Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one 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. Contact an experienced Chicago truck accident lawyer from TorHoerman Law for a free, no-obligation consultation today.
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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.
With congested highways, inclement weather, and high volumes of commercial trucking, truck accidents in Chicago are an unavoidable and common type of vehicle accident in Northern IL.
While trucking is beneficial to the Windy City, Chicago truck accidents are common and often result in serious injuries and damages. If you have suffered from a commercial-trucking related accident in Chicago, you should consider seeking counsel from an experienced Chicago truck accident lawyer. 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
Truck accidents are very common in Illinois.
- According to the most recent IDot statistics, there were 86 fatal truck accidents in one year
- Trucking accidents made up 13% of all fatal accidents in Illinois
- 1,902 people suffered non-fatal injuries in truck accidents in the last recorded year
- While Chicago truck accidents are less common than other auto accidents, they are more likely to result in serious injury or death. In one year, there were 11,585 total truck accidents.
- Driver negligence makes up about 87% of all trucking accidents
- Around 10% of all trucking accidents were related to a vehicle defect
Illinois Trucking Laws and 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.
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 prior to 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 conditions are two of the most prevalent causes of accidents. Other common causes include:
When trailers are overloaded, the excess weight can make it more difficult for the driver to maneuver or stop.
Chicago truck accidents are more likely to occur during times of inclement weather, especially the winter when snow and ice are common.
Chicago truck accidents occur in areas of heavy traffic, such as the highways near downtown Chicago, especially during rush hour.
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, s 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
There are two types of accidents that are more common in Chicago commercial trucking accidents. Because they are more common, the courts sometimes give more leeway for truck drivers in these situations. Therefore, it is important to recognize these situations.
Wide-Angle Turning Truck Accidents
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.
Jackknifing Truck Accidents
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 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 driving larger vehicles which can put others at risk on roadways.
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. 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, and before hooking up a trailer to the U-Haul, have experience in driving a vehicle with one attached.
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 magnitude of the truck compared to that of a typical passenger vehicle.
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 and are also common factors causing accidents, especially in the midwest where snow and ice storms are frequent. Chicago got its nickname, the Windy City, as a result of the near-constant weather conditions that can directly affect road conditions. Another increased danger is the cargo on board of commercial trucks. If the contents of the container are flammable or hazardous or 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. In order 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.
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 their liability and may try to blame the manufacturer of 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. In order to hold the corporation liable, your accident injury attorney will need to prove that the 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 For Your Chicago Trucking Accident
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.
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.
You will need to gather tangible evidence in order 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.
- Keep a record of all injuries and medical care to treat those injuries.
- Track all billing records – costs of repairing your vehicle and bills incurred at medical facilities.
- Describe your injuries and any long-term conditions that will affect your ability to work in the future.
- Document all missed work to recuperate lost wages.
- Talk with an experienced Chicago trucking accident attorney to further discuss any other evidence needed.
An important first step that you can take to assist in straightening your case is mitigating your injuries and losses. In order 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 damaged to property (if possible)
- Getting an assessment and valuation for your damaged property
- Following your attorney’s directions
Process of a Chicago Trucking Accident Lawsuit
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 occured. 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 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 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?
There are a number of factors that 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 which 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, a Chicago truck accident attorney 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
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. You should seek representation from an experienced personal injury lawyer. The Illinois laws and legal proceedings involved in these 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 recovery.
TorHoerman Law, Chicago’s Best Truck Accident Law Firm
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. At every step of the way, our legal team will be there to help you through the legal process and help you to get the full compensation that you deserve for your Chicago truck accident lawsuit.
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