Recently, the Illinois State Police has started observing how normal, everyday commuter traffic behaves around large trucks, and also how other trucks operate on the interstate. When a trucking accident occurs, the amount of resources involved in such a disaster can be quite large. If a passenger vehicle is struck by or collides with a semi-trailer, the weight differential can be over 40,000 pounds and lead to serious injuries for all involved.
If you or a loved one has been in an accident involving a trucking company, semi-trailer, truck, big rig, or other large freight moving vehicle, you need an experienced attorney to piece together the facts of your case in order to achieve the recovery you deserve. Not only do we have experience utilizing a qualified expert crash reconstructionist, but we also have access to a variety of health professionals who can help present your claim, your recovery, or your case to achieve the recovery you need to get back to normal.
How Can a Trucking Accident Attorney Help Me?
When cases such as these turn fatal, the stakes grow even higher when a possible wrongful death claim is made. Attorney Paul Marriett lost a family member to an interstate trucking disaster when a U-joint (i.e., what connects a drive shaft to a truck differential) broke off on the interstate and went through the windshield of a vehicle traveling behind the truck. Accidents like this occur on interstate roadways from these vehicles, and the impacts of such accidents can be felt for decades and longer when a family member or other loved one is suddenly taken due to a catastrophic accident.
Losing a loved one in an accidental death can cause emotional pain and suffering, as well as extreme financial hardship for a family. The emotional burden of the loss can make it very difficult to move forward and deal with the aftermath. You need trusted legal guidance from a knowledgeable Rockford attorney who understands the ordeal that you and your family are experiencing.
While traffic accidents happen every day, an auto accident involving a large commercial truck can be significantly more dangerous than an everyday car accident. Because businesses rely on trucks to transport their goods all across the state line, it is not uncommon to see major truck accidents in the Rockford area. There are more than 250,000 traffic accidents in Illinois each year. Semi-truck and tractor-trailer accidents comprise a large number of the motor vehicle accidents involving injuries.
Accidents involving these types of vehicles are, in many cases, more dangerous than routine fender benders. A fully loaded semi-trailer can weigh 80,000 pounds. When that weight makes contact with a passenger vehicle under 6,000 pounds, it causes major safety issues with anyone unfortunate enough to be involved in this type of an accident.
If you or a family member is injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, you could be eligible to recover compensation for your injuries. Commercial trucking accidents can create liabilities for the truck driver and the owner of the trailer and its contents.
Who May Bring Suit?
Illinois law also specifies who can file a wrongful death lawsuit and when they are able to do so. The Illinois Wrongful Death Act (740 ILCS 180/1) says that living spouses and next of kin may recover compensation for the wrongful death of their loved one.
What Compensation Am I Entitled To?
The Illinois Wrongful Death Act provides that jurors “may give such damages as they shall deem fair and just compensation with reference to the pecuniary injuries resulting from such a death, including damages for grief, sorrow, and mental suffering, to the spouse and next of kin of such deceased person” (740 ILCS 180/2). If proceeds are to be divided amongst multiple family members, the court will conduct a hearing to discover the degree to which each family member was dependent on the decedent.
How Soon Must A Lawsuit Be Filed?
Pursuant to the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, suit must be commenced within the two years following the death. If a surviving child is under 18 years of age at the time of the decedent’s death, the two-year period does not begin until the child turns 18 years old. However, suit may only be brought one time.
Common Truck Accident Factors
There are many possible reasons how a truck can cause an accident, but many common reasons include driver error, equipment failure, and dangerous weather and road conditions. At the Law Office of Paul M. Marriett, we can help you receive the maximum financial recovery if you or a family member is injured in a truck accident.
The most common cause of any vehicle accident is driver error, including both gross negligence and simple mistakes. For example, wide turns, quick lane changes, and dangerous driving are often due to a lack of training or experience. Drivers can also put themselves and others at risk in cases involving drugs or alcohol. Serious accidents also can arise due to work- or environment-related factors, such as fatigue.
Commercial trucks experience a large amount of wear and tear, and can suffer from deterioration just like any other vehicle. Sometimes, these equipment flaws can cause injury or even death. Trucks are at risk of rolling, jackknifing, or having the driver lose control. Equipment malfunctions can be obvious (e.g., brake failure), but they also can subtle (e.g., increased vehicle damage due to a lack of side or rear bumpers).
External conditions often play a role in major truck accidents. Because trucks and tractor-trailers are so much bigger than standard vehicles, they are especially susceptible to weather-related conditions (e.g., rain, sleet and ice). Bridges and tunnels can become riskier for trucks during these weather conditions, and other drivers can also become more unpredictable on roadways.
When looking at the factors that cause truck accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that 10% of them involved vehicle defects or maintenance problems, such as worn-out brakes or tires. The remaining 3% of crashes were related to environmental factors, including inclement weather.
It is important to keep in mind that the trucking industry is now a trillion-dollar business in the United States. In fact, the trucking industry contributes more than 10% to the country’s gross domestic product, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Truck operators deliver more goods and contribute more to the national economy than all other types of transportation combined.
The sheer power and size of the trucking industry is something that all people injured in crashes must acknowledge from the inception of their case. The trucking industry has a lot of power. This plays a role in why your accident happened in the first place and how the case is handled during the claims process. It is vitally important to your case that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible after being involved in a truck accident.
With major injuries come major expenses. These will weigh heavily on anyone, and you should be able to focus on recovering and rely on an experienced attorney to help you receive the compensation you are entitled to. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to help you recover compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Physical and mental anguish
- Physical disabilities
Illinois Time Limits on Filing Suit
Illinois sets a time limit of two years to file a personal injury lawsuit in the state’s civil court system. In most cases, this two-year time limit, known as a “statute of limitations,” begins to run on the date of the accident. Sometimes, however, a statute of limitations might run from the date that you discovered you were injured, rather than the date of the event that injured you. This later date is known as a “discovery date.”
For injury claims against a city or county, you have one year to file a lawsuit. The time limit to sue the state is generally two years, but you must file a formal claim within one year in order to sue.
A qualified personal injury attorney can help guide you through this difficult time and alleviate some of the stress.
Contact a Lawyer You Can Trust
For a confidential, compassionate, in-depth, free, and, most importantly, thorough consultation with a Rockford Personal Injury Lawyer about your trucking-related auto accident injury case in Rockford, Belvidere, Freeport, Rochelle, Oregon, Loves Park, Byron, Machesney Park, Belvidere, Roscoe, Rockton, or elsewhere in the State of Illinois, call or text message us at (815) 391-0089, or e-mail us 24/7/365. We offer in-office consultations, and routinely make visits to clients’ homes, hospital rooms, nursing homes, and other off-site locations to make retaining our services as easy as possible.