Trucking Accident Lawyer in Chicago Fighting for Injured Victims’ Rights
A car accident can be so much worse when it involves a truck or big rig. Commercial trucks and 18-wheelers on U.S. roads are so large and heavy that truck accident victims usually suffer major personal injuries or even death in the event of even a minor crash.
A catastrophic injury or the death of a loved one can be devastating for you and your family. To make matters worse, large commercial trucking companies often have truck accident lawyers paid by insurance companies with a lot of financial incentive to fight lawsuits that would hold them responsible for their drivers’ accidents.
Both the trucking company and their insurance company want to accept as little fault as possible–preferably none at all. As the victim of a crash, this could make it harder for you to get proper compensation for the injuries you’ve suffered because of someone else. Both state and federal governments heavily regulate the activity of commercial truckers. The regulations are essential to establishing the trucking company’s liability. Their lawyers know them inside and out.
None of that phases us at Kramer Injury Law LLC. We know the regulations too. We fight hard, and we fight smart for our clients. Our expertise helps you level the field against major corporations. No case is too big for us to take on so that our clients can heal, recover, and move forward with their lives.
What Should You Do After a Truck Accident in Chicago?
Trucking accidents can have serious consequences, whether you feel them immediately after your accident or not. Either way, you should take steps to protect your health and document the details of the accident if you are physically able.
When you call our law firm, we can help you get the medical attention you need and gather the necessary evidence to prove your case.
- Get to Safety and Check for Immediate Injuries
- Get Medical Attention and Treatment
- Document Evidence of the Accident
Trucking accidents usually involve large and heavy cargo at high speeds, which could lead to severe injuries in a collision. This is especially true if you’re in a passenger car, which is bound to take more damage simply because it’s much smaller. In addition, the immediate aftermath of a trucking accident could involve spills of hazardous materials.
Get to a safe place away from traffic and dangerous cargo if you can. Call 911 to get immediate medical attention for any injuries on site. The police can help manage traffic around the accident and document the scene of the crash in a police report.
Causes of Truck Accidents
A catastrophic injury can turn your life upside down in the blink of an eye. Trucking accident injuries could include severe spinal, head, and brain trauma with long-term implications for your health and mobility. To cut down on truck accidents, federal law imposes regulations on the trucking industry that applies not just to Illinois but to all 50 states. If you have not yet hired an attorney to fight for you who knows these regulations, you should do so immediately.
A trucking accident could be caused by:
- A truck that ignores or fails highway regulations and standards
- A rig that isn’t properly equipped to deal with weather conditions on the road
- A manufacturer’s defect on the truck or rig
- Improper loading or securing that causes the cargo to become loose
- A truck driver exceeding the number of hours they can drive in a day to meet deadlines
- Truck driver fatigue, error, negligence, or alcohol or drug use
- Dangerous roads that make truck maneuvering more difficult
- Hazardous materials spilling out of a truck in the event of a crash
- Improper or negligent truck maintenance
Trucking and freight companies are vicariously liable for the actions of their truck drivers while those employees are carrying out their job duties. This means the company is responsible for the negligent actions of its employees.
In the case of a truck accident, the responsible parties could be:
- The truck driver
- The company the driver works for
- The truck manufacturer
- The fleet maintenance crew
Most trucking companies are insured, but that doesn’t mean their insurance company wants to pay out a settlement. Whoever is responsible usually wants to pay out the least they can get away with. And if you’re dealing with an injury, you may want to take whatever settlement is offered to you just so you can get something to cover your bills and move on with your life.
But taking just any settlement offer would be a mistake. Usually, insurance companies lowball their first settlement offer, hoping you’ll settle for much less than your case is worth. This protects them and their clients but leaves you out in the cold–and you’re the injured party. You deserve to be compensated fully for the harm done to you.
What are Common Trucking Accident Injuries?
Considering the force of a truck collision, truck crashes tend to be more lethal than those involving passenger cars only. Unfortunately, many trucking accidents involve fatalities. If you lost a loved one in a truck accident, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf.
Survivors of truck accidents may still end up with profound and lifelong injuries, including:
- Severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI): lead to paralysis, reduced cognitive functioning, personality changes, coma, or death.
- Spinal cord injuries: result in lifelong paralysis, mobility issues, or pain.
- Neck and back injuries: like whiplash, herniated discs, and bulging discs.
- Burn injuries: from hazardous materials on truck cargo.
- Bone fractures: including broken ribs and other internal injuries.
The Illinois statute of limitations gives you two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury claim against the driver of the truck or their company.
If you’ve suffered the loss of a loved one in a trucking accident, you have two years from the date of their passing to file a wrongful death claim.
Our experienced attorney at Kramer Injury Law LLC knows what you’re going through. The effects of a major crash can be life-altering and daunting. We’re here to help you get the treatment you need and the compensation you deserve for what you’ve suffered. Call our Cook County legal team now at (312) 775-1012 for a free consultation of your case.
What Types of Damages are Awarded in Truck Accident Lawsuits?
The law uses damages to help “make you whole” for the injuries you’ve suffered in an accident. Damages could cover medical expenses, lost future income, and pain and suffering.
Illinois personal injury lawsuits usually involve two, sometimes three, types of damages:
- Compensatory and economic damages cover actual monetary losses that you’ve experienced as a result of your accident, including out-of-pocket expenses like medical treatment, caretaking costs, and lost wages from an inability to work.
- Non-economic damages cover the pain and suffering you’ve experienced as a result of your accident, including emotional distress, long-term or lifelong disability, disfigurement, increased medical risks, and shortened life expectancy.
- Punitive damages aren’t always available and require approval from an Illinois court. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the responsible party for especially bad, reckless behavior to deter others from the same conduct.
Illinois allows for punitive damages if the responsible party acted in a way that was intentional, reckless, malicious, or with an “outrageous disregard or indifference” to the lives of others. Driving under the influence (DUI) often qualifies for punitive damages.
When calculating damages for your case, an Illinois court would take into account the “nature, extent, and duration” of the harm you’ve experienced from the crash. Negotiated settlements take a similar approach, basing the outcome on your chances of success in court.
The key then to getting a good, negotiated settlement is to prove how successful you would be in court. The stronger your case, the more likely a trucking or insurance company is to settle instead–because they realized they’ve got more to lose if you refuse their offer.
In personal injury cases, the law works to “make you whole” to the best extent possible after a truck accident–as if your accident never happened. Of course, in some cases, this is impossible. The courts use monetary compensation to help make up for things the law cannot undo. While a settlement can’t undo your injury or bring back your loved one, it can help lessen the load with any expenses you’ve incurred or income you’ve lost because of the accident.
What is the Legal Process After a Truck Crash?
Shortly after your accident, the trucking company or their insurance company may approach you with a settlement offer. This may even seem like a large sum. You may be tempted to take their early settlement offer just to cover your bills and move forward with your life. You must realize that the job of the person offering you that settlement is to convince you to take it and not get a lawyer involved; research shows hiring a truck accident lawyer can increase the value of your settlement by 300% on average.
You should always talk to a lawyer before taking a settlement offer. The agreement may have terms that limit your rights, and you could be owed much more than you think. If you receive a settlement offer from the responsible party, you should show it to your lawyer and tell them to speak with your attorney. After that, they should not solicit you directly again.
At Kramer Injury Law LLC, we’ve handled cases for hundreds of clients with final settlements or verdicts in the millions of dollars. When you work with us, we handle every aspect of the legal process for you, from presenting evidence to negotiating a settlement and even trial.
- Documentation and Investigation
- Negotiating a Settlement
- Taking a Personal Injury Case to Trial
- Contingency Fee Arrangements in Truck Accident Lawsuits
Because personal injury lawsuits are so dependent on the facts, the outcome of your case will vary based on your specific circumstances. As a result, it’s crucial to establish your account of the accident and your injuries with as much credible evidence as possible.
Gathering evidence to prove your case involves investigating the cause of the accident, establishing who was at fault and documenting the injuries that require compensation.
You should start documenting the accident as soon as you are able with photos and videos of the truck as well as the scene of the crash. You could also gather eyewitness photos and videos from other people who saw the accident or its aftermath. This type of documentation can help establish what happened in an accident, which is key to proving fault.
The other most important documentation involves your medical diagnosis and treatment. A medical paper trail can help establish a direct causal link between the accident and your injury. To establish this proof, it’s important to get a medical record started right away.
When you work with us as your attorneys, the legal team at Kramer Injury Law LLC can help you track down helpful evidence to prove your case. The stronger your body of evidence, the better your position for negotiating a proper settlement to cover your losses and support your future. Call us today at (312) 775-1012 to get started on your truck accident case.