The truck industry benefits all sectors of the economy, like manufacturing, construction, and retail. However, their massive size also creates potential hazards that endanger everyone on the road, especially passenger vehicles.
The number of tractor-trailer collisions in Illinois reached 11,741 in 2019, accounting for about 3.8% of all crashes. A total of 130 people died in tractor-trailer accidents in 2021, a slight increase from the 122 fatal truck accidents in 2020.
When injured in a commercial truck accident, you need to contact an experienced truck accident lawyer at the law office of Nessler & Associates immediately to file a truck accident claim. Truck accidents may involve several liable parties, including trucking companies and insurance companies.
Truck accident victims may also receive financial compensation for personal injuries, medical bills, and property damage to vehicles. Getting legal assistance ensures you’re offered a fair settlement.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
Truck accidents can happen for a combination of reasons, including fatigue, distracted driving, and speeding. An experienced truck accident attorney can investigate the following factors to reveal the cause and the negligent parties at fault.
Speeding is often a factor in motorcycle and motor vehicle accidents, but only 14% of light-truck accidents are speed-related. Federal regulations allow semi-trucks to weigh up to 80,000 lbs. when loaded, posing a risk of serious accidents when aggressive driving occurs.
Truck drivers can lose control of their vehicles when they drive too fast for the weather and road conditions. Truck collisions involving passenger vehicles may result in head-on collisions, rear-end accidents, and other types of accidents.
Truck driver fatigue
Federal safety regulations govern the hours of service truck drivers can spend on the road to reduce the risk of accidents. These regulations include:
- Driving 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off-duty time
- Not driving beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty after 10 straight hours off duty
- Can’t drive after 60/70 hours in 7/8 consecutive days. After taking 34 or more hours off, a truck driver can restart a 7/8-day period.
Although federal safety regulations exist, strict deadlines set by the truck companies force commercial truck drivers to stay on the road longer. Fatigue can lead to an increased crash risk for truck drivers.
Commercial truck drivers, including those operating delivery trucks, must concentrate on maintaining a safe driving environment. Distractions such as texting and chatting on the phone, accessing the truck’s onboard computer, and drinking or eating may pull the driver’s focus away from the road.
Cell phone records and other digital evidence from the time of the accident can prove the negligence of truck drivers. You can count on Nessler & Associates’ truck accident lawyers to get the evidence you need to help you with your financial compensation.
When a commercial driver or a truck company negligently exceeds the federal maximum weight of 80,000 lbs., they can be liable for injuries in an accident. When overloaded trucks tip or jackknife, it presents a serious hazard to others on the road.
Even when loaded with cargo that is not overweight, improperly stacked or overloaded trailers pose several risks, including:
- Insecure cargo escapes its restraints and spills onto the road
- Unbalanced tires on the tractor-trailer cause steering difficulties
Illinois has a 0.08% blood alcohol content for drivers, but the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets a 0.04% limit for truck drivers. If a commercial truck driver’s blood alcohol percentage is half that of other drivers, they can be prosecuted for DUI.
Commercial drivers who drink and drive risk losing their license and harming other drivers and passengers. Since the U.S. Department of Transportation requires trucking companies to conduct regular drug and alcohol testing, your lawyer’s investigation of its records may reveal negligence for the lack of testing among their drivers.
Truck driver error
Semi-trucks and trailers have blind spots at the front, rear, and on both sides. It is the truck driver’s responsibility to watch out for a car in a blind spot of their truck. The truck driver must also ensure that other vehicles are not in danger when it stops, slows down, and changes lanes to avoid a truck collision.
Poor truck maintenance
The responsible parties for maintaining trucks may include the truck company and its service technicians. Truck drivers are also responsible for inspecting their semi-trucks before and during their journey.
Whenever one of these parties fails to do their jobs maintaining commercial vehicles, the truck may break down. Malfunctioning semi-trucks pose a serious threat to other motorists, including sudden stoppage, brake failure, or steering column malfunction.
Common Types of Injuries in Truck Accidents
Victims of truck accidents may suffer extensive damages, including internal injuries, catastrophic injuries to the brain or spine, other physical pain, and emotional trauma due to the accident. Some of the most common types of truck accident injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Internal damage to organs
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and neck injuries ranging from whiplash to traumatic brain injuries
These injuries require immediate medical attention. Some injuries may result in long-term medical care and require ongoing rehabilitation such as physical therapy. Medical expenses and out-of-pocket expenses may increase as you may need to take time off from work for your recovery.
A personal injury lawyer with extensive experience with truck accidents can examine the case on your behalf. Your attorney will obtain the accident reports and use expert witnesses to strengthen your burden of proof and maximize financial recovery when negotiating with insurance carriers. Throughout the legal process of your truck accident claim, your lawyer can account for all your financial losses and ensure you receive fair compensation.
Who Can You Sue After a Truck Crash?
Establishing liability can be complex in truck accident lawsuits and other commercial vehicle accident cases. The trucking accident attorneys at Nessler & Associates can review the evidence from the accident and determine the responsible parties. Among those who may be held accountable are:
When assessing who is liable, the first place to start is with the semi-truck driver. Your lawyer can use a variety of evidence, such as the truck’s electronic data recorder, police reports and photos, and witness statements to prove the truck driver’s negligence, which caused the accident.
The company’s records may reveal patterns of errors or misconduct. A truck accident lawyer may review maintenance logs and training practices to determine how to hold the trucking company liable.
Depending on what component caused the truck accident, you may file a product liability claim. A defective product may involve multiple parties, including truck manufacturers and truck components manufacturers.
Shipping companies handle loading cargo onto a truck before the truck driver leaves the warehouse. These companies’ mistakes can increase the danger of semi-truck accidents and cause cargo to fall onto the road, resulting in an accident.
Truck service provider
If a truck owner engages a third party to perform maintenance and repairs on their trucks, the service provider may be held liable for any accidents caused by the vehicle’s failure.
What Damages Can You Recover for Your Injuries?
Our truck accident lawyers know these truck collisions frequently result in severe injuries and enormous medical expenses for the injured parties. Our legal team can seek maximum compensation claims for these types of damages:
- Past and future medical costs
- Loss of income and reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
If a truck accident resulted in a loss of a loved one, our attorneys can file a wrongful death claim on your behalf. The damages for wrongful death can include funeral and burial costs and the loss of money, goods, and services a loved one would have provided if they had lived.
Why Do I Need a Truck Accident Lawyer?
With the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer from Nessler & Associates, you gain access to:
- Understanding the state and federal laws surrounding the trucking industry.
- Focus on recovery while your lawyer concentrates on building your case with substantial evidence and identifying the liable parties so that you get fair compensation.
- Proper legal representation from a lawyer who can handle settlement negotiations from insurance companies looking to pay less than they should.
Contact Our Illinois Trucking Accident Lawyers
The trucking industry is one of the most dangerous, with devastating accidents causing severe injuries or wrongful death. If you or someone you love has been injured in a semi-truck accident, contact the truck accident lawyers at Nessler & Associates.
Our personal injury attorneys will determine your rights, help you file a personal injury claim or truck accident lawsuit, and receive the compensation you are entitled to for your injuries. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t owe us anything unless we settle or win your case. Call us today at 800-727-8010 to schedule a confidential, free case evaluation.