Rear-End Crashes with a Semi-Truck in Chicago

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Rear-End Crashes with a Semi-Truck in Chicago

Any vehicular accident is traumatizing – from the moment someone hits your car to the panic that ensues when you realize what just happened. Now imagine that you just finished a stressful day in the office. You take the interstate to get home and while changing lanes, you are rear-ended by a semi-truck.

What are the odds? According to the 2020 Illinois Crash Facts and Statistics released by the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were 9,296 crashes involving tractor-trailers. This number of fatalities increased by 2.6% from 2019. With such a disturbing statistic, you need a truck accident attorney who can handle the claims process for you. Contact Malman Law today to schedule your confidential consultation.

What Regulations are Truckers Required to Follow?

All truck drivers have to follow the hours-of-operation (HOS) regulations put in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is overseen by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The FMCSA requires all commercial truck drivers to fill out log books after every shift. By tracking their hours, drivers are documenting when they are off-duty, on-duty but not driving, when they are driving, and when they are sleeping (referred to as the “sleeper berth” in the log book). “On-duty” time would include any secondary jobs, which would count against the driver’s time to rest.

The FMCSA is trying to keep fatigued drivers off the road in their efforts to mitigate accidents. Although accidents are less likely to happen with well-rested drivers, the lost time often results in drivers speeding to their destinations.

Common Causes for Semi-Truck Accidents

The following have been identified as common causes of semi-truck accidents:

  • Faulty brakes: poorly maintained or brakes in need of repair can result in the truck driver losing control when trying to stop
  • Cargo overload: trucks that are carrying too much weight in their trailer can result in increased braking distances
  • Driver fatigue: truck drivers are allowed to drive long hours without a break (the HOS Regulations allow drivers to drive up to 70 consecutive hours in an 8-day period)
  • Speeding: the truck driver may be driving too fast for road or weather conditions
  • Managing space: the truck driver may not leave enough space between their truck and the leading vehicle; the truck driver may misjudge the speed of the leading vehicle

Are Truck Drivers Liable for Rear-End Crashes in Chicago?

Illinois law presumes that the person who rear-ended the lead driver is at fault. According to 625 ILCS 5/11-710(a): “The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.”

In the case of a victim fatality, their surviving spouse or heir may file a wrongful death lawsuit. Often multiple parties can be named as defendants in the lawsuit, including the truck driver’s employer, since their employee (the truck driver) was acting within the scope of their employment. In the situation of a victim’s surviving spouse filing the suit, they may seek damages for funeral expenses, mental anguish, and loss of companionship.

A Chicago Truck Accident Attorney Can Help

While truck drivers are given numerous protections, you deserve to have someone fighting on your side. If you have been rear-ended by a truck driver, you are suffering not only damage to your vehicle, but from physical repercussions. If you have lost a loved one to a semi-truck accident, no amount of money can ease your loss. The responsible party should pay for their actions. Contact us today and discover why “we know what matters most.”

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