Not long ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the rule that allows truck drivers to drive eleven hours at a stretch, as opposed to the ten hours that safety groups – as well as many drivers – advocated for. If you have ever taken a long trip, you know how difficult it is to remain alert after driving for eleven hours straight. Truck drivers do this on a daily basis. As a result, nearly half of all truck drivers admit to falling asleep behind the wheel at least once within the previous twelve months, and 65 percent admit to being chronically over-fatigued while driving.
In light of the fact that approximately 4,000 people are killed annually in trucking accidents, with another 100,000 being seriously injured, many are questioning the Court’s decision to allow truckers to continue to drive such long, uninterrupted hours. Even with the allowable eleven hour limits, tight deadlines and slim paychecks lead many drivers to exceed those rules. Since a large number of fatal truck accidents can be tied to an overly fatigued truck driver, it appears that the economic profits of the trucking industry are being given more importance than the safety of the American public.
Causes of Illinois Trucking Accidents
There are a number of causes of trucking accidents, however some of the more common causes include:
- Driver fatigue;
- Distracted driving;
- Inexperienced truck drivers;
- Defective or poorly maintained truck brakes and tires;
- Poorly secured cargo;
- Swinging turns;
- Trucker blind spots;
- Lack of underride guard;
- Negligent hiring practices; and
- Defective truck parts.
How Your Chicago Truck Accident Attorney Can Help
If you were involved in a trucking accident, it is essential that you contact an experienced Chicago truck accident lawyer immediately. Your attorney can ensure that no crucial evidence “disappears” following your accident, and that you are not bullied by a large trucking corporation and their army of lawyers. Highly skilled Chicago truck accident attorneys can additionally do the following for victims of a trucking accident:
- Interview witnesses and get statements from those witnesses soon after the accident;
- Secure all evidence related to the truck accident, and ensure that the black box evidence is properly preserved;
- Subpoena the trucking company’s safety and personnel records of the driver;
- Bring in experts to recreate the accident or the scene of the accident;
- Obtain all maintenance records related to the truck involved in your accident;
- Determine whether there were violations of federal or Illinois state laws concerning driving regulations;
- Discover any past history of trucking company violations;
- Secure and review the police reports pertaining to your trucking accident;
- Thoroughly review your medical records, interviewing medical personnel when necessary, in order to build a solid case on your behalf; and
- Secure the driver’s log books in order to determine whether the driver had driven more than the allowable hours.
The Complexities of Chicago Trucking Accidents
Trucking accidents differ from two-car collisions in many ways, due to the severity of the injuries, as well as the fact that there may be more than one defendant. The truck driver may have been at-fault, negligent, distracted, or driving recklessly. The trucking company may be liable for hiring an inexperienced driver or allowing the driver to exceed the legal number of driving hours. If the truck is independently owned, then the owner could be at-fault, as well as the leasing company and even the owner of the trailer. The truck may have been poorly maintained, resulting in an accident, or the truck – or specific parts of the truck – could have a defect in design.
Traumatic Injuries Resulting from a Truck Accident
Those who survive a collision with an 18-wheeler are likely to be left with extreme injuries which could take months, years, or even a lifetime to heal – if they heal at all. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, limb amputation, burns, disfigurement, internal injuries, and broken bones are “typical” injuries sustained by those in a trucking accident. You may wonder whether your life will ever return to anything which even remotely resembles “normal.” You may be unable to work, therefore unable to provide for your family and pay even the most basic living expenses.
The trauma of colliding with a huge commercial truck can also leave you with serious emotional issues, including PTSD, severe depression, and chronic insomnia. Many victims of a trucking accident find it difficult – if not impossible – to ever get behind the wheel of their vehicle again. A knowledgeable Chicago truck attorney will work hard on your behalf to ensure that you receive an equitable settlement to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Contact Our Chicago Trucking Accident Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been injured in a trucking accident, it is important that you speak with an experienced Chicago trucking accident lawyer from Malman Law. Call us at (888) 307-7068 or contact us online today for a free consultation and review of your case. Our attorneys are ready to fight for you; we have the resources and experience needed to win large trucking accident cases. Call today.