Automobile accidents with passenger cars are serious enough, but the danger is far more pronounced when a truck is involved. A truck accident is unfortunately fairly common in Chicago and throughout Illinois. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 11% of fatal vehicular accidents in Illinois involve a large truck. Victims typically experience significant medical injuries, painful recoveries, and numerous other problems. In some cases, the victims succumb to their injuries and leave grieving families behind.
When negligence is the cause of a truck accident, the victims and their surviving family members have the right to demand justice. Hale & Monico is here to advocate for you and fight for the compensation you need to get your life back to normal.
Why Are There So Many Truck Accidents?
In 2018, the Illinois Department of Transportation reported that there were over 12,000 crashes involving tractor-trailers. These statistics are understandable, considering that Illinois is one of the top states that employ truck drivers. But the causes of truck accidents are attributable to more than simply the number of trucks on the road. In many cases, negligence is to blame.
A victim who has been injured in a Chicago truck accident and who wants to recover damages has the burden of proving that the wreck involved negligent acts or omissions. And that means understanding exactly why and how the crash took place. These are a few of the most common reasons truck accidents occur:
Overloaded truck. Trucks are designed to carry significant weight, but overloading them can violate safety regulations and make an accident more likely. The desire to maximize profits is often the reason these trucks are overloaded.
Maintenance problems. All vehicles need regular maintenance, but trucks generally experience much more wear and tear due to their commercial use. Without proper maintenance, a truck cannot be operated safely.
Truck defects. Defective parts and components are often built into the truck during the manufacturing phase. Recalls don’t always work and are not always issued in time to prevent serious injuries and fatalities.
Blind spots. All vehicles have blind spots, but they are worse with large trucks. Drivers are trained to carefully check their blind spots. Failure to do so could prove deadly.
Distracted driving. Numerous distractions, especially those involving cell phones and other electronic devices, are common reasons truck accidents happen. Anything that takes a driver’s focus from the road is a distraction.
Speeding. Large trucks and high speeds are a dangerous combination. A speeding passenger car is certainly deadly, but a speeding truck is more likely to result in catastrophic or fatal injuries to other motorists or pedestrians.
Driver fatigue. Federal regulations limit how many hours per day a driver can operate his or her truck. However, truck drivers routinely disregard these limits or are pressured by their employers to keep driving to complete their routes.
Poor road conditions. Road construction, potholes, unmarked lanes, and other road conditions account for many truck accidents. These are often the fault of state and local governments and the contractors hired to maintain them.
Who Can Be Held Liable For a Truck Accident in Chicago?
With so many potential causes of truck accidents, there are several parties who could be held liable in a lawsuit. Some examples are:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- Cargo company
- Truck manufacturer
- Parts manufacturer
- Truck maintenance or repair shop
- Governmental entities and contractors
One critical role your attorney will play is to determine who should be named as a defendant in your lawsuit. Naming multiple parties is generally preferable because more defendants equates to more individuals, companies, and entities who could be compelled to pay.
The Consequences Of Truck Accidents
Victims of truck crashes will face serious injuries, the consequences of which could be irreversible. Tragically, many victims die in these wrecks or suffer permanent, catastrophic medical complications that will drastically affect their quality of life.
Seeking compensation for a truck accident involves quantifying the damages the victim has suffered. Basically, the damages are the sum total of the monetary award demanded by the plaintiff. Common damages include the following:
- Medical bills, including for past, present, and future treatments
- Prescription drug costs
- Adaptive medical equipment
- Physical therapy
- Lost income due to time recovering from injuries
- Lost income potential due to inability to return to a previous career
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Wrongful death damages if the victim dies
What Has To Be Proven In A Chicago Truck Accident Lawsuit?
Illinois law generally requires an injury victim to establish four elements in a lawsuit:
Duty. This means the truck driver owed a duty to operate his or her truck with reasonable care. Other parties like employers and governments also have a duty of care.
Breach. A breach is some act or omission that was unreasonable in light of the circumstances. Examples of a potential breach are those causes listed above.
Causation. The plaintiff must show that the defendant’s breach of the duty of care directly caused his or her injuries.
Damages. For this element, the plaintiff will explain the nature and amount of damages he or she seeks for compensation.
Wrongful death claims have similar requirements, and our law firm has experience pursuing these lawsuits on behalf of survivors of fatal truck accidents.
Contact Our Chicago Truck Accident Attorney
Hale & Monico’s personal injury attorneys understand what it takes to build a winning case for truck accident victims. We have a network of reliable expert witnesses who can help quantify damages, reconstruct accidents, and establish other critical elements. We also know how to thoroughly investigate accidents to obtain proof of negligence.
If you were hurt in a truck accident, or a family member died in one, reach out to us today. There may be upcoming deadlines to file your claim. Speak with our team to get started.