Truck accidents can have massively damaging effects on the lives of many of those involved. As recently as 2011, the Illinois Department of Transportation reported 60,120 crashes involving different types of trucks. Truck accidents accounted for nearly 15% of all crashes and resulted in thousands of injuries and many fatalities. Determining liability, and in certain cases the accompanying negligence requires experience and a focused attorney. Below are some of the more frequently asked, and answered, questions we get from our clients.
- Do I need an attorney if I am injured in an accident involving a large or commercial truck?
- How much do I need to pay upfront to get my truck accident injury case started?
- What should I bring to my initial consultation with my attorney?
- What kind of time frame am I looking at to resolve my truck accident injury case?
- How do I know which truck accident attorney will be the best to hire for my case?
Accidents involving commercial vehicles or large trucks can be complex for a variety of reasons. In many cases, the driver is not the only entity that may be liable for the accident. The company that the driver works for or the company that owns the truck may also be liable. Based off of the principle of respondeat superior, Illinois employers or principals are liable for the negligent wrongful acts of their employees or agents if they occur within the scope of their employment or agency. Lang v. Silva, 306 Ill. App. 3d 960 (1999).
However, if the employees or agents detoured off of that scope, then their employers or principles will not be liable for these wrongful “frolics.” Williams v. Hall, 288 Ill. App. 3d 917 (1997). To some degree, this makes sense because the employee had ceased following the direction of the employer, and it would be unjust to hold the latter accountable thereafter.
In some situations, employers can be held liable for intentional misconduct committed by their agents or employees. Bryant v. Livigni, 250 Ill. App. 3d 303 (1993). An attorney can help find out exactly who is liable and help negotiate the best settlement or bring the case to trial if needed.
Our office does not charge for the initial consultation to discuss your case, and if we handle your Chicago truck accident case, it is done on a contingency fee basis. This means you do not pay any upfront fees for our services. In fact, unless we get a financial recovery for you, you will not pay any legal fees.
The more information or documentation you can provide to get the case started, the better equipped your attorney will be to make an assessment on your case. However, schedule your appointment whether you have documentation or not. Some useful documentation that you should bring if possible is:
- Police reports on the accident
- Any medical records, including x-rays, CT scans, MRI’s, and medical bills.
- Written personal account of the accident and subsequent injuries/treatments
- Any photos of the accident scene or injuries
- Name, address and phone number of any witness to the accident
Anything you do not bring to the first meeting with your attorney can always be collected at a later date. Remember though that it is critical to gather and preserve evidence at the scene of the accident in an accurate and comprehensive manner.
Federal regulations require certain facts to be kept by bother parties (i.e. routes, engine, and other logs), but many drivers do not do so and will obfuscate your ability to get that information. (See Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration §379.3). Therefore, at the scene, give the police a full and complete account of what happened in private. Then, make note and take pictures of anything you think is important. This information will help you rebut the arguments made by the other drivers as well as alleviate your liability if you are found responsible because you can still get damages for the amount of their complicity.
There is no easy answer to that question since each case is unique. In general, the more serious the accident or injury, the longer the case may take. This is often due to ongoing medical treatments and an unclear prognosis. Other factors include obtaining expert witnesses as well as depositions from eyewitnesses as well.
While some Illinois truck crashes cases may settle in a matter of months, some serious injury and wrongful death trucking cases can be expected to take a year or more to resolve. However, it is important that Illinois has a general 2-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. 735 ILCS 5/13-202. Therefore, it is very important to speak with an attorney promptly so that you do not miss your chance to collect compensation and achieve justice.
As in any professional service, you need to find not only someone who is experienced and qualified to do the job but also one with whom you feel comfortable. Injury accident cases are very personal, and you will need to work closely with your attorney to have the best results. Some initial questions you should ask a truck accident attorney before hiring them may include:
- What experience do they have in handling Illinois truck injury accident cases and their success rate?
- What their fee is and how is it paid?
- How many of cases like mine go to trial?
- Are you willing to meet with me elsewhere if I cannot come to your office?
You should feel free to ask whatever questions you like when interviewing an attorney to represent you in a trucking accident case. This will give you an idea of their experience and also a feel for whether you are comfortable with them representing you.
The truck accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers understand that the claim and litigation process following a truck accident can be daunting for a person trying to recover for their injuries. As attorneys for people injured in truck accidents, our role is to be an advocate, but also a legal counselor and answer the inevitable questions as they arise.
Our law firm is proud to have successfully represented individuals and families in truck collisions in the Chicagoland area and throughout the Midwest in circumstances involving:
We encourage you to take advantage of our experience to help move your case towards the most favorable outcome via settlement or trial.
Contact us at 888-424-5757 for a free case evaluation if you have been injured in a truck accident, or complete our online case form with no obligation whatsoever and a truck accident lawyer will contact you immediately for a review of your particular case.