Experienced Truck Accident Lawyers in Chicago
Commercial trucks are responsible for moving goods all over this country and in the Chicago area. However, if you or a loved one have been injured in an accident caused by a negligent truck driver or trucking company, contact Seidman, Margulis & Fairman, LLP today.
Our Chicago truck accident attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and work to secure any compensation you are entitled to.
Truck Accident Resources
- Why Choose Our Truck Accident Lawyers
- Common Types of Truck Accident Injuries
- Compensation Available in a Truck Accident Claim
- Free Consultation With a Truck Accident Attorney Today
Why Hire Seidman, Margulis & Fairman, LLP?
- Our exclusive focus on personal injury law gives us a high level of specialization and unique insights into the litigation process involved in commercial truck accident cases.
- We will not hesitate to take a case to trial if that is what is necessary to secure maximum compensation.
- We take Chicago truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means our clients pay no upfront or out-of-pocket costs for their case. Clients owe nothing until we secure the compensation they deserve.
Why Do You Need An Attorney For A Truck Accident Claim?
Truck accident cases can become incredibly complicated and often involve multiple potentially liable parties. Victims are going to need a Chicago truck accident lawyer with extensive resources and legal experience.
A Chicago car accident attorney will be able to obtain all evidence from the crash scene and be able to look into the history of the truck driver and trucking company involved. An attorney will negotiate with every party involved to obtain a fair settlement on behalf of the client.
Truck Accidents Often Lead To Catastrophic Injuries
Crashes involving large trucks can be devastating. While these incidents only accounted for 3.8% of the overall crashes during the state’s latest reporting year, they were responsible for 11.1% of all traffic crash fatalities, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.
How Common Are Tractor-Trailer Accidents?
All told, the Illinois DOT says that tractor-trailers caused 12,267 total crashes during the latest year of data we have available. Due to the size and weight of these vehicles, it is not uncommon for survivors in passenger vehicles to sustain severe injuries. At Seidman, Margulis & Fairman, LLP, our Chicago truck accident lawyers regularly help clients who have sustained the following:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Crush injuries or amputations
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Severe lacerations
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
All too often, we find that these accidents are caused by the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company. This can include a failure of a driver to follow hours of service requirements put in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
It is also not uncommon for a truck crash to be caused by vehicle failure due to a lack of inspection or maintenance by truck owners.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Unfortunately, there are in variety of causes of truck accidents in and around the Chicago area. This city is a hotbed of commercial activity, and much of that activity depends on large trucks. There are a variety of ways that these accidents can occur. Of course, there are times when drivers of passenger vehicles can cause these accidents. However, there are also times when the actions of truck drivers or trucking companies can also cause serious accidents.
- Truck drivers. It is vital that all truck drivers obtain their commercial driver’s license and thoroughly understand how to operate each vehicle they are asked to drive. Importantly, truck drivers must follow all traffic laws as well as laws specifically related to commercial trucking activity in Illinois. Truck drivers must also follow hours of service requirements set forth by the FMCSA in order to avoid fatigue driving. Failing to do so could lead to serious accidents. Truck drivers can also cause serious accidents if they operate their vehicle while impaired by alcohol drugs.
- Trucking companies. Truck owners and operators can also cause serious accidents to occur on the roadway. It is the responsibility of all truck owners and operators to properly inspect their vehicles according to the guidelines set forth by the FMCSA. If they do not do this, there is a chance that a large commercial truck could experience vehicle failure while traveling down the highway. Truck owners and operators also have a responsibility to ensure that all drivers are properly trained, and owners and operators must never pressure drivers to overload the vehicles or drive longer than the hours of service requirements allow.
Determining Liability After a Truck Accident Starts With Proper Documentation
Determining liability in the aftermath of a truck crash is vitally important when it comes to securing compensation for your losses. You can be sure that truck companies and drivers will do what they can to place a liability on anyone other than themselves. However, there are steps you can take right after an accident occurs to properly document the incident in order to help maximize your chances of securing compensation.
- Call 911 and seek medical attention. Regardless of how minor injuries may seem, you need to ensure that you seek medical attention immediately. This not only ensures your well-being, but also helps establish a link between the truck crash and your injuries.
- Take photos of the entire scene. Do what you can to use your phone or another camera to take photos of the crash, including any damage to vehicles, injuries, possible causes of the crash, and more.
- Get eyewitness contact information. If there were any eyewitnesses to the crash, be sure to get their names and contact information.
- Keep all medical records. You must keep all documentation of medical care and continue treatment with a physician until they say you have reached maximum medical improvement.
Things You Should Look for When Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer
Securing an attorney soon after a truck crash occurs is important, as your attorney will have the legal experience and resources necessary to conduct a complete investigation into the accident. When you are looking for a truck accident attorney, keep the following in mind:
- Use an attorney with extensive truck accident litigation experience. There may be many personal injury attorneys in the Chicago area, but you need to find one who has handled these cases on a regular basis and had success.
- Find an attorney with a successful case history. No attorney wins every single case, but a good success rate is generally going to be important to helping you get the compensation you need.
- Look to see if the attorney you want to choose has won any awards or honors. Many attorneys have been awarded various achievements from their peers and other legal groups throughout Illinois and the United States. If a prospective attorney has many awards to their name, this is usually a good sign that they are respected and will properly handle your case.
How Long do I Have to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit in Chicago?
It is crucial for any truck accident injury victim to know that they have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit against the truck driver or trucking company in their case. In Illinois, the personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date the injury occurred. This gives a truck crash victim a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party. If a victim fails to file a lawsuit within this time frame, they will likely lose the ability to recover any compensation at all, regardless of how severe their injuries or regardless of how clear the fault of the other party was.
We do want to point out that the Illinois personal injury statute of limitations has no bearing on the deadlines put in place by any insurance carriers involved. In general, all auto insurance carriers have very short reporting deadlines, typically within a day or two after the incident. If an accident victim fails to file a claim with the insurance carrier within these short reporting deadlines, the carrier could delay or even deny the claim. Please work with a skilled attorney as soon as possible after a truck crash in Chicago so you can secure your rightful compensation.
What are My Legal Rights if I am a Truck Driver Hurt in a Crash or on the Job?
If you are a truck driver involved in a crash on the job, then you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. We want to point out that you have the same rights as any other party involved in the crash. You have the right to be treated fairly, and a complete investigation must be completed in order to determine liability. Contrary to popular belief, truck drivers are not always the ones at fault in these collisions. An investigation will be conducted to properly determine who caused the crash. It could be the case that another driver caused the crash. It could also be the case that the trucking company was primarily responsible for the crash.
We do want to say this – if you are a truck driver working for a company, and if you are injured on the job, you will almost certainly be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits are in place in the state of Illinois (or any other state you are employed in) to help cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and temporary or permanent disability benefits if they are necessary. Regardless of whether or not you are found to be at fault for the accident, you will still be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The workers’ comp system is designed to be no-fault, meaning the injured worker will usually receive compensation regardless of who caused the incident so long as they were injured during the course of their work duties.
If you are a truck driver who was involved in a crash, please consider speaking to a skilled truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. You have rights in these situations, and you should not go unrepresented. We recommend that you refrain from admitting fault to any party at the scene of the crash or in the days and weeks that follow. Let the insurance carriers, police officers, and attorneys involved conduct their investigation and determine fault.
Truck Accident Statistics
Neither the state of Illinois nor the federal government are particularly good at keeping statistics related to accidents involving large commercial trucks. Whether this is a coordinated effort across multiple jurisdictions or just a lack of ability to gather this data is a question for a later article. What we do know is that, during the latest reporting year of data provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were nearly 5,000 total large trucks involved in fatal collisions in the United States. During that same year, the number of large trucks involved in injury crashes increased by 5% from the previous year, from 107,000 to 112,000.
Which Types of Actions of a Driver are Considered Negligent as a Truck Driver?
There are various types of actions that a truck driver can take that could result in them being negligent on the roadway. At Seidman, Margulis & Fairman, LLP, our Chicago truck accident attorneys regularly investigating these cases, and we often determine that the following driver actions contributed to the incidents:
- Operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Impaired driving is dangerous in any driving scenario, but particularly so for commercial truck drivers. The legal allowable blood alcohol limit to operate most vehicles in Illinois is .08%. However, the legal limit for commercial truck drivers is only .04%.
- Speeding. Commercial trucks that operate in excess of the posted speed limits, which are often lower for truck drivers than other vehicles, have a much higher risk of being involved in a severe accident. Speeding reduces the amount of time that a truck driver has to brake before colliding with other vehicles or obstacles on the road.
- Aggressive driving. Aggressive driving tendencies such as road rage or any number of aggressive actions or tactics could lead to severe accidents.
- Hours of service (HOS) violation. Commercial truck drivers are required to abide by federal hours of service requirements that strictly regulate how many hours they can drive each day and during a workweek. Drivers who fail to comply with these limitations, whether due to pressure from their company or pressure on themselves, are much more likely to operate while fatigued.
- Distracted driving. There are various types of distracted driving behaviors that can lead to severe truck accidents. This includes using cell phones or other mobile devices while driving. Talking and texting, browsing the Internet, or streaming videos are common causes of truck driver distraction.
- Improper lane change. Commercial trucks have incredibly large blind spots, and these drivers must take extra precautions when changing lanes.
- Inadequate training. All commercial truck drivers are required to have their commercial driver’s licenses (CLDs) before they can operate these vehicles. However, drivers should also train on each particular truck they are asked to operate.
- Traffic violations. There are various other types of traffic violations that could lead to serious truck accidents, such as failing to stop at a stop sign or stoplight or failing to yield the right of way.
- Failing to inspect the vehicle. Truck drivers are generally required to inspect their vehicles before hitting the road. It is not uncommon to discover that a truck crash was caused by a mechanical failure that should have been noticed before the driver started their trip.
The Investigation After a Truck Accident in Chicago
After a truck accident occurs in Chicago, there will need to be extensive investigations in order to ensure that injury and property damage victims recover the compensation they are entitled to. However, investigating a truck accident is going to be much more of a challenge than investigating an accident involving only traditional vehicles. There is simply much more evidence that needs to be gathered in order to ensure liability is properly assigned. A skilled Chicago truck accident attorney is going to attempt to uncover all of the following types of evidence:
- Electronic control modules (ECMs) that essentially act as the “black box,” similar to the flight recorder on airplanes.
- Electronic logging devices (ELDs) that keep track of the driver’s hours of service, which are strictly regulated by the federal government.
- Any video camera footage on the truck itself.
- All inspection and maintenance records pertaining to the truck involved in the crash.
- Mobile device data of the truck driver.
- Surveillance from any cameras market around the scene of the crash.
- Statements from any eyewitnesses to the crash.
- The police or accident reports.
When investigating these incidents, it may be necessary for an attorney to bring in a skilled truck accident reconstruction expert to assist with the case. These experts specialize in using the evidence that has been gathered, conducting their own investigation, and then using science and mathematics to properly determine what actually happened at the scene of the crash.
How Much Compensation Is Available For A Truck Accident Claim?
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident that was caused by a truck driver or a trucking company’s negligence, seek legal assistance immediately. At Seidman, Margulis & Fairman, LLP, our truck accident lawyers are ready to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident to secure all compensation you are entitled to. This could include:
- Coverage of all truck accident-related medical expenses
- Any lost income you incur if you cannot work
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of enjoyment of life damages
- Possible punitive damages against the negligent driver or trucking company
Get In Touch With Seidman, Margulis & Fairman, LLP Today
If you need a Chicago truck accident attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case or call (312) 781-1977.