Accidents involving a semi-truck are among the most serious and most deadly in the United States. An experienced Chicago based semi-truck accident lawyer has a thorough understanding of commercial vehicle regulations on both the federal and state level for Illinois.
You may not have considered this, however hundreds, and some years thousands, of truck accidents, occur in greater Chicago. Did you know that there are six federally sanctioned interstates crossing directly through the very heart of our windy city?
Whether you commute every day on the Kennedy Expressway or leave for a weekend in the country by taking Interstate 55, it is highly likely you have encountered numerous commercial or semi-trucks along your drive.
It is not surprising that accidents involving semi-trucks happen. As fellow Chicago commuters, we feel we are especially able to help you handle your legal and insurance challenges when you are faced with one.
Although companies are required to follow Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSA) concerning their equipment and their drivers’ hours of service, driver fatigue continues to be one of the most common reasons for these tragedies.
Fatigue regulations for semi-truck drivers
“Hours-of-service violations used to be a lot more challenging to detect when simple paper logbooks could, and often would, be easily falsified. Since 2017 however, electronic logging devices have been mandated, making it far more difficult to manipulate the rules.
Under current FMCSA regulations, interstate commercial truck drivers are not allowed to drive for more than 11 hours during a period of 14 consecutive hours after they take a 10-hour break. Moreover, drivers are required to spend at least 30 minutes off-duty after no more than eight hours of driving.
Drivers can’t drive after accruing 60 work hours during a seven-day period or 70 work hours during an eight-day period.
A “restart” provision allows truckers to get back behind the wheel after a 34-hour off-duty period.”
Records often reveal serious and even fraudulent violations of these safety regulations after an accident. Sadly, trucking companies are only required to maintain accident records for six months.
It is important that you reach out to us as soon as possible if you are involved in a truck accident.
Waiting too long to get the professional help you need can make it extremely difficult for your lawyer, you or any survivors of a person tragically killed in a semi-truck crash to prove the trucking company’s negligence.
Serious Injuries Caused by Truck Accidents
Obviously, these big rigs on our motorways weigh several tons. Therefore, when they strike anything, they are applying an incredible amount of force, especially at high speeds. Semi-trucks, or 18-wheeler trucks, can cause serious injuries.
Below is a list of some of the injuries that can require months, even years of physical therapy or medical treatment to overcome. If you are a victim and you are struggling with any of these, reach out to us:
- Brain swelling
- Herniated discs
- Internal organ damage
- Joint contusions
If you suffer from any of these injuries as a result of being in an accident with a semi-truck, you need the support of a highly rated team of accident injury lawyers. That’s the only way to make sure that you receive adequate compensation for the long term physical and emotional challenges you are facing.
The majority of these truck accidents in the State of Illinois take place on the roads and highways right here in the Chicago metro area. Our personal injury lawyers have over 65 years of local experience representing clients that have undergone the ordeal of a life-changing semi-truck crash.
Our experienced team of legal experts that prosecute truck accidents which have caused personal injuries, or led to fatalities, understand how to get to the bottom of an injury case on your behalf. We thoroughly investigate to determine liability.
Our investigation includes:
- Determining the level of truck maintenance
- Drug and alcohol tests
- A review to confirm adequate insurance coverage
- A full examination of truck safety markings
- Weight restriction compliance
- Adherence with loading procedures
- Ensuring the company fulfilled safety inspection requirements
- Accident reconstruction
When our semi-truck accident attorney files a lawsuit against a trucking company, we know that we will need to present evidence that proves negligence. The key to helping you seek justice for the physical pain and emotional duress caused by an accident includes our proving reckless conduct by the driver and/or trucking company.
Our experienced semi-truck accident lawyers will represent your interests fully so that you can focus on your important recovery needs. Additionally, they will help you get the compensation you deserve, whether you are the victim or a surviving family member.
Semi-Truck accident statistics
According to IDOT, there were 13,000 accidents involving Semi Trucks reported in 2018 in Illinois. Referencing the IIHS information for the same year, “a total of 4,136 people died in large truck crashes in 2018.
Sixteen percent of these deaths were truck occupants, 67 percent were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, and 15 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists.
The number of people who died in large truck crashes was 31 percent higher in 2018 than in 2009. In 2009 it was the lowest it had been since the collection of fatal crash data began in 1975. The number of truck occupants who died was 51 percent higher than in 2009.”
Choosing the right semi-truck accident lawyer
A semi-truck accident can be frightening, traumatizing, and confusing, especially accidents that involve fatalities.
If you have been involved in a semi-truck accident, you have the right to legal representation by an experienced semi-truck accident lawyer.
It is important to act quickly to retain the services of an experienced attorney. In the immediate aftermath of an accident, the insurance representatives of the business that employs the truck driver will initiate an investigation into the event.
They will have the intention of doing everything possible to minimize the liability of the trucking company.
The attorney you choose needs to begin helping you right away. In addition, truck accident cases differ from typical personal liability cases in that the driver’s company is often the defendant. This means you need an attorney who can deal with large corporations.
Whatever the specifics of your case, you need the right semi-truck accident lawyer representation by your side. This will allow you to recover compensation from the responsible party. Our truck accident lawyers will fight to ensure you receive adequate remuneration for pain and suffering, injuries, and property damage losses.
Since 1996, the Law Offices of Marc J. Shuman & Associates have advocated on behalf of over 25,000 injury victims and their families, helping them successfully navigate the complexities of the legal process. As experienced attorneys, we can help you evaluate the facts, assess your options, manage the legal challenges. We help you recover damages for your loss so that you can focus on your recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Illinois Semi-Truck Accident FAQs
What should I do after a Semi-Truck Accident in Illinois?
Like in a car accident, it is important to check for injuries immediately after an accident, both your own and those of anyone else involved in the accident such as your passenger or the other drivers involved. If anyone is hurt, call for an ambulance. Afterwards, you should contact the police to report the accident.
Even more than with ordinary car accidents, it is also important to gather as much information as you can. Exchange information with the other driver, including names, driver's license information, and the trucker's company name and contact information. You will also want to get the license plate information and the truck's DOT number, insurance information, and the information on the truck itself such as it's make, model and year.
If there are any witnesses, you will want to get their names and contact information. Take pictures of anything involving the scene of the accident you can. The truck. Your vehicle. Skid marks on the road. Any other debris or damage on the road that might have caused - or been caused by - the accident.
How do I know who is liable for a Truck Accident in Illinois?
While most car accidents are straightforward as to who might be liable in an accident, the liability for a truck accident can be a much more complicated affair. Outside of the truck driver themselves, who may be responsible for driving inattentively, in an unsafe manner, or while drowsy or under the influence, there are many others who may hold at least partial liability for a trucking related accident.
The Trucking company itself may be liable if the truck driver was involved in an accident while on the job, if they failed to properly inspect the vehicle, or had pushed the driver to exceed the legal limits on driving speed or time to meet an unreasonable deadline.
The owner of the truck, if it was neither the driver or the company, the manufacturer, if an accident was caused due to defective parts, and loaders who failed to properly inspect or secure cargo may also be partially liable for an accident caused by the results of their failure to properly ensure that an accident would not be caused.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit for a Semi-Truck Accident?
The Statue of limitations for filing a claim for personal injuries in Illinois is two years. For property damage only claims, the person has up to five years to start the claim.
However, with Semi-Truck related accidents it is especially important to get in touch with a specialized attorney right away. More than in many other types of accidents, evidence about accidents involving large trucks has a tendency to disappear if it is not immediately collected.
An Attorney specializing in these kinds of cases will know which kinds of evidence you will need to find or request to support you in your case, and will help you to acquire them in a timely manner before they are lost.
How are Semi-Truck Accidents different than normal car accidents?
The most obvious difference between accidents with large trucks and other vehicles is the sheer scale. Injuries and damages from accidents involving Semi-Trucks tend to be significantly greater than when only smaller vehicles are involved, based on the sheer size and weight of the trucks and their cargo. During normal car accidents, the vehicles are usually pretty close in size, so your car can offer a degree of protection it just can't against a much larger vehicle.
There are also additional complications towards investigating the accident. A trucking company is obligated to keep logs of the state of their vehicles and their use, but these logs are often only kept for a few weeks. If an immediate investigation or request to preserve that information is not made, it can be potentially lost forever, making investigating the accident much more difficult.
What are the most common causes of Semi-Truck accidents?
A great deal of Semi-Truck related accidents are caused by driver error. This includes poor decision making such as speeding, following other vehicles too closely, or failing to pay sufficient attention to their surroundings because of fatigue or distractions. Other common factors of accidents with large trucks include mechanical problems, like errors with the brakes, and unexpected traffic flow interruptions or the need for a sudden stop.
Many accidents are also caused when a driver is unfamiliar with the area they are driving in. A mistake that could be recovered from with an ordinary vehicle can often result in a devastating accident when a large truck is involved.
Where are the worst places for Semi-Truck accidents in Illinois?
A large number of accidents with Semi-Trucks occur on highways and interstates, where a combination of high speed and the truck's immense size and weight can cause a dangerous situation with even a relatively minor mistake.
Some of the most common highways for accidents are the I-57, the I-55 and the I-80. In 2017, over one hundred people died in trucking-related accidents on these three highways alone, comprising the majority of truck-related deaths in Illinois that year.
How much are truck accident cases worth?
Though individual cases vary widely, the scale of truck accidents often leading to devastating injuries and significant damage have caused them to often be much larger than other cases.
Though there are often relatively small cases when an accident was not caused primarily through the fault of the truck driver or trucking company, many claims relating to large trucks have often reached settlements approaching or significantly passing $1,000,000.
What kind of injuries do people usually get from Semi-Truck Accidents?
Due to the sheer size and weight of the vehicles involved, accidents involving Semi-Trucks often result in devastating injuries.
Disfigurement, brain injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries and significant muscle and soft-tissue injuries are all possible injuries from an accident involving a Semi-Truck, if the victim manages to survive. Tragic fatal injuries are also not uncommon in more severe accidents.