Massive commercial trucks are vital parts of the modern economy. Goods need to be shipped across the country, and they need to be moved quickly. Trucks are a proven mode of transportation, and many companies rely on them. However, these large vehicles also present unique dangers to those on the road with them.
When a truck is operated negligently, when it is maintained poorly or when a driver is asked to do too much, auto accidents can result, and innocent victims can suffer. Our experienced truck accident lawyers know how to help if you suffered a devastating injury due to a wreck involving a large commercial truck.
If you need an experienced truck accident attorney, please call the Sklare Law Group in Chicago today at (800) LAW-0300 for a FREE consultation. Our attorneys serve clients in Chicago and throughout Northern Illinois.
Truck crashes often lead to catastrophic injuries and fatalities, and our lawyers want you to know these details about truck accidents and auto accident claims:
- Common Causes of Truck Accidents
- Substance Abuse and Trucking
- Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident?
- Areas of Compensation for Victims and Their Families
- Relevant Interstate Trucking Regulations
- How Sklare Law Group Can Help
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
In our decades of experience with truck accidents, we've seen many causes that show up time and time again. Thousands of truck accidents occur each year, and they can be caused by a number of factors such as:
- Drowsy driving
- Distracted driving
- Substance abuse
- Speeding to meet deadlines
- Inexperienced or poorly-trained truck drivers
- Reckless driving on the part of the truck operator
- Overloaded or oversized commercial trucks
- Under-inflated or over-inflated tires
- Blind spots caused by tractor-trailers
- Defective manufacturing
- Defective vehicle parts
- Poor truck maintenance
Semi-trucks and tractor-trailers are some of the most common commercial vehicles on Chicago roadways, but there are many other forms of trucks, which can be involved in severe crashes such as bucket trucks, tanker trucks, flatbed trucks, dump, tow and garbage trucks.
Substance Abuse and Trucking
There are regulations regarding the amount of time a trucker can spend on the road each day. However, strict deadlines can cause a truck driver to bend these laws and drive longer hours to make it to their pickup or drop off destination on time, and they may resort to taking stimulants to stay awake. Substance abuse is heavily prevalent among truckers. Driving under the influence of any illicit or prescription drug puts the lives of everyone on the road in danger.
Truck drivers have been found to abuse these substances:
- Prescription drugs
Alcohol and drugs have mind-altering effects such as hallucinations, vertigo, impaired perception and slowed reaction times. These substances can be found at rest stops and gas stations across America, making them easily accessible to truckers.
Truck drivers are often asked to do the impossible. They're given ambitious schedules, and they feel pressure to meet them by driving while fatigued or under the influence of stimulants.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident?
We tend to think of liability in an auto accident in terms of the drivers involved, but when it comes to large commercial vehicles, our truck accident attorneys take a more comprehensive approach. Liability is not always as it appears.
Take a truck driver who operators his or her vehicle while on stimulants. The driver is responsible for this decision, certainly. But, why is the driver using those drugs in the first place? In many cases, drivers feel they have to use stimulants to stay awake on long, cross-country drives with ambitious schedules. These schedules are set by the trucking company, which has an incentive to push their drivers as far as possible to deliver their cargo.
In this case, if it's found that trucking companies negligently and recklessly set dangerous schedules for their drivers, they could be liable for the accident, even though the driver made the mistake that was the immediate cause of the wreck.
We promise to investigate your accident thoroughly—We won't pre-judge liability or miss an opportunity to pursue the justice you deserve. Often, responsibility lies hundreds of miles from the scene of the accident.
Liable parties in a truck accident case can include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The company responsible for loading cargo into the truck
- The manufacturer of the truck or its parts
- The driver training and contracting facility
Areas of Compensation for Victims and Their Families
Truck accidents are among the most deadly, often leaving children without parents and vice versa. Additionally, surviving victims of these crashes may be left with permanent disfigurement or disability. If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a wreck with a commercial truck, you and your family could be eligible to recover compensation for:
- Past and ongoing medical expenses.
- Lost wages.
- Loss of income.
- Loss of companionship or parental guidance.
- Household accommodations for permanent disabilities such as a wheelchair ramp.
- Pain and suffering.
- Wrongful death.
These motor vehicle wrecks upend the lives of everyone involved, and no amount of compensation can justify your loss of quality of life or the death of a loved one. Our lawyers in Chicago will aggressively fight on your behalf to ensure your physical, emotional and financial damages are addressed and justice is achieved.
Relevant Interstate Trucking Regulations
Trucking companies are obligated to follow a host of state and federal regulations on their operations, specifically regarding the workload of their drivers. If they violate these laws and a truck accident ensues, these companies are rightly vulnerable to legal action.
"Interstate trucking" simply refers to trips involving a large commercial truck in which the vehicle crosses state lines, such as driving a load of cargo from Chicago, Illinois to a location in Missouri. If the trip stays entirely within state borders, it is an "intrastate" trip, and federal rules do not apply. However, the State of Illinois has its own regulations that must be followed.
The most important federal regulations concern limitations on how long a driver can operate his or her vehicle. There are three time limits to be aware of:
- The 14-hour window: Drivers are allowed to work for 14 consecutive hours after being off duty for 10 consecutive hours. Once the 14-hour limit has been reached, the driver cannot drive again until 10 hours have passed.
- The 11-hour driving limit: The 14-hour window listed above considers all of a driver's duties, not just driving time. During the 14 consecutive hours of work the driver is allowed to perform, only 11 can be spent driving the truck.
- The 60/70 limit: During a floating seven or eight-day period, a driver can only work for 60 or 70 hours respectively.
Some of these regulations are quite complex and difficult to wrap one's head around if one isn't in the trucking industry. You can read a detailed breakdown of these regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Administration here.
The important thing is that our truck accident lawyers understand these regulations completely. We'll keep these regulations in mind when we investigate your accident, and if we discover state or federal regulations were violated, we will use that information to pursue compensation on your behalf.
How Sklare Law Group Can Help
In the aftermath of your truck accident, your priority should be recovering from your injuries. You need to focus on getting better. Let us handle the legal issues arising from the wreck that caused such devastation. Our most important task as your lawyers is arguably investigating your accident and determining its cause. A comprehensive, professional investigation is absolutely crucial, and it's what you'll get from our firm.
Experience is vital when choosing a personal injury lawyer, but it's particularly vital when the case involves a truck accident. These cases are exceptionally complex because of the size of the vehicles involved, investigating the accident scene is quite difficult, and the resulting injuries tend to be catastrophic, which means compensation is more important than ever.
If you’ve been in a truck accident, please contact our lawyers in Chicago today at (800) LAW-0300 for a FREE consultation. The Sklare Law Group provides personal injury legal services to clients injured in Chicago and surrounding areas of Northern Illinois.