by the deceased, including the loss of wages and benefits the deceased would have earned if they survived. Plaintiffs can recover intangible, like loss of companionship, moral support, affection, and love that the deceased gave to family, and the grief, sorrow, and mental suffering you incurred from your loss. Finally, plaintiffs can recover the cost of a funeral and burial or cremation.
A Peoria Truck Accident Lawyer to Help With Your Claim
An experienced Peoria truck accident lawyer from Zayed Law Offices can provide answers to your legal questions, explore your options with you, tell you more about the services our firm provides, and pursue compensation for your injuries.
For your no-obligation, no-cost case evaluation, contact us online or call (309) 518-1413.
Peoria Personal Injury LawyerAddress: 416 Main Street Suite 813,
Peoria, IL 61602