When a large commercial vehicle, including a big rig, 18-wheeler, or tractor-trailer, strikes a much smaller, lighter vehicle, the occupants of the smaller vehicle almost always sustain serious physical injuries.
Truck accidents usually happen when people drive carelessly and recklessly. Truck accidents may also happen when trucking companies fail to follow state and federal motor carrier regulations or negligently entrust their vehicles to negligent or inexperienced drivers.
If you recently sustained injuries in a truck accident that a negligent truck driver caused, you need to receive the medical treatment that you need for your injuries as quickly as possible.
Also, you should consult a truck accident lawyer in your area immediately. Your truck accident attorney can evaluate your case and determine your eligibility for recovering favorable monetary compensation.
Your lawyer can gather the necessary documents and submit a claims package to the insurance company on your behalf. Your attorney can then represent you during all settlement negotiations with insurance company adjusters.
While negotiating your claim, your lawyer can let you know once a settlement offer is on the table. They can also recommend whether you should accept a particular insurance company settlement offer, given the nature and extent of your injuries.
Finally, if the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair monetary settlement, your truck accident lawyer can pursue litigation in the court system on your behalf.
During every step of the legal proceedings, your Chicago truck accident attorney can answer your questions and work to maximize the total monetary recovery you receive for your accident-related losses.
Injuries in a Truck Accident
Drivers and passengers who are involved in a truck accident may suffer extremely serious injuries that require ongoing medical treatment. Moreover, if the truck accident victim suffers a permanent injury, they may experience lifelong pain, suffering, and inconvenience.
The specific injuries that a driver or passenger sustains in a truck accident will usually depend upon the type of commercial vehicle involved, the force of the collision, the type of collision that occurs, and their bodily movements at the time of the accident.
For example, some truck accident victims strike a part of their body on a vehicle component during the accident, such as the steering wheel or headrest.
Alternatively, the force of a collision may cause an accident victim's body to move forward and backward abruptly, leading to a soft tissue whiplash injury or muscular contusion.
Additional injuries that truck accident victims may suffer include traumatic head and brain injuries, permanent cognitive impairments, broken bones, rib fractures, spinal cord damage, complete and incomplete paralysis injuries, internal bleeding, internal organ damage, eye injuries, mouth and teeth injuries, facial contusions, open lacerations, bruises, and death.
Upon suffering one or more of these injuries in a truck accident, you must consult a medical provider for the medical treatment you need as soon as possible.
Depending upon the nature and extent of your injuries, you may need to undergo surgery. Following that procedure, you might need to follow up with a physical or occupational therapist for ongoing sessions.
For example, you can recover a partial or full range of motion in the affected body parts by undergoing physical therapy.
During your medical treatment regimen, you need to treat continuously so that there are no significant gaps in medical treatment. Otherwise, the insurance adjuster handling your claim may become skeptical of your injuries.
By treating continuously for your accident-related injuries, you increase your chances of obtaining the settlement compensation you truly need and deserve for your losses.
Also, while you complete your medical treatment regimen, your attorney can handle the legal components of your case so that once your medical treatment is complete, your attorney may begin settlement negotiations with the insurance company adjuster.
How Does a Truck Accident Usually Happen?
Local truck accidents frequently happen when commercial truck drivers operate their big rigs carelessly and improperly on the road.
When truck drivers control a vehicle that weighs many tons, they have a significant responsibility to follow all traffic laws and motor carrier regulations and to drive carefully and safely. When they fail to do so, the chances are good that they will cause a serious traffic accident.
One common way truck drivers are negligent is by violating state and federal motor carrier regulations. These regulations prescribe weight limits for large commercial vehicles and requirements for overhead and undercarriage lighting. Truck accident regulations also indicate the correct ways to load and unload truck cargo and secure that cargo to the trailer properly.
When truck drivers and trucking company employees do not follow these regulations, several problems may occur, including:
- The truck's center of balance may become offset, causing the truck to become top-heavy, resulting in a rollover accident.
- The trailer's cargo may shift while in motion, causing its center of balance to offset.
- Loose cargo may fall off the trailer and into the middle of the road, bringing about collisions with other vehicles.
In addition to state and federal motor carrier violations, a truck accident may happen when a driver violates standard traffic laws that apply to all motor vehicle operators.
For example, a negligent truck driver might fail to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle, exceed the speed limit, use their mirrors, or execute the proper turn signal when switching lanes or turning onto a different road.
A truck accident can also occur when people drive while fatigued. In many cases, a trucking company will offer an employee truck driver a large financial incentive to drive fast and deliver their cargo ahead of schedule.
As a result, some truck drivers will fail to stop and take regular rest breaks, attempting to make the trip in one leg. However, when truck drivers fail to get enough sleep, they may lose concentration and make serious mistakes while on the road.
Additionally, a fatigued truck driver may fall completely asleep at the wheel, causing them to lose control of their tractor-trailer, thereby bringing about multiple collisions with other vehicles.
Another common cause of truck accidents is distracted and inattentive driving.
A truck driver may become distracted by looking at a cellular phone or tablet while behind the wheel, making a phone call on a cellular device without using a hands-free Bluetooth system, programming a GPS navigation system while trying to drive at the same time, listening to loud music in their vehicle or adjusting the volume on their stereo system while driving.
All of these activities may cause a truck driver to take their eyes off the road and bring about one or more serious accidents.
Truck accidents can also occur when a driver exhibits road rage and other reckless driving maneuvers.
For example, to move ahead of slower-moving traffic, a truck driver may aggressively honk their horn, pass other vehicles at inappropriate times, weaving between vehicles on a busy highway, or fail to use their turn signals at the appropriate times. As a result, a truck driver may inadvertently cause a collision with one or more other vehicles, resulting in debilitating injuries.
Finally, a negligent truck driver may cause an accident if they operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While the blood alcohol concentration for most passenger vehicle operators is 0.08 percent, the BAC cutoff for commercial truck drivers is much lower.
This is because truck drivers operate large motor vehicles for a living, and consequently, the law holds them to a higher standard of care.
A drunk truck driver may experience various physical and mental symptoms that prevent them from operating their vehicle in a careful manner, including dizziness, confusion, poor judgment, poor muscular coordination, delayed reaction time, delayed reflexes, and poor vision.
As a result, a truck driver may not respond quickly to an emergency, negligently bringing about a traffic accident.
If you sustained injuries in a truck accident that a negligent driver caused, your truck accident lawyer can go over all your legal options and pursue the necessary course of action to recover the monetary compensation you deserve.
Pursuing Monetary Damages for Truck Accident Injuries
Truck accident victims, especially those who sustain serious injuries, can receive various types of monetary damages in their case. Since every truck accident case is different, not all accident victims can recover the same types and amounts of monetary damages.
Rather, the total monetary damage award that a truck accident victim receives will usually depend upon the severity of their injuries and the specific medical treatment they underwent.
Common types of monetary compensation in truck accident cases include recovery for medical expenses, lost earnings and loss of earning capacity, mental anguish, loss of spousal companionship and consortium, past and future pain and suffering, loss of use of a body part, mental distress, permanent disability or disfigurement, and inconvenience.
When you have sustained injuries in a truck accident, your attorney can evaluate the strength of your case and determine the likely settlement or verdict value you can recover.
Contact a Local Truck Accident Lawyer Right Away
Truck accident claims and lawsuits can be nearly impossible to resolve alone. Therefore, you need to involve a skilled truck accident attorney in your case as soon as you possibly can. Since truck accident victims must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of their accident date, time is of the essence in your case.
After you have retained legal counsel to represent you, your personal injury lawyer in Chicago can handle every aspect of your case by investigating the accident circumstances, gathering important documents to serve as evidence, and filing a complete settlement demand package with the insurance company adjuster handling your claim. Then, your lawyer can aggressively negotiate for a fair settlement or a court judgment.