The Chicago truck accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers are dedicated to representing individuals and families who have suffered a serious injury or fatality. 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, the owner of the trailer, the company that packed the trailer, and the driver’s employer. But each truck accident lawyer from our firm is well-versed in the federal safety regulations that apply to large truck companies, and we have successfully prosecuted cases involving semi-truck accidents across all corners of Illinois and the 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 country’s 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. This power plays a role in 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 a world that is controlled by huge corporations. Unless you hold their feet to the fire, your case will not be evaluated fairly.
There is constant pressure on all parts of the truck industry to deliver goods faster and more cheaply. At some point, the most comprehensive safety plans will give in to the never-ending need for corporate profitability. A review of more than 120,000 big-truck crashes and mishaps 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 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 or tires. The remaining 3% of crashes were related to environmental factors including inclement weather.
While these may be “official” categorizations of trucking accidents, our truck accident law firm regularly prosecutes trucking cases referred to as rear-end accidents, intersection crashes, left-hand turn accidents, and head-on impacts.
Significant Injuries Related to Trucking Collisions
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation’s 2014 Illinois Crash Facts and Statistics report, there were 12,293 crashes involving tractor-trailers on roads and highways in Illinois during 2014. Ninety-eight of the crashes involved fatalities, and 2,021 involved a severe injury. While Illinois statistics do not identify the locations 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."
Each truck injury lawyer from our firm has experience in representing motorists, passengers, and truck drivers, and 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 collisions 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 a semi-truck attorney from our office is retained in a trucking accident case, the trucking accident attorney helps the client get access to some of the most respected doctors so that they can get the best care possible for their injuries. We believe that our clients should receive the best medical care from physicians who will treat their injuries and support them in court should we call upon them to testify at trial.
Using the Law to Establish Negligence
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 their vehicle recklessly, but 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 the 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, overseeing virtually every aspect of trucking freight. As attorneys who routinely prosecute truck accident and fatality cases, we base our strategies on these detailed regulations to establish negligence or fault in our cases. The more common portions of the regulations used to prosecute trucking cases involve:
- Drug and alcohol testing
- Hours of service
- Vehicle marking
- Vehicle maintenance
- Insurance for trucks
- Loading procedures and securing the loads
- Weight restrictions
A Chicago Semi-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 companies that 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.
Immediately following a crash involving a semi-truck, the insurance carriers for the companies involved 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 witnessed the collision. These experienced accident investigators are good at what they do, compiling information to assist in defense of serious injury cases stemming from a collision with their insured.
But when you hire Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, you’ll have us doing the same thing on your side. We remain mindful that these cases need to be investigated aggressively as soon as feasible after a crash, and a truck accident lawyer from our firm will gather evidence that is favorable to our clients and identify all parties responsible for causing harm and damage. We regularly work with accident investigators and reconstructionists to gather the evidence needed to win the 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 the:
- Truck driver
- Employer of the driver
- Owner of the truck
- Leasing company
- Owner of the truck trailer
- Manufacturer of the truck
- Truck maintenance company
Our goal in each case 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 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.
We are confident that our office will provide you with the representation you need to realize the full value of your case. 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.
Let Us Help You Reach a Full Financial Recovery for Your Injuries
If you have been injured in an Illinois trucking accident and need to consult with a truck accident attorney, Chicago residents should contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers to learn more about their 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 work 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 only collect a fee if we secure compensation on your behalf, so you never have to concern yourself about up-front fees or 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 after trucking accidents in Illinois. 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: