CHICAGO

Chicago Truck
Accident Lawyer

Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer

The Chicago truck accident lawyers at Malman Law will fight for maximum compensation.

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an accident involving an 18-wheeler, tractor trailer, or other commercial vehicle, the personal injury attorneys at Malman Law will fight for maximum compensation.

 

How a Truck Accident Lawyer 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:

  1. Interview witnesses and get statements from those witnesses soon after the accident;
  2. Secure all evidence related to the truck accident, and ensure that the black box evidence is properly preserved;
  3. Subpoena the trucking company’s safety and personnel records of the driver;
  4. Bring in experts to recreate the accident or the scene of the accident;
  5. Obtain all maintenance records related to the truck involved in your accident;
  6. Determine whether there were violations of federal or Illinois state laws concerning driving regulations;
  7. Discover any past history of trucking company violations;
  8. Secure and review the police reports pertaining to your trucking accident;
  9. Thoroughly review your medical records, interviewing medical personnel when necessary, in order to build a solid case on your behalf; and
  10. Secure the driver’s log books in order to determine whether the driver had driven more than the allowable hours.

Truck Accident Statistics

According to a recent study, there were 22,000 tractor-trailer accidents in Illinois in a recent year. Below are more startling truck accident statistics for the state and country-wide: 

  • There were 1,337 accidents with trucks in Illinois work zones. Of those accidents, 837 had a semi-trailer attached. 
  • Large trucks are involved in 9% of fatal crashes in the US. 
  • Most fatal truck wrecks happen in rural regions during the day. 
  • 4,014 people died across the US in truck accidents in 2020. 16 percent of those who didn’t survive were truckers, whereas 67 percent were drivers and passengers of regular cars and SUVs, and 15 percent were bikers and pedestrians.
  • The number of fatal truck accidents dropped 8% in 2020 across the US. 
  • Tire defects are responsible for about one-third of truck accidents.

Also, The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that:

  • Of two-vehicle collisions that year, 97 percent of those who did not survive the crash were occupying the smaller vehicle (not the truck drivers).
  • Commercial truck drivers can legally be behind the wheel for 11 hours straight without stopping, according to federal regulations.
  • Over the past ten years, the number of people killed in semi-truck crashes rose by 1/3.
  • Tractor-trailers (a.k.a. semi-trucks) cause 3/4 of big truck accidents. Single-unit trucks, like delivery vehicles without trailers, cause about 1/4 of those crashes by comparison.
  • A fully-loaded semi-truck can take up to 40 percent longer to reach a full stop than a passenger vehicle. If the roadway is wet or icy, that figure is even greater. Poorly maintained brakes on commercial vehicles can also be a factor contributing to longer stop times.
  • The most dangerous roads when it comes to truck accidents are highways and main thoroughfares. These types of roads account for more than half of truck crashes. 34 percent of truck crashes in a year were on freeways, and 15 percent were on side streets.

truck accident statistics

Causes of Truck Accidents in Illinois

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. 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.

What Kind Of Injuries Can You Sustain From A Truck Accident? 

Truck accidents are often severe, and you may suffer terrible injuries. Some of the most common ones are: 

Back And Neck Injuries

Many truck crash victims suffer whiplash, disc injuries, sprained muscles, and worse. Even a minor neck and back injury can make it difficult to work, enjoy life, and do daily activities you enjoy. 

Broken Bones

A truck crash is powerful; many victims have broken arms, legs, hips, fingers, collarbones, and more. 

Burns

Trucks carry at least 100 gallons of fuel, and a crash can ignite it. Plus, many trucks carry huge quantities of fuel or hazardous chemicals. As a result, you could suffer severe burns that devastate you for life. 

Head Injuries

Some accident victims suffer from concussions. Signs of a concussion include vision issues, confusion, and memory loss. Even if a concussion is minor, it can take months to recover. 

Seatbelt Injuries

Seatbelts save lives but can also cause injuries to the ribs, internal organs, and whiplash injuries. 

Internal Injuries

Blunt trauma from a truck crash can cause damage to the intestines, stomach, liver, pancreas, and kidneys. 

Rib Injuries

While many rib injuries are not life-threatening, they are severely painful. For example, you may have months of pain from broken or fractured ribs.

What Compensation Are You Entitled To In A Truck Crash Lawsuit in Chicago? 

Some compensation you could receive includes

  • Past and future medical costs
  • Lost earnings
  • Loss of the ability to earn a living
  • Property damage, including vehicle repair or replacement
  • Additional costs your auto and health insurance will not cover

How much you can receive in a truck crash case depends on the severity of the injuries. Therefore, selecting a skilled and experienced litigator to represent you is important. In addition, the threat of an expensive lawsuit can motivate many insurance companies to offer a fair settlement.

How Truck Accident Damages Are Calculated in Chicago

There are two types of damages in personal injury cases: economic and non-economic. Economic damages refer to your countable losses for: 

  • Medical bills
  • Lost earnings
  • Out-of-pocket expenses, such as prescription and doctor visit copays

Non-economic damages are for pain and suffering and mental anguish. Again, your personal injury attorney will know what a case is worth. In addition, licensed attorneys can access settlement and verdict databases in your area to see what is being awarded in similar cases. 

Some insurance companies may use a multiplier between 1-5 to pay pain and suffering damages. That number is multiplied by your economic damages. However, many insurance companies do not use this system anymore.

What Proof Is Needed For A Truck Crash Lawsuit in Chicago

Winning a truck accident lawsuit means proving that the driver, his company, or another entity was negligent. Proving negligence requires proving duty of care, the duty was violated, and you suffered injuries and damages. 

Commercial trucking companies are required by state and federal law to keep extensive records that can be used to establish liability in court. For example, a truck company must keep updated maintenance records for every vehicle. They also must have records of alcohol or drug abuse by their truckers. 

You will almost certainly hire an attorney to represent you after a truck crash. However, there are important actions you can take before your attorney gets involved: 

  1. Document as much crash scene evidence as possible. Take photos of all vehicle positions, up close and distant shots of every vehicle, and photos of the overall collision scene. Law enforcement will move the damaged cars, so getting these images is essential. 
  2. Take photos of your injuries if you are able. 
  3. Get eyewitness contact information and statements, if possible. 
  4. Go to the doctor immediately. Delaying to get medical attention even one day can compromise your claim. 
  5. Do not talk to any truck company insurance company directly. Only communicate with them through your attorney. 

The tractor-trailer driver may be blamed for the crash. But a unique aspect of commercial vehicle accidents is there may be other liable parties. For example, the truck company could be responsible if their training and maintenance were not good enough. 

Your attorney may explore the driver’s history and logs. If he was driving too long against federal law, this could be the basis for a lawsuit. The attorney will need to show that the trucker was driving for the company at the time of the accident. The attorney must look into the trucker’s contract and duties if the driver is independent. 

Chicago truck accident lawyer

Find The Best Truck Accident Lawyer Near You

At Malman Law, we have represented numerous truck accident victims since opening our doors in 1994. Our truck accident lawyers have the experience necessary to handle complex truck accident cases, and we are committed to ensuring that our clients receive maximum compensation for their injuries and losses. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident in the Chicago land area, we will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the accident, and then we will aggressively pursue claims against all of the responsible parties.

 

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

I was hurt in a truck accident in Chicago. What kind of compensation can I get?

Compensation for a truck accident in Chicago can vary from case to case. This is because each case has its own specific facts. What happened, how it happened, and how you were affected all play important factors in determining compensation. Truck accidents in Chicago fall under personal injury law. It is based on negligence. You may be eligible to receive compensatory damages, money for your medical expenses, money for future medical expenses, and lost wages. There are other types of monetary damages that you may be able to receive, but as noted, every case is different. To have your case evaluated, call Malman Law now for your free consultation.

How Much Does A Truck Accident Lawyer Cost in Chicago?

It is understandable if you are reluctant to hire an attorney when you’re hurt in a truck accident. Unfortunately, most personal injury attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning your attorney is not paid unless you receive a settlement or award at trial.

It is common for personal injury attorneys to receive between 25% and 40% of your settlement or award. In addition, if the attorney paid fees for expert witnesses and other case costs along the way, that also is deducted from the settlement.

The key is you will not have to pay money upfront to engage the services of a Chicago truck accident attorney.

Can I sue the trucking company?

Drivers of 18 wheelers and most other large trucks are required to take special training courses in order to operate their truck. Whether or not the trucking company could be named as a defendant in a Chicago truck accident will largely depend on:

  • Whether the driver was an actual employee of the trucking company. Some trucking companies hire employees. Other trucking companies contract with owner-operators. An owner-operator is someone who owns the own truck. They provide delivery for the trucking company and the trucking company pays them for it. However, they are not an employee of the trucking company.
  • Legal liability. This is tied to the last point. It must be proven that there was a relationship, such as employer and employee, that asserts that the trucking company had some sort of legal authority over their driver. In the instance of an owner-operator involved in a truck accident in Chicago, the legal liability toward the trucking company may not exist. However, in some instances, it still may be possible. It’s important to speak with a Chicago accident attorney at Malman Law if you’re involved in an accident of this nature. Call us for your free consultation.

Should I Settle My Truck Accident Case?

Many vehicle accident cases end in a settlement. Your attorney will not recommend you settle unless a fair offer is on the table. Truck accidents usually involve severe injuries. You could have months of recovery in front of you. Therefore, it’s important that you receive enough money in a settlement to get back on your feet.

How Much Is My Truck Accident Worth?

You may be entitled to economic and non-economic damages from your tractor-trailer accident. Economic damages include:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost earnings
  • Physical therapy
  • Other out-of-pocket costs, such as medications and co-pays

Non-economic damages usually refer to the pain and suffering from the accident. How much should you get for pain and suffering? Unfortunately, there is no precise formula to decide how much you should receive.

I was hurt in a truck accident in Chicago. Who will pay for my injuries?

If you are involved in a truck accident in Chicago and you’ve been injured, the expenses that you’ve incurred will ultimately depend on the facts surrounding your case. However, you may be able to bring a truck accident lawsuit against the driver, the trucking company, and the truck manufacturer.

Driver. The driver may have been negligent while loading or operating the truck. Loading errors can cause the load to shift during transport. The shifting load can cause a trailer to tip. On some types of trailers, the cargo may fall off and cause a hazard or hurt someone.

Trucking company. In some instances, the trucking company may be at least partially responsible for the accident. However, in order for the trucking company to be a defendant, they must have a legal responsibility for the driver. This means that the driver needs to be an actual employee of their company as opposed to being an owner-operator. Trucking companies who provide trucks to employees are responsible for providing routine maintenance of the tires, brakes, safety equipment, and other parts and components.

Truck manufacturer. When a faulty truck is built by the manufacturer and it is involved in an accident, you may be able to sue the truck manufacturer under product liability laws. Faulty truck designs and mistakes made during assembly are extremely dangerous.

If you were involved in a truck accident in Chicago, make sure that you call the truck accident lawyers at Malman Law. We provide free consultations.

The insurance company offered me a settlement for the truck accident in Chicago that caused my injuries. What should I do?

Sometimes, insurance companies are quick to offer a settlement. They know that accidents of this nature can be very stressful and that you’re likely to settle for far less than your claim is actually worth. If you don’t have a Chicago truck accident attorney representing you, they most likely will not offer you a fair amount.

Do not sign anything given to you by the insurance company without first contacting Malman Law. If you sign something, you could lose your right to sue in court. It’s important that you get a fair settlement. Call or contact Malman Law to book your free consultation today.

How Long Does A Truck Accident Case Take in Chicago?

Many insurance companies will put a quick, low offer on the table to see if you take it. In most cases, your attorney will recommend negotiating for more money. Remember, getting a fair deal can take months. In a truck accident with severe injuries, it is often best to see how much you recover before negotiating a settlement.

Rushing and taking an initial settlement offer could leave you without enough money for your complete recovery.

What is a commercial truck in Chicago?

In Chicago, truck accidents mostly include a commercial truck. In this sort of accident, a commercial truck is an 18 wheeler or other type of large delivery truck. It’s something that most of us think of when we hear the term “big rig.” Other examples include a tanker truck, a cement truck, and any large delivery vehicle that has the purpose of delivering commercial goods. If you were in a wreck that involved a large delivery vehicle, call Malman Law for a free consultation.