Truck Accident Lawyer
According to the latest census data, there are over 3.5 million truckers in the US.
Based on nationally available trucking accident data, large trucks were involved in over 5000 fatal crashes in 2019.
This is a 43% increase in fatal truck accidents as compared to 2010 and is consistent with the broader shift to online shopping and home deliveries of goods.
Fortunately, the vast majority of truck accidents do not result in a fatality, yet many people are still injured when their small passenger vehicle collides with a larger commercial vehicle.
Because of the significant size disparity between cars and trucks these collisions often result in significant property damage and physical injury.
It is estimated that in 2019 there were 118,000 accidents that involved large trucks.
If you were in a truck accident in Chicago or Illinois and suffered any damages such as loss of earnings or loss of earning capacity, or emotional distress, a Chicago truck accident attorney can help you recover the costs for current and future medical bills, disability and related needs, and other pain and suffering.
In the case of a loss of life or a truck accident fatality, family members may be able to sue for loss of care and loss of support along with emotional distress.
There are millions of semi-trucks, big rigs, 18 wheelers, tractor trailers, and similar vehicles on the road right now, and that number increases every day – so does the likelihood of you or a loved one being involved in an accident involving a truck.
What’s more, there are nearly half a million or 500,000 accidents implicating trucks in some way in the United States every year, which means that you and your loved ones are at risk every time you get on the road.
When a semi-truck or big rig is fully loaded, it can weigh up to 10 times as much as a typical car.
Accordingly, when a truck hits a car, the people in the car and truck are much more likely to be injured than in accidents that only involve cars.
Therefore, an accident involving an 18-wheeler or other large truck, or vehicle with a tractor trailer is much more likely to cause serious damage to the individuals and vehicles involved.
Why Do I Need a Truck Accident Lawyer?
If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, then you need to consult with a truck accident lawyer in Chicago to ensure that you get all the damages you are rightfully owed.
This holds true whether you are the driver of the truck or were the driver or passenger in another vehicle that was struck by the truck.
A trucking accident attorney will be able to help you determine what harms were incurred and what kind of damages you are entitled to, file a lawsuit against the trucking company’s insurance and any other parties involved, and work with you to get the appropriate payout or settlement that you are due.
Dealing with the potentially complicated details of semi-truck or big rig accidents is what commercial vehicle accident lawyers specialize in; what’s more, truck accident attorneys know the ins and outs of the law and how the legal system handles these cases and will assist you throughout bringing a suit against the necessary parties.
Moreover, personal injury attorneys who have a background in trucking law and handling truck accident cases in Chicago and Illinois will help you be able to determine who to sue and what kind of damages to claim as per the city and state’s particular regulations.
In a trucking accident, more than one party can be held vicariously responsible for the driver’s negligence, issues with the truck or tractor, or even the truck’s cargo.
Truck drivers and freight, shipping, and trucking companies carry millions in insurance and have their own adjusters – so a trucking accident lawsuit or claim is not something you should try to handle on your own and expect a maximum or even somewhat ideal settlement.
When Do I Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?
One of the most important aspects of dealing with a truck accident is contacting and engaging the services of a Chicago trucking accident attorney as soon as possible after the incident occurs.
This is because gathering evidence and getting the correct narrative is essential to achieving the best possible results with a lawsuit, and the longer you wait the more memories fade and evidence becomes more complicated to find and verify.
Why Do I Hire a Trucking Accident Attorney?
If you think you have a case or should file a lawsuit after a trucking accident – or even if you have been in accident with a semi-truck or big rig and aren’t sure about dealing with your insurance company and the post-accident follow-up claims – you should contact a lawyer with a background in commercial vehicle accident or trucking injury cases to help you navigate the complexities of the situation.
Once it is established that you have a case or legal standing to sue the trucking company or other party involved in the incident (which makes you the plaintiff in this case), then your attorney will help you determine exactly which party or parties are the ones liable for your injuries and losses and therefore can be sued (making them the defendants).
Your Chicago truck accident lawyers will also determine the jurisdiction and the venue in which your complaint or lawsuit should be filed, along with actually filing the suit with the appropriate court and subsequently arguing your case and dealing with the defendants on your behalf.
For example, in a trucking accident that occurred in Chicago and the trucking company involved does business in Illinois, the venue would be a court located in Chicago since that is place where the accident occurred or the dispute arose and the courts in Chicago have the ability to exercise authority over companies and individuals that do business in Illinois.
How Do I File a Lawsuit for a Truck Accident?
The trucking industry is heavily regulated by both state and federal laws and regulations.
If one or more of these laws is violated during the course of an accident, the chances of a lawsuit recovering significant damages are high, especially if you work with a lawyer who understands the complexities of trucking law and the consequences for different types of violations.
Filing a lawsuit for a trucking accident is a complicated process best handled by a personal injury attorney who has experience bringing lawsuits for trucking accidents that happened in your state or city.
Furthermore, if you or a family member were the injured party in a truck accident or tractor-trailer accident, you should focus on your health and recovery and let an experienced attorney handle the work during the aftermath of an accident.
Who is at Fault in a Semi-Truck Accident?
Determining who is at fault for a semi-truck accident can be complicated, which is why insurance companies and attorneys hire their own inspectors and investigate the circumstances of nearly every trucking accident, especially if there is a lawsuit or potential lawsuit involved.
Generally, a semi-truck or 18 wheeler accident claim or lawsuit involves one or more of the following parties being at fault:
- The driver of the truck
- The driver’s employer or trucking company that employs the driver
- The owner of the truck or tractor
- The owner of the freight or cargo on the truck (if different from the owner of the vehicle)
- The owner of the trailer (in the case of a semi-truck or tractor)
- The truck, trailer, and/or tractor manufacturer
- The company name identified on the trailer of the truck
It can also be difficult to determine or uncover all the responsible parties in a truck accident unless you are well-versed in personal injury in the state where the accident occurred, which is why hiring a semi truck accident lawyer with specific expertise in dealing with a semi crash and the associated lawsuits and personal injury claims is so essential.
After all, an attorney who has experience dealing with these types of accidents and subsequent investigations and insurance claim issues will know how to navigate these complicated and sometimes tricky situations to ensure that you get the settlement you deserve.
This is especially important if you are injured or otherwise incapacitated as a result of the accident – you and your family have enough to deal with already, so working with a lawyer who knows how to handle these kinds of cases can help decrease your stress and improve your overall outcome.
Types of Semi-Truck Accidents
There are all kinds of semi-truck accidents and each must be handled differently in order to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your family.
The way that a trucking accident lawsuit is handled depends on a number of factors, the primary ones being the cause or causes of the accident and the injuries and associated traumas and problems that occur as a result.
Semi-truck or big rig accidents are caused by a variety of factors, such as truck safety violations, trucking company negligence, inclement or disastrous weather, debris on the road, or a number of other issues.
However, if the trucker or trucking company is at fault (and it is nearly always worth investigating), it is time to contact Chicago truck accident attorneys who have a background in cases involving damages from truck-related incidents.
The various types of semi-truck accidents can include but are not limited to:
- Truck jackknifing which can be caused by unsafe driving conditions such as potholes, debris in the road, or poor weather including severe rain or snowstorms
- Overloaded trucks
- Improperly loaded trucks or unbalanced cargo which can result in objects falling from the vehicle or other problems
- Driver errors or miscalculations
- Speeding or other aggressive driving behaviors
- Driver fatigue
- Drunk or otherwise impaired drivers
- Driver cell phone usage
- Unlicensed drivers
- Time-sensitive cargo delivery schedules that push drivers and their vehicles beyond reasonable expectations
- Poor visibility and lack of reflectors
- Failure to use blind spot mirrors
- Improperly installed or missing blind spot mirrors
- Defective or malfunctioning tires, brakes, lights, or other parts of the truck, trailer, or tractor
- Failure to inspect the truck properly, including tires, brakes, lights, and other areas
- Dangerous or defective highways
- Unsafe road conditions due to weather or other damage to the surface such as cracks or potholes
Trucking Accident Investigations
Typically, once an accident occurs, there will be an investigation by the insurance companies responsible for the parties involved.
Potentially, law enforcement and the companies who employ the drivers or handle the cargo involved in the incident will also bring in their own teams to investigate what happened and who is at fault as well, particularly if any laws were clearly broken or there are allegations or evidence of a driver or drivers being drunk or under the influence of drugs or controlled substances.
It is essential to understand that you should never speak to the trucking company’s insurance representatives or claims adjusters, or any lawyers other than the tractor trailer accident lawyer that you have secured to represent your interests.
And definitely never sign anything without your lawyer present and with their permission or approval!
That’s why one of the first things that you should do after you’ve been involved in an accident with a semi-truck or similar vehicle is to reach out to a truck accident attorney who has experience representing clients in trucking accident lawsuit cases.
Why You Should Hire a Trucking Accident Attorney?
Hiring a trucking accident attorney helps to protect your rights if you’ve been in an accident of any kind.
Furthermore, if you’ve been injured in any way during a truck accident, or you’ve lost a loved one from a fatal truck accident, then you’ll specifically want to consult an attorney with expertise in trucking law and dealing with the aftermath of trucking accidents in order to ensure that you are getting everything you are entitled to after suffering from an on-the-job accident or any accident that involves a semi-truck or tractor trailer.
When an accident involving a big rig, semi-truck, or 18-wheeler occurs, there are several parties involved who could potentially be considered at fault, including the driver of the truck, their employer, and the associated insurance companies.
The company that owns the cargo on the truck or even the manufacturer of the truck may also be included.
Be aware that all of these companies or parties will want to do everything they can to protect their interests, which is why you should hire a truck injury lawyer as soon as possible after you’ve been in an accident with a semi-truck or tractor-trailer.
Shipping companies, freight companies, truck manufacturers, and any other business involved in the trucking industry (even peripherally) are all expected to follow certain laws and regulations that are designed to protect employees and promote consumer safety.
When companies fail to meet these expectations and violate these laws, they are then responsible for compensating the injured parties for their losses.
How Much Is a Tractor-Trailer Accident Case Worth?
The value of a tractor-trailer accident case depends on the damages caused and the extent of harm incurred by the victim or victims.
Damages can be recovered or settlements made for a number of reasons, including but not limited to:
- Current or immediate medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Loss of earnings or wages (in the present)
- Loss of earning capacity in the future (in the event of a disability or catastrophic injury)
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
After being involved in a truck accident, you may have experienced significant discomfort, pain, injury, inconvenience, or worse.
You may have missed and may continue to miss significant amounts of work or may even no longer be able to work in your previous capacity.
Injuries related to trucking accidents include but not limited to:
Trucking incidents may even involve catastrophic injury or the loss of life.
Filing a lawsuit against the negligent parties in a trucking accident is a way of recovering or recouping the loss or damages for the accident and ensuring that medical bills, loss of income, and other pain and suffering that occurred as a result of the accident are taken care of as best allowed by the U.S. legal system.
In the case of wrongful or accidental death due to the negligent conduct of another party or parties, their heirs have the right to file an accidental death lawsuit under Illinois law, which allows for a cause of action to be brought on behalf of family members or heirs of the deceased.
Accidental death lawsuits can cover medical bills and related expenses, pain and suffering, loss of earnings, and emotional distress for the family of the deceased.
These losses are compensable in the state of Illinois under the Illinois Survival Act.
A personal injury attorney experienced in handling these types of suits will be able to assist your family during this difficult time of unimaginable loss and handle the associated lawsuits and insurance claims so your family doesn’t have to and can focus on their grieving process and recovery.
What Should I Do If I Was in a Truck Accident?
If you were involved in a truck accident of any kind, after ensuring that you are medically safe and sound, then you should contact an attorney who has expertise in dealing with these types of issues.
They can help you navigate an insurance claim and bring a potential lawsuit against the party or parties at fault and ensure that you get everything you are owed.
Immediately after being in an accident involving a truck, the first steps are to take care of your health by seeking medical attention and contacting the police.
Once things are stable and you’ve seen a doctor and the police (and filed a police report), then it is time to contact your insurance company to report the accident and then a personal injury attorney to help you navigate the days ahead.
Keep in mind that you should never speak with the trucker’s insurance company or their insurance claims adjuster, their employer’s insurance company or claims adjusters, or anyone related to other parties involved in the incident.
Do not sign anything before contacting a personal injury attorney who can help you review any and all documents regarding the trucking accident and file any and all lawsuits and insurance claims.
You should also take photographs or videos (or both) of the damage to your car before any repairs are made or you sell, destroy, or otherwise lose access to the car (if applicable).
Getting pictures or video of the accident scene is also useful if you or another party or bystander are able to take photos or video shortly after the incident.
Also, take clear pictures of your injuries, even if you don’t feel significant pain at first.
Get all medical records from any hospital or doctor visits related to the accident as well.
Keep all of this information in a safe place and make multiple copies, including digital copies stored on different hard drives or in the cloud if possible.
Here’s a list of the steps you should take after being involved in a trucking accident:
- Call 911 and seek any necessary medical attention, and call the police to get an accident report started.
- Take pictures of the accident scene, if you are able to at the time of the collision or incident, along with any injuries and damage to the vehicles.
- Exchange contact information with other parties and any bystanders who could potentially be witnesses if applicable and you are able to at the time.
- Document any doctor reports or any other medical attention that you receive, including bills and other costs.
- Call your insurance company.
- Call a personal injury attorney who has experience dealing with truck accidents, semi-truck accidents, or big rig accidents in your state or the state where the accident occurred. They can help you handle the claim and potential lawsuits from this point on.
- Do not speak to any other party’s insurance company, their claims adjusters, lawyers, or anyone else associated with the case without your lawyer’s involvement.
Taking all of these steps in the proper order will likely make filing your lawsuit and insurance claims go more smoothly, and make the process of working with a personal injury lawyer go that much more smoothly.
That said, your safety is always paramount so if you are unable to take pictures or videos immediately after the accident, there are other methods of establishing fault and determining a settlement.
Our Chicago Truck Attorneys Are Here to Help
A trucking accident can be a catastrophic and traumatic event that affects you, your family, and your career in many complicated and devastating ways.
Furthermore, the effects of being in a truck accident can last for many years into the future, affecting your health, medical costs, current and future income, and even your family’s future if you lose earning capacity or the ability to care for yourself.
And if you’ve lost a loved one to a trucking or commercial vehicle fatality, contact our Chicago wrongful death attorneys to recover a fair settlement and to deal with the grieving process as best you can without the extra stress of dealing with insurance companies and other third parties.
All of the above reasons are why you should work with truck accident lawyer or Chicago car accident lawyer who has experience dealing with truck accidents and trucking injuries who can help you recover costs for pain and suffering, loss of earnings, loss of earning capacity, medical bills, disability, and emotional distress.
Have you been in an accident with a semi-truck or other commercial vehicle and need a truck accident lawyer to help you recover compensation for damages?
We welcome the opportunity to speak with you about your legal situation and help you determine the next steps.
We’ll schedule a time that is convenient for you and please note that you will not pay lawyer’s fees unless we recover compensation for you.