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Mechanical Truck Failure

Dave Abels Lawyer
Truck Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels

In one recent year, 11,011 crashes involved tractor-trailers on Illinois roadways. While no definitive breakdown explores the causes of these crashes, they account for more than 3 percent of all accidents in the state. While a small number, these accidents still resulted in more than 2,000 injuries and more than 100 fatalities.

Mechanical Failures in Tractor Trailers

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Large Truck Crash Causation Study, released in 2005, 10 percent of all truck accidents are caused by some form of mechanical failure. Unfortunately, there is no report available that provides more current data.

What we do know, however, is the form that mechanical failures take, including:

  • Brake failures – The causes of brake failure are numerous, but certainly, failure to inspect brakes or improper inspection can contribute to brake failure. The distance required to stop a truck fully varies depending on the weight of the load that it is carrying. However, stopping rules apply to every tractor-trailer.
  • Steering failures – Many of us have experienced difficulty in maneuvering our cars when the power steering fails. Imagine trying to steer a vehicle that weighs more than four times (or more) what a car weighs.
  • Transmission failures – More than 25,000 trucks were recently recalled for transmission failures. Imagine if one of those drivers is unaware of this recall, and his or her transmission fails while traveling at high speed.
  • Tire failures – Truck tires fail for many many reasons, and when they do, a driver can easily lose control of the vehicle, or debris from a tire unraveling on the roadway may strike another vehicle.

These are not the only reasons for truck failure; however, they are among the most common. Anyone who has suffered an injury in an accident resulting from a mechanical truck failure can suffer serious injuries that may take weeks or months to recover from.

Responsibility for Truck Maintenance

All commercial drivers are required to perform an inspection before leaving on a trip. They are also required to keep a copy of the report inside the vehicle to demonstrate that this inspection has been completed before leaving. There are certain items that drivers must include in this inspection, including:Mechanical Truck Failure Abels and Annes

  • Engine area
  • Test performance of brakes
  • Check for proper tire inflation and ensure the tires are in good condition
  • Check steering function
  • Verify that trailer couplings are properly attached
  • Verify that all lights and reflectors are working properly
  • Ensure vehicle is properly loaded

Even if the driver has performed the proper inspection, it may not prevent mechanical failure, particularly if the truck is not receiving the maintenance required to keep it in good working order.

Truck accidents caused by mechanical issues may not always be the responsibility of the truck driver, assuming he or she has properly performed all pre-trip inspections. In some cases, accidents may be the fault of an employer, a maintenance company responsible for the upkeep of the vehicle, or whoever is responsible for the overall maintenance of the truck.

Victim Injuries and Understanding Insurance Rules

Victims of a mechanical truck failure can suffer traumatic injuries. Victims may include drivers or passengers in another vehicle, pedestrians, children on bicycles, or motorcycle operators. Injuries, including traumatic brain injury, back and neck injuries, burns, and crushing injuries, can result in long-term pain and suffering, scarring, and other life-altering issues.

After a truck accident, it is imperative a victim seek medical attention, even if you don’t feel any immediate pain. You may be feeling fine, but chances are you are still suffering some form of shock, and it is necessary to ensure that you are not suffering from an internal injury that is being masked by the adrenaline that surges through your system following any type of roadway collision.

Every state requires drivers on the road to maintain some form of liability insurance. However, truck drivers must abide by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidelines for insurance for all types of commercial vehicles. Since Illinois is an at-fault state, any driver involved in an accident with a truck will likely be contacted by the truck owner’s insurance company following an accident.

Victims must use great caution when discussing the accident with an insurance adjuster and should refrain from discussing liability and injuries. Victims should seek guidance from an experienced truck accident attorney ASAP. In all cases, victims should simply refer questions about the accident or their injuries directly to their attorney.

What Compensation Victims May Collect

As a victim of a truck accident, it may take you weeks to recover from your injuries. During that time, you may have to see numerous doctors, take prescription medication for pain and antibiotics to avoid infection, and you may be unable to return to work immediately.

You may be eligible to collect compensation from the responsible parties for these financial setbacks, as well as compensation for damages to your vehicle, pain and suffering, permanent scarring, and any costs associated with rehabilitation therapy that may be necessary before you return to work. Should your injuries be serious enough to result in your needing long-term nursing care, or you are unable to ever return to work, you may also be entitled to compensation.

Before you decide how to proceed, you should discuss your case with an experienced truck accident attorney. When searching for an attorney, you should find someone who has a proven track record of success.

Victims of accidents resulting from mechanical truck failures have natural concerns about seeking legal help because they are concerned about the costs of hiring an attorney. That is why it is a good idea to take advantage of the ability to get a free consultation and discuss the details of your case with an experienced lawyer.

When you or a loved one is a victim of a truck accident, you need to make sure you get your questions answered. The best way to do this is to find a truck accident attorney and let him or her explain how the law deals with these types of cases.


Annes & Ables
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Accidents Happen When Truck Drivers Are Unqualified

Dave Abels Lawyer
Truck Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels

According to the American Trucking Association, the United States has about 3.5 million professional truck drivers. Any of these drivers have the potential to cause an accident. You or a loved one could be the unfortunate victim of such an accident, suffering serious injuries as a result.

Because commercial trucks are much larger and heavier than normal vehicles, these trucks usually cause more damage and more serious injuries. Many federal regulations govern the trucking industry, but not all drivers or companies follow the law. They sometimes cut corners, and such negligence could cause you to sustain injuries.

Dangers of Unqualified Drivers

Federal law places certain requirements on commercial truck drivers. This is done not to burden truck drivers or trucking companies but to keep everyone safe on the road. Based on these laws, any company who employs a commercial truck driver must ensure that:

  • The driver passes a physical exam before being hired and every two years thereafter.
  • The driver has the appropriate commercial driver’s license to operate the type of truck that he or she drives.
  • The driver passes drug and alcohol tests regularly.
  • The driver doesn’t have any red flags in his or her driving past.

Truck drivers who aren’t in good health are more prone to fall asleep behind the wheel or become dependent on prescription drugs to stay awake. Both of these situations impair driving abilities.

If a company doesn’t ensure that its drivers have the correct commercial driver’s license, then the driver might not know how to safely operate the vehicle. When a truck driver is too sleepy or becomes addicted to drugs, that further reduces his or her ability to operate the truck safely. All of these regulations are in place to keep everyone safe. Even with this, there are over 4,000 commercial truck accident deaths each year.

Accidents Caused by Unqualified Drivers

Accidents Happen When Truck Drivers Are Unqualified Abels and Annes LawAccidents caused by a negligent truck driver or a negligent trucking company can be serious. Accidents include:

  • Sideswipes
  • Rear-end collisions
  • Running a red light
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Speeding
  • Improperly-secured load
  • Improper maintenance
  • Negligent hiring

The last one can be a serious problem. The federal regulations outlined above are the responsibility of the company that employs the truck driver. Putting unqualified truck drivers on the road is extremely dangerous and places everyone else on the road at grave risk of injury.

If a trucking company doesn’t follow federal law, it is acting negligently. Even if a company performs all the necessary checks and uncovers some red flags, but still hires the driver, that company is negligent. At Abels & Annes, we want to hold any company acting negligently accountable.

Possible Injuries

Because of the size and weight of commercial trucks, injuries are often more severe than in a normal car accident. The force of the impact can cause life-altering injuries. Examples include:

  • Burns
  • Lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Concussions
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Amputation
  • Death

It is rare to walk away unscathed from an accident with a commercial truck. Because of this, injured survivors will likely have extremely high medical bills. You may also find yourself out of work for at least a short time so that you can recover. During your recovery period, you may worry about how you are going to pay your bills.

That’s where we come in. Working with a trusted and qualified truck accident attorney is a great step to help you recover damages, like:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation costs

One item you might overlook is future medical bills. Shortly after your injury, it’s likely that the insurance company of the negligent driver or his or her employer will contact you and offer you a settlement. These parties know that you’re out of work, and they know you need to pay your bills. The problem with this offer is that it likely won’t cover your future expenses.

It may excite you when the insurance company offers you enough to cover every bill sitting on your kitchen table. Unfortunately, that could leave you in financial hardship down the road when you realize that a lowball settlement offer wasn’t enough to cover your future expenses.

Working with a truck accident lawyer will help you create an accurate estimate for your future medical costs and that you won’t settle for less than what you need. If the insurance company is unwilling to offer a reasonable settlement, make sure you hire a lawyer who is fully prepared to take your case all the way to trial.

How to Tell if a Driver Is Unqualified

It may be easy to tell if a truck driver caused the accident that resulted in your injuries. However, it won’t be as easy to determine whether the driver was unqualified. That’s where you need an experienced and skilled truck accident lawyer to help you by investigating the accident and filing a lawsuit, if needed. Discovery in litigation will help your attorney determine if the truck driver was unqualified and who is at fault for allowing him to take the wheel and cause your injuries.

Most attorneys will do all of this at no cost up front to you. You only pay your lawyer if you recover compensation. Your attorney may investigate your accident, review medical records, speak to experts, speak with witnesses to the accident, all to help you make a full and complete recovery. You have enough to worry about with your physical injuries. Letting your truck accident lawyer deal with the legal complexities allows you to focus on your recovery.

Work With a Trusted Automobile Accident Lawyer

Commercial trucking cases are complex and may require expert witnesses. Not all law firms have the resources to take on such a complicated and expensive case. A law firm with the knowledge, experience, and ability to handle truck accident claims can help you recover physically and financially from the injuries you suffered as a result of someone else’s negligence.


Annes & Ables
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Tractor-Trailer Accidents and How They Can Injure You

We drive by tractor-trailers every day. They are on our highways, our side streets, and in retail store parking lots. Indeed, we’re surrounded by them so often that we almost take them for granted. Recent numbers suggest that tractor-trailers transport approximately 68 percent of all goods in the United States. But while we depend on tractor-trailers to deliver the products we want and need, these vehicles can pose a danger to other drivers on the road. A car is no match in an accident with a large truck, and as such, these accidents very often result in serious injuries or fatalities. If you or a loved one is suffering after a severe accident with a tractor trailer, read on to learn you next steps or you can speak with one of the truck accident attorneys at Abels and Annes today.

What Are Tractor-Trailers?

You may hear the term tractor-trailer tossed around a lot, but what exactly is a tractor-trailer? The term tractor-trailer does not encompass all large trucks on the road. For example, a box truck is not a tractor-trailer, nor is a dump truck. So what defines a tractor-trailer? Let’s look at the anatomy of the typical truck on the road.

Tractor-Trailer Accidents and How They Can Injure You
big white truck on the road in a rural landscape at sunlight. perfect sky. over the aspfalt road at sunset. logistics transportation and cargo freight transport industrial business commercial concept.

The front part of the truck is called the semi-truck. Semi means “half.” The tractor-trailer is the long, metal storage compartment that attaches to the back of the semi. While semi-truck and tractor-trailer both refer to separate parts of the truck, the two terms are often used interchangeably to describe the semi and the tractor-trailer as a whole. A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and extended from 70 to 80 feet long (truck plus cab).

In 2016, there were 2.8 million semi-trucks registered in the United States. It should also be known that these trucks drove a combined 175 billion miles across the country. The latest census numbers show that over 3.5 million people work as truck drivers. While many drivers work for independent trucking companies or large corporations, some drivers are self-employed. Over half of all self-employed and employer-owned trucking businesses are classified as long-distance haulers.

The Dangers That Exist With Tractor-Trailers

Just look at a tractor-trailer parked next to the standard mid-size car, and you can immediately see where the inherent danger lies. However, the dangers extend far beyond the sheer size of these vehicles. The design, mechanics, and even the drivers can all add additional risk. Take a look at a few facts that illustrate the dangers of tractor-trailers:

  • A fully loaded tractor-trailer traveling at 65 miles per hour takes the length of two football fields to stop. To put that in perspective, that is 65 percent farther than it takes for a mid-size car traveling the same speed to stop.
  • In 2017, the year in which the most recent numbers are available, 4,889 large trucks were involved in fatal accidents nationwide.
  • In Illinois, tractor-trailers played a role in 3.5 percent of crashes overall, but nearly 10 percent of all fatal accidents, in 2017.
  • Semi-truck drivers have blind spots all around them. In the front, the blind spot extends 20 feet in front of the cab. At the rear, the blind spot goes back 30 feet. On each side, the driver has a limited view of the adjacent lanes. As a rule of thumb, if you can’t see the truck’s side mirrors, the driver can’t see you.

Common Causes of Tractor-Trailer Accidents

Driving a tractor-trailer takes skill and training. Not just anyone can drive a large truck. Truck drivers know the responsibility that comes with driving these vehicles, and most give the job the care and attention that it deserves. So why do so many accidents continue to happen?

  • Speeding: Truck drivers speed for a variety of reasons. They may be behind schedule, tired, or unfamiliar with the area. Regardless of the reason, speeding is dangerous, especially when it comes to large trucks. Speeding increases the amount of time it takes to stop and reduces the amount of time available to react. This combination can be deadly if a vehicle or other hazard enters the truck’s path.
  • Distracted driving: Truckers work long hours, often spending days away from home. Some drivers may turn to their mobile devices to ease the boredom or loneliness. The time it takes to do something as simple as changing the station on a music app is enough to cause the truck to drift into another lane, miss a car move in front of them, or slide into a blind spot.
  • Mechanical issues: The law requires drivers to inspect their vehicles before each shift. In addition, they must undergo annual inspections. Sometimes, important flaws are missed, and other times, the inspection gets skipped altogether. Even if the driver complies with all inspections, improper maintenance can still cause an accident.

Determining Liability

Gary Annes Lawyer
Truck Accident Attorney

Tractor-trailer accidents can cause serious injuries. The cost of these injuries can easily enter hundreds of thousands of dollars. So who bears the responsibility of these costs? The goal of a personal injury claim is to make sure that it’s not you. The law requires all drivers to carry accident insurance. The amount of this coverage depends on the size of the truck and what the truck is carrying. There are circumstances where this coverage may not be enough or where other parties may hold liability. A thorough investigation can determine all potentially liable parties. This may include:

  • The driver: Drivers have a responsibility to maintain their truck and to practice safe driving habits. When they fail to uphold this responsibility, their insurance companies may be responsible for covering damages.
  • The driver’s employer: The employer is usually the person that owns the truck and hired the driver. If the employer did not ensure that the vehicle was safe, provided inadequate training, pushed the driver to work beyond the legal limits, or knowingly put an unsafe driver on the road, the employer may hold liability.  The owner would also typically be liable for damages under an agency theory.

If you were in an accident involving a tractor-trailer, you have avenues for compensation available to you. The law allows victims to file personal injury claims to recover costs from negligent parties. If you need more information regarding a recent accident, contact an experienced truck accident attorney today.


Annes & Ables
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Everything You Need to Know About Semi Truck Accidents

Dave Abels Lawyer
Dave Abels, Truck Accident Attorney

Semi truck accidents: We know they occur, but we never consider what happens when we are in a car that collides with a truck. During one recent year, there were 13,017 accidents involving tractor-trailers (also known as semi trucks) on Illinois roadways. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, 807 of these accidents occurred in work zones and accounted for nearly four percent of total roadway crashes. Tractor-trailers were responsible for more than 10 percent of all fatal roadway accidents and more than 3 percent of all injury accidents.

Trucks on Roadways Are a Necessity

We depend on trucks traveling our roadways to transport raw material to manufacturing plants, to transport finished goods to retail outlets, and to ensure that we have sufficient fuel when we go to fill up our vehicle’s gas tank. We also depend on truck drivers to be aware of other traffic on the roadway, to be well-rested, and to avoid alcohol and drugs when they get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, this may not always be the case, which makes the roads more dangerous for everyone.

Common Causes of Illinois Semi Truck Accidents

Like any driver, tractor-trailer drivers are human, and they are prone to making the same mistakes that the operators of standard motor vehicles make. However, other factors may cause truck drivers to crash that do not typically affect other drivers to the same degree.

  • Driver fatigue – Drivers have a schedule to keep, and oftentimes, they violate the guidelines set up by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as it pertains to rest time. Sleep requirements exist so that drivers who are not well-rested do not cause truck accidents on our roadways.
  • Lack of training – Thanks to a shortage of truck drivers, as reported by Bloomberg, companies often send truck drivers onto our roadways without ensuring that they are completely trained in their duties, including safety matters. This is problematic for anyone who is traveling on the road that is being shared by a trucker.
  • Overweight trucks – The Federal Highway Administration has specific guidelines that must be followed by companies when loading trucks. Overweight trucks are a serious concern on the roadways and can result in catastrophic injuries to truck accident victims.
  • Impaired and distracted driving – Drivers who use our roadways under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or who fail to use common sense when it comes to cell phone or other electronic use on our roadways, are a hazard. While operators of cars who ignore the rules when it comes to impaired or distracted driving pose a danger, the hazard of the same negligence by a truck operator is far more serious.
  • Road hazards – Uneven road surfaces, animals in the roadway, and work zones can all create hazards in the roadway. When truckers are distracted or going at unsafe speeds, they often do not have time to react to hazards. The distance it takes to stop a truck going 65 miles per hour is equivalent to the distance of two football fields.

Keep in mind, trucks have large blind spots. When truck drivers fail to pay attention to the traffic around them, they could inadvertently attempt to change lanes without knowing they are going to strike another vehicle.

Understanding Fault and Semi Truck Accidents

Tractor Trailer Accident LawyerThe number of accidents on Illinois roadways that involve large trucks is scary. When you are a victim, you may not know how the police will determine who is at fault for the accident. Truck accidents are more complicated than car accidents, because besides the typical causes for an accident, like ignoring speed signs, driving too fast for road conditions, and distracted or drunk driving, there are other factors that may require further investigation. For example, a truck driver who was not fully trained on proper loading does not know the regulations pertaining to rest times, or is unaware of an overweight truck may not be entirely responsible for the accident.

Some truck accidents are caused by faulty equipment; in this instance, fault may be the blame of the manufacturer of the equipment or the maintenance company that was responsible for the truck. Poorly maintained trucks can suddenly have brake failure, a ruptured tire, or suffer other mechanical problems that cause the driver to lose control of the truck. This is one of the reasons why a victim of a tractor-trailer accident should consider contacting a truck accident attorney. These accidents tend to be more complicated to investigate than a simple rear-end collision with another car.

Truck Accident Injuries are Typically More Serious

Cars and trucks have significantly different weights. Tractor-trailers can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, while a car generally weighs around 5,000 pounds. This stark difference means that any person in the car is offered little protection, regardless of how slow the vehicles are moving.

Victims of truck accidents are more likely to suffer what Illinois classifies as “incapacitating injury” than when two small cars collide. In fact, the report from 2018 discussed 12,267 truck accidents, and 120 of them were considered incapacitating. For victims, this means long recovery times, time lost from work, and potentially life-long disability.

Crushing injuries, burns because of hazardous material spills, and serious injury caused by the impact of such a large vehicle can take weeks, months, or even years to recover from. Victims often do not know what rights they have or where they can turn for help, and they often find that they are fighting with insurance companies that are trying to settle the claims for less than the full cost of the injuries involved.

Any person who is injured by a tractor-trailer on Illinois roadways should seek the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney. When you get an attorney involved in your case, he or she can answer your questions, negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company, and make sure you get the information you need to make the right decisions for you and your family.

Your first focus must be on getting back to health after a truck accident. The problem is that while you are recovering, the medical bills are adding up, you are losing income, and you have hundreds of questions that are going unanswered. If you are a truck accident victim, or you have lost a loved one in a truck accident, contact an attorney who has experience handling these types of truck accidents to make sure you get the answers you need. Once you’ve gotten competent advice, you can determine the best way forward. Since many truck accident attorneys are willing to offer free consultations, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.


Annes & Ables
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Head-On Truck Accidents

Dave Abels Lawyer
Dave Abels, Truck Accident Attorney

When a semi-truck and a passenger vehicle are involved in a head-on collision, the outcome is generally tragic for the passenger car. This is mostly due to the sheer size and weight of large trucks like semis.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a head-on accident with a commercial truck, it has likely changed your life. What you do after your accident can impact your ability to recover damages to help ease your pain and burden. Whether your accident involved driver fatigue, faulty mechanical equipment, improper maintenance, or any other type of negligence, our seasoned legal team will figure out what happened and hold the at-fault parties accountable for your injuries.

Causes of Head-On Truck Accidents

Tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, big rigs, and other commercial trucks are large vehicles that we encounter each day on Illinois roads. Most of the time, we pass these large trucks without incident. Generally, everyone is controlling their own vehicles and paying attention to their surroundings.

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, and sometimes a tragic situation results. Because of the sheer size of semi-trucks, when they strike a smaller vehicle, the results are often severe. Large trucks take longer to slow down, and the force of the impact can have serious consequences for people in the car that is struck.

Common causes of commercial truck head-on collisions include:

  • Jackknife
  • Running a red light
  • Speeding
  • Driver fatigue
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Mechanical breakdown
  • Driver hours violation

Driver fatigue is a serious issue and is responsible for about 13 percent of all commercial truck accidents. The law requires commercial truck drivers to keep an accurate log of their hours behind the wheel. This is important because, as we all know, extended hours behind the wheel can cause drowsiness. Studies have shown that driving drowsy is similar to driving drunk.

As a truck accident injury lawyer in Illinois, our team has the resources required to fully investigate your accident. Truck accident investigations are much more complex than regular car accidents. There are many factors involved and many parties who could be liable for your injuries, including:

  • The truck driver
  • The owner of the truck
  • Mechanic
  • Manufacturer of a broken part

Any combination of the above could have caused your injuries. To help maximize your recovery, get a legal team on your side capable of managing a complex and time-consuming investigation.

Injuries Caused by Head-On Collisions

Over 4,000 people die each year in accidents with large trucks. While death doesn’t always result from a head-on accident with a semi-truck, you can almost guarantee serious injuries. The most common injuries include:

  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Lacerations
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Amputation

Sometimes even the most minor of injuries in a tractor-trailer head-on collision are serious enough to require at least some hospitalization. More severe injuries may require a lifetime of medical care and attention. This type of care does not come cheap, and you may wonder how you will pay all the medical bills that lie ahead. This is why you need to speak with a trusted truck accident injury attorney who can help guide you and maximize your recovery.

Damages

Head on Truck Accident AttorneyInsurance companies aren’t always looking out for your best interests. Soon after your head-on collision with a truck, insurance companies for the driver, the truck owner, and any other potentially at-fault party will contact you. They will likely offer you a quick settlement. They know you’re out of work and need the money. What the insurance company representative won’t tell you is that the money they are offering you won’t cover your future expenses.

This low ball offer could result in you having to pay out of pocket for medical expenses. This is a tragic situation that could put you in financial ruin, all due to an accident that you didn’t even cause. Working with a skilled truck accident lawyer can give you a leg up in this situation. You don’t have to take the low ball settlement offer. A truck accident lawyer can help with creating an accurate estimate of your future medical expenses, rehabilitation, and in-home care needs. Going through this exercise gives us a true cost of what your claim is worth.

We’ll work with you to try to recover compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of companionship
  • Past, present, and future medical bills
  • Home rehabilitation costs

Don’t work with just any lawyer—you need someone experienced in creating accurate estimates of your future medical costs.

Negotiating with insurance companies isn’t easy. They are pushy and want to minimize all claims. An attorney can aggressively fight with them to protect your rights and maximize your settlement. While it’s true that most truck accident injury claims are settled out of court, if you must go to trial to ensure that you recover compensation for the full cost of your injuries, you need a truck accident lawyer willing to do that—someone who won’t settle unless it’s right for you. Maximizing your recovery sometimes means going to trial.

Speak With a Lawyer Today

Some people think that they can’t afford a lawyer to help them in their truck accident injury cases, but everyone should speak with a lawyer before filing a truck accident claim—someone who can investigate your case, speak with witnesses and experts, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you at trial, if necessary. Since personal injury lawyers do this on a contingency fee basis, you can’t afford to not speak with a lawyer today.


Annes & Ables
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Common Trucks on the Road

Dave Abels Lawyer
Dave Abels, Truck Accident Attorney

More than 4,000 people die in large trucking accidents each year. These large, powerful vehicles pose unique threats to motorists regardless of where they are driving. Big trucks drive on both quiet, residential roads and bustling freeways, and you should know how to share the road with them regardless of where you drive.

Studies indicate the majority of injuries and fatalities that occur during trucking accidents involve passenger vehicle occupants. Most trucks feature large, raised cabs. Truck drivers remain relatively protected in these annexed areas during accidents. Passenger vehicle occupants, however, are not so lucky.

Below, we’ve outlined a handful of the most common trucks seen on roadways today and the types of accidents they cause. We’ve also included several pieces of advice for drivers looking to avoid large truck collisions. You’ll never prevent an accident with certainty—but the more you know, the more empowered you’ll be to protect yourself and other motorists on the road.

Common Trucks on the Road: An Overview

Tractor-Trailers

American drivers can recognize these vehicles in the blink of an eye. In fact, the tractor-trailer configuration is the most popular on roadways today.

Also known as big rigs, semi-trucks, and eighteen-wheelers, tractor-trailers are amongst the most dangerous of all vehicles on the road. The American Trucking Association notes that these vehicles are “tractor and semitrailer combinations.” The tractor portion of the truck houses the engine and cab. This is where tractor-trailer drivers sit. The large, long, and boxy units that tractors pull behind them are known as semitrailers.

Even tractor-trailers that meet certain size regulations—and are operated by well-trained drivers—can still pose a serious risk on the road. Their immense size allows them to deal tremendous damage in accidents. It also negatively impacts their drivers’ ability to scan their surroundings and watch other drivers’ behavior. Consider the size of a typical vehicle’s blind spot and it quickly becomes apparent that many tractor-trailer drivers are totally unaware of a decent portion of their surroundings.

Tankers

Think of tankers as tractor-trailers designed to carry liquids. Rather than the tractor hauling a large boxy semitrailer, this configuration uses it to haul a large tank trailer. Many of the tanker trucks that you see on the road are transporting liquid that could prove dangerous—or even deadly—if spilled, so maintaining a safe distance from them should always be a top priority.

Even tankers hauling perfectly benign substances can cause disastrous messes or collisions in the event of a spill. While drivers who operate these trucks must receive special training and certification, there’s no guarantee that their negligence (or other conditions around them) won’t impact their driving.

Collisions with tanker trucks can lead to injury and death. Some victims are caught in deadly explosions; others may slide on spilled liquids or end up in accidents trying to avoid the wreckage. It’s always best to treat these trucks with caution and avoid close proximity to them when possible.

Delivery Trucks

Delivery trucks are also known as box trucks. While they may look similar to tractor-trailers, delivery trucks tend to weigh a little less. The primary distinguishing feature between the two lies in their configurations. While tractor-trailers are comprised of a vehicle and a trailer, delivery trucks are all one vehicle.

Don’t let their slightly smaller size fool you. Delivery trucks still pose a notable threat on American roadways. Drivers must keep a keen eye on their surroundings any time they’re near one of these vehicles.

Industrial Trucks

This subset of trucks encompasses most of the construction and other large, purpose-driven trucks you see on the road. Cement trucks, dump trucks, garbage trucks, and a wealth of other vehicles all fall under this category.

These trucks’ size and weight alone already put other drivers at serious risk. If one of these trucks crashes or rolls, it poses serious danger to all motor vehicle operators nearby. It’s also important to remember that these trucks pose another unique risk: debris. Heavy cement or rock mixes could spell out serious injury (or even death) if they tumble down onto your vehicle while driving.

Quick Tips for Sharing the Road

Even the most detailed and well-intentioned advice is no guarantee that you’ll prevent a truck accident. However, you can keep yourself and others in your vehicle safer around large trucks. The following precautions may help decrease the likelihood of an accident:

  • Don’t take chances – If there’s ever a time when daring antics could prove deadly, this may be it. Don’t rush to cut off a big rig when you see that its driver is considering a lane change. Pass with care, allow large trucks plenty of space, and always try to act predictably.
  • Remember the turns – Many large trucks on the road today have a decal or sticker reminding other drivers that these vehicles take wide turns. Heed these warnings—or remember this one. Always assume that you’re totally invisible to truck drivers. The need of swinging out wide to accomplish even the most casual turns. Don’t get caught in a blind spot.
  • Consider weight differences – If you find yourself tempted to make a bold move near a truck on the road, take a moment to consider the reality of the danger you could face. Trucks are much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles. If you get in a wreck, chances are that your vehicle (and its occupants) will suffer much more than the truck.
  • Weather conditions play a role – Because of most trucks’ immense size, they can easily spray or splash water and snow as they pass through certain areas. Leave plenty of room between yourself and large trucks to avoid sudden reduced visibility.

An Attorney Can Help You Seek Compensation

If you were in an accident with a truck on the road, you deserve to preserve your right to compensation. A truck accident firm can work diligently to assist clients like you throughout the legal process. From your first free consultation until the moment your case is over, you deserve someone who will serve as your partners and empower you to make the best decisions for your wellbeing.

If you suffered at the hands of a negligent driver, contact a truck accident lawyer today for more information so you’ll never need to worry about navigating the complex legal process alone.


Annes & Ables
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Addressing the Concerns of Rear End Truck Accident Victims

Peterbilt, Mack, Kenworth, and Freightliner—for those who have traveled on Illinois’s roadways, these names are familiar. Primarily because when you look in your rearview mirror, you have seen them at least once. To learn more from an experienced truck accident attorney read on and find out your legal options if you were rear ended by a semi.

The Problem Persists on Our Roadways

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, 3.5 percent of overall crashes on Illinois roadways involved a truck during 2017, the most current statistics available. In total, more than 92,000 accidents were classified as rear end collisions. There is no data for how many of the rear end accidents involved trucks, but there is little doubt that at least some of them were; with more than 11 million registered vehicles statewide, the number of truck accidents is not surprising.

Rear End Truck Accident Causes

Every driver on the roadway has an obligation to ensure they are traveling safely, for their own protection as well as the protection of other drivers, pedestrians, and passengers. Operators of a truck on Illinois roadways have to not only be concerned about themselves and other drivers, but they also have to meet federal regulations pertaining only to operators of large trucks including maintenance procedures, hours they are allowed to drive, and regulations pertaining to prescription drug use.

Violations of these standards can lead to multiple types of truck accidents, which can be a result of:

  • Faulty equipment – When a commercial truck has not been properly maintained there could be faulty or damaged brakes that can mean a higher incidence of rear end accidents.
  • Driver distraction – A driver who is paying attention to their GPS, radio, or using their cell phone may not realize the driver in front of them has signaled their intention to turn.
  • Driver fatigue – Truckers work long hours, often have deadlines to meet, and can be traveling on roadways that start looking all the same very easily. Fatigue is a very real problem and ignoring it can be a reason for a rear end accident.

In some cases, truckers can miss obvious signals that can signal trouble—for example, when the driver in front of them turns on a turn signal, slows down because they spot a potential hazard, or the driver has a sudden emergency such as a flat tire and tries to get out of the roadway.

Serious Injury Potential in Rear End Accidents

All accidents involving a truck have the potential of causing serious injury. However, a rear end collision often catches the victim completely off guard, which can result in traumatic injuries. Victims of a rear end collision often wind up with whiplash; the crash surprises them, and they are pushed forward quickly, causing soft tissue damage in the neck. Even a rear end crash where the truck is moving slowly can result in serious back injuries, paralysis in the spinal cord, head and brain injuries, and wrist and arm injuries. Victims often suffer disfiguring wounds to the face, because in some cases, the impact of the crash causes them to strike the steering wheel or windshield.

Although an accident victim may feel fine immediately after a rear end truck accident, you should consider having a medical professional perform an examination anyway. Because our body immediately responds to fear by flooding our system with adrenaline, injuries can be masked.

In addition to the immediate injuries, the real possibility exists where victims could suffer a secondary injury as a result of a rear end accident. For example, broken bones or a herniated disc could require surgery and the victim winds up with an infection. Unfortunately, in nearly all cases where a truck and car are involved in an accident, there is also a potential the victim could lose their life.

Calculating Damages After Rear End Accidents

Victims of a rear end truck accident often suffer serious financial losses. These may include time lost from work recovering from their injuries, the loss of the use of their vehicle, and medical costs that include pain medication, treatments, doctor visits, and in some cases, rehabilitation costs. These financial losses can weigh heavily on the victim’s mental health and on their family. Victims have a right to file a claim with the insurance agency representing the at-fault party and may also have the right to sue the responsible person should their insurance be insufficient.

Illinois statutes also allow for non-monetary damages to be collected by victims of personal injury. Some of the possible compensable damages include loss of consortium, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.

Drivers Are Not Always the Only at-Fault Party

Truck accidents are complicated because there are numerous factors to consider. For example, if you are struck from behind by a driver who had faulty brakes, the trucking company, driver, and repair company may also be partially liable. Drivers who are drowsy or distracted may not have been properly trained on the rules they must abide by which makes the driver and their employer liable for the accident.

When you are a victim of a rear end truck accident, or you have lost a loved one due to a rear end truck accident, before you contact the insurance company, contact an attorney who has experience with truck accidents. Contacting an Illinois truck accident attorney for a free consultation immediately following an accident is sensible, since you typically only have two years to file a personal injury claim due to the statute of limitations in Illinois. Your attorney can take over negotiations with an insurance company who may be denying your claim, or refusing to offer you a settlement that accurately reflects your losses.

Recovering from a rear end truck accident can be lengthy, expensive, and painful. Placing your case in the hands of a trusted and experienced personal injury attorney can help set you on the right path to a full and prompt recovery.

Wide Turn Truck Accidents

As drivers, we make right turns every day. We do it with ease, and don’t give it a second thought. But for large trucks, right turns are a different story. These trucks must make wide right turns. This requires the truck driver to turn beyond the intended turn lane and often encompass adjacent lanes and even overtake lanes of oncoming traffic.

Making these turns is difficult and requires a great deal of skill. When a driver is inexperienced or makes a mistake, accidents can happen. In 2017, over 4,100 people died in large truck accidents. Of these, 68 percent were occupants of passenger vehicles. Another 14 percent were either pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists. If you have been injured in an accident, an experienced truck accident  attorney can help.

A Closer Look: How Do Wide Right Turn Accidents Happen?

If not properly executed, wide right turns can be extremely dangerous. A large truck has a turning radius of approximately 55 feet. This means that to successfully make a turn they must encroach on nearby lanes of traffic. This makes other vehicles and pedestrians vulnerable. But how do these types of accidents happen?

  • The driver swings too far left: Truck drivers know that they have to swing left to make a right turn. But only an experienced driver knows just how far left. When a driver takes a turn too wide they can collide with nearby vehicles. This happens when they turn into traffic driving the opposite direction or they turn into the path of a driver approaching on the left.
  • The driver doesn’t swing wide enough: Two things can happen when a driver tries to negotiate too tight of a right turn. Number one, they run over the curb or sidewalk or intrude on a bike lane. When this happens they can injure pedestrians that were in their path. The second scenario is just as serious. If a driver turns too tight, they run the risk of tipping the truck. At 80,000 pounds, a falling semi-truck will crush nearby vehicles.
  • The truck driver fails to notify other drivers of their intent to turn: Semi-trucks have warnings on the back of their trailers to inform drivers that they make wide turns. This warning advises passenger vehicles to stay back and allow ample room. If a passenger vehicle attempts to pass a truck on the right while they are making a right turn they can become pinned between the cab and the trailer. If a truck driver does not use their turn signals before making a turn, other vehicles will not know to stay out of their path.

Why Do These Accidents Happen?

Truck-Accident-Attorney-768x512Accidents happen for a variety of reasons. When it comes to wide right turns, the truck driver almost always holds some level of responsibility. But different factors can make these accidents more likely to happen. This includes:

  • Inexperience: Truck drivers must undergo extensive training to qualify to drive a large truck. But with anything, with experience comes skill. New drivers may not have the skill necessary to navigate wide turns. Also different trucks that they are not familiar with could purpose a problem. Along the same lines, a driver who is inexperienced with the area may have problems navigating a difficult turn.
  • Inattention: Driving a large truck carries a great amount of responsibility. When a driver makes a right turn, they must give the task their full attention. This means checking for oncoming traffic, watching for vehicles who may attempt to pass, and clearing their blindspots. Common reasons for driver inattention include driver fatigue and complacency.
  • Driving under the influence: Driving under the influence is dangerous. When it comes to driving a large truck. it can be deadly. Alcohol impairs a driver’s ability to think, process, and make good decisions. In 2017, 252 truck drivers involved in fatal accidents tested positive for at least one drug.

Who’s at Fault?

It’s a given that large trucks require extra room to turn. As such, the insurance companies will likely try to argue that you held some if not all of the fault in the accident. There are many factors that adjusters will look at when determining fault. An experienced personal injury attorney can make sure that items proving the truck driver’s liability don’t get overlooked. In cases involving large trucks, there may be more parties involved beyond you and the trucker driver. Parties you may hold liability include:

  • The truck driver: The truck driver is the first and most obvious person to blame after a wide turn accident. The first thing to consider is whether the driver took the required precautions when taking the turn. Did they signal? Did they clear their blind spots? In most cases, the truck driver holds at least some level of liability.
  • The trucking company: Employers are responsible for making sure that their drivers are qualified to be on the road. This means ensuring that they have the proper license, the proper training, and are capable of handling the responsibility of driving a large truck. The employer may be liable if they did not provide proper training, if they knowingly let the driver drive before they were ready, or they knew the driver had a health or addiction issue that would interfere with their ability to drive safely.
  • The truck manufacturer: In some cases, a mechanical defect can lead to an improper wide turn. If the brakes fail or the steering freezes, the truck may not move as it should. In this case, the part or truck manufacturer may hold some financial liability.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

Claims involving large trucks are complicated. They involve multiple parties, federal regulations, and often, severe injuries. A personal injury attorney can help you prove liability and make sure you get the care you need. After an accident, you deserve fair and just compensation for your injuries. If you have been involved in a wide right turn accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can provide more information about your legal rights.

The Dangers of Commercial Truck Accidents

Commercial trucks are everywhere. You see them on the highway, at the grocery store, and even making deliveries to your home. As consumers, we rely on commercial trucks, a lot. When we get on the road, we tend to take these trucks for granted. For some people, there may be a ping of anxiety as they pass by a large truck, but for the most part, we look at these trucks like any other vehicle on the road. That is, until tragedy strikes.

About 450,000 police-reported accidents involved large trucks in one recent year. In these accidents, 107,000 caused injuries and 4,237 caused fatalities. In one Illinois crash, a trailer tractor slammed into the back of an SUV. The crash involved four vehicles and killed three people. The accident occurred when the driver of the truck failed to stop in time for stopped traffic.

Because of their size, accidents involving large trucks are often deadly. As drivers, it’s important to understand how and why these accidents happen. If you have been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, contact a Chicago truck accident attorney to learn about your rights.

Types of Trucks on the Road

It’s easy to take for granted how much we rely on commercial trucks. That package you received in the mail—delivered by a truck. Your weekly garbage pickup—another truck. Even the gas that we put in our cars makes it to the gas station via trucks. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common trucks on the road.

Semi-Trucks

Semi-trucks are the large tractor-trailers you see driving down the freeway every day. In 2016 there were approximately 2.8 million registered semi-trucks in the United States. A semi-truck consists of a cab and one or more trailers. These trucks are often called 18-wheelers, referring to the number of wheels between the cab and the trailer. The trailer does not have front wheels and therefore must attach to a cab to move.

A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. That’s approximately 20 times the size of a passenger vehicle. Their sheer size alone makes any collision with a semi-truck a serious accident.

Dump Trucks

A dump truck consists of the cab and an open-top trailer. The trailer sits on a hydraulic lift that can move up and down to easily load and unload the contents of the truck out of the vehicle. These trucks are often used to transport farm and landscape materials such as gravel, dirt, and bark. Accidents can occur when the lift malfunctions, the driver fails to check their blind spots, or when the load is filled too high, creating a hazard for nearby drivers.

Flatbed Trucks

As the name implies, flatbed trucks have a long, flat bed attached to the cab. These trucks generally hold larger items that do not need protection from the elements. These types of vehicles often carry very large items such as heavy machinery, lumber, and other building supplies.

Box Trucks

A box truck is smaller than a semi-truck. Like a semi, the cab is generally separate from the trailer. However, these trucks only have four wheels instead of eighteen. The most common example of box trucks are moving trucks, such as those rented by U-Haul or Ryder. There is one major difference between a box truck and other commercial trucks. As long as the truck has a gross weight of less than 26,000 pounds, you don’t need a commercial driver’s license to drive one.

Tanker Trucks

A tanker truck is designed to carry liquid loads. Most often, these loads contain gas or other hazardous materials. However, they may transport other liquids such as milk, water, or even wine. Trucks carrying hazardous materials such as gas are especially dangerous in accidents. A serious collision can cause an explosion.

The Accidents These Trucks Cause

Commercial-Truck-Accident-AttorneysThere are a variety of factors that contribute to commercial truck accidents. Mechanical issues, driver error, and passenger vehicle drivers are among the top reasons for large truck accidents. Accidents involving commercial trucks can easily lead to serious injuries. The most common types of accidents include:

  • Jackknife accidents: A jackknife accident happens when the cab of the truck stops before the trailer. This is often the result of a driver stopping too fast. When this happens, the trailer swings and forms a 90º angle with the cab.
  • T-bone accidents: T-bone accidents happen when one the front of one vehicle collides with the side of another vehicle. Because the side of a passenger vehicle does not have as much protection as the rest of the vehicle, t-bone accidents often result in catastrophic injuries.
  • Underride accidents: Large trucks sit higher than passenger vehicles. This makes it easy for some vehicles to slide under the truck’s trailer in the event of a collision. Underride accidents happen when the passenger vehicle becomes pinned and dragged under the truck. Rearguards are designed to prevent a car from moving under the truck. However, federal law currently does not require guards on the side of large trucks, making t-bone accidents involving large trucks very dangerous.
  • Rear-end accidents: A rear-end accident occurs when the front end of a vehicle hits the back end of another vehicle. When a commercial truck hits a smaller vehicle, the force of the collision can push the smaller vehicle several feet ahead. This can cause the passenger vehicle to collide with another object or vehicle.

A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

Commercial truck accidents are different than other types of accidents. Not only does the driver hold responsibility, but their employer may as well. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine liability and make a claim against the appropriate parties. Truck accidents are serious and they deserve to be treated as such. Your injuries matter. If you have been injured in an accident, a Chicago truck accident attorney at Abels & Annes can provide more information.

Eight Types of Truck Accidents That Could Result in a Strong Legal Case

Everywhere you travel, you see trucks hauling commodities. Whether it’s groceries, large equipment or even a house, we depend on truckers to bring us the things we need to live. Trucks are common on highways and secondary roads alike, though it is less common to see them on rural roads. No matter what type of roadway you are on, you could be involved in a truck accident. Being injured or losing a loved one in a truck accident affects you emotionally and financially. Contact an experienced truck accident lawyer at Abels and Annes to learn more about your rights.

Eight Common Truck Accidents

Any of the above conditions and behaviors could cause truck accidents. Types of truck accidents include:

  1. Tire blowouts can happen to anyone at any time, but they are more common in big rigs because the trucks use recaps and haul heavy loads.
  2. A jackknife is when the cab turns so sharp that is is more than a 90-degree angle to the trailer. Jackknifing a truck could happen if a trucker has to hit the brakes hard, which causes the trailer to slide sideways and come forward or if the trucker loses control on slick roads.
  3. Rollovers happen if a truck takes a curve too fast or if the wind on a highway through open fields is strong enough to tip the truck over. A rollover because of wind is more common on highways in areas that have no trees.
  4. Wide turn accidents happen when a trucker has to make a wide turn and traffic or pedestrians are in the trucker’s blind spot. As a passenger vehicle driver, you should never pull up on a truck’s right side if the driver is signaling a right turn.
  5. Rear-ending a truck could cause severe injury or even death. In many cases, a passenger vehicle is much lower than the big rig and could go right under it.
  6. A truck has significant blind spots, including in front of it. If a truck driver can’t see you, it’s difficult for him to try to avoid an accident.
  7. Load accidents happen when a trucker’s load falls off. A driver usually loses a load on a flatbed trailer, though it could happen if the rear doors open on a box trailer. If the driver does not strap the cargo down properly or the strap or chain breaks, the load could slide off the trailer. A heavy load causes extensive damage to vehicles on the sides of the truck and behind the big rig when it falls off.
  8. Head-on collisions and T-bone collisions may also happen when the truck driver or a passenger car is passing another vehicle on a secondary road or if either runs a light or stop sign. Both of these accidents can cause catastrophic injuries or even death due to the size of the truck.

How Common Are They?

In 2017, Illinois had 11,658,429 registered vehicles and 9,164,821 registered drivers. Residents traveled 108,162,096,329 miles during the year. With all of the miles driven by the 9.1 million registered drivers, there were 311,679 accidents. Of those, 93,517 injuries and 1,090 deaths were recorded, and 11,732 of the accidents involved semi-trucks. Those trucking accidents comprised of 1,949 injury wrecks and 107 fatal crashes.

Seven Causes of Truck Accidents

Abels-and-Annes-Truck-Accident-AttorneyBefore we look at types of truck accidents, we must look at the causes of truck accidents. Lawyers focus on the causes of a crash because they give clues to who may have legal liability for the damage the accident inflicts. In some cases, the truck driver may not be at fault. Another vehicle, inclement weather, or even something on the road could cause the accident. In other cases, the truck driver or something the company or dispatcher did may be at fault. The company may overload the truck or may not complete maintenance. The dispatcher may encourage the driver to deliver the load by a specific time, “no matter what,” which tells the truck driver to speed or ignore hours of service rules.

  1. Improper or inadequate training: It takes skills to handle a big rig. Fully loaded trailers are harder to control—curvy and hilly roads, such as those you might find in the mountains present challenges to even a more experienced driver. If a driver is not adequately trained or does not have the experience to drive solo, you are at risk of being in an accident if you encounter such a driver.
  2. Poor truck maintenance: Drivers are supposed to check the trucks before they leave the yard. If a driver does not notice that the truck is not maintained correctly, those maintenance issues could cause an accident. For example, bad tires and brakes, lights that are not working correctly or even load straps that come undone could cause an accident. The driver, trucking company and/or truck owner could all be held liable for poor maintenance.
  3. Severe weather, road construction, and poor road conditions: Any of these could cause an accident. Severe weather limits visibility or makes the roads slippery. Poor road conditions such as roads that are not properly maintained or roads with snow and ice buildup could cause the truck driver to lose control. Driving inches away from a road construction barrier could also cause an accident if the driver makes one wrong move.
  4. If a driver is not familiar with the road, especially if the road is curvy or narrow, the chance of a truck accident is higher.
  5. If the truck is overloaded, tires could blowout, or the tractor and trailer could overturn, especially on sharp curves, such as those on highway exits.
  6. Other passenger vehicle drivers could cause accidents. Merging into a truck or too close in front of a big rig, or even hanging in a truck’s blind spot could cause smaller vehicles to bounce into other cars. Cars that try to sneak by a truck to turn first on city streets may also cause an accident. Trucks making a right turn cannot see passenger vehicle trying to pass them on the right.
  7. Negligent driving: Several types of errors fall under this category including speeding, careless driving, aggressive driving, a distracted driver, a tired driver, tailgating and a driver not obeying the rules of the road.

For more information, contact a truck accident attorney as soon as possible if you are injured in a truck accident.