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If you or a loved one have suffered injuries, property damage, or other financial losses due to a truck accident in Chicago, IL – you may qualify to take legal action to gain compensation for those injuries and losses.

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Truck Accidents in Chicago, IL

Commercial trucking is essential to the United States and specifically, Illinois.

As a central part of the midwest, the commercial transportation of goods is a bustling industry in Chicago as trucks cross through the city on trips coast to coast.

Without the transportation of goods, our economy would be without the necessary supplies to sustain itself.

73% of freight shipments by Illinois businesses are carried to their destination via truck.

Truck Accidents in Chicago, IL

With congested highways, inclement weather, and high volumes of commercial trucking – truck accidents in Chicago are an unavoidable and a common type of vehicle accident in Illinois.

While trucking is beneficial to the Windy City, Chicago truck accidents are common and often result in serious injuries, damages, and even fatalities.

If you have suffered from a commercial-trucking-related accident in Chicago, you should consider seeking counsel from the experienced Chicago truck accident lawyers at TorHoerman Law.

An attorney can help by taking on the legal responsibilities involved in constructing a strong claim to ensure that you receive the full compensation that you deserve to compensate for your injuries and losses!

Chicago Truck Accident Statistics

Chicago Truck Accident Statistics

Truck accidents are very common in Illinois.

To give you a better idea of how often they occur, here are a few recent statistics:

  • According to the most recent IDoT statistics, crashes involving tractor-trailers accounted for 11,741 accidents in 2019, 3.8% of overall crashes.
  • Trucking accidents made up 10.7% of all fatal accidents in Illinois in 2019.
  • 419 people suffered non-fatal injuries in truck accidents in 2019.
  • Chicago truck accidents are less common than other auto accidents, but they are more likely to result in serious injury or death.
  • Driver negligence makes up about 87% of all trucking accidents.
  • Around 10% of all trucking accidents were related to a vehicle defect.

Chicago Trucking Laws & Regulations

Congress passed the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act in 1986, setting minimum standards for the licensing of drivers of commercial motor vehicles.

The Illinois Department of Transportation further expands on federal regulations by requiring drivers of commercial motor vehicles to meet certain minimum standards before driving on Illinois roadways – including oversize and overweight permits for semi-trucks.

Chicago Trucking Laws & Regulations

In addition to requiring a specific license, there are laws in Chicago regulating the trucking industry, including the transportation of hazardous materials.

Some Chicago trucking regulations include:

  • All semi-trucks registered in the state of Illinois must undergo safety testing every 6 or 12 months, depending on the type of vehicle.
  • Drivers must follow all signage regarding maximum truck width, length, height, and weight limits.
  • Truckers may only drive for specific time frames, divided by work and duty periods. In a work period, the driver may work up to seven days in a row, up to 60 hours within those seven days, but they must take a 34-hour break before beginning the next work period. Duty periods are the time frames within a work period. Each duty period lasts for 14 hours, but drivers can only drive for up to 11 hours. At 8 hours, the driver must take a break.
  • Distracted driving is strictly prohibited by all drivers in the State of Illinois.

Common Causes of Chicago Truck Accidents

With heavy traffic and inclement weather, Chicago roadways and weather conditions are two of the most prevalent causes of accidents.

Common Causes of Chicago Truck Accidents

Other common causes of Chicago truck accidents include:

Overloaded Trailers

When trailers are overloaded, excess weight can make it more difficult for the driver to maneuver or stop and can lead to dangerous accidents.

Hazardous Weather

Chicago truck accidents are more likely to occur during times of inclement weather, especially in the winter when snow and ice are common.

Heavy Traffic

Chicago truck accidents occur in areas of heavy traffic, such as the highways near downtown Chicago, especially during rush hour.

IDOT statistics indicate that most tractor-trailer accidents occur on interstate highways, tollways, and arterial streets in and around cities.

Tractor-Trailer Defects

Chicago truck accidents are not always due to driver error but can be caused by a defect or faulty equipment on the semi-truck.

Involvement in an accident with a semi-truck or tractor-trailer can result in a slew of injuries, often of a serious nature, because of the sheer size of the vehicle compared to a passenger vehicle such as a car.

Broken bones, spinal injuries, back and neck injuries, lacerations, seat belt injuries, internal injuries such as damage to organs, paralysis, or even death are common when a commercial truck is involved.

Some accidents are at no fault of either the driver or any other parties – not all Chicago trucking accidents have a viable liability claim.

It is best to speak to a Chicago truck accident lawyer to see whether your case qualifies.

Special Circumstances for Chicago Trucking Accidents

Special Circumstances for Chicago Trucking Accidents

Wide-Angle Turning

Large commercial trucks do not have the same turning capacity as normal vehicles.

Especially on more narrow roads, it is common for commercial trucks to use multiple lanes when turning.

In some situations, courts may not find truck drivers liable for turning accidents because they believe other drivers should recognize the difficulty for trucks to make turns and accommodate for the trucks.


Large commercial trucks are prone to “jackknifing”, a situation where the cab and detached trailer move into a bent, double-up position.

Jackknifing is especially common when a commercial truck is forced to break unexpectedly or when the driver faces undesirable road conditions.

But, there are always exceptions to the rules.

Chicago U-Haul Accidents

While in the category of a commercial vehicle, U-Haul, and other rental trucking companies of the same nature, can pose an even greater risk than most realize.

Drivers of semi-trucks must undergo a written and skills test before obtaining a special CDL license, but any individual can rent a U-Haul and drive it around the country.

The risk?

Inexperienced drivers are operating large vehicles which can put others at risk on roadways.

Chicago U-Haul Accidents

The most common types of U-Haul accidents are a loss of trailer control, collisions as a result of a blind spot, truck rollover, or cargo shift throwing the vehicle off-balance.

While anyone can rent a U-Haul, it is important to take extra precautions before driving.

Here are a few precautions that should be taken by U-Haul drivers:

  • Follow the speed limit and refrain from driving at too-fast speeds
  • Be cautious of any blind spots and double-check before merging lanes
  • Leave extra distance between yourself and others
  • Before hooking up a trailer to the U-Haul, have experience in driving a vehicle with one attached.

If you are involved in a UHaul accident, we have a team of rental truck accident lawyers readily available to help you through a free legal consultation.

Who is Liable in a Chicago Truck Accident?

Commercial vehicles are much larger, and therefore much more destructive than normal vehicles.

A “fender-bender” between two normal cars usually results in minimal damages and minor injuries.

However, a fender-bender of the same magnitude involving a commercial truck is often disastrous and can result in severe injury or death due to the sheer size of the truck compared to that of a typical passenger vehicle.

Who is Liable in a Chicago Truck Accident?

Accidents between commercial trucks and other vehicles can be caused by the negligence of either party, but road hazards and weather conditions make operating commercial trucks more difficult.

These are also common factors causing semi truck accidents, especially in the midwest where snow and ice storms are frequent.

Chicago’s nickname, the Windy City, is for both its political history and weather influenced by Lake Michigan.

As a result of the near-constant, windy weather conditions, road conditions can be affected in dangerous ways.

Another increased danger is the cargo onboard commercial trucks.

If contents of a truck container are flammable or hazardous and not secured properly, they can create increased damages in an accident.

Chicago truck accident lawsuit cases are similar to any other type of motor vehicle accident in that the theory of liability is negligence.

To establish liability, you must prove that:

  • The defendant had a duty of care to avoid injury for other drivers on the road.
  • The defendant failed to fulfill that duty of care, breaching his/her obligation to other drivers.
  • This breach of a duty of care was the cause of any damages that other drivers suffered.
  • There is tangible evidence showing that damages did occur, and the damages can be linked to the defendant’s breach of duty.

Recognizing All Defendants in Chicago Trucking Accidents

In the case of trucking accidents, liability is not always limited to the driver.

The trucking company, employers, and insurance providers can be held liable for damages as well.

Truck drivers can operate as independent contractors, full-time employees operating for multiple companies, or full-time employees operating for a single company.

Recognizing All Defendants in Chicago Trucking Accidents

If the driver is operating independently…

Liability can be tricky.

Depending on the truck driver’s insurance coverage and outstanding contracts with employers, compensation for damages can fall on the driver’s insurance provider or the company that he is driving for.

If the driver is operating for a trucking company…

Compensation for damages likely falls on that company or their insurance provider.

There are certain circumstances in which the company may dispute its liability and may try to blame the manufacturer for the goods that the truck is carrying.

If the driver operates for a single corporation….

Compensation for damages likely falls on the company or their insurance provider.

To hold the corporation liable, your accident injury attorney will need to prove that the truck driver was operating within the confines of the corporation’s rules and expectations for drivers.

It is best to discuss your case with a Chicago trucking accident lawyer who can properly assess the situation and determine which parties can be held liable in your Chicago trucking accident lawsuit!

Get Compensated with Help from Our Chicago Truck Accident Lawyers

As the victim of a trucking accident, you are eligible for compensation for the economic and non-economic losses that you incur as a result of your accident.

A Chicago truck accident lawyer can help you assess these damages and prove that you qualify for compensation!


Get Compensated with Help from Our Chicago Truck Accident Lawyers - Damages

The injuries that you suffer and the loss that you incur in a Chicago truck accident are defined as damages.

These damages include:

  • Monetary costs for injuries
  • Property damages
  • Lost wages
  • Future costs associated with injuries
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of life
  • Punitive costs

Depending on the specific details of your accident, you may choose to file for both punitive damages and compensatory damages.

After establishing the liable party, your truck accident attorney Chicago can help you draft a list of these damages!


Get Compensated with Help from Our Chicago Truck Accident Lawyers - Evidence

You will need to gather tangible evidence to acquire compensation for these damages.

Follow our step-by-step guide to ensure that you handle the situation properly and collect the necessary evidence to support your claim:

  1. Keep a record of all truck accident injuries and medical care to treat those injuries.
  2. Track all billing records – costs of repairing your vehicle and bills incurred at medical facilities.
  3. Describe your injuries and any long-term conditions that will affect your ability to work in the future.
  4. Document all missed work to recuperate lost wages.
  5. Talk with an experienced Chicago trucking accident attorney to further discuss any other evidence needed.


Get Compensated with Help from Our Chicago Truck Accident Lawyers - Mitigation

An important first step that you can take to assist in straightening your case is mitigating your injuries and losses.

To mitigate, you need to do everything possible to minimize the costs associated with your truck accident.

A few ways that you can mitigate your injuries and losses include:

  • Seeking proper medical treatment
  • Following your doctor’s orders
  • Fixing all damage to property (if possible)
  • Getting an assessment and valuation for your damaged property
  • Following your attorney’s directions

Process of Filing a Lawsuit for Chicago Truck Accident Victims

It is important to know that every case is different and subjective to the individual details of that specific accident.

But generally, your Chicago trucking accident lawyer must ensure that you meet the statute of limitations.

This is the amount of time you have to file a claim after your accident has occurred.

In the State of Illinois, a plaintiff generally has two years from the time of the accident to file a lawsuit.

Each state has different statutes of limitations which makes it imperative you hire a Chicago trucking accident attorney to help you navigate the legal process specific to Illinois.

Next, your attorney will file a claim on your behalf.

Your claim will establish a liable party(s) and initiate the civil litigation process.

Your attorney will begin gathering evidence to build your truck accident case and prove that you deserve to be compensated for your damages.

You can either gain compensation through a pre-trial settlement, a settlement during the trial, or a verdict from a judge or jury.

Your Chicago injury lawyer will be available to lead you through each step in this process.

How Long Will My Chicago Truck Accident Lawsuit Take?

How Long Will My Chicago Truck Accident Lawsuit Take?

Several factors affect the timeline of a Chicago trucking accident lawsuit.

Trucking accident claims generally take anywhere from 12 months to 2 years to reach a decision, depending on the circumstances of the case.

These circumstances affecting this timeline can include:

  • Determining who is at fault
  • The investigation process includes reviewing documents, reports, medical records, and gathering other evidence
  • Negotiation between the parties involved
  • A potential trial

While the timeframe may seem long, it is in your best interest for the process to be conducted in the most dedicated and diligent manner possible.

By devoting time and resources, the experienced truck accident attorneys at TorHoerman Law will be able to ensure you are awarded the maximum amount of compensation owed to you for lost wages, medical bills, injuries suffered, and emotional distress!

Filing a Chicago Trucking Accident Lawsuit

Filing a Chicago Trucking Accident Lawsuit

If you or a loved one has been involved in a Chicago truck accident, you may qualify for compensation through a Chicago trucking accident lawsuit.

You should contact a Chicago truck accident attorney right away to determine whether it is appropriate to take legal action.

Before moving forward with your Chicago trucking accident lawsuit, you should familiarize yourself with the civil litigation process, so that you are aware of the steps involved in your lawsuit.

Hiring a Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer

The decision to select a Chicago truck accident lawyer is an important one.

It’s crucial that you seek representation from an experienced truck accident lawyer.

The Illinois laws and legal proceedings involved in these truck accident cases are vast and complex.

There are many benefits to hiring a personal injury lawyer, especially when you are filing a Chicago trucking accident lawsuit.

A Chicago trucking accident lawyer can help navigate this process so that you can focus on your health and process of recovery!

TorHoerman Law - The #1 Chicago Truck Accident Lawyers

Our team of experienced Chicago truck accident attorneys can answer any questions you may have about your potential Chicago truck accident lawsuit.

Contact our team today for a free, no-obligation Chicago trucking accident lawsuit case consultation.

TorHoerman Law - The #1 Chicago Truck Accident Lawyers

At every step of the way, our team will be there to help you through the legal process and to get the full compensation that you deserve for your Chicago truck accident lawsuit.

Use our chatbot to receive a free instant online case evaluation and find out if you qualify for compensation right away.

TorHoerman Law, the best personal injury lawyer Chicago has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is considered a commercial truck?

    Commercial trucks are categorized based on the weight rating of the vehicle.

    But, commercial trucks are commonly referred to as semi-trucks.

    Semi-trucks are also referred to as:

    • Big rigs
    • 18-wheelers
    • Cargo trucks
    • Tractor-trailers
    • Fuel trucks
    • Large box trucks, such as U-hauls
    • Delivery vans
    • Motor coaches
    • Buses

  • How are Chicago trucking accidents different from car accidents?

    While trucking accidents can occur in the same manner as car accidents, they have a much bigger impact on all involved due to the sheer size of the vehicle.

    Injuries are often much more substantial and serious as is the damage inflicted on the vehicles and roadways.

  • I was involved in an accident with a commercial truck. Can I receive money for the wages I lost as a result of missed work due to an injury?

    Yes, you can.

    Not only can you potentially receive money for the wages you lost while recovering from the accident, but you can also receive compensation for any loss of earning capacity.

    After obtaining a lawyer to guide you through the legal process, they will determine all potential damages.

Written By:
Tor Hoerman

Tor Hoerman

Owner & Attorney - TorHoerman Law

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