The Chicago truck accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are dedicated to representing individuals and families who have suffered a serious injury or fatality in a collision with a semi-truck.
Compared to other types of motor vehicle crash cases, such as car accidents, truck accident cases are more complicated because there may be multiple parties at fault for the collision. Most of these entities are corporations who are experienced defending claims and lawsuits brought against them.
Each commercial truck accident lawyer from our law firm is well-versed in the federal safety regulations that apply to large truck companies. We have successfully prosecuted cases involving semi-truck accidents across all corners of Illinois and the Midwest. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has recovered millions of dollars in settlements in truck crash cases for our clients. We invite you to put our experience to work for you.
Illinois Highways Associated With Truck Accidents Involving Injuries or Fatalities
With a centralized location and a transportation hub, Illinois roads are ripe for truck crashes. In 2017, Illinois Department of Transportation data shows 11,732 crashes involving 1,949 injuries and 107 fatalities involving trucks. Many of these collisions occurred on highways and Interstates where trucks are traveling at high rates of speed as they travel though Illinois on their way to a delivery location in Chicago or other large city.
Among the most dangerous Illinois highways for semi-truck crashes include:
- I-57: Interstate 57 is the longest Interstate in Illinois and is 364 miles long and running from Cairo, IL to Chicago where it merges into I-94. In 2017, 39 people lost their lives on I-57.
- I-55: Interstate 55 is a 313-mile-long Interstate connecting St. Louis to Chicago running from I-64 in East Saint Louis to US-41 (Lake Shore Drive) in Chicago. In 2017, I-55 had 37 fatalities.
- I-80: Running from San Francisco, CA to Teaneck, NJ, there are 163 miles of Interstate 80 within Illinois. The Interstate sees approximately 180,000 people using the roadway each day. According to data, I-80 is the third deadliest highway in Illinois with 26 people dying in collisions in 2017.
Headquartered in downtown Chicago, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC knows the area well and has experience working on truck crash cases involving some of the integral highways such as: Kingery Expressway (I-80, I-94), Bishop Ford Freeway (I-94), Dan Ryan Expressway (I-90, I-94), Ronald Regan Memorial Tollway (I-88), Edens Expressway (I-94). Regardless of the location of your accident, we will send an attorney or accident investigator to a convenient location for you.
Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents in Chicago
A review of more than 120,000 big-rig 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: 13% of truck crash cases involved driver fatigue. FMSCA rules prohibit a truck driver from driving more than 11 hours without a 10-hour break.
- Distraction: Just as driver distraction is a factor in car accidents, approximately 17% of truck crashes involved driver distraction or inattention to an external factor.
- Driving too fast: Driving too fast does not refer just to speeding, it also refers to driving too fast for the conditions. In 23% of truck accidents reviewed, speed was considered to be a factor.
- Unfamiliarity with the area: Many over-the-road truckers are deployed to all areas of the county to deliver their loads. Not surprisingly, even with the latest navigation systems, drivers frequently find themselves lost on roads that don’t display on maps. 22% of accidents were deemed to have unfamiliarity as a factor in the crash.
- Improper braking or jackknifing: These are substantial factors in many trucking accidents, with as many as one-third of truck accidents involving brake issues.
- Drug use: Over the counter, illegal drugs and alcohol use were all factors involved in some of the truck accidents examined. Combined these accounted for 20% of semi collisions.
Defective equipment on trucks accounts for about 10% of crashes. This can include: maintenance problems, such as worn-out brakes or tires. The remaining 3% of crashes were related to environmental factors including inclement weather.
18-Wheeler Crash Scenarios Involving Injured or Killed Motorists
There is 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 in to corporate profitability and safety measures are cut or avoided entirely. Our truck accident law firm regularly prosecutes trucking cases involving:
- Rear-end accidents: When trucks follow other vehicles too closely and are unable to stop, a rear-end collision results. Rear-end truck accident account for 24% of all trucking collisions and account for many Chicago truck accident lawsuits.
- Intersection crashes: Because the majority of semi-truck wrecks occur on busy highway and Interstates, intersection collisions are not as common as they are with other MVA’s. Just 9% of truck accident injury cases involved an intersection.
- Left-hand-turn accidents: Unlike automobile accident cases, no data is kept related to left-turn truck accident collision. Despite the lack of data, our law firm sees many cases involving turning trucks and serious injury cases.
- Head-on impacts: Again, little data is kept related to head-on trucking collision with other vehicles. As experienced trucking accident injury lawyers, we see head-on truck accidents occurring in areas where road construction is proceeding and where an inattentive driver veers into oncoming traffic.
Seek a Chicago Truck Accident Attorney With Experience Handling Significant Injury & Wrongful Death Cases
After establishing liability on the part of the truck company, the plaintiff (person bringing the lawsuit) has the burden of proving their damages. In cases involving a substantial injury, expert testimony may be needed from treating physicians and expert witnesses to establish the causal relationship between the accident and your injures. Most courts also require opinions as to permanency to be rendered by a qualified expert.
Many of our current and former clients have sustained the following injuries related to truck collisions.
- Back and neck injuries, including herniated discs
- Brain injuries
- Internal injury to organs
- Joint injuries such as the knee, hip, and shoulder
How We use the Law Establish Negligence in Truck Accident Lawsuits
When pursuing a Chicago truck accident lawsuit for personal injuries, you must establish that the party that you are suing acted negligently. Then you must demonstrate how that negligence caused your injuries. “Negligence” is a relatively subjective term. It basically means unreasonable conduct. In this sense, we rely on experts in the field of trucking and logistics to articulate what the specific acts of negligence are with each defendant.
In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has codified almost every aspect of the trucking industry into Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. These are laws truck operators must comply with and apply to truck accident lawsuits filed in Cook County Circuit Court or in United States Federal Court Northern District of Illinois. Amongst the Federal Regulations, below are some that commonly arise in truck accident litigation.
- Driver drug and alcohol testing
- Limits on driver hours worked
- Vehicle marking
- Vehicle maintenance
- Insurance for trucks
- Loading procedures and securing the loads
- Weight restrictions
Investigation Necessary to Prepare 18-Wheeler Accident Cases for Settlement & Trial
If you are injured in a truck accident, the team at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers will be by your side. We regularly work with accident investigators, re-constructionists, and other professionals to gather the evidence needed to win a case. Here are some of the efforts we take to prove our clients’ trucking cases.
- 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
Collecting this information as soon as feasible after a crash can provide valuable information that can be used during all phases of settlement negotiations and
Truck Accident FAQs
What Parties may be Responsible in a Trucking Accident Involving Injuries or a Fatality?
After a simple car accident, it can be quite easy to determine responsibility. The other driver normally will carry most of the fault. This is the case with other kinds of incidents too. Bicycle, motorcycle, and pedestrian crashes follow similar patterns. However, trucking accidents trigger different legal and business issues. This will make your job harder when identifying who is responsible for your truck accident injuries. To be concise, anyone’s unreasonable conduct that contributed to your damages (economic or non-economic) may be found liable in court. Here are some profiles of common parties held responsible in Illinois truck incidents.
- The truck driver.
- The truck driver’s employer.
- The entity that owns the trailer.
- Any vendor or party that worked on or for the truck or trailer including repair shops.
- The maker or seller of the truck or trailer.
Every new defendant opens up a new spring for recovery including insurance party. Plus, if the truck accident caused death or serious injury, your attorney will need to determine all possible defendants and categories of recovery before it is too late.
What Makes Truck Accident Cases Different from Other Types of Motor Vehicle Crashes?
Truck accident cases differ from other kinds of motor vehicle crashes because the laws surrounding them. Trucking is a business, more so than regular automobile traffic. Plus, trucks present greater dangers due to the size and speed at which they move. Thus, the federal government and many state governments have passed various laws (including The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation Act) related to trucking.
These statutes cover everything from insurance coverage to trucker background verification. They touch upon common trucking issues like truck weight and driving under the influence but also other things you might not be familiar with. When accidents and lawsuits arise, these laws govern. It is important to work through them with an attorney to discern the complicated and unique legal issues that will arise in a truck crash case.
How Long do I Have to File an Illinois Truck Accident Lawsuit?
Plaintiffs have two years to file a lawsuit after a truck accident in Illinois if they sue for negligence related to personal injury or wrongful death. 735 ILCS 5/13-202. Most plaintiffs sue for negligence. It means the defendant acted unreasonably and caused the crash as well as the plaintiff’s damages. Plaintiffs have years two years as well to make a products liability claim following a trucking crash. 735 ILCS 5/13-213. In that scenario, claimants must show that a defective product (such as a tire) let to a crash and injury after being used reasonably and foreseeably.
How Long Will it Take to Settle a Chicago Truck Accident Case?
It may take a few months to even a couple of years to settle a truck accident case filed in Cook County Circuit Court. There are a number of reasons for why this process takes so long. Identifying the facts and party at fault can be quite cumbersome. Then, understanding the laws of Illinois that give right to recovery and what that recovery may be can test even the smartest lawyers.
Finally, convincing the defendant of your ability to win at trial and by how much will prove tricky. This assumes settlement arises. If the matter goes to trial, it can last another year or two. Therefore, truck accident victims in Illinois should move swiftly and consider contacting an attorney as soon as feasible.
How Much is my Illinois Trucking Accident Case Worth?
Illinois truck cases average much more than other automobile or pedestrian crashes. They fetch more for several reasons. First, trucks are much larger than other vehicles and can do more damage. Second, trucking is a business and this commercial aspect allows for greater recovery. Third, truck accident victims face more severe injuries and life-long effects.
With that being said, what your truck accident case may be worth depends on your individual damages. How were you harmed? Plaintiffs seek compensation for economic and non-economic losses both of which are recognized under Illinois . Here are some common categories of damages for which you might recover.
- Medical bills.
- Lost wages.
- Property damage.
- Pain, suffering.
- Loss of normal life.
- Wrongful death (lost companionship, funeral/burial expenses, etc.)
To get a firm sense on what exactly what your case may be worth, speak with an experienced truck injury lawyer today.
What Compensation can Plaintiffs in Illinois Seek for a Chicago Truck Accident Case?
Illinois recognizes the right of an injured person to obtain economic and non-economic damages like these.
- Medical Costs: This includes all expenses for past and future care, such as ambulance, emergency room, hospital care, surgery, and physical therapy costs, assistive medical devices, and 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 and Suffering: Though this is difficult to quantify, you may recover financial compensation for pain that you endured following an accident as well as the pain that you will likely endure for the rest of your life.
If the crash resulted in a fatality, the family of the deceased may 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. Consult an experienced wrongful death attorney to discovery what avenues of recovery you can pursue.
What are Some Examples of Truck Accident Injury Settlements?
$335,000 SETTLEMENT; TRUCK ACCIDENT; ILLINOIS.
Here, the plaintiff was backing up his car in a suburban town. He did not spot a truck directly behind him. They crashed into each other. The plaintiff was hurt badly. He herniated his disc at the C6 point. That left him with lots of bills, pain, and even a disability. There were actually two defendants in this lawsuit. The first was the actual truck driver. The other was DHL. DHL oversaw the dock where the accident happened. It tried to put the blame squarely on the driver. Yet, it did not want to test its theories in court. DHL settled for $135,000. The trucker gave $200,000 to the plaintiff.
$1,100,000 SETTLEMENT; TRUCK ACCIDENT; MISSOURI.
This was not a normal truck accident case. The plaintiff worked for Consolidated Trucking. His truck clipped the back of a car and swung around over ditch. As he tried to leave his vehicle, another truck came flying into the back of his. That crash sent him over a ditch, nearly fifty feet downwards. The man fractured several bones. He sued the other trucker. He also sued that trucker’s boss. He claimed negligence. He sought damages for pain, bills, and lost wages. Since the defendant was speeding and on the road too long, it made the plaintiff’s own errors less relevant. The defendants recognized as much when they offered to settle. The plaintiff received the figure listed above for his losses.
$10,900,000 SETTLEMENT; TRUCK ACCIDENT; ILLINOIS.
Here, a trucker crashed into a state trooper on the side of the road in the north suburbs of Chicago. After the accident, a fire erupted and the cop lost his life. His new wife survived him. She sued the trucking company (UVL) for wrongful death. Apparently, the trucker had been on the road too long. Also, he made no effort to avoid the accident. Similarly, the defendants could not make a real effort to avoid civil liability. When they settled just about one year later (a short time for this kind of case), they realized their legal options were limited. The woman recovered over $10 million.
$22,520,000 JURY AWARD; TRUCK ACCIDENT; ILLINOIS.
In this case, a young woman brought a wrongful death lawsuit. She did so after her husband was struck and killed while repaving roads on the Illinois tollway. An Overnite trucker slammed into the deceased man’s vehicle and that collision left him dead. The surviving wife was carrying child when the incident occurred. Aside from wrongful death, the complaint also listed negligence as a contributing factor. The trucking company pointed the finger at other parties. In the end, a jury decided these attempts were in vain. It saddled the transportation company with an 8-figure judgment.
$18,500,000 JURY AWARD; TRUCK ACCIDENT; INDIANA.
This truck accident happened on I-74 in Indiana. A Werner truck slammed right into the plaintiff head-on. The man’s car was sent flying across the road. He sustained major brain damage and required medical attention for the rest of his life. He could no longer work or play the same way again. He sued Werner and the trucker. Both refused to settle. The matter went to trial. A jury found in favor of the plaintiff. It ruled that the defendants were completely at fault. The plaintiff recovered one of the largest trucking accident verdicts in state history.
Corporate Defendants: How Trucking Cases Differ From Other Motor Vehicle Accident Cases
Perhaps you or a friend was involved in an automobile accident at some point in the past. Perhaps you submitted some medical bills to an insurance adjuster for an emergency room visit and some physical therapy and then negotiated a settlement?
While there may appear to be similarities been auto cases and truck cases, after the fact that they are motorized vehicles, the similarities end quickly when you look at the corporate entitles involved in commercial truck cases. These entities want to grow their business and their profits. Looking after an injured party is an afterthought.
The business of trucking is a huge industry with 71% of all U.S. freight tonnage shipped via truck. Collectively, trucking companies account for over $800 billion dollars sales annually. In order to satisfy the insatiable demand for the rapid delivery of goods by business and consumers, large truck companies have fleets of trucks that are ever present on highways and roads. Below are some of the largest trucking companies in the U.S.
|Physical Address||Vehicles||Drivers||Fatalities||Injuries||USDOT Number||2018 Revenue|
|Fed Ex Freight 2200 Forward Drive Harrison, AR 72601||19,245||22,370||26||265||239039||$7352 million|
|Old Dominion 500 Old Dominion Way Thomasville, NC 27360||9798||10974||21||194||90849||$3983 million|
|XPO Logistics 11215 North Community House Road Charlotte, NC 28277||1888||1888||6||59||688143||$3830 million|
|YRC Freight 10990 Roe Avenue Overland Park, KS 66211||7422||10691||13||170||71821||$3153 million|
|Estes Express Lines 3901 West Broad Street Richmond, VA 23230||7101||7503||0||0||121018||$2787 million|
|UPS Freight 1000 Semmes Avenue Richmond, VA 23218||7077||10805||20||174||121058||$2706 million|
|ABF Freight 3801 Old Greenwood Road Fort Smith, AR 72903||4243||7229||9||93||82866||$2128 million|
|R & L Carriers||$1692 million|
|Saia Motor Freight Line 11465 Johns Creek Parkway Suite 400 Johns Creek, FA 30097||5044||5221||7||104||29124||$1654 million|
|Southeastern Freight 420 Davega Road Lexington, SC 29073||3143||4193||7||88||63419||$1237 million|
|Holland 700 South Waverly Holland, MI 49423||4286||6049||7||109||75806||$1178 million|
|Averitt Express 1415 Neal Street Cookeville, TN 38502||5046||6677||8||128||36684||$891 million|
|Central Transport International 12225 Stephens Road Warren, MI 48089||3329||3152||7||111||661173||$825 million|
|Forward Air 6800 Port Road Froveport, OH 43125||1833||1963||2||31||728630||$748 million|
|Dayton Freight Lines 6450 Poe Avenue Suite 311 Dayton, OH 45414||1844||2292||2||33||273301||$659 million|
If you or a family member who was involved in a crash with a truck or other commercial vehicle operated by a company above, it is important to recognize that these companies are skilled at investigating collisions. They have claims handlers who are trained to resolve, legitimate claims quickly and cheaply to save the company money. We invite you to consult with a Chicago truck accident lawyer at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC to discuss you case before you talk to the trucking company.
The truck accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC know the tactics used by trucking chains and can assist you so the playing field is leveled.
Legal Rights of Injured Truck Drivers: Frequently Ignored Victims
There are nearly two million people employed as truck drivers in the U.S. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), trucker have one of the most dangerous occupations with an injury rate of 355.4 injuries requiring time off work for each 10,000 workers. Put in context with other jobs considered to be ‘dangerous’, the injury rate for truckers is 3.5 times higher than all other occupations.
The BLS data suggests sprains and strains were the most commonly reported trucker injury (151.4 per 10,000), followed by injuries to the back (61.2 per 10,000) and shoulder (51.4 per 10,000). While the BLS did not distinguish the source of the injury, our experience is that many truck drivers are injured in collisions with other trucks and even when they are at a warehouse loading and unloading products they carry. We also see truckers injured as passengers in collisions when their team driver is behind the wheel.
Depending on the employment status of the trucker, he or she may have legal rights for filing a workers compensation case and/or a claim against the party who caused or contributed to the collision or unsafe condition. Regardless of the circumstance, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is proud to represent injured truck drivers and we will work with you to secure the best outcome for your case from all responsible parties.
Talk to an Experienced Attorney Today Regarding Your Chicago, Illinois Truck Accident & Legal Options for Recovery
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 to discuss our past truck accident settlements and the prospects of your case.
All of our personal injury and wrongful death cases involving truck accidents are handled on a contingency fee basis were we only receive a fee for our work when we are successful in obtaining a settlement or verdict on your behalf.