Truck drivers are the backbone of the country, maintaining the system of interstate transport for consumer goods. While truck drivers play a vital role today, operating a vehicle of that magnitude on open roads can be dangerous.
An accident with a tractor-trailer can be seriously dangerous to others caught in a collision because of how much bigger these trucks are than most other cars on the road.
Getting into an accident with a commercial vehicle can be more complex than a traditional car accident because you will be dealing with a commercial insurer, who may not make it easy to get the full damages you need to recover.
Without an attorney, fighting for compensation from a corporate entity and its insurer may be more challenging. A lawyer can help you show the negligent party that your claim won’t be easy to undervalue, acting as a professional advocate fighting for the maximum compensation possible.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in Chicago, call The Fakhouri Firm Accident and Injury Lawyers today. Our team is passionate about serving those who have endured unfortunate accidents such as truck collisions, and we’ve helped families all over Chicago like yours.
When you set up a consultation, we’ll help you learn more about the claim process, answer any pressing questions, and guide you through the next steps for your case. To schedule a free consultation with a Chicago car accident lawyer from The Fakhouri Firm Accident and Injury Lawyers, call (312) 999-9990 or contact us online.
Working With a Truck Accident Attorney in Chicago
Chicago’s streets and highways are no stranger to run-ins with traffic. While the city depends greatly on semi-trucks and other heavy commercial vehicles to sustain its commerce, it is also true that these behemoths regularly place others in danger.
When collisions happen, the results can easily become deadly.
Making matters worse, truck accident claims can be challenging to pursue. Whether because of a commercial carrier that refuses to turn over all available evidence or an insurance company trying to avoid covering basic aspects of a claim, the average person is up against a monumental challenge when pursuing these companies for compensation.
Even the playing field by placing an experienced and driven Chicago personal injury team in your own corner. We know how to stand up to big corporate interests and fight for the maximum value for our claim.
When you work with The Fakhouri Firm, you can expect all of the following professional legal services:
- Tireless representation throughout every stage of your claim
- A comprehensive investigation of your accident in pursuit of all available evidence
- Knowledge and experience of the claims process and how to handle big corporate entities
- Accurate estimation of your damages, in full, including all projected future injury treatment costs
- Legal guidance and regular case updates
- Preparation of a case for a lawsuit or trial in the event an insurance claim settlement cannot be reached
- Seasoned legal advocates who will provide every resource possible to maximize your chances of obtaining all compensation possible
How Common Are Truck Accidents?
No one ever anticipates a truck accident, but collisions with big commercial vehicles happen more frequently than many people realize. In 2021, the number of fatalities related to large truck crashes almost reached 6,000, increasing 17% from the previous year.
Truck accidents can be almost as common as accidents with traditional motor vehicles but can be even more dangerous due to the height and weight differences.
The most common types of truck accidents are
- Roll-over accident
- Head-on accidents
- Rear-end accidents
- T-bone accidents
- Wide turn complications
What Causes Truck Accidents?
Impact with a tractor-trailer can be seriously dangerous, causing major injuries and totaling the other vehicles in most cases.
Truck accidents generally involve two cars but can cause extreme pile-ups with multiple vehicles in certain instances. These accidents can be caused by many factors, but when looking at a negligent truck driver, a small list makes up for a large percentage of accidents recorded.
Some of the most common causes of accidents involving a large truck include:
- Driver error: According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), driver error makes up for ten times the amount of accidents as other leading causes. They cite performance, recognition, decision, and performance as the most prevalent issues. These four categories are involved in more than half of the annual reported accidents.
- Inadequate training: In many cases, truck drivers are thrown onto their route with little to no training under their belt. This puts other drivers on the road at risk and can even jeopardize the stability of their own company when serious accidents occur. When a driver is inadequately trained, they may be easily overwhelmed on the road or prone to simple mistakes that a properly trained driver wouldn’t make.
- Equipment failure: It is more rare than some of the other causes, but equipment failure can happen. In the event of a defective vehicle part, the resulting damages would be the responsibility of the part manufacturer and not the trucking company. However, the truck company or their maintenance contractor may also be at fault for failure to regularly inspect vehicles and address any safety hazards.
- Stress and pressure encouraging reckless behavior: It is common for a truck driver’s employer to incentivize early delivery with bonuses or other benefits that are hard to refuse. This tempts drivers to push their limits and drive past their allotted time or skip breaks and substitute sleep with caffeine. This physical and mental stress can lead to exhaustion, causing dangerous driving and eventually an accident.
- Substance abuse: Driving under the influence is a serious offense, but it can be more dangerous when you spend most of your day on the road. According to the American Addiction Centers, over 27% of truck drivers admit to consuming drugs. Many drivers use substances to relax their overstimulated minds after long hours or take substances to stay awake during their long hauls. Regardless of the reason, drug consumption puts all other drivers on the road at risk and is a common reason for accidents involving semi-trucks.
Common Injuries Associated With Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can lead to severe injuries with life-threatening effects because of how impactful a collision with a heavier vehicle can be. A semi-truck can be between 6 and 8 times heavier than a traditional vehicle, leaving those cars at a higher risk of injury.
Some of the most common injuries associated with crashing into a semi-truck include:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Head and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Rib and torso injuries
- Internal injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back injuries
Determining Liability in a Truck Accident in Chicago
Liability works differently in every state. Illinois is considered an at-fault state, which means that in the event of an accident, any party deemed to hold less than the majority of fault for the accident can seek compensation from the negligent party.
Liability is generally determined when the causes of the accident are well understood. The pursuit of a claim will often be delayed while an investigation into the true causes of the accident and all potentially contributory parties.
When one of the negligent parties is a semi-truck driver, chances are you’ll be working with the employer and their insurance company.
In some cases, the liable party may not be the driver at all. Third-party liability refers to situations where an outside entity holds some responsibility for the events of the accident.
For example, a parts manufacturer or mechanic working on the truck may be liable if it is deemed that their errors caused the collision.
Examples of potentially liable third parties in an accident can include:
- The trucking carrier company
- The owner of the truck or trailer, in the event of negligent maintenance
- The manufacturer of a defective vehicle or part
- Another passenger vehicle driver who caused the initial collision
- The owner or steward of a property with a dangerous hazard, including municipal, state, and federal entities
- The manufacturer of your vehicle, if a defect caused the accident to occur or your injuries to be worse than they should have been
Because a single truck accident case can involve claims with multiple negligent parties, they can get complicated fast. It is beneficial, therefore, for injured parties to work with an attorney who can identify all sources of liability and pursue a claim against them all, maximizing your chances of complete damage recovery.
What Happens After a Truck Accident?
Even though no two accidents will ever look or feel the same, the legal process is generally consistent for most crashes. Below is a set of tips that can help the victim of a truck accident protect their claim from being undervalued or denied.
Seek Medical Attention
The most important step to take after a truck accident is to have your physical condition assessed by an on-site EMT or a doctor. In most cases, emergency first responders will arrive on-scene for a truck accident and analyze the extent of your injuries there.
They will then recommend transport to a nearby hospital if necessary. Even if you are not transported to the hospital, many EMTs will recommend that victims go to the emergency room or see a doctor because there could be injuries that are initially not felt because of shock and adrenaline.
Even if you don’t feel hurt at first, always follow up with a medical evaluation after a truck accident in case you have injuries that are developing and will be felt later.
Document the Events of the Scene
The scene of an accident can be intense and loud, as there will be a lot going on between the passersby and the clean-up crew. Before they have a chance to remove all traces of the accident, it is important that you record the scene with pictures and videos if you are physically capable.
Statements from witnesses may help fill in any gray areas. Pictures of debris, tire marks, and injuries can be incredibly helpful for visualizing the impact the event had on any victims.
Witnesses Can Make a Difference
The events of an accident happen so fast that it can be nearly impossible for both drivers to remember everything perfectly. Witnesses offer a secondary perspective to the accident that can help piece together uncertain details or solidify things that are already believed to be true.
These statements can be useful when negotiating the terms of the settlement. After the accident, prompt bystanders to stick around and give their statements to the arriving officers before leaving.
You should also obtain their contact information for potential follow-up. In many cases, police can organize this step immediately without you needing to step in.
Always Be Cautious About What You Say After an Accident
Everything you say at the accident scene can potentially harm your subsequent claim. Police, EMTs, and any firefighters who respond are required to make notes about the details of the scene, and they may include things that you or the other party said while the aftermath was unfolding.
You never want to say anything that can be taken as admitting fault, including offering a simple apology to others involved. It is also important to remember that staying calm will benefit your claim in the long run, even if you are extremely frustrated over the situation.
Never scream at or threaten the other drivers, as this can be twisted to negatively color your character later.
If You Were Injured in a Collision With a Semi-Truck, Call On a Chicago Truck Accident Law Firm to Manage Your Case
The steps following a truck accident can be overwhelming and oftentimes confusing to process alone. Working with an attorney means having a team of professionals to guide you through the big steps and small details.
They can be there to offer peace of mind when questions or concerns inevitably come up.
At The Fakhouri Firm, we passionately serve each client with the full capabilities of our skills, resources, and experience. Our consultations are always free and leave you with no obligation to commit to our services.
Your free initial consultation can help you better understand what your next steps are and how having a lawyer can positively impact your case. To schedule your free consultation with a Chicago truck accident lawyer from The Fakhouri Firm, call (312) 999-9990 or contact us online