In a recent year, 12,040 motor vehicles were involved in truck accidents. With such a high number of collisions, a truck accident case calls for an attorney’s specialized attention. If you are in an accident with a tractor-trailer, you need a truck accident lawyer who has experience with truck accident cases. The Chicago truck accident lawyers at Malman Law are here to fight for you. We will guide you through the entire process, from filing your claim to taking your case to trial if needed.
Unlike passenger vehicles, semi-trucks require a longer distance to come to a complete stop. It is estimated that a truck driver operating a cargo-loaded tractor traveling at 65 miles per hour will take 525 feet to stop. Comparatively speaking, a passenger car would only take 316 feet to stop under the same conditions.
The reason? A tractor-trailer is approximately 20 to 30 times heavier than a passenger vehicle, causing accelerating, turning, and braking to become challenging.
A tractor-trailer that is fully loaded can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, while a passenger vehicle weighs, on average, about 4,100 pounds. If a tractor-trailer rear-ends you, you are not probably not walking away with minor bumps and bruises.
Truck drivers must follow the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations as laid out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Commercial truck drivers are required to log their driving time and breaks throughout the day in a logbook.
The driver can have one of four statuses:
Property-carrying drivers, or drivers carrying cargo, are restricted to driving a maximum of 11 hours after being off-duty for 10 consecutive hours.
These days, commercial truck drivers are required to use electronic logging devices (ELDs). An electronic logging device, or ELD, works in tandem with the engine of a commercial motor vehicle to automatically record driving data.
An ELD helps drivers comply with HOS regulations. An ELD can track when a truck’s engine is running, when the truck is in motion, and how many miles the truck has traveled in any given timeframe. Truck drivers must transfer their driving data to service officials for review.
Although the FMCSA places restrictions on driving time, truckers are still under immense pressure to reach their destinations in a timely fashion. When traffic or bad weather inhibits truck drivers from arriving on time, drivers will often speed to beat the clock.
At Malman Law, we will handle the entire process on your behalf. We will review your auto policy and be sure that we meet all required deadlines to ensure a successful claim.
Critical deadlines include:
An experienced truck accident lawyer will know which evidence is pertinent to building your case. It is important to save medical bills and any documentation of missed time from work in order to be compensated for your losses in the form of damages.
Compensatory damages can be economic or non-economic. Economic damages are easier to calculate, and include any expenses or missed time from work that takes money directly out of your pocket. You will want to save any medical bills, receipts, and pay stubs to submit to the insurance company.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate but affect your quality of life. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and disfigurement. In examining your case, the attorneys at Malman Law have the experience to know how much your case is worth.
This documentation will be submitted to the truck company’s insurance carrier along with a demand letter.
The demand letter should include the following:
A demand letter is a must in any insurance negotiation. If the truck company does not receive a demand letter, they may dispose of evidence that shows the truck driver’s liability.
When filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company (i.e., the truck driver), the insurer must provide you with the necessary forms to file your claim within 15 working days of your request. According to Illinois law, the insurer has 21 working days to conduct an investigation and limited time to pay or deny your claim.
The first offer made by an insurance adjuster does not take into account future medical expenses, missed time from work, and diminished earning capacity. It is estimated that the first settlement offer is approximately 40% of what your claim is worth.
If we feel that you are not being offered a fair settlement, we will respond with a counteroffer. Once you accept an insurance company’s offer, you will sign a waiver that will bar you from collecting any further compensation on your claim.
A truck accident lawyer will help you collect video surveillance and photographs, and will interview any eyewitnesses who were present at the accident scene.
In a truck accident case, we can request access to the truck’s ELD. As you can imagine, insurance companies will take all measures to prevent this information from being released.
The ELD will show if the truck driver followed HOS regulations. If the driver violated their maximum driving window, this may suggest that the driver was fatigued and may have been making poor decisions behind the wheel.
There are a few situations in which you may want to consider filing a lawsuit:
At Malman Law, we want to achieve the best results for you. When our negotiation efforts are not in line with the outcome you deserve, we will discuss bringing your case to court.
A truck accident can instantly change your life. At Malman Law, we understand the agony of living with serious and often permanent injuries. Let us work on your behalf to give you legal relief. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.
Years of experience: +30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2023