Semi truck accidents are extraordinarily costly and dangerous. They typically involve immediate pain and suffering as well as ongoing pain and personal injury.
Then, there are the financial losses to consider such as lost income, emergency room bills, medical treatment costs, and much more.
To make up for these things after a truck accident, it may help to have an experienced personal injury lawyer well-versed in state and federal law including concepts of contributory negligence and vicarious liability.
You may be able to sue the semi truck driver or semi truck company that employed them after the semi truck accident in a truck accident claim or truck accident case.
Talk to an experienced personal injury attorney today if you are injured in a semi truck accident. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can review what a truck accident case may accomplish from the trucking company, truck driver, and insurance company (or insurance companies).
A truck accident lawyer may help you in your truck accident claim obtain truck accident settlements for your serious injuries.
How Do Most Truck Accidents Happen?
Understanding how truck accidents happen is helpful when analyzing who was responsible for it.
Generally, when it comes to liability for the semi truck accident or another similar commercial vehicle accident, the truck driver, truck business, or even truck manufacturer may be at fault.
However, when it comes to the dynamics of the truck crash itself, the truck driver normally is the party to scrutinize first.
Here are some of the most frequent reasons that trigger these unfortunate events:
- Driver fatigue
- Driver intoxication
- Operator error
- Weather and road conditions
- Truck company hiring and supervisory failure
- Truck safety violations
They can help you get witness statements and craft your case as well as discuss what the average settlement offer might be.
Our personal injury lawyers have filed many truck accident cases and do so in an attorney client relationship with a no win-no fee guarantee. We do not charge a dollar if we do not win for you.
See what a win in court may mean for your medical bills, lost wages, medical costs, and other harms from the truck crash.
You may be able to get a semi truck accident settlement from the semi truck driver (or tractor trailer trucker) that harmed you as well as the trucking companies that employed them.
When is the Trucking Company Responsible for Paying a Settlement after a Truck Accident?
After an automobile accident, the plaintiff normally tries to file a lawsuit against the responsible party, the defendant driver.
However, identifying the proper defendant is not always an easy process. It depends on a number of issues such as what the driver was doing at the time of the incident.
If the driver was working at that time, then you may be able to bring a case against their employer.
The theory of liability that would allow you to bring a cause of action on those grounds is referred to as Respondent Superior, but is also referred to as vicarious liability.
Employers and employees have a master-servant relationship. The worker acts subject to the company’s control and for its benefit in exchange for income.
Because of that setup, the legal theory of respondent superior holds that the business can be found responsible for the damage that its employees negligently cause in the course of employment. Lang v. Silva, 306 Ill. App. 3d 960 (1999).
Therefore, if the worker caused the accident while working at the time, then the company is on the hook. For example, if the person was making a work delivery, then respondent superior and vicarious liability would be applicable. Yet, if the worker was serving him- or herself, then it would not. Pyne v. Witmer, 129 Ill. 2d 351 (1989).
For instance, if the person was on the way to get dinner after completing the work delivery and crashed into you, then you could not proceed against the company in court. Note, minor detours from work will not defeat a company’s responsibility (i.e. if the employee disregards a boss’ instructions and chooses a different route to deliver a package).
In sum, here are the basic principles you need to establish to hold a company liable for the damages that their employees cause in truck crashes:
- An employer- employee relationship.
- The employee was working at the time of the incident.
- The employee committed some form of negligence that caused your damages.
If a worker from a semi truck company caused a truck crash that led to your severe injuries and even life altering injuries (i.e. standard brain injury, traumatic brain injuries, shoulder injury, pain and suffering, etc.), then contact us to understand how we can help you get fair compensation for the harm and the costs that arose (lost wages, medical bills, legal fees) because of that event. We can review all aspects of the claim in a free consultation.
Are There Any Exceptions to Vicarious Liability for Truck Companies?
There are a few key exceptions to vicarious liability that are important to keep track of.
First, the worker must be an actual employee of the company-not an independent contractor. Stewart v. Jones, 318 Ill. App. 3d 552 (2001).
Second, the alleged offense must not be an intentional tort. Most employee intentional torts will not be imputed into the company in Illinois court. Section 414 of the Restatement (Second) of Torts.
Contact our law offices to learn more about exceptions to these legal principles in a free consultation. We know how best you should go about recovering compensation from semi trucks companies through a case or settlement offer (pursuant to an insurance policy or insurance policies with an insurance adjuster or anywhere else) from the driver’s employer and other liable parties for medical expenses, medical treatment, pain and suffering, among other damage.
Is the Truck Driver Also Responsible for My Damages?
Yes, you can sue any person or party partially or completely responsible for the accident and resulting injuries.
Why does this matter? Frequently, the driver may not be present or available when you bring a lawsuit in court. Alternatively, that person may not have resources to compensate you for your personal injuries, medical expenses, rehab, lost work, disability, etc.
Also, due to the fact that the business was employing the trucker when the underlying events occurred, it is right and just to hold that company liable for the misconduct (actions or omissions) of their workers.
Remember, as we mentioned above, respondent superior and vicarious liability let you hold multiple parties (individuals, companies, organizations, etc.) legally responsible for an incident. This can help you pursue a verdict, obtain damages, and move on from a truck accident.
How Long Does it Take to Settle a Semi-Truck Accident?
It depends upon the nature of your accident and the severity of your claims and injuries. Also, the process of filing a legal claim in court versus an insurance claim with an insurance company can affect the timeline of your recovery as well.
Typically, truck cases can take several months to a few years but yours may vary from that. That is why it is so important to work with your attorney early on when planning your claim to account for a schedule that works for you.
There are some things you can do to expedite this process though, like these:
- See a doctor for your injuries.
- Catalogue all expenses, property damage, pain, and other losses that resulted from the accident.
- Hire a personal injury firm.
- Contact your employer for income verification.
Truck Collision and Crash Case Summaries
Review the following truck settlement and jury verdict summaries to understand what relief and compensation may be possible for you. Then, contact an experienced attorney to begin the process of obtaining it.
$950,000 Truck Collision Settlement.
A man in his middle-fifties was injured when his bucket truck failed and sent him flying to the ground nearly 45 feet. He herniated his disc, broke multiple bones, and tore several ligaments.
All of these injuries required surgery and long-term care to the tune of almost $600,000 in medical bills. Apparently, the bucket truck equipment was almost fifty years old, was not properly set up, and had not been adequately inspected.
For these reasons and others, the man sued for negligence but due to the clear fault and missteps, he was able to secure $950,000 in damages promptly.
$4,640,000 Settlement for Truck Accident Injuries.
This Illinois accident had a lot of drama and a sad ending. A middle-aged man was riding along a highway in Cook County when debris flew into his direction. The debris was actually two tires that fell off a truck driving in the opposite direction. The tires hit his car and killed him instantaneously.
The man was survived by his wife and children. They sued the truck driver not long after the accident for various damages arising out of his negligent conduct.
The lawsuit alleged that the defendant did not properly maintain his vehicle’s tires, did not keep proper control of his vehicle, and did not hold sufficient records of the vehicle (a statutory requirement for trucks of that size).
At first, the defendant denied any responsibility and claimed that the accident was beyond his control, but eventually he realized that his statutory violations and the decedent’s death spelled defeat at trial. Thus, he was willing to compromise.
The plaintiff’s estate received a $4,640,000 settlement for the personal injury, wrongful death, and other damages.
$2 Million Truck Accident Settlement.
The events of this case transpired in Lake County, Illinois. The crash happened on a late fall night. Lots of cars and other vehicles were traveling over a well-worn highway. A trucker didn’t see that one had slowed down due to fog. He came in hot and rear-ended the car.
The person driving that vehicle was a woman in her late 50s. She suffered a spinal injury and mild concussion (traumatic brain injury). The ambulance was quick to the scene and it took her right to the ER. Doctors treated her right away for her injuries.
Yet, the pain stuck around. She had to go through a couple months of rehab. Then, she found her old job just too painful to endure. She was forced to look for other work. All of these experiences led her to consider a lawsuit.
She filed it in the same county where the events occurred. She charged the trucker and his employer for negligence. Her complaint alleged the driver was at the wheel too long. Also, she cited the company with a failure to monitor its employees.
The defendants offered a stock reply. Yet, as discovery got underway, the plaintiff was able to pick over their failures. Many of her accident claims turned out to be accurate.
This led the defendants to the conclusion that trial would only make things worse. All sides entered into a private settlement that ended the matter for her personal injury.
$775,000 Truck Settlement.
A man in his late forties was driving on Southwest Highway in Chicago. A tow truck veered over the median and slammed into his passenger vehicle head-on. He injured his hip. It was dislocated, displaced, and broken. The man also re-aggravated a herniated disc.
Healthcare providers charged him nearly a quarter million dollars in medical expenses for the medical treatment. He also had to miss work for a substantial time and that totaled a twenty-eight-thousand-dollar loss as well.
He sued the towing company and the trucking company. They each filed brief demurs. However, these refutations did not stop settlement. The parties settled the matter for $775,000-$665,000 of that came from the towing company and the rest came from the truck company for the cost and personal injury that the accident caused.
Our track record is second to none in pursuing compensation after these tragic events. Learn more about your right to bring a claim against the at-fault parties or insurance companies for the damage that truck drivers might have caused you or others in the car accident like lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical bills.
We can also review insurance policy limits with the relevant insurance company to see if a claim would be worthwhile.
Talk to a Truck Crash Lawyer Today
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has years of experience representing truck crash and accident victims and their families.
Our legal team knows how they may impact you now and in the future.
Talk to use today in a free and no-obligation consultation to review your rights and discuss how to best going about getting financial compensation from the at-fault party (driver or business) as well as the insurance company.
Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis so we only get paid if you win. Call us or use our contact form below to figure out what that might mean for you.