Accidents involving trucks are often complex
Due to their sheer size and weight, accidents involving trucks or tractor-trailers are much more serious than accidents involving a car against a car. Extra care is needed in such cases. Not only are injuries usually more serious, but legally, they can be harder cases to handle. Multiple parties can be held accountable and more finger-pointing often goes on. Also, truck drivers and their owners are required to follow more laws and regulations. This can make truck accidents harder for people to handle on their own. If injuries occurred, it is a good idea to talk to a lawyer as soon as you are able to.
What to do following the truck accident
If you were hurt in an accident with a truck, you have probably already been to the emergency room or at least to your own doctor. If not, don’t delay in seeking initial or follow up medical care so that you can begin any recommended course of treatment immediately. It is important to do what your doctor tells you and keep careful notes. Injuries from truck accidents are catastrophic enough as it is and you don’t want to make things worse for yourself by waiting to be seen. The sooner you begin treatment, the more likely it is that you will feel better sooner, too.
If a loved one was hurt in a trucking accident, it is important to begin the investigation early. Memories may fade. If you are helping to take care of a family member, it is important to keep notes of your own observations. Encourage them to jot down what they remember about the accident and changes you notice in their condition. You can also help them keep records of their medical appointments and treatment.
Proving fault in trucking accidents in Illinois
As with any type of accident, you can only legally recover in a trucking accident if it was the fault of the driver, the truck owner, or something else to do with the truck. The burden of proof is on you, meaning that it is up to you as the injured party to prove that the accident was their fault and that the accident caused your injuries. While the truck is not always at fault, this is usually the case as they are harder to maneuver and are more dangerous than passenger cars. In other words, there is more that can go wrong. This is why truck drivers must go through extensive training and obtain a commercial driver’s license. Nonetheless, if you were are claiming injuries after an accident with a truck, you have to prove whose fault it was and why.
In trucking accident cases, the driver of the truck and his employer (usually the truck’s owner) can be held responsible. If it is a maintenance issue, the maintenance company can be liable. Sometimes, if there is a defective part, the maker of that part might also be responsible. Pinpointing the exact cause is not always straightforward and your attorney will make sure that all evidence is preserved so that you can recover legally for your damages. Recoverable damages in truck accident cases will include not only your hospital and medical bills but also future bills and your pain and suffering. It can also include reimbursement for lost time from work, damage to your car, etc.
Common causes of truck accidents include:
- Brake failure
- Bad tires or tire blowouts
- Driver Fatigue or Exhaustion; with or without OSHA violations
- Driver Inattention
- Distracted or intoxicated driving
- Inexperienced truck driver
- False Credentials of the truck driver
- Reckless driving
- Improper Maintenance of the Truck
- Equipment Failure
- Unsafe turns
- Overloaded Truck
- Unsecured or Improperly Loaded Truck
- Jackknifing (truck does a V-Shaped Skid)
- Ignoring safety laws
- Failure to slow down in bad weather
What to do when the call comes from the trucking company’s insurance agent
The truck driver’s employer or insurance company is going to want to speak with you right away in order to set themselves up to get out of it as cheaply as possible, if in fact their driver was at fault. You never should lie, but you also should not be giving a statement at this time. First, you should talk to an attorney who can prepare you for what to expect. An attorney will also ensure that a statement is made only under the appropriate circumstances and at the appropriate time. The right time is not going to be in the immediate aftermath of an accident. If you were hurt in an accident with a truck in the Chicago area, please call 630 250-8813. Or, fill out a web form to get in touch with us, so that you can learn your various options.