Recovering from a big truck accident can be an overwhelming and painful process. Filing a truck accident claim can help you recover fair compensation for your injuries. Still, many people simply accept a check from the insurance company for fear that a truck accident settlement will take too long. Truck accident settlements can take a long period of time, but this is often the only way to get fair compensation for your injuries. If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident, don’t settle for less than your claim is worth. Working with an experienced Chicago truck accident attorney at Curcio Law Offices can ensure that your best interests are protected through the entire legal process. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney, call us today at (312) 321-1111.
Common Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents
Truck drivers aren’t always the cause of tractor-trailer accidents. Even if the truck driver is at-fault, sometimes the trucking company they work for can still be responsible. Some common causes of semi-truck accidents include:
- Driver Error. Driver errors can include distracted driving, driving while impaired/under the influence, and reckless driving. Driver fatigue can also contribute to accidents since drivers in the trucking industry often have strict deadlines to meet. Trucking companies can be held responsible for these accidents, especially if they have a history of encouraging drivers to skip sleeping breaks.
- Hazardous Conditions. Weather conditions can contribute to major truck accidents, especially if the driver does not have the training necessary to drive in bad weather. Road hazards like potholes and poor maintenance can contribute to accidents as well.
- Equipment Failure. The owner of the truck can be held responsible for the accident if they failed to properly maintain the truck. Manufacturers, mechanics, and trucking companies can also be held responsible for trucking equipment failure that leads to an accident.
What Should I Do After a Big Rig Accident?
If you are involved in an accident with a big truck, there are a few things you can do at the scene to ensure you get the best chance at compensation.
- Call 911. Call 911 as soon as possible after the accident. The dispatcher will be able to send police and EMTs to the scene to help. The police will write up a formal report that will later be used as evidence in your case.
- Gather information. Gather as much information at the scene as you can. Get the name, contact information, and license plate number of the truck driver. Trade insurance information. Take pictures of the accident scene if you are able. Take note of the time of the accident, location, and weather information. If the roads are wet or covered in snow, document that as well. If you are injured, do not push yourself or refuse medical treatment.
- Don’t refuse medical care. Even if you feel fine after a truck accident, listen to the emergency medical team. Let them take you to the hospital if that’s what they decide is best. Adrenaline and shock can mask serious injuries at the scene of the accident. Refusing treatment or waiting until later can not only make your injuries worse, but it can also negatively affect your truck accident case. The insurance company will find any reason to deny your claim.
- Contact Curcio Law Offices. Get in touch with a truck accident attorney as soon as possible. As personal injury attorneys, the team at Curcio Law Offices has all the knowledge and experience needed to pursue a truck accident claim. The sooner we begin working on your case, the more evidence we can preserve. Attorneys often have access to evidence you don’t, so working with a personal injury attorney from Curcio Law Offices can ensure that the truth comes out.
Average 18-Wheeler Accident Claim Time Frame
After a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys, we can determine a rough timeline for your case and begin the fight for compensation. Accident claims can settle in as little as a few months or drag on for years, depending on the details of your case. At Curcio Law Offices, our attorneys will keep you updated throughout the personal injury claims process.
Factors That Affect Settlement Timelines
Different factors can affect the time it takes your claim to come to a close. At Curcio Law Offices, we keep you updated on the status of your case every step of the way.
Cause of Accident
Sometimes the cause of a motor vehicle accident isn’t immediately clear. The investigation into what caused the accident can take some time. The cause of the accident is important because it often leads to the responsible party. The truck driver isn’t always the cause of the accident. Multiple liable parties can be involved in truck accident claims, which can slow the process down a bit.
Depending on the severity of the accident, it can be difficult to gather all the information necessary to pursue the claim. It’s not uncommon for a trucking company and their insurance company to prevent timely collection of evidence in a truck accident case. Thankfully, the attorneys at Curcio Law Offices are familiar with the shady tactics trucking companies use.
The number of liable parties in a truck accident can often make it significantly more difficult than in a regular car accident. In some cases, more than one liable party can be responsible for the truck accident, which introduces another party and their insurance company to settlement negotiations. It’s not always only the fault of the truck driver–trucking companies, manufacturers, mechanics, owners, and cargo-loading companies can all share a part of the responsibility. Navigating all these liable parties can be extraordinarily difficult, but the commercial truck accident attorneys at Curcio Law Offices can help.
Illinois follows comparative negligence laws, which means you can be held partially responsible for the accident. As long as you are less than 50% responsible for your injuries, you can pursue compensation for your injuries. This investigation into fault can extend the time of your settlement, though. It can also reduce the amount of your compensation. If the jury finds you 15% responsible for your injuries, you can only receive 85% of the compensation award.
Extent of Injuries
Minor injuries like broken bones and soft-tissue injuries often have a straightforward recovery process. Serious injuries, on the other hand, often require extensive hospital stays, rehabilitation, and physical therapy. A traumatic brain injury may require months of rehabilitation before the victim can even go home. It can be difficult to determine the true cost of your injuries after an accident. Your legal team may delay settlement negotiations until they have a more clear picture of your medical costs.
Settlement vs. Trial
Many truck accident cases result in a settlement instead of a jury trial. A settlement happens when both parties (the injured party and the insurance company of the responsible party) come to an agreement about how much the claim is worth. Settlement can happen at any point before the jury renders a final verdict. Having an attorney by your side during these settlement negotiations can ensure that you get the best possible outcome. Insurance companies often want to avoid a long and drawn-out trial. Jury trials can add significant time to the case, but jury awards are often much higher than settlements.
What’s the Average Semi-Truck Accident Settlement Amount?
The settlement amount for big truck accidents can vary greatly based on different factors. Since most claims settle outside of the courtroom, it can be difficult to get an accurate read of the average truck accident settlement amount. Compensation can either be economic, non-economic, or punitive. Economic compensation is the easiest to quantify. These losses include medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and funeral expenses (in the case of a wrongful death lawsuit). Economic damages are intended to return you to the same financial situation you were in before the accident.
Non-economic damages are not as easily quantifiable. These damages are based on mental and physical distress. After a big truck accident, your life is likely not the same. Non-economic damages are meant to compensate victims for the pain and changes they have to go through as a result of the accident.
Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim. Instead, punitive damages are intended to punish the responsible party. If there was gross negligence or willful wrongdoing in your case, you may receive punitive damages.
How is Pain and Suffering Calculated?
‘Pain and suffering’ is the term for the physical and emotional distress you suffer as a result of a physical injury. This non-economic compensation is not about replacing financial losses. Pain and suffering doesn’t come with an itemized receipt, so it’s often up to your legal team to put a cost on the amount of pain and suffering you’ve endured. More severe injuries will often result in a higher pain and suffering compensation award. Pain and suffering factors in the extent of the injury, the impact it has on a victim’s life, and the victim’s age and general health. In many cases, pain and suffering is calculated based on the amount of economic damages.
Never Accept the First Offer
The first offer the insurance company offers you is likely to be entirely too low to cover your injuries. Insurance companies are in the business of making money. Their first offer may seem like a huge payday, but early in the case, you may not even know the full extent of your injuries. Big truck accidents often cause catastrophic injuries. These injuries have lifelong effects on injury victims, and often require special home accommodations, around-the-clock care, and lifelong medical care. Accepting the first offer means you cannot pursue additional compensation if your injuries turn out to be more severe than you originally thought.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
Working with a Chicago personal injury attorney can take a large burden off your shoulders. Truck accident cases often result in severe injuries, which require lots of downtime and rest. If you or a loved one is recovering from a severe injury, the last thing you want to do is run around town trying to gather evidence for your case. Working with a personal injury attorney can give you peace of mind. Knowing your personal injury claim is being worked by the best Chicago personal injury attorneys can help you focus on recovering. At Curcio Law Offices, we are familiar with Illinois personal injury law and have the experience necessary to pursue your accident claim.
Illinois Statute of Limitations
In the state of Illinois, injured victims are working against a legal deadline for compensation. The statute of limitations for personal injury is only two years. This means that injured victims have two years from the time the accident occurred to pursue compensation for their injuries. If the statute of limitations expires before you file a personal injury lawsuit, you cannot recover compensation for your injuries. Working with the experienced legal team at Curcio Law Offices can ensure that these strict deadlines are met and your rights are protected.
The Personal Injury Attorneys at Curcio Law Offices Can Help You Every Step of the Way
If you or a loved one sustained injuries from a big truck accident, it may be tempting to just settle as soon as possible with the insurance company. A trucking accident can cause extensive injuries, and the last thing you want to do is fight the insurance company for fair compensation. This is when the Curcio Law Offices can help. We can handle all the paperwork and negotiations while you focus on healing from your injuries. Curcio Law Offices has been helping personal injury victims in and around Chicago since 1957. Our experienced attorneys have all the knowledge and skill necessary to fight for the maximum compensation in your case. To schedule a free consultation with a skilled truck accident attorney, call us today at (312) 321-1111.