Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer
Commercial trucks are large, heavy-duty vehicles that can cause significant harm to passenger cars. The drivers of these vehicles have a responsibility to adhere to state and federal regulations for hours of service, cargo loading, weight limits, and more. Unfortunately, some truck drivers commit dangerous acts on the road—leading to catastrophic accidents and severe injuries.
If you are in an accident with a truck, trust the attorneys at Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC to help. Our Chicago truck accident lawyers will work with you to hold the driver and his or her employer accountable for your injuries, recovering the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (312) 586-1700.
Why Choose Us For Your Truck Accident Case
- Our accident attorneys have over decades of experience representing clients in all types of personal injury claims, including truck accidents.
- Our firm has a strong track record of successful settlements and jury verdicts, recovering over $400 million over our years of operation.
- Our lawyers have developed a wide breadth of resources and a network of expert witnesses that we will leverage to strengthen your truck accident claim.
- $4.5 million settlement for two women who were seriously injured in rural Ohio by a driver driving a semi-truck for a national trucking company.
- $1.5 million settlement for a passenger in a vehicle that was struck by a truck at an intersection. Our client suffered a fractured pelvis and other injuries. This was a partial settlement with the driver of the vehicle and the case continues against the trucking company.
- $1.185 million settlement for a 32-year-old mother who was struck by a bakery truck while crossing the street in a crosswalk in Chicago, sustaining back and hip injuries requiring surgery.
- Why Truck Accidents Can Be Especially Dangerous
- Common Causes of Trucking Accidents
- Determining Liability in a Truck Accident
- Legal Options for Chicago Truck Accident Victims
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why Truck Accidents Can Be Especially Dangerous
While trucks are a common sight on our Illinois roadways, they can pose a serious threat to our safety. Trucks often weigh 20 to 30 times as much as typical passenger cars.
A fully loaded semi-trailer can tip the scales at as much as 80,000 lbs. or 40 tons. Semi-trucks are also longer (approx.70 -80 ft.) and taller (approx. 13’ 6”) than standard passenger vehicles. Therefore, trucks take 20-40 percent more braking distance to reach a complete stop as compared to a standard car.
When a truck is involved in an accident, whether it was an 18-wheeler, a semi-truck, or a tractor trailer, its size and weight become a powerful and destructive force often causing serious injury or death to those in its path. Being involved in a collision with a truck is a tragic and life-altering event that can result in profound physical, emotional, and financial losses. If you’ve suffered injuries from this collision and suspect that someone is at fault, you can seek monetary damages with the aid of a truck accident attorney. Our skilled commercial truck injury lawyers at TPMB are committed to maximizing the financial recoveries of their clients to compensate for these losses.
Legal Options for Chicago Truck Accident Victims
If you are in an accident with a Chicago truck driver, you have many legal options available to you. You will need to identify the cause of the accident before you file your claim. This information will allow you to name the liable party and take the appropriate steps to recovery.
First, you could file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver for your damages. If the driver is an employee of a trucking company, you could also name the company in your claim. In truck accident cases where a defective part caused your crash, you could file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer responsible for the product.
To prove your right to compensation in a personal injury lawsuit, you will need to gather sufficient evidence to prove four key facts.
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care at the time of the accident. Truck drivers and their employers have a duty to follow the law, including traffic laws and trucking regulations.
- The at-fault party breached the duty of care in some way. A driver who operates his or her vehicle while under the influence of drugs breaches the duty of care, and a trucking company that fails to perform regular maintenance also breaches this duty.
- The breach of duty directly caused your accident. For example, say you are in an accident after a driver falls asleep at the wheel due to driving over his allotted hours. If the driver had taken his required rest period, the accident is not likely to have occurred. You can use evidence such as witness testimony and the driver’s log books to prove this causation.
- You sustained damages in the accident that you can claim in your lawsuit. Common damages in truck accident claims include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
For product liability claims, you will need to prove the following four elements.
- You sustained injuries or suffered losses.
- The product in question is defective.
- The defect caused your accident and resulting injuries.
- You—or the driver—used the product as the manufacturer intended.
You can use many pieces of evidence to establish these facts, including medical records, surveillance footage, and documents from the trucking company, such as maintenance records. Your personal injury lawyer from Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC may also consult with expert witnesses to strengthen your case, including accident reconstructionists and medical professionals.
Determining Liability in a Truck Accident
Depending on the circumstance of the accident, you and your reliable truck accident legal counsel may pursue a claim or file a lawsuit against any or all of the following:
- The Truck Driver –This individual may be financially liable for any injuries or deaths if his/her recklessness or negligence contributes to or causes an accident.
- The Trucking Company – You can hold this entity responsible for negligent corporate policies, poor truck maintenance, inadequate training, and negligent hiring practices.
- Truck Manufacturers –If the vehicle that hurt you contained defective parts, you and your trusted truck attorney can seek compensation from the manufacturer.
Common Causes of Trucking Accidents
Accidents caused by big rig truck drivers result in severe and often fatal injuries. What makes these disasters more upsetting is the fact that many of them are preventable. Road tragedies often occur due to truckers and companies cutting corners in the interest of meeting deadlines.
Among the commonly cited factors in major truck crashes are:
- Brake Issues – Trucking firms may overlook routine maintenance to save on time and costs. Unfortunately, failure to maintain truck brakes creates conditions that result in a serious or fatal crash or collision.
- Going beyond the Speed Limit – Drivers sometimes go past the speed limit to meet deadlines. This, however, puts other road users at risk of getting involved in an accident.
- Unsafe Driving Practices – Spending hours or days driving can become tiresome, which may cause some truckers to become less safe with how they use their vehicles. Apart from speeding, unsafe practices include road rage, failure to use turn signals, and frequent lane changes.
If the driver or the trucking company has been negligent, the injured party may file a claim with the aid of a truck accident lawyer. An attorney who specializes in trucking injuries has the legal expertise and skills necessary to investigate accidents completely and determine fair compensation for the victims.
Truck collisions are often needless and preventable. TPMB’s team of lawyers is committed to aggressively investigating and determining the causes of truck collisions on behalf of our clients and their families. Common causes of trucking collisions include:
- Alcohol or drug use
- Defective Truck Equipment
- Disregarding traffic control devices
- Distracted driving
- Driver fatigue
- Failure to maintain a proper separation distance
- Illegal maneuvers
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Improper maintenance
- Inattentive driving
- Inexperienced and inadequately trained drivers
- Misjudging of road or traffic conditions
- Overcompensation or poor directional control
- Speeding/Driving too fast for conditions
- Unsafe lane changing
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I approach a commercial truck accident attorney for my accident claim? Trucking firms work hard to reduce liability so that accidents do not cost them too much money. Their insurance company adjusters and lawyers do everything they can to try to reduce the amount of compensation that is paid to accident victims.
When you hire a reputable truck accident lawyer, your chance of getting an appropriate settlement will be much higher than taking on the claim on your own. Your attorney’s legal team can level the playing field, as they represent your interests.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit for a Truck Accident?
Truck accident victims in Chicago should file their claim against the alleged negligent party as soon as possible. According to Illinois State law, personal injury claims must be filed within two years from the date the injury occurred. Failing to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent truck driver or trucking company within this time frame results in the victim becoming unable to recover the compensation they need.
Additionally, there are going to be insurance carriers involved in these cases, and the carriers will have their own reporting deadlines in place. Failing to promptly report an accident to vehicle insurance carriers could result in the claim becoming delayed or even denied altogether.
How Much Is My Chicago Truck Accident Claim Worth?
There is no set amount of compensation paid to truck accident victims in Chicago if their case is successful. Rather, there are various factors that can influence how much a victim receives, including the injury severity, how long it takes to recover, insurance policy limitations, and more.
At Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC, our goal is to recover both “special” and “general” damages on behalf of every client that we assist.
- Special damages. You may see these referred to as economic damages, and this revolves around calculable losses truck accident victims will likely endure as a result of the incident. Our team will examine receipts, bills, and estimates victims received to help adequately calculate the following:
- Emergency and ongoing medical bills
- Future expected medical costs are rising due to the incident
- Lost income if a victim is unable to work
- Loss of future earnings in case of a disability
- Property damage expenses
- Medical devices, prescription medications, and rehabilitation
- General damages. These are also referred to as non-economic damages, and they revolve around more immeasurable losses truck accident victims will likely incur. This includes, but is not limited to, compensation for a victim’s:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and psychological pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Can I Still Receive Compensation if I’m Partially Responsible for the Accident?
Yes, truck accident victims could receive compensation if they are partially responsible for causing the accident. Illinois operates under what is called a “modified comparative negligence” system. Under this system, any person who is 50% or more responsible for causing their own injuries will be unable to recover compensation. Those less than 50% responsible for the incident can recover compensation, but the total amount of compensation they receive will be reduced based on their percentage of fault.
For example, let us use an overly simplistic example to display how this works. Let us suppose a truck accident victim sustains $1 million worth of damages, which includes medical bills, property damage expenses, lost income, and more. However, let us also suppose that a jury determines the victim was 20% responsible for the incident. This would result in them receiving 20% less than they otherwise would, for a total of $800,000.
How Long Will My Truck Accident Case Take?
There is no set time frame for how long a truck accident case in Chicago will take. There are several factors that could influence the time frame, including whether or not the case is settled with insurance carriers or if it proceeds forward toward trial.
Insurance carrier settlements could occur within a few months after the incident occurs, but keep in mind that truck accident claims are more complicated than typical vehicle accident cases. The investigations are more complex, and there will likely be well-funded legal teams on the part of the trucking company or insurance carrier. Insurance settlements can drag on for well over a year if the parties disagree on how much compensation to pay.
In the event the insurance carriers do not offer a fair settlement or if they deny the claim, a truck accident victim and their legal team will need to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. This begins with the discovery process, where both sides will exchange information and evidence. It is not uncommon for negotiations to continue, and a case could settle before a trial becomes necessary. This can still take multiple years. In the event a trial is necessary, it may take quite some time for the case to reach the courtroom.
When Should I Hire A Truck Accident Attorney?
You should reach out to a qualified lawyer as soon as possible. Obtaining legal advice quickly enables you to gather as much information as you can to back your claim and secure fair compensation.
The legal team at TPMB is experienced and well versed in the complexities of trucking accident cases. Obtaining evidence plays a crucial role in investigating any trucking case. There are many different types of evidence that can assist our TPMB legal team in identifying the cause of a truck accident. The trucks themselves are equipped with electronic data recorders, also known as a “black box.”
An expert may be able to download and analyze data from the black box to determine information about the operation of the truck at the time of and immediately prior to the collision. Drivers are required to keep logbooks regarding their driving activities. This is because truck drivers are under constant pressure to meet time deadlines; a driver’s lack of adequate rest may lead to sleep deprivation.
A drowsy trucker that doesn’t take mandated scheduled breaks can cause a collision. Each case is different. Depending on the facts, other crucial evidence may also exist with trucking companies, brokers, shippers, warehouse operators, and others connected to the truck, its trailer, or load being transported.
There is also a multitude of state and federal regulations that address the trucking industry, including the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These regulations have safety requirements that truck drivers and truck companies must follow. The lawyers at TPMB are knowledgeable in these regulations and utilize them to assess and prosecute any violation.
Many different types of large trucks use our highways. Examples of these trucks include agricultural trucks, box trucks, bucket trucks, car carriers, cement trucks, dump trucks, flatbed trucks, tank trucks, tow trucks, semi-trailer trucks. They travel on our city streets, rural roads, and highways throughout the state, including on I-55, I-88, I-90, I-94, I-294, I-355, I-390.
What to Do If You Were Involved in a Trucking Accident
There are various steps that trucking victims in Chicago can take to help ensure their well-being and maintain the integrity of their claim against the at-fault party.
- Seek medical care. Prompt medical treatment after a Chicago truck accident is a necessity. Even if injuries are not immediately apparent, those involved need to go to the emergency room for a complete evaluation by a healthcare professional. The signs and symptoms of some injuries may not appear until well after the incident occurs, but seeking medical care quickly establishes a link between the incident and any injuries that may arise.
- Make sure law enforcement is involved. Law enforcement officials will likely come to the scene of the truck accident but do not simply assume that they will. Anyone involved in the incident needs to call 911 and ensure that police come to the scene so they can fill out an accident report. This accident report will be an important piece of evidence needed by the insurance carriers.
- Obtain and preserve evidence. There will be various types of evidence that need to be preserved after a crash. At the scene of the incident, this can include taking photographs of everything at the scene of the incident, including vehicle damage and injuries. Names and contact information of eyewitnesses will be important so they can be contacted later on to give statements. All truck accident victims should keep any correspondence, medical bills, property damage estimates, and more.
- Call an attorney. A Chicago truck accident attorney needs to get involved in these cases as promptly as possible. Preferably, an attorney will get involved within a day or two after the incident occurs so they can begin communicating with other parties and investigating the incident.
No matter where a truck collision occurs in Illinois, the legal team at TPMB is here to help you and is ready to mobilize.
After I got run over by a pickup truck in 2019, Jerry Bekkerman’s team sprang into action and found two different video cameras that could have seen the accident BEFORE I EVEN SIGNED ON THE DOTTED LINE. As it turned out, one of those cameras obsoletely nailed my case. Of course, the wheels of justice turned slowly since the entire Cook County Civil Court system was shut down for over a year, but they stayed with my case and gave me periodic updates on their progress. Don’t be tempted by the law firms that bombard us with TV commercials 24 hours a day. They’re huge operations and you’ll probably never even meet those guys in the ads. Jerry’s rather cocky about the fact that TPMB doesn’t even need to advertise, since they stay busy just through referrals. They’re a top-notch firm.
– Kenny Kirkendall
Free Consultation With A Truck Accident Attorney In Chicago
If you or a loved one needs help, it will cost you nothing to discuss your injury case with an experienced Chicago truck accident lawyer. Give us a call anytime or contact us via the form below.
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