Nearly any collision involving a large semi-truck carrying heavy cargo will cause a catastrophic accident with multiple injuries and fatalities. Often, a fatal truck accident leaves family members and friends grieving, wishing the collision could have been prevented. Usually, the family will hire the skills of an experienced attorney to find justice, and hold responsible parties accountable for their actions.
Typically, a fatal truck accident is the result of a semi-truck, 18-wheeler or large commercial vehicle colliding with another vehicle. The weight of the truck and the speed at which it is driving along with road conditions can cause the truck to jackknife or rollover. When driver fatigue or error is involved, the collision can be even more catastrophic, often resulting in multiple deaths.
Within seconds, a truck accident causing fatalities can leave the lives of surviving family and friends forever changed. In many situations, fatal crashes involving commercial truck drivers result in criminal and civil action holding the trucker, trucking company and other negligent parties accountable for the loss of life.
Truck Accident Situations That Result In Motorist Fatalities
Numerous situations can cause a fatal accident involving a large commercial vehicle. Many of the everyday situations include:
- The trucker fell asleep at the wheel (view trucker fatigue page here)
- The trucker was recklessly driving or speeding
- The driver was negligent when operating the truck in inclement weather (for additional information on truck accidents during poor weather look here)
- The truck jackknifed or rolled over (see jackknife truck accident page here)
- The cargo was overloaded and unsecured, spilling out onto the roadway (for additional information about cargo-related truck accidents look here)
- The truck was improperly equipped with necessary safety equipment to protect other motorists
Large trucks like trailer tractors and other commercial vehicles commonly travel on busy interstate highways and other major roads throughout the country, at speeds that can cause a catastrophic accident to occur. In 2011, there were 287,000 accidents involving large trucks in the U.S., with 88,000 people being injured and 3,757 of these ending in fatalities. In Illinois alone, there were 120 accident deaths involving large truck that year, where 93 deaths involved tractor trailers.
High Risk of Serious Injury & Fatality to Other Vehicles the on Road
The majority of injuries and fatalities in large truck accidents are occupants traveling in other vehicles involved in the crash. In fact, 80% of the fatality accidents involving large trucks in 2011 were multiple vehicle accidents with occupants of the trucks making up only 17% of the fatalities. The other 83% were either traveling in other vehicles or were pedestrians/cyclists. These chilling facts reveal the grim outlook as to what can happen when a passenger vehicle and a large truck collide on the road.
Parties who may be Legally Responsible for a Fatal Truck Accident
Negligent driving is never an option when operating a tractor-trailer that can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Even so, many truckers and trucking companies routinely violate safety regulations mandated by the Department of Transportation (DOT).
Usually, trucking companies and truckers maintain strict schedules to make deliveries on time. As a result, the trucking companies will do nearly anything to ensure that timelines are met. Skilled attorneys that specialize in trucking accidents with fatalities can determine if the truck company was at fault through a variety of actions that could include:
- The trucking company hired unqualified drivers
- The trucking company hired drivers with a long history of traffic violations
- The trucker failed to take their federally-mandated rest breaks
- The truck was being operated with overloaded cargo
- The trucker was driving at excessive speeds
- The truck driver tailgated other vehicles, leading to the accident
- The trucker performed unsafe passing
- The truck was improperly maintained
- The truck was equipped with defective parts (bad tires, faulty brakes)
A Wrongful Death Case to Recover for the Loss of a Loved one in an Illinois Trucking Accident
Surviving family members may file a wrongful death case for two specific reasons. One reason is to receive financial compensation for the loss of a loved one, who is no longer able to earn an income in the future. The other reason for filing a wrongful death case is to ensure justice and hold those accountable for the errors, negligence, reckless behavior and carelessness involved in the fatality.
By law, survivors can file a claim or lawsuit to seek financial recompense from all responsible parties as covered under their insurance policies. Lawyers work on behalf of the victim’s family to ensure that adequate monetary compensation is obtained. The recompense is usually enough to cover a variety of expenses including:
- Medical bills for treating the victim before death
- Any lost wages while the victim was being treated
- Funding to cover the future lost potential earnings by the deceased victim
- • The deceased victim’s pain and suffering before death
- Pain, suffering, grief, and anxiety of all surviving family members
- Funeral and burial costs associated with the wrongful death
Hiring an Attorney to Pursue Your Illinois Trucking Fatality Case for You
Skilled attorneys that handle a wrongful death claim will work on a contingency fee basis. For the victim’s family, this means that no upfront fees are required. The attorneys will only be paid out of the proceeds of an out-of-court settlement, or from money that is awarded at trial.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC specialize in fatal truck accident cases and can assist the victim’s family and partners by filing a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. The law firm at (888) 424-5757 offers a no-hassle free consultation to evaluate the case and provide legal advice on how to best proceed. Contact us today!