CHICAGO TRUCK ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
Experienced Chicago Truck Accident Attorneys
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 lawyer offices 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 make sure you gather the necessary information for your case. Below, we list a few different types of trucking accidents in Illinois.
- Rear-end collisions
- Intersection collisions
- Left-hand turn accidents
- Lane change accidents
- Head-on collisions
Who is Responsible in Chicago Truck Accidents?
A number of people or organizations have the potential to be responsible for the accident. For this reason, trucking accidents tend to be more complicated than passenger vehicle accidents. Multiple parties are involved with each truck, so multiple parties might be held liable for your injuries. Below, we list the possible parties responsible in trucking accidents.
- The truck driver. This is generally the first person we consider. They were in direct control of the vehicle, and could have made a mistake or driven in an unsafe manner.
- Trucking company. The company is in charge of hiring drivers, and are often responsible for their training and conduct.
- Truck owner. If the truck is owned by someone who is not the 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.
- Parts manufacturer. Large trucks contain hundreds, or even 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. Basically, negligence occurs when someone fails to perform an expected duty of care. This usually causes injury. Below, we list common examples of negligence by truck drivers.
- 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. All drivers are prohibited from this action, but commercial drivers face even stricter regulations. Legally, truck drivers are considered 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 drivers have a BAC limit of 0.04.
- Many truck drivers receive payment based on how many miles they drive. For this reason, they may be tempted to drive over the speed limit to make more money in a shorter period of time. Commercial drivers who operate their vehicle in excess of speed limits risk losing control of their vehicle, and have less distance to come to a stop.
- Reckless or aggressive driving is also very dangerous. Road rage, unnecessarily aggressive driving tactics, and other reckless forms of driving endanger all nearby motorists.
- 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.
- Commercial trucks generally have significant blind spots. If a truck driver fails to take this into account while changing lanes, they may cause an accident.
- 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.
- 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, or else risk their own life as well as the lives of others.
I Was Partially Responsible for the Truck Crash. Can I Still File a Claim?
Illinois is a comparative negligence state. This means that whichever party is at fault for the accident 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. In other cases, more than one party is at fault. 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 that plaintiff is found to have been over 50% at fault for the accident, they may not receive compensation from the defendant. Further, these laws reduce the plaintiff’s compensation proportionately based on their degree of fault.
Can I Get Treatment When I Don't Have Health Insurance After a Truck Accident in Chicago?
If you find yourself with injuries from a truck accident, but without health insurance, there are still options for you. After hiring a Chicago truck accident lawyer, we recommend exploring all of your options with them. Below, we list potential sources for your medical bill payments.
- The party at fault in the accident is responsible only for the damages required to resolve the related lawsuit. If these damages include your medical bills, they must pay them.
- 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.
- Truck drivers and trucking companies often have medical payment coverage. This means that, in the event they are responsible for an accident or someone else’s injuries, 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.
How Long Does it Take to Settle a Semi Truck Accident Case in Chicago?
Sometimes, these 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. 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, establishing liability often takes a longer time.
- 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 claim. This way, you will know the full extent of your expenses.
- 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.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Truck Accident Case?
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 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 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, they 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, 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.
- Medical expenses. This includes surgery, medications, physical therapy or rehabilitation, and treatments.
- 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 an injury. This leads to losses in the future, and it counts as damages.
- Pain and suffering. This includes physical and mental distress resulting from your injuries.
- Quality of life decline. Your injuries might not allow you to enjoy life as you did before the 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 we determine all your losses, we will document them together, value them, and add them together. This states the value of your case.