Due to their sheer size and weight, accidents involving trucks or tractor-trailers are usually much more serious than accidents involving a car against a car. Extra care must be taken in such cases because legally, the cases are more complex as multiple parties can be held accountable and because truck drivers and their owners are required to follow more laws and regulations.
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 because injuries from truck accidents can be catastrophic enough as it is and you don’t want to make things worse for yourself by waiting to be seen.
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 which is why truck drivers must go through extensive training, obtain a commercial driver’s license and why the trucking industry itself is so heavily regulated in the United States. Still, you have to prove it.
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
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.
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 at all before you have spoken to an attorney who can prepare you for what to expect and who will make sure that you are speaking to them only under the appropriate circumstances and at the appropriate time - which is not going to be in the immediate aftermath of an accident. If you have been 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, so that you can learn your various options.