Champaign, Illinois, is home to over 2,600 miles of roads, including Interstate 57, Interstate 74, and Interstate 72. The county’s extensive roadway network makes it essential for commercial trucks to transport goods in and around the country.
However, heavy semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, and other freight-carrying commercial vehicles cause severe motor vehicle accidents and extensive damage. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) reported that 9,966 accidents involved trucks in Illinois, resulting in 1,731 injuries and 17 deaths in 2020.
If you suffer injuries in a trucking accident in Champaign, you can recover money for medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering with the help of the experienced Illinois truck accident attorneys at Nessler & Associates. Our law firm understands how to investigate trucking claims and negotiate fair settlements for accident victims.
How Are Truck Accident Claims Different From Car Accident Claims?
Filing a personal injury claim involving a truck requires understanding the severity of your injuries and the complex federal laws that oversee truck drivers and companies.
Working with a truck accident attorney in Champaign, IL can help you understand what it takes to develop your claim.
Your attorney can determine the liable parties and seek fair compensation based on the physical, emotional, and economic impact on your life.
Truck Accident Injuries Can Result in Expensive Damages
Loaded large trucks are often 20 to 30 times heavier than passenger cars, making them much more destructive in an accident. Truck accidents can cause serious injuries such as:
- Back and neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
These injuries usually require emergency medical attention and time off for recovery. For example, receiving treatment for your injury in the emergency room might cost roughly $6,620. As a result of being in the emergency room, you may also lose wages. The CDC reports an average of 11 days of missed work, equating to around $1,590 in lost income.
Using your medical records, bills, and paystubs, your truck accident attorney can assess the value of your settlement. They can also refer to your medical documentation and doctor’s opinion to evaluate your pain and suffering after the accident.
Truck Drivers and Companies Must Follow Federal Laws
As part of their investigation, the attorney will use their extensive knowledge of federal trucking laws to determine the truck driver’s and trucking company’s negligence. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) includes strict safety requirements for truck drivers and companies such as:
- Hours-of-service regulations with 11-hour driving limits and 30 minutes of break time every 8 hours.
- Regular vehicle maintenance and repair every 12 months, with the motor carrier company keeping maintenance records for 14 months.
- Pre- and post-shift inspections to identify any mechanical problems in the truck that could cause a mechanical breakdown.
- Drug and alcohol testing after an accident, random, reasonable suspicion, and follow-up testing.
- Medical exams for newly licensed drivers to monitor for health conditions and ensure they are fit for the road.
If the trucking company or driver violated any laws in your case, your attorney can identify which laws they violated that led to your accident. For instance, by reviewing their records, your attorney can verify whether truck companies conducted routine maintenance on their vehicles. They might discover that the truck company instructed its drivers to avoid inspections to meet strict schedules and delivery deadlines.
A Truck Accident Claim Requires Additional Evidence
Your attorney can use witness statements, police reports, and photos and videos of the truck collision to gain a better understanding of your truck accident case. In a truck accident claim, they can also send a spoliation letter to the trucking company’s legal team to ask for the preservation of all evidence related to the accident. This evidence may include:
- Truck inspection reports
- Truck driver’s commercial driving license and qualifications
- Dispatch instructions
- Weigh station and loading dock reports
Multiple Parties May Be Responsible for a Truck Accident
The evidence your attorney gathers can reveal the negligence of other parties in the accident. Besides the driver and truck company, other responsible parties may include:
- Cargo owners and loaders may be liable for unsecured cargo that falls off a truck or causes its weight to shift, resulting in your semi-truck accident.
- Truck mechanics who failed to repair a truck’s mechanical issue before the big rig broke down.
- Manufacturers that knew of a defective truck component but did not issue a recall for it.
- Third-party vendors, such as recruiters, who did not perform background checks and drug and alcohol testing required for a trucking company’s drivers.
The attorney can then file claims with the liable parties’ insurance companies and negotiate a favorable settlement for all your damages on your behalf.
If negotiations for a settlement fail with the insurers, your attorney can take your case to court. They can create a legal strategy using the evidence from your claim to argue for maximum compensation in front of the judge or jury.
Call a Champaign, IL Truck Accident Lawyer to Start Your Claim
Negligent truck drivers, companies, shippers, and others in the industry that violate federal laws can jeopardize other drivers’ and passengers’ lives. The Champaign County attorneys at Nessler & Associates can hold these parties accountable for their actions.
Our lawyers have years of trial experience and have a thorough understanding of federal trucking regulations to assist injured victims in central Illinois. Our attorneys can provide comprehensive legal advice and file a truck accident claim on your behalf for maximum compensation.
Contact our office today at (800) 727-8010 to arrange a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. We work on a contingency basis, which means we won’t ask for payment unless we win your case or reach a settlement in your favor.