After a car accident involving a large truck, you may need to file a truck accident claim against the other driver for your injuries and financial losses. You may submit the claim on your own, but the process can be confusing, as can the court system. Additionally, a truck accident case can become increasingly complex when there are multiple liable parties involved in the accident.
You should have an Illinois truck accident lawyer on your side who is experienced in handling these complicated cases. Besides investigating the truck accident, a lawyer can find out what caused it and negotiate fair compensation with the insurance companies of the liable parties.
Why it’s Important to Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer
A truck accident attorney knows how to navigate the complex legal issues involved in these cases. They can help you understand your rights, gather evidence, and build a strong case for compensation. Here are more reasons why a Chicago truck accident attorney can help you with your claim.
Federal Truck Regulations Can Be Complex
All commercial truck drivers and trucking companies are subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. Under these laws, truck drivers must comply with the following safety standards:
Daily inspection reports. A driver must write a report after every driving day detailing any problems that may interfere with the vehicle’s operation or result in a mechanical failure.
Scheduled regular maintenance. Every commercial vehicle must go under inspection every 12 months. Motor carriers may inspect them and must keep the reports for 14 months after the inspection date.
Regular alcohol and drug testing. Drivers holding commercial driver’s licenses must submit to testing for pre-employment, post-accident, random, reasonable suspicion, and follow-up drug and alcohol testing.
Logging of service hours and rest. 11-hour driving limits with 30 minutes of break time every 8 hours are mandatory for property-carrying truck drivers. The FMCSA requires drivers to record their service hours and break times in electronic logging devices (ELDs).
A truck accident lawyer can determine the violations committed by a truck driver and his employer based on their knowledge of federal trucking laws and information from ELD records. The lawyer understands that drivers and companies in the trucking industry are under pressure to meet delivery deadlines by following strict schedules.
A study found that truckers who consistently break federal trucking regulations are driving fatigued during their working hours. These violations can increase the likelihood of a truck accident occurring on the road.
Gathering Evidence is Essential
The ELDs contain real-time information about the truck driver’s driving time, mileage, engine hours, and duty status. A lawyer can use ELD records to see the truck driver’s actions before the accident. The data can also prove that the driver worked past their service hours and had not taken the mandatory breaks.
Lawyers can also obtain the truck’s inspection reports to determine whether a mechanical error caused the wreck. Other pieces of evidence for your truck lawyer to investigate the causes of the accident may include:
Photos and videos of the truck accident. A lawyer can use videos and photographs to establish the timeline of events and the property damage to your vehicle. Video footage from witnesses and local businesses can provide critical evidence to an insurance company or judge about the location of the accident.
Medical records. Medical records help your lawyer determine the severity of your injuries and the amount of compensation needed for your recovery from the accident. These records serve as evidence with the insurance company about the severity of the accident and the impact of the injuries on your life.
Eyewitness statement. An eyewitness’ statement can identify who caused the crash and what happened before it. Their testimony may also counter the at-fault truck driver’s claim that something else caused the accident.
Expert witness testimony. The lawyer can determine if other factors contributed to the crash by referring to expert witnesses such as truck mechanics or forensics professionals. They might find out if a mechanical failure made handling the vehicle tricky or if driver error was the cause.
Several Parties May Be Liable for the Accident
The lawyer may file multiple claims if it appears several parties were responsible for the collision. Besides the truck driver and company, these other parties can be held liable:
Cargo shippers and loaders. Cargo originators, shippers, loaders, and shippers are responsible for securing cargo in all trucks. Some trucking firms work with third-party brokers to find vehicle cargo shipments.
If the cause of the accident was unsecured cargo or other cargo problems, the lawyer could subpoena and review the records from the cargo originator, shipper, loader, and other parties.
Third-party vendors. Trucking companies work with vendors to outsource work for truck driver recruitment, background checks, drug tests, truck maintenance, and dispatching.
Third-party vendors may be liable for an accident if their negligence contributed to it, such as recruiting inexperienced drivers or failing to check for mechanical problems.
Truck manufacturers. An attorney could bring a product liability claim against the manufacturer and distributor of a truck whose part or system was defective and caused the accident.
You May Receive Compensation for Damages from Multiple Parties
A personal injury lawyer can file claims against the insurance companies of the truck driver, the trucking company, and even the truck itself following a truck crash. However, insurers may offer lowball settlements on injury claims and look for ways to save themselves money by placing liability on you and challenging evidence.
The lawyer can research insurance policies and work with insurance companies for a favorable settlement. Your compensation covers accident-related damages can include:
Medical care. An accident involving a semi-truck may result in personal injuries, including broken bones and traumatic brain injuries. A lawyer will review your medical bills and statements to calculate the number of medical expenses you incurred. Your settlement can cover the costs of medical treatment, such as:
- Doctor appointments
- Diagnostic testing
- Assistive medical equipment
Future medical expenses. A lawyer can account for future medical expenses if you need ongoing medical treatment and surgeries following the accident. Your lawyer may consult with your doctor and other independent medical witnesses to estimate the future cost of your medical care.
Lost wages. Your lost wages can cover the time taken for your recovery and healing. A lawyer uses your employer’s pay stubs, tax returns, and wage verification letters to calculate the lost wages. Medical records and hospital receipts can show you the amount of time and money you lost while in the hospital.
Future earning capacity. The settlement can include your future financial losses due to your lost earnings. An attorney can factor the losses you suffer from your injuries into your future earning capacity if you cannot pursue your career goals and receive promotions.
Property damage. Since fully loaded trucks are 20 to 30 times heavier than passenger cars, cars are more likely to suffer severe damage in an accident. You can expect your lawyer to factor in the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle when calculating the property damages.
Pain and suffering. A lawyer will consider the severity of your injuries when calculating how much you may recover for pain and suffering. Furthermore, your lawyer will look at any hardships that result from your injuries, such as the inability to participate in daily activities.
Loss of consortium. If you lost a loved one due to a wrongful death, you may receive compensation for loss of consortium. Loss of consortium encompasses the loss of companionship and guidance for you and your children.
Talk to a Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer
Hiring a trucking accident lawyer will provide you with the most favorable compensation for your bodily injuries. An experienced truck accident attorney from Nessler & Associates can assist you if you’ve been injured in a truck accident. We can investigate your accident and determine what factors may have led to the collision.
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a truck in Illinois, Texas, Colorado, or Florida, contact our law firm at (800) 727-8010 to schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.
As witnesses of some of the most catastrophic events caused by truck accidents in several states nationwide, we understand how difficult the healing process can be for the victim and their family. That’s why our law firm uses more than 45 years of experience to fight for your ability to finance your recovery and maximize your settlement.
Our law firm uses a contingency fee arrangement, and with our no fee unless your case is settled or won promise, you don’t owe us a thing unless we win a verdict or settlement for your claim.