Compared to other types of motor vehicle crash cases, such as car accidents, tractor-trailer accident cases are more complicated because there may be multiple parties at fault including the owner of the truck, owner of the trailer, company that packed the trailer and driver’s employer.
Our Chicago trucking accident lawyers are well versed in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations that apply to large truck companies and have successfully prosecuted cases across all corners of Illinois and Midwest. To learn more about your legal rights and your rights to financial compensation complete our case intake form for a no-cost review of your case.
Causes of Commercial Trucking Crashes
The common phrase “if you bought it, a truck brought it” refers to how virtually every product we purchase has spent at least some time on a commercial vehicle during the product’s distribution and shipping process. The trucking industry is now a trillion dollar business in the United States and contributes more than 10% to the countries gross domestic product according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Truck operators deliver more goods and contribute more to the national economy than all other types of transportation combined.
The sheer power and size of the truck industry is something that all people injured in a crash must acknowledge from the inception of their case. Their power will play a role why your accident happened in the first place and how the case is handled during the claims process. When you are injured in a truck accident, you have entered the world that is controlled by huge corporations. Unless you hold the corporate feet to the fire, your case will not be evaluated fairly.
There is a constant pressure on all parts of the truck industry to deliver goods faster and cheaper. At some point, the most comprehensive safety plans will give into the never-ending need for corporate profitability.
A review of more than 120,000 large truck crashes involving injuries or fatalities completed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) concluded that 87% of crashes were due to driver negligence. Types of driver negligence included:
- Driver Fatigue
- Driving too fast
- Poor decision making
- Unfamiliarity with the area
- Improper braking or jackknifing
- Drug use
When evaluating the balance of factors evaluated in causing truck accidents, the FMCSA found that 10% of the crashes involved vehicle defects or maintenance problems, such as worn out brakes and tires. The remaining 3% of the crashes were related to “environmental” factors including inclement weather.
While the above may be ‘official’ categorizations of trucking accidents, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers regularly prosecutes trucking cases commonly referred to as: rear-end accidents, intersection crashes, left-hand turn accidents and head-on impacts.
Significant Injuries Related to Trucking Collisions
According to a report from the Illinois Department of Transportation, ‘2014 Illinois Crash Facts and Statistics’ report, there were 12,293 crashes involving tractor-trailers that happened on roads and highways in Illinois during 2014. Ninety-eight of the crashes involved fatalities and 2,021 involved a severe. While Illinois statistics do not identify the location of these incidents, our experience tells us that a substantial number of these occur in the Chicago metropolitan area where businesses and factories are heavily concentrated.
"I was hesitant on getting a law firm involved to help with an accident I was involved in with a semi-truck. I was told that a lawyer would take most of the money and leave me with nothing….Jonathan and Mark were top shelf and went out of their way to calm my concerns….they are truly caring men who earned my trust."
As attorneys who have experience in representing motorists, passengers and truck drivers, we can attest to the life-changing injuries these accidents frequently involve. Many of our current and former clients have sustained the following injuries related to a collision with trucks:
- Back and neck injuries, including herniated discs
- Brain injuries
- Internal injury to organs
- Joint injuries such as the knee, hip, and shoulder
From the time our office is retained in a trucking accident case, we help our clients in getting access to some of the most respected doctors so that they can get the best quality care possible for their injuries. We believe that our clients should receive the best possible medical care from physicians who will treat their injuries and support them in court should we call upon them to testify at trial.
Your Challenges Following an Accident Involving a Semi-Truck
From the time immediately following a crash involving a semi-truck, the insurance carriers for the companies involved literally spring into action to begin gathering information to assist them in defending the case.
Typically, accident investigators who work for liability insurance carriers are deployed to the scene of the incident to collect information such as photographs of the vehicles, photos of the road conditions and statements from people who have witnessed the collision. These experienced accident investigators are good at what they do in compiling information to assist in defense of serious injury cases stemming from a collision with their insured.
Using Federal Law to Establish Negligence in Your Case
When pursuing a truck accident lawsuit for personal injuries, you must establish that the party that you are suing acted negligently and that their negligence resulted in your injuries. Negligence is a relatively general and subjective term. An example of neglect would be an allegation that a truck driver operated his vehicle ‘recklessly’. What may be deemed ‘reckless conduct’ by one person may not be judged to be so by another.
Another method of determining negligent behavior in a commercial trucking case is to establish that there was a violation of law that applies to semi-trucks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is an agency that regulates the laws that apply to the trucking industry, which controls virtually every aspect of trucking freight.
As attorneys who routinely prosecute truck accident and fatality cases, we regularly base our strategies on the detailed regulations found in the FMCSR to establish negligence or fault in our cases.
Amongst the more common portions of the FMCSR used to prosecute trucking cases include:
- Drug and alcohol testing
- Hours of service
- Vehicle marking
- Vehicle maintenance
- Insurance for trucks
- Loading procedures and securing the loads
- Weight restrictions
How a Chicago Truck Accident Attorney Will Help Your Case
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a commercial truck accident, you will likely face obstacles from the insurance companies who insure the involved trucking businesses and their lawyers. To recover the maximum compensation that the law entitles you to receive, you need to have an attorney who has experience settling and litigating cases against truck companies and other corporate defendants.
The attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers have successfully prosecuted personal injury and wrongful death claims deriving from trucking accidents in Illinois. We know the law that applies to the commercial truck industry and we use it to our clients’ benefit when lawsuits are filed in State and Federal Court.
We remain mindful that these cases need to be investigated aggressively as soon as feasible after a crash. Our law firm secures evidence that is favorable to our clients and identifies all parties responsible for causing harm and damage. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers regularly works with accident investigators and reconstructionists to gather the evidence needed to win your case. Our efforts may involve:
- Taking sworn statements from parties and witnesses
- Ordering police and investigative reports
- Reviewing video camera footage
- Studying the sequence of traffic control devices
- Analyzing data from black box recorders
To successfully resolve a semi-truck case, we may pursue claims against any party who might be responsible for causing your injuries. This effort might require filing a lawsuit against numerous parties including:
- The truck driver
- Employer of the driver
- Owner of the truck
- Leasing company
- Owner of the truck trailer
- Manufacturer of truck
- Truck maintenance company
Our goal in each truck case we handle is to recover every dollar of compensation that our clients are entitled to receive. Illinois recognizes the right of an injured person to obtain economic and non-economic damages including:
- Medical bills - This includes all expenses for past and future care such as ambulance, emergency room, hospital care, surgery, physical therapy, assistive medical devices, prescription medications.
- Wages - You may recover your lost wages if your injuries prevent you from working following a truck crash. If you are not capable of returning to your profession due to limitations imposed by your injuries, you may recover future lost wages for the remainder of your working life.
- Pain & Suffering - Though difficult to quantify, you may recover financial compensation for pain that you endured following an accident as well as the pain that you will more likely than not endure for the rest of your life.
If the crash resulted in a fatality, the family of the deceased might recover compensation for the loss of financial support as well as the intangible loss they will experience due to the death. Sometimes the intangible losses include the loss of society or loss of consortium, depending on the context.
We are confident that our office will provide you with the representation you need to realize the full value of your case. Please look at our award-winning truck accident settlements here. We invite you to contact our office today for a free review of your case with an experienced attorney. Complete the case intake form here, and we will reach out to you the same day.
Begin the Legal Process Now Towards Obtaining a Full Financial Recovery for Your Injuries
If you have been injured in an Illinois trucking accident, contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers to learn more about your rights and legal options. Our goal is to help you focus on your physical recovery so that you do not need to worry about the cost of your medical care and expenses. We will make an effort to make the legal process as simple as we can; including meeting with you at the location of your choice if you cannot travel to us.
Our Chicago truck accident attorneys have also pledged to collect a fee only if we secure compensation on your behalf so that you never have to concern yourself about upfront fees and monthly legal bills. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident with a commercial truck, we urge you to contact a lawyer today as there are restrictive statutes of limitations for initiating an insurance claim and lawsuit. Your failure to act promptly can adversely impact your legal rights in the future.
For more information on Illinois truck accident cases, please visit the resources below:
- Free Truck Accident Guidebook
- Semi-Truck Accident Frequently Asked Questions
- Truck Accident Settlement Summaries
This page is maintained and updated by attorney Jonathan Rosenfeld.
Our lawyers are skilled at prosecuting other types of MVAs including accidents involving: cars, buses, bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. Should you have questions about those particular case types, we have content specific information on our website.