The Help You Need After a Truck Crash
Trucks, also known as big rigs or 18-wheelers, can cause some of the most devastating accidents on Illinois roads. This is mainly because of their sheer size. A fully loaded truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and tower well over ten feet tall, dwarfing any standard passenger motor vehicle. With millions of trucks on American roads at any given time, accidents are bound to happen. In fact, many larger trucking companies keep accident response attorneys on retainer to handle truck accident claims.
If you or a family member has been involved in an collision with a truck in the state of Illinois, you need your own dedicated legal team on your side. The skilled Chicago trucking accident attorneys at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC. are here to help you fight the at-fault trucker and the trucking company responsible for your damages and losses. Call us today at (800) 996-4824 to discuss your case and consider your options.
Causes of Trucking Accidents
There are many potential causes for trucking accidents, from road conditions to driver error. In order for an injury or damage caused in a trucking accident to be grounds for a lawsuit, negligence must be at the heart of the crash. Some common causes that involve negligence on part of the driver or trucking company include:
- Sleep deprived/fatigued truck drivers
- Drivers speeding to meet deadlines
- Distracted truck drivers
- Truck drivers violating traffic laws
- Overloaded trailers
- Truck drivers under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- Poor truck maintenance
- Truck manufacturing defects
- Safety regulation violations
- Hours of service violations
The Legal Obligations of Truck Drivers and Illinois Trucking Companies in Collisions
Any driver on the road has a legal obligation to operate their vehicles in a safe manner to protect themselves, other drivers, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. Truck drivers have a special obligation to operate their vehicles safely due to the size and weight of the average big rig truck.
The federal government recognizes this fact and has established strict safety regulations for the American trucking industry, including hours of service rules that truck drivers must follow. These rules indicate how many hours a truck driver can operate a vehicle without taking a break, as well as how many hours they can drive each week before they have to take a long break. There are also federal regulations regarding what types of cargo trucks can carry, and how they need to be loaded and logged for the safety of truck drivers and others on the road. Violations of these regulations not only can result in criminal action against the driver or company, but help strengthen civil claims against the company.
Financial Compensation for a Truck Accident in Chicago
Anyone who has been involved in a crash with a truck may be able to pursue compensation through a personal injury claim. A dedicated Chicago injury lawyer may be able to help you secure compensation for the following:
- Current and future medical bills
- Lost wages from missed work
- Property damages
- Physical therapy costs
- Costs of home and/or vehicle modifications (such as ramps and lifts)
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death (in the event of losing a loved one)
How is Liability Determined for a Truck Accident in Chicago
In any civil claim, liability is one of the most important factors to establish before filing a suit against a person or company. Liability refers to responsibility for an accident, but with regard to a lawsuit, negligence is also vital. Someone may be at fault for an accident, but may have acted appropriately and made all reasonable attempts to avoid the collision, which does not necessarily make them negligent.
Negligence typically means that a person not only caused a collision, or created a situation in which it would occur, but did so in a way that was irresponsible or unreasonable. If a trucking company overloads a truck, and does so knowingly, then that action is negligent because they did not reasonably control the weight of the truck in accordance with federal and state statutes. Negligence can be difficult to prove, but is necessary in winning a lawsuit or civil claim, which is why you need an experienced attorney to represent you.
Liability for a truck accident depends on many different variables in a case, but in general, it will typically come down to one, or a combination, of a few possible sources:
- The Driver - Since the driver directly controls the truck, he or she is usually the first person to look at in terms of liability. Negligence depends on the behavior of the driver, and how well he or she attempted to ensure a collision would not occur.
- The Trucking Company - If a company knowingly overloads a truck or forces drivers to skip safety regulations, then it may be liable. Improper care or maintenance that should be provided by the company, which causes an accident, can also create liability.
- Manufacturers and Other Third-Parties - This is one of the most difficult types of liability to prove, but should still be considered. If the brakes on a truck do not work due to mechanical failure, then the manufacturer may be liable, but only if the failure was caused by negligence on their part. Similarly, another person may act in an unreasonable and negligent way, causing the crash while not being directly involved in it, and therefore be held liable.
Legal Help for Truck Accident Victims in Chicago
Large truck crashes often result in serious or fatal injuries to others sharing the roadways. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a collision with a large commercial truck, it is in your best interests to speak with an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible after the crash. At Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC., our Chicago truck accident lawyers fight for the rights of injured victims against large trucking companies, insurance companies, and their teams of defense lawyers. We have been named among National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers, listed in Marquis Who's Who in American Law, and awarded Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent® Rating.
Contact us today at (800) 996-4824 for a free consultation about your case and to discuss your legal options.
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