Representing Victims of Trucking Accidents
Trucks have the potential to cause great harm. They're big, fast, and heavy. All of us have responsibilities and we all have obligations. But the bigger the risk of harm, the greater the liability. Truck drivers, owners, and truck companies have a large responsibility that corresponds with the risk.
According to statistics compiled by the Illinois Department of Transportation, in 2021, there were over 12,000 truck accidents involving tractor-trailers in Illinois. Out of those crashes over 1800 people were injured and 100 people lost their lives. Truck crashes accounted for 2.8 percent of all injury accidents. Our Chicago truck accident lawyers represent clients who have suffered personal injuries, loss of life, or property damage as a result of a serious truck accident.
Contact an experienced truck accident lawyer at (312)766-1000 for a free consultation.
A driver of a large truck, because they sit up high, might not be able to see pedestrians, bicyclists, or small vehicles. They have a great potential for causing a collision, not because they are bad people, but just because they are driving what we call “large instrumentalities.” Because of the size of those vehicles relative to people, bicycles, and cars, the potential for a big injury is there.
Luckily in Illinois, and in the rest of the country, we have regulations governing these trucking companies. If the collision is due to some kind of violation of the law, the required safety in care, you or someone you care about may be suffering right now. Those laws and regulations are designed to promote safety, regulate risk, and allow for recovery in the event of someone being injured due to a commercial truck accident.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Defective trucking equipment
Companies have an obligation to provide their drivers with semi-trucks that are in proper working order, and drivers are expected to routinely inspect the trucks and their loads to ensure safety. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations require truck drivers to inspect their vehicles prior to driving for the following issues:
At the end of a trip, drivers must re-examine these items, as well as the wheels, tires, and emergency equipment. Any defects must be noted in the post-trip inspection report and promptly corrected by the trucking company. When unsafe equipment was a factor in the tractor-trailer accident that caused your injuries, Our Chicago negligent truck maintenance lawyers will work to discover the lapse in protocol that allowed the defect to go unnoticed or unaddressed.
Careless or Reckless Driving
It's possible that the driver while operating the truck, was careless or reckless. We often see this type of behavior in the Chicago area and it is a common cause of many accidents. Negligence while driving includes:
- Excessive speed, following too close, and aggressive driving
- Distracted driving
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Alcohol or drug impairment
- Not maintaining the proper lane
Truck driver fatigue
Companies often pay by the mile or the load, so drivers of 18-wheelers may drive to cover their routes quickly and unsafely. This aspect of the trucking industry policy encourages dangerously excessive hours behind the wheel. Work hours are defined as on-duty time, which includes driving, loading, and conducting maintenance—working with the semi-truck in any way.
Federal law establishes Hours-of-Service regulations for drivers of large trucks.
- 14-hour duty limit (10 hours of rest after 14 consecutive hours of on-duty time)
- 11-hour driving limit (10 hours of rest after 11 total driving hours)
- 60/70-hour duty limit (maximum of 60 on-duty hours in seven days or 70 on-duty hours in eight days)
Drivers who feel pressured to fulfill their company's shipping goals may choose to disregard these federal limits. When our 18-wheeler injury attorneys at the Blumenshine Law Group suspect driver fatigue has contributed to a trucking accident, we look for evidence of:
- Missing logbooks
- Falsified logbook entries
- Tampering with automated log systems
Our attorneys work swiftly to examine the driver log books, as they are only required to be kept for six months. When we find that a truck driver has exceeded the Hours-of-Service limits or misrepresented work hours in any way, we aggressively pursue compensation for injuries caused by the trailer truck accident.
Lack of Driver Training
18-wheelers and semi-trucks are not easy to operate. In fact, these metal behemoths require special training. To save money and time, trucking companies may fail to provide drivers with proper training, or worse yet, may hire inexperienced drivers. In the hands of an unskilled driver, an 18-wheeler can injure or even kill. We investigate the truck driver's training history to determine if this contributed to the accident.
What To Do If You Are In An Accident with a Semi-Truck
Being involved in a truck accident can be a very traumatizing experience. It is important to stay as calm as possible and know what to do following the accident. First, you should always make sure you are safe and out of harm’s way. If it is necessary, call 911 for medical assistance or help from law enforcement officers. Additionally, it is essential to exchange information with all parties involved – such as driver’s license numbers, contact information, insurance details, and vehicle registration numbers. Be sure to take notes on who was driving which vehicle, a description of the accident including where it occurred, and any other pertinent details that come up when speaking with the other parties.
You may want to take photos or videos of the scene and of both vehicles for additional evidence. Also, if there are any witnesses present at the scene, make sure you get their names and contact information so they can provide an eyewitness account if needed. Lastly, as soon as possible after an accident involving a large commercial truck, it is recommended that truck accident victims contact an experienced truck accident attorney who can carefully review the facts surrounding the case and ensure that they receive proper financial compensation for any damages or injuries sustained in the crash.