When a truck collides with a passenger truck in Illinois, disaster follows. It is among the deadliest types of auto accidents in the United States. The reason is simple: the sheer size of the truck (and its potential contents) versus a passenger vehicle. The average truck with a fully loaded trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds while the average passenger vehicle's weight ranges between 4,000 to 5,000 pounds. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a truck accident, receiving fair and just compensation may be your only recourse for physical, mental, and emotional recovery.
Accidents involving 18-wheelers or commercial trucks are different from accidents involving only passenger vehicles. There's a lot more involved. The truck driver isn't the only one who may be liable. There are federal regulations to consider alongside state laws. The mechanics involved in the truck, too, are quite different and may be relevant, making truck accident cases more complex.
The problem is this: an insurance company may not settle for what's fair. You may need to file a personal injury claim. At Serpico, Petrosino, DiPiero & O'Shea, Ltd., our truck accident attorneys in Illinois can help you file a strong, well-documented claim while advocating your rights and representing your best interests. Contact us today either online or at (312) 207-0000 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Accidents involving semi-trucks or another type of commercial truck are caused for any number of reasons.
Some of the most common include:
- Distracted driving
- Excessive speed
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Driving in high winds
- Unsafe lane changes
- Inadequate training
- Excessive fatigue
- Defective truck parts
- Poor truck maintenance
- Shifting cargo inside the trailer
- Poorly-fastened cargo on a flatbed trailer.
Not all truck accidents are caused by the truck driver or an issue with the truck. Other causes may include environmental conditions, poor road design, or another driver's error. In the end, there may be several causes that lead up to the accident, which again makes these cases more complex than other types of auto accidents.
Common Types of Injuries from Truck Accidents
No matter how it is caused, a truck crash often leads to severe injuries for the people in the passenger vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides annual statistics, and year after year, it's been documented that more than 80 percent of those who die from bodily injuries sustained in a truck accident are occupants of the other vehicle (or pedestrians or bicyclists). Only rarely is the truck driver or a passenger of the truck killed, and that's in part because the sheer size and weight of the truck is to their advantage.
Though fatalities often result from semi-truck collisions, there are other serious injuries that can have life-changing effects on the victim. These injuries include:
- Spinal injuries
- Broken and fractured bones
- Crushing injuries
- Severe or life-threatening lacerations
- Internal bleeding and damage to internal organs
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Nerve damage
- Limb dismemberment
- Burn injuries.
In some cases, certain injuries can lead to additional compensation. For example, if you are left scarred or unable to work, you deserve more than someone who will fully recover.
Potential Liable Parties in Truck Accidents
Truck accidents, especially commercial truck accidents, are different from other accidents involving only passenger cars because, in part, a trucking company usually employs the truck driver involved in the crash. As the trucker's employer or carrier, it may be legally responsible for the upkeep of the truck and truck drivers' actions.
In addition to a truck driver and the carrier, several other parties may be liable for a truck accident, including:
- Manufacturer of the truck
- Manufacturer of truck parts
- Vendors providing services to the carrier (like loaders)
- Owner of the cargo
- Local government or contractors responsible for highway design or maintenance
Why File a Personal Injury Claim for a Truck Accident?
Truck accidents are complex cases. Injuries sustained from them are often severe, and, as such, are extremely costly. Insurance companies may be happy to settle, but the offer will likely not reflect what's fair and just.
When insurance companies make an initial settlement offer, their first goal is to protect their own bottom line – not help the victim recover. They will try to cut costs by not thoroughly investigating the accident. This means the insurer may not uncover all the underlying causes and potential liable parties (e.g., truck driver, trucking company, loaders, mechanics, etc.). Insurance companies will also try to get away with not paying for future medical bills, future lost wages, loss of earned income, and other expenses that you may not be aware of but which the law allows you to recover.
By filing a personal injury claim, victims can pursue the compensation that they really deserve.
Timing of the personal injury claim, however, is critical. There are deadlines you must meet in order to recover. If you miss certain deadlines, like those imposed by statutes of limitations, then you may not be able to recover anything. It is important to know the laws specific to your jurisdiction, thus, the reason why it is so very critical to your personal injury case to speak to a truck accident lawyer today.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney in Illinois Today
Truck accidents can be devastating for everyone involved. Make sure you get the compensation you deserve by hiring an auto accident lawyer at Serpico, Petrosino, DiPiero & O'Shea, Ltd.. Contact us online or at (312) 207-0000 to schedule a free initial consultation today.