CHICAGO TRUCK ACCIDENT LAWYER
Experienced Chicago, Illinois Truck Accident Lawyers
Trucking accidents differ from car accidents and require attorneys with specific experience handling these kinds of cases. At Curcio Law Offices, our Chicago truck accident lawyers have considerable experience with truck accidents and are devoted to helping our clients get optimal compensation for the physical, financial, and emotional injuries caused by truck accidents in the Chicago metropolitan area.
18-wheelers are the largest vehicles driven on Chicago’s roads and highways. When a semi-truck collides with a passenger vehicle at freeway speeds, the resulting injuries are almost always serious, often catastrophic and often result in wrongful death claims.
What is Considered a Truck Accident in Illinois?
Truck accidents can occur anywhere in Illinois, including highways and rural roads. Even parking lots see the occasional truck accident. Various actions by truckers lead to accidents. Every case is unique, so it is essential that you work with an experienced Chicago truck accident lawyer to ensure you gather the necessary information for your case.
Chicago Truck Accident Types
A few different types of trucking accidents in Illinois include:
- Rear-end collisions
- Intersection collisions
- Left-hand turn accidents
- Lane change accidents
- Head-on collisions
Who is Responsible in Chicago Semi-Truck Accidents?
A number of people or organizations have the potential to be responsible for trucking accidents. For this reason, many who have sustained truck accident injuries find semi truck accidents to be more complicated than car accidents when considering whether or not to file a truck accident claim in Chicago.
A typical truck accident case will involve multiple parties, such as the truck driver responsible for the accident, the trucking company for which the driver worked, the truck manufacturer or maintenance staff responsible for maintaining the truck, and the company who rented the trailer, in the case of a tractor trailer accident.
You may be able to recover compensation for your medical treatment, along with other economic and non-economic damages, from multiple parties responsible for the truck accident.
A few of these may include:
- The truck driver. Truck driver error is the first consideration for truck accident claims. The truck driver was in direct control of the vehicle when the truck accident took place.
- Trucking company. The trucking company is in charge of hiring truck drivers, and are often responsible for their training and conduct. Trucking companies have a duty to ensure that their drivers can operate large trucks or tractor trailers without causing truck accidents.
- Truck owner. If the truck is owned by someone who is not the truck driver and fails to keep it in safe condition, they may be held liable.
- Truck manufacturer. If the truck experienced a defect which leads to the accident, the manufacturer of the truck might be at fault.
- Cargo company. These companies are responsible for loading and unloading the trucks. Therefore, improper loading might have caused the accident.
- Large truck parts manufacturer. Large trucks, tractor trailers, and even delivery trucks contain hundreds, if not thousands of different parts. If one of these essential parts fails, the manufacturer of that part might be liable.
What is Truck Driver Negligence?
Before we dive into how truck drivers engage in negligent driving, we must first understand what negligence is in truck accident cases.
Essentially, negligence occurs when a truck driver fails to perform an expected duty of care. This usually causes serious injury.
Common examples of negligence by semi truck drivers that often lead to personal injury cases include:
Driving Under the Influence
Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is extremely dangerous for any motor vehicle operator. It is especially dangerous for truck drivers, as their vehicles are much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles.
While state and federal regulations prohibit this action for all drivers, commercial truck operators face even stricter regulations. Legally, Illinois law considers truck drivers intoxicated when their blood alcohol content (BAC) is half of the intoxication limit for passenger vehicle drivers. Most motorists have a BAC limit of 0.08. Commercial truck drivers have a BAC limit of 0.04.
Oftentimes, a trucking company will pay its truck drivers based on the number of miles they drive. For this reason, a truck driver may be tempted to drive over the speed limit, as he or she would make more money in a shorter time frame. Commercial drivers who operate their vehicle in excess of speed limits risk losing control of their vehicle, potentially causing multiple vehicles to crash.
Reckless or Aggressive Driving
Reckless or aggressive driving is also very dangerous. Road rage, unnecessarily aggressive driving tactics, and other reckless forms of driving endanger all nearby motorists.
If you see commercial trucks engaging this type of behavior, get the trucking company involved, before their employee causes an accident.
Truck drivers receive strict limitations on how many hours in a day or week they can drive. Some drivers might feel tempted to exceed this limit and engage in an hours of service (HOS) violation in an attempt to make more money. This opens the door for fatigued drivers. Many Chicago truck accident lawyers have proven that fatigued driving can be just as deadly and cause the same amount of serious injuries as a truck accident case in which the driver was drinking.
Commercial trucks generally have significant blind spots. If a truck driver fails to take this into account while changing lanes, they may cause a truck crash.
Because virtually zero wiggle room exists for truck drivers on the roads, we don’t see too many texting and driving accidents, with respect to semi-trucks. However, truck drivers are far from exempt for damages caused by distracted driving.
Drivers also have a responsibility to check their vehicles before getting behind the wheel. If they fail to accomplish this, a defect they might have noticed with a quick inspection could cause an accident.
Improper Training or Trucking Company Negligence
Other issues, such as improper training for drivers or other traffic violations could lead to accidents. Drivers must be properly trained and adhere to all traffic laws.
I Was Partially Responsible for the Truck Crash. Can I Still File a Insurance Claim in Illinois?
Illinois is a comparative negligence state. This means that the at-fault party or their insurance company must pay for the other party’s damages resulting from the accident.
In many cases, it is clear who the negligent party was, while the other party remains blameless. But, for many Chicago commercial vehicle accidents, more than one party is at fault.
Modified Comparative Negligence
For these cases, Illinois uses a system called “modified comparative negligence.” This means that a plaintiff in a personal injury case may collect damages from a defendant so long as that plaintiff’s degree of fault is not over 50%.
If Illinois law determines the plaintiff to hold over 50% of the fault, her or she may not receive compensation from the defendant.
Further, these laws reduce the plaintiff’s compensation in a personal injury claim proportionately based on their degree of fault.
An experienced Chicago truck accident attorney can help you determine how much you contributed to the truck accident. At Curcio Law Offices, our legal team will work with your insurance company, as well as the other parties to help ensure your truck accident settlement or verdict will cover your medical bills and any future medical treatment you may need. We offer an initial free consultation for trucking accident and personal injury victims.
Can Chicago Truck Accident Victims Get Treatment Without Health Insurance?
If you find yourself with injuries from a truck accident, but you don’t have health insurance, options still exist.
After hiring a Chicago truck accident lawyer, we recommend exploring all of your options with the following as sources of payment for medical expenses:
Medicaid is a federal program which provides health insurance for lower income individuals. If, after an accident, you lost your job and related health coverage, you may be eligible for Medicaid to cover medical bills. Our truck accident lawyers can help point you in the right direction.
Trucking Industry Medical Payment Coverage
Truck drivers and trucking companies often have medical payment coverage. This means that, in the event they are responsible for an accident or injuries sustained by truck accident victims, their medical payment insurance covers up to a specified amount. Once that specified amount is paid, you must cover the rest.
Sometimes, health care providers offer payment arrangements. Not every victim of an accident is insured, and doctors often understand this. Rather than paying a large sum of money at once, they might allow payment in the form of a portion of your settlement proceeds. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help you with this, as well.
How Long Does it Take to Settle a Semi Truck Accident Case in Chicago?
Sometimes, truck accident cases take longer to resolve than other types of accidents. This is due largely to the fact that semi trucks are large, heavy, commercial vehicles. All of these factors contribute to the complexity of a case.
Insurance companies often try to offer a low-ball amount immediately after an accident, but very rarely is this amount fair for you. In order to receive the compensation you deserve for your damages, we highly recommend speaking with an experienced Chicago truck accident lawyer.
Why Do Truck Accident Cases Take Longer to Settle?
Below, we list common reasons why trucking accidents take longer to settle:
- Accident severity. More serious accidents require more investigation and documentation.
- Liability investigation. An investigation into who is at fault is essential in every accident case. For commercial vehicles, multiple parties are involved with just one truck. For this reason, your truck accident lawyer will need more time to establish liability.
- Insurance coverage. Total insurance coverage must be established, as the insurance commonly differs according to the cab, the trailer, and the cargo.
- Medical treatments. We recommend waiting until all of your medical treatments are complete before attempting to settle a truck accident claim. This way, you will know the full extent of your expenses, especially is you sustained severe injuries as a result of the truck accident.
- Settlement negotiations. This process involves considering all of the above factors and determining how much you are owed in your settlement. Negotiations often go back and forth more than once to achieve a fair settlement amount for your personal injury case.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Chicago Truck Accident Lawsuit?
Victims of truck accidents might be able to seek recovery for damages. Damages include a multitude of factors, including lost wages, medical costs, pain and suffering, and much more.
The Chicago truck accident attorneys at Curcio Law Offices have a track record of securing significant settlements and outcomes for our clients. For example, we recovered $8 million in a partial settlement in a trucking accident case for one client. For another client, we recovered $2.13 in the verdict. Every case is different, so we recommend calling our office and speaking with an experienced Chicago truck accident lawyer at 312-321-1111 as soon as possible for a free consultation.
What Can I Expect From a Truck Accident Settlement in Chicago?
After trucking accidents, many people wonder exactly what they can get from a settlement. In Chicago, truck or tractor trailer accidents often result in some pretty high-dollar cases. However, not every settlement ends in millions of recovery. Each case’s settlement depends on a number of factors, including what types of injuries occurred, how much property damage occurred, lost wages accrued, the experience of your truck accident attorney, and much more. Rather than giving you a concrete amount that you will receive, we will explain what types of damages we seek for our clients during a case.
Damages for Chicago Truck Accidents
- Medical expenses. This includes surgery, medications, physical therapy or rehabilitation, and treatments associated with the trucking accident.
- Lost wages or income. This is calculated from your income statements.
- Future lost wages or income. Sometimes, individuals cannot resume their previous level of work due to personal injury. This leads to losses in the future, and our truck accident attorneys fight for this to be included in our client’s damages.
- Pain and suffering. This includes physical and mental distress resulting from any minor or serious injuries incurred from the trucking accident.
- Quality of life decline. Your injuries might not allow you to enjoy life as you did before the trucking accident. This counts as damages.
- Loss of consortium. Sometimes, a marriage is affected by an accident in a negative manner. This counts as damages.
Once our Chicago personal injury attorneys determine all your losses, we will document them together, value them, and add them together. This states the value of your case.
Fatal Truck Accidents in Chicago
Severe injuries are all too common for truck accidents in Chicago and in the surrounding cities. When a trucking accident leads to a death, the deceased’s family or personal representatives may pursue damages for wrongful death. In Illinois, family members can pursue wrongful death compensation from the negligent party after a fatal truck accident. Our experienced truck accident attorneys provide a free consultation and comprehensive legal representation for grieving families for any accident involving a wrongful death.
Experienced Chicago Truck Accident Lawyers
It is extremely important to contact an experienced truck accident attorney as quickly as possible after an accident. Truck drivers and trucking companies are legally required to carry commercial liability insurance. Their insurance carriers begin working immediately to minimize their financial exposure in truck crash cases. As an injured trucking accident victim, you need proper legal representation to protect your rights and interests.
If you or a member of your family has been injured in a trucking accident, please contact the Chicago truck accident attorneys at Curcio Law Offices in downtown Chicago by calling 312-321-1111 or contact us online and schedule a free consultation today.