It is difficult not to fear the worst every time you see a truck accident on the road. Trucks are powerful and dangerous machines that can kill those in smaller motor vehicles.
Unfortunately, many truck accidents that happen are preventable and occur because of the negligence of a truck driver. Truck driver negligence can cause fatalities and severe injuries to victims, leaving many survivors with overwhelming expenses and losses due to the accident.
Victims of a truck accident may seek compensation for their damages against the parties at fault for the collision with the help of Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers’ Illinois truck accident attorneys.
We are a national law firm with multiple offices around the country. We also work with affiliate law firms in most states that share our focus and dedication to excellence. No matter where you are located, we may be able to help you, so call or contact us now. We are open, for free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-898-4877, or you may contact us now by clicking here to submit your case for review.
If You Are a Victim of a Truck Accident in Illinois, Contact Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers
Victims of truck accidents face serious injuries. Going against the trucking companies and the insurance companies can be an overwhelming task that makes you the underdog without an attorney at your side.
You need the experience and knowledge of an attorney that knows the tactics these companies will employ to save money at all costs and avoid fairly compensating victims of a truck driver’s negligence. At Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, we want to help you take on the parties responsible for your injuries and seek the compensation you deserve after a harrowing truck accident leaves you with injuries and trauma.
High-Risk Areas of a Truck Accident Throughout Illinois
Illinois can serve as the starting point for many truckers or just a stop along the route for those traveling to the Eastern or Western U.S. While most of the state boasts stretches of open road and farmlands, larger metropolitan areas such as Chicago, Springfield, and Peoria or the Metro East of St. Louis can see truckers interacting with heavy congestion and many motorists every day.
Many interstates and highways intersect the state, bringing in heavy truck traffic, particularly during busy holidays. With challenging road conditions, heavy commuter traffic, and weather that can change at a moment’s notice, traveling near large trucks and semis on an Illinois roadway can increase your risk of becoming a victim of a truck accident.
Areas of high risk of a trucking accident in Illinois can include:
- Interstate 55
- Interstate 57
- Interstate 70
- Interstate 72
- Interstate 74
- Interstate 80
The Causes of Most Truck Accidents
Large trucks and semis pose a safety risk to all drivers and passengers on the roadways in Illinois. Having a truck fly past you on the interstate is nerve-wracking. You know the devastation such a massive vehicle can cause on the roadways.
The events leading up to a truck accident can leave most motorists in a dangerous situation where they may not be able to avoid the collision. Negligence causes almost all truck accidents. In many cases, the negligence of the truck driver is the catalyst of the collision with other motorists.
Driver errors and negligent behavior are the most common cause of accidents on the road.
When it comes to truck drivers, their time on the road each day can increase the likelihood that they will cause a traffic accident with other vehicles.
- Truck driver’s physical and mental fatigue – Truck drivers face stresses and challenges each workday. Their days are long and often involve hours of nonstop driving on the roads. They do not just become physically tired but also mentally fatigued, which affects their alertness and ability to make safe decisions. Truckers that violate hours of service rules or do not get the rest they need from shift to shift are risking their lives and the lives of everyone traveling the road beside them.
- Driving a truck under the influence of drugs or alcohol – The job’s demands can cause some drivers to indulge in alcohol or other substances during their off-hours or while on the road. The damaging effects of drug and alcohol use on a driver behind the wheel are clear. Their judgment, coordination, and senses will all suffer the effects of being under the influence, which dramatically increases the risk of an accident and death or injuries to victims.
- Distractions while on the road – For many truck drivers, the road is their home for a good portion of their life. Some may be gone for only hours each day, but long-haul truckers can be gone for weeks if not months at a time. This can lead many truckers to engage in day-to-day activities on the road that can cause distractions. Talking on the phone, watching entertainment, eating, texting and driving, grooming or any other number of behaviors can take a driver’s attention from the road and pose a serious threat of an accident. Distracted driving is a safety concern for all motorists, but it’s more dangerous with truck drivers.
- Trucks traveling at excess speeds – There is no question that the truck industry creates high-pressure situations for many truck drivers. Pressure from clients and employers to meet tight deadlines and turnover shipments quickly means more truckers are trying to get to their destination as fast as possible. With hours on the road at any given time, the temptation to speed to try to get the job done more quickly can be too great for some drivers. Truck drivers that travel beyond the speed limit endanger the lives of everyone around them. Trucks take longer to come to a stop. When a driver operates this massive vehicle at high speeds there is less time to react, less time to make split-second decisions, and a significantly higher chance of causing a motor vehicle accident.
- Aggressive or reckless truck driving – Just as there are impatient motorists, truck drivers can become impatient, leading them to make reckless or aggressive maneuvers on the road. Traffic jams, slow traffic, or looming deadlines can push a driver to engage in risky driving behaviors likely to lead to accidents with those traveling near them.
- Insufficient training – With demands in the shipping and transportation industry rising, there is a need for many more truck drivers on the road. Many people are choosing a career in trucking due to its potential lucrative pay and ability to obtain a CDL license with little experience. Trucking companies and employers must hire drivers capable of fulfilling their roles safely. Unfortunately, many companies will prioritize earnings and take shortcuts to get new drivers on the road as quickly as possible. Drivers with poor and insufficient training can get behind a semi-truck’s wheel, making them a danger to all on the roadways.
- Truck driver’s inexperience – Poor training is not the only impediment to truck drivers to safely travel the roadways. Truck drivers must also gain experience to ensure they know how to react and respond to various situations that may arise during their hauls. Unfortunately, the only way for drivers to gain the experience they need is to begin working and transporting goods. Driver inexperience can lead truck drivers into dangerous situations that they may not be aware of or capable of navigating successfully, which can lead to accidents.
- Cargo loading process – Loading shipments and goods onto a truck is an intricate and delicate process. The loading and securing of cargo within a truck can influence the maneuverability of the truck itself and the truck driver’s ability to maintain control and stop the truck safely. When the crew improperly loads the cargo, the consequences can lead to disaster.
- Poor truck maintenance – Just one truck will travel thousands of miles each week, which requires constant maintenance to keep the vehicle operating optimally. Poor maintenance or failure to provide maintenance to the truck on a routine basis can lead to failures in equipment or parts from constant wear and tear. This can inevitably set off a chain of events leading to accidents with other motorists.
- Failure to inspect for problems – Inspections are a requirement for trucks to operate safely. Failures to inspect, missed inspections, or delays in inspections can all fail to identify problem areas that can cause a driver to lose control of a truck. Truck inspections are routine requirements by truck drivers, maintenance companies, and truck owners at different intervals and frequencies.
- Defective trucks, parts, or equipment – Trucks have many moving parts. Manufacturers of trucks and the parts and equipment used on these vehicles such as tires, safety features, brakes, and other system components must make safe products. A defective or dangerous product can lead to an accident and injuries to innocent victims of a truck accident.
- Inclement weather – Wind, wet weather, snow, and other dangerous weather can create a serious hazard for truck drivers. Trucks are susceptible to rollovers and jackknife accidents on the road. Any change in weather for which a driver cannot adapt or maintain control of the truck can lead to an accident. Weather is one of the more common causes of multi-vehicle pile-ups involving trucks.
Damages in an Illinois Truck Accident Case
As a truck accident victim of negligence, you are likely eligible for compensation for your injuries and other losses the accident caused.
The compensation you recover depends on the extent and severity of your injuries, how your injuries affect your ability to work and live, and the overall impact of your injuries on your physical, mental, and emotional health.
A truck accident attorney understands the injuries and losses you can suffer in a truck accident. Our Illinois truck accident lawyers can work with you to understand the impact the accident will have on your life and calculate the damages you will sustain to help you best negotiate a settlement that works for you.
Truck accident damages can include:
- Loss of income – When you sustain an injury in a truck accident you face the recovery of possibly serious to catastrophic injuries. During your recovery, you may be unable to work or unable to meet the demands of your work responsibilities before the accident. As part of your claim for damages, you can include losses to your earnings—not only from work you missed but also any income that you may lose out on because of your injuries.
- Medical costs – Treatment for truck accident injuries can include hospitalization, surgery, and rehabilitation treatment, which may send costs soaring. Most people cannot pay medical costs from a truck accident, nor should they have to. If you are a victim of negligence, your case can recover all of your current and future medical costs.
- Pain and suffering – The trauma from these events can leave lasting impacts on your mental and emotional wellbeing. In an insurance claim or lawsuit following a truck accident, you are eligible to seek compensation for losses such as physical pain, as well as emotional and mental pain and anguish.
- Wrongful death – Many victims of truck accidents do not survive. If you lose a loved one to a negligent truck accident, you may seek justice and compensation against the parties responsible through a wrongful death claim for damages. Wrongful death damage can include funeral and burial costs, loss of companionship, pain, and suffering of the family, and loss of financial and emotional support from the loved one.
- Property damage – The costs of damage to your vehicle after a truck accident are recoverable in a truck accident claim. This can include costs for repairing or replacing the vehicle and rental costs to cover your transportation needs after an accident.
Illinois Truck Accident Lawyer FAQ
Victims of truck accidents may face not only potentially devastating injuries but also difficulties in proving liability after an accident and seeking fair and reasonable compensation for their losses. If you are a victim of a truck accident, you may wonder how and why you are in this situation and what you can do to move forward.
What Makes a Truck More Prone to Accidents?
In Illinois, over 11,000 traffic crashes each year involve a tractor-trailer truck. Over 100 of these crashes will involve a fatality and over 1,800 will injure victims.
To compare, the total number of crashes each year throughout Illinois surpasses 300,000. Truck accidents are not nearly as frequent as motor vehicle accidents between passenger vehicles, but when a collision involving a truck does occur the impacts and consequences on the vehicles around them can be extensive.
Certain features unique to trucks can make them more likely to crash into other vehicles.
The Truck’s Design
Large trucks, including semis and tractor-trailers, have design elements that allow for maximum cargo capacity but can also increase the risk of a driver losing control of the vehicle on the roads. The overall height of a truck and its elevation off the ground can make them unstable and easily affected by weather or road conditions.
Other features of trucks can have deadly consequences for crash victims.
The open space between a truck and the road is a hazardous design element. When a truck does not have safety protections to prevent vehicles from traveling beneath the undercarriage in an accident, occupants of the passenger vehicle face a significant likelihood of fatalities.
Underride crashes can cause horrific and deadly injuries to vehicle occupants, and many of the injuries are preventable if a truck had safety protections to prevent them.
The Weight and Distribution of Weight on a Truck
Large trucks and semi-type vehicles carry thousands of pounds of cargo and goods to their destination. Many people may not realize just how intricate a process it can be to load cargo onto a truck. The cargo loading process is not a mindless task but involves forethought and calculations to ensure that the truck can safely travel with the load aboard.
Not only does the weight of cargo on a truck matter, so does the distribution of that weight throughout the truck. Fluctuations in weight across certain areas can significantly increase the chance that a driver will lose control of the truck. In addition, securing and strapping down cargo to prevent movement during transport is also critical.
Sudden shifts in weight while a truck is driving on the road can cause jackknifes and rollover crashes, which can impact any vehicle surrounding the truck at any given moment.
The Driver’s Behaviors
How a driver acts behind the wheel and how they react to obstacles and situations on the road can make a significant impact on the outcome of a truck on the road.
Many truck accidents happen because of operator errors. The truck driver’s ability to maintain control of the truck and safely operate the vehicle even in the event of hazardous weather, roadwork, or other challenges will determine the likelihood that a truck accident can occur.
Failures in Maintenance and Upkeep
The wear and tear that a semi or an 18-wheeler takes are more than that of a passenger vehicle. These trucks travel hundreds of miles each day and thousands of miles in a week. Just one week of a truck on the road is equivalent to months of driving time for the average passenger vehicle.
This high level of use requires that trucks undergo frequent inspections and preventative maintenance to ensure that the vehicle is in good working order and free from any defects or problems that could cause difficulties on the road. When a company or the trucker themselves fails to keep up with maintenance and inspections there can be dangerous consequences.
These massive trucks must be in good condition as they travel long distances and as they carry thousands of pounds on each load. Any damage or flaw can ripple into a devastating chain of events ending in a truck accident.
What are the Injuries Victims of a Truck Accident Can Suffer?
Injuries to victims of a truck accident can be potentially deadly or life-altering. When you put the force and momentum of a vehicle such as a semi against an average passenger vehicle on the road, the balance of force heavily favors the truck. The impact of these collisions can leave vehicles unrecognizable and occupants fighting for their lives in the aftermath.
In some instances, the injuries are too severe to survive, and a victim can die at the crash scene. In situations where the truck accident victim survives the impact, they can face life-changing injuries that may never heal.
Injuries from a truck accident can include:
- Head injuries, including TBIs or traumatic brain injuries
- Neck or back injuries
- Damage to the spinal cord
- Nerve injuries and damage
- Broken or shattered bones
- Tears or ruptures of ligaments, muscles, or tendons
- Severe cuts and lacerations
- Internal injuries to organs or internal bleeding
Who Can Be Liable to You if You Are a Victim of an Illinois Truck Crash?
The significant injuries and damage from a truck accident leave many victims wondering how they will pay for these expenses for their care and other losses.
The concept of negligence applies to truck accidents when an individual suffers harm at the hands of another party. When a party meets all of the elements of negligence, they can be liable to you through an insurance claim or lawsuit for damages.
You are eligible to seek fair compensation for the losses you sustain after the negligence of another party. With truck accidents, various parties could ultimately cause injuries and bear you liability.
While there are some cases where one party is liable for their actions towards a victim, there are many situations when a truck accident occurs where multiple parties can bear liability to the victim.
- The truck driver – When it is the negligence of a truck driver that leads to an accident they will, in turn, become liable to you for your injuries and losses. A truck driver that causes an accident because of their actions is personally liable for the damages they may cause to the victims in the crash.
- The trucking company – Truck accidents differ from other accidents in that, in most circumstances, the accident occurs during the employment scope of a truck driver. Whether it is a truck carrying a load, heading to a pickup, or heading back from a drop-off, a truck on the roadways is often engaged in commercial transport. This working relationship between a truck driver and an employer creates potential liability for the trucking company when the accident is due to the driver’s negligence or a failure on the part of the truck company.
- The truck owner – In some circumstances, a truck owner may subcontract their truck to a driver but is not necessarily the driver’s employer. A driver may plan their routes and shipments but contract to use another party’s truck for the job. In these cases, liability can be tricky, but if evidence shows that the owner of the truck’s actions was somehow a contributing factor to an accident, they can also be liable to you for your losses.
- The companies responsible for loading cargo – Truckers do not always load cargo onto the truck. In fact, in many situations, the company sends the shipment loads and secures the cargo on a semi or tractor-trailer for transport. If a truck accident happens because of some failure of the cargo loading process, it can give liability to the company that took charge of loading and securing the cargo.
Will You Need to Sue to Recover for Your Losses After a Truck Crash?
Some misconceptions can emerge after a truck accident. Victims may hesitate to seek help from a lawyer thinking that a lawsuit is their only option for recovery of compensation. The reality is that an attorney wants to avoid a lawsuit, if possible, in your case. A truck accident lawyer will help you build and prepare your case but will first and foremost attempt to resolve your claim for damages through negotiations with an insurance provider.
It is only when insurance coverage is unavailable or insufficient to cover the extent of your losses that a lawyer is likely to advise you to pursue a lawsuit in court for your damages. No one wants to go through a long-drawn lawsuit, but when you are a victim of serious injuries in a truck accident that will require lifelong care and expenses, it is necessary to fight for the compensation you are eligible for to ensure that you are secure in the future and able to meet the financial demands that will arise because of your injuries.
What is the Truck Accident Statute of Limitations in Illinois?
In Illinois, you have only two years from the date of a truck accident to file a lawsuit in court against the parties responsible for your injuries and losses. If you do not file within this timeframe, you violate the statute of limitations that applies to injuries to a person.
Going beyond the statute of limitations effectively bars you from pursuing damages against a negligent party. While you may initially file a lawsuit, the parties at fault will dispute the validity of your claim because it falls outside the allowable deadline and the court will have little choice but to throw out the case. You must file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires.
A truck accident attorney understands the urgency and time constraints a victim faces after a truck accident. Your lawyer will work with you to prepare and file your case as soon as possible to protect your rights and interests against the parties at fault for your losses.
How Can an Illinois Truck Accident Lawyer Help You?
A truck accident attorney is a necessity after a truck accident. Going forward in a truck accident case without the help of a lawyer can cause you serious problems and even cost you the ability to recover for the losses you sustain after a crash.
A lawyer knows what it takes to fight truck companies, insurance companies, and other parties to negotiate the compensation you deserve after a truck accident due to negligence. Hiring an attorney will allow you to focus on your injuries and rehabilitation while they fight for your interests and needs after a truck accident.
A truck accident lawyer will play an important role in recovering your losses after a truck crash and helping you seek the money you need to cover your inability to work, your medical expenses, and other personal losses. If you are a victim of a truck accident, contact an Illinois truck accident lawyer at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers for a free case evaluation.
The legal team of Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, is nationally recognized for protecting the rights of injured victims for more than 20 years. If you were injured in an Illinois truck accident, call our office right now for a free consultation! Because we take all of our truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis, you will not owe us a dime unless we win your case. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so call us today at 800-898-4877 or contact us now by clicking here.
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Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.