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What Do I Need for an Initial Consultation With a Truck Accident Attorney?

chicago truck accident lawyerThe time immediately following your truck accident is often one of confusion and stress. When you decide you need to speak with an attorney, having the right information readily available for your consultation can help your truck accident lawyers determine the best course of action for you.

Here is some of the information you might want to bring to an initial consultation with a truck accident attorney, if you have it available. If not, your truck accident lawyer can help you track it down.

Police Report

A police report serves as an official account of the accident. The responding officer may determine fault based on the evidence at the scene. If the accident requires further investigation, officers may delay their official conclusions.

Providing the police with your account of what occurred is always a smart idea. An official report can serve as valuable documentation for future civil action. Speaking with the officer is important; however, it is equally important that you use caution in speaking with others. Anything you say to the other driver or others at the scene may work against you later.

Never admit fault or apologize to the other driver. Statements like an apology can and often are used against accident victims who experienced serious injury due to the negligence of another driver.

Witness Statements

Chances are that witnesses who observed your accident were close to becoming accident victims themselves. Collecting the contact information for any witnesses that stop at the scene can help with your case. In addition to witness statements to police, a personal injury lawyer can use the contact information to follow-up with them once your case is underway.

Some witnesses may feel uncomfortable becoming involved in a legal matter, while others may express a willingness to help. Their relief that they escaped injury and their anger toward the reckless truck driver may propel them to assist your quest for justice.

Accident Scene Photos and/or Video

A smartphone can capture quality photos and/or videos of your accident. If your injuries are too severe, ask a witness to take photos for you. The presence of mind to take photos and possible video can help when it comes time to take civil action.

A truck accident lawyer can also ask witnesses if they have pictures of the scene or possible dashcam video of the crash. According to Google’s Automotive Trends report, dashcams are a large consumer-led trend as drivers want another set of eyes and documentation for possible accidents.

Medical Bills

An accident with a large truck puts you at risk for serious and often catastrophic injuries. The medical bills associated with the following types of injuries can far exceed your insurance and personal budget:

  • Spinal cord injury – A spinal cord injury is especially devastating due to the paralysis that can result. The use of a power chair, the need for home modifications, and other expenses can escalate into the millions of dollars each year, throughout your lifetime.
  • Traumatic brain injury – A severe traumatic brain injury impacts such functions as thinking, movement, and sensations. The need for 24-hour care for your loved one may require placing your loved one in a skilled nursing facility. The costs associated with such care in Illinois averages between $5,900 to $6,700 per month.
  • Broken bones – The severity of an impact with a large truck can leave you with more than just a broken arm. With more than 200 bones in the human body, the possibility of breaking more than one is very real. Depending upon the severity of your break you may face future surgeries, extensive physical therapy, and possible amputation.
  • Internal injuries – An internal injury often exhibits no outward signs or symptoms. Internal injuries are why you should always accept emergency transport to the hospital following a serious accident. Only a trained medical professional using the appropriate testing can diagnose and treat an internal injury. If left untreated, a serious internal injury can result in death.

These are just a few examples of the serious injuries that can result from an accident with a truck. Bringing any medical reports and expenses that you have can help with your free case evaluation.  If you haven’t received any, don’t worry, your accident lawyer will order all of your records and bills as the case progresses.

Insurance companies may offer you a settlement soon after your accident. The initial settlement offer may seem like a large sum to you and your family. The reality is that the initial settlement offer is most likely not enough to cover your future medical needs. If you accept their offer, you may lose your right to pursue compensation later.

Do not speak with insurance company representatives, and secure legal representation instead. Insurance companies want to protect their best interests, and not yours. Hiring an attorney experienced with truck accident cases is a smart way to protect your best interests.

How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You

A truck accident is a sudden event that turns your world upside down. Dealing with your injuries is difficult enough. You do not need the high pressure of insurance company representatives who want to settle your case quickly and for the least amount possible.

Knowing that someone is on your side can afford you valuable peace-of-mind. A truck accident lawyer can aggressively negotiate with insurance companies for the compensation you deserve while treating you and your family with a companion.

Most truck accident lawyers offer free case evaluations, leaving you with nothing to lose by contacting a lawyer today. Preparing for your free case evaluation by gathering essential documents and information can make the process smoother and less time-consuming.

The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury case requires quick action. If you miss the deadline for filing your case, you may miss your opportunity for possible compensation forever. If you experienced serious injuries due to a negligent truck driver, give careful thought to consulting with a personal injury attorney today.

How Will My Family Be Taken Care of in the Event of an Accident With a Truck?

truck accident lawyer in chicago

A serious truck crash can leave you with catastrophic injuries or result in the loss of a loved one. If you experience serious injuries or lose a close family member to a negligent truck driver, a personal injury lawyer can help you. In addition to emotional stress, the mounting medical bills and a loss of income can overwhelm any family. Civil action against those liable for your injuries or your loss may help you find justice and secure financial compensation.

Common Injuries Associated With Truck Accidents

A passenger vehicle is no match for a large semi-truck. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), semi-trucks are 20-30 times heavier than passenger vehicles. The FMCSA reports that trucks weigh an average of 40 tons—compared to the average 2 tons of a passenger vehicle.

The massive weight of a truck can result in serious injuries, or death, in the event of a collision with your car. Examples of common types of injuries associated in such accidents include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Broken bones
  • Internal injuries
  • Burns

These are just a few examples of the types of injuries possible in a tragic crash with a semi-truck. These types of injuries can leave you with extensive medical bills and result in a long recovery or permanent disability. The costs associated with a spinal cord injury alone can reach millions of dollars throughout the victim’s lifetime.

Your life may never return to how it was before the accident and that is not fair. Securing legal representation is essential for protecting your family’s best interests. Most personal injury lawyers offer free case evaluations and there is often no attorney’s fee unless they collect damages for you. You have nothing to lose by discussing your case with a personal injury lawyer today.

Possible Types of Compensation for Your Truck Accident Injuries

While each personal injury case is different, the details of your accident and injuries may qualify you for:

  • Medical costs: emergency transport to the hospital, doctor bills, and continuing costs such as therapy and medications.
  • Lost income from your time away from work during your recovery.
  • Compensation for diminished earning capacity—if your injuries prevent you from returning to the career you had before the accident.
  • Pain and suffering.

Determining liability for your accident injuries is important. A personal injury lawyer understands how to investigate your accident to identify those responsible for your injuries. Official police reports, witness statements, and accident scene photos are all valuable evidence. Medical reports regarding your injuries and your medical bills are also important documents for pursuing civil action.

Illinois Wrongful Death Law

Losing your loved one in an accident with a truck is especially devastating. If your loved one left home, never to return due to a drowsy, distracted, or speeding truck driver, discuss your case with a lawyer. You may qualify for a wrongful death claim and a possible lawsuit.

Wrongful death damages typically involve:

  • Final medical costs associated with your loved one’s care.
  • Funeral, burial, or memorial costs.
  • Loss of income and potential future earnings.
  • Loss of companionship.

Illinois has a statute of limitations for wrongful death. If you miss the deadline for filing your case, you may lose your opportunity for possible compensation forever. That time can pass quickly as you mourn the loss of your loved one. Do not miss your chance for justice and for the compensation your family needs during this most difficult time, so call a truck accident lawyer immediately.

How to Protect Your Best Interests

When you experience a serious injury due to an accident with a truck, your medical bills start to mount immediately. That is why your family may feel tempted to accept an initial settlement offer from an insurance company. While the offer could seem like a fair amount, it most likely will not cover your future medical needs.

If you lost a loved one, your time of grief is no time to deal with insurance companies. Their high-pressure tactics only add to your stress during this difficult time. By allowing a personal injury lawyer to handle the details of your case, you can focus on the recovery process for you and your family.

Why You Need a Truck Accident Lawyer on Your Side

A truck accident lawyer fights for the rights of accident victims. They understand how insurance companies try to deny or to delay the compensation victims deserve. The right truck accident lawyer will not stop until they secure the best possible outcome of your case. If they can’t reach a fair settlement out-of-court, they are ready and willing to go to trial.

Time is of the essence due to the statute of limitations. The statute allows two years for a personal injury case against most defendants. If you were seriously injured due to no fault of your own in an accident involving a truck, give careful thought to contacting a truck accident lawyer.

Rising medical costs, mounting medical bills, and a lack of income—all due to another party’s negligence—are a significant burden for your family. No one should pay out-of-pocket for expenses that result due to a reckless truck driver or a truck with faulty brakes.

Pursuing civil litigation takes time. The sooner a personal injury lawyer can evaluate your case, the sooner they can determine the best course of action for you. Your bills will not wait, and neither should you.

Do not let insurance companies pressure you into accepting less than you deserve. Having a lawyer on your side can comfort you in knowing you are not alone and that someone is protecting your best interests. If you experienced serious injuries or you lost a close loved one in an accident that was due to negligence, let a truck accident lawyer review your case for free today.

How to Get What You Deserve in a Semi Truck Accident Settlement

Were you injured in a semi truck accident? If so, your injuries may have affected your life significantly. Semi trucks can weigh more than 80,000 pounds, much more than a car—or any other type of vehicle, for that matter. If another party’s negligence caused the accident, you deserve compensation.

But receiving just compensation for your injuries in a semi truck accident can pose significant challenges. Most people are best served by calling a Chicago truck accident lawyer to handle their cases for them. Let us explain why.

Illinois is a fault state for car insurance, meaning that the at-fault party is liable for injuries caused by the accident. People who are injured by another person’s negligence in a truck accident can seek compensation for damages related to their injuries. They can file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company and try to negotiate a settlement.

The damage compensation you can seek falls into the following categories:

  • Medical expenses incurred, including doctor’s visits, hospitalization, surgery, ambulance transportation, emergency room visits, prescription medication, rehabilitative therapy, retrofitting a residence to accommodate injuries, and more
  • Expected future medical expenses
  • Income lost from work, if the injuries caused you to lose time from work
  • Expected future income lost from work
  • Pain and suffering

But without an experienced truck accident lawyer, you will encounter pitfalls when trying to recover what you deserve.

Filing a Claim With an Insurance Company

To file a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault party, you must know who the at-fault party is. That is far from easy in a truck accident of any kind, and that is especially true in a semi truck accident—and that is why you want to hire a truck accident lawyer.

Why? Truck accidents often require full investigations before the causes are completely known.

Let’s take an example. At the scene of the accident, you may have exchanged information with the driver. But the insurance and contact information from the driver may mean little. Driver error may have caused the accident. But it’s also possible that other factors caused or contributed to it.

Let’s say that it looked as if the driver drove too fast for conditions. The driver didn’t slow sufficiently to safely make the turn onto an entrance ramp, and rear-ended your car as a result. While the cause might appear to stem from a speeding driver, an investigation might show that the brakes didn’t work adequately to slow such a large truck, despite the driver’s efforts to brake.

Dave Abels Lawyer
Dave Abels, Truck Accident Attorney

Faulty brakes, if proven as a cause, could result from the negligence of several parties. Trucking companies are required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to periodically inspect, maintain, and repair their trucks. If they failed to perform these duties, they could bear responsibility for the accident.

Truck drivers must receive training and an Illinois commercial driver’s license (CDL) before they can operate semi trucks. The entity responsible for checking a driver’s qualifications should check that drivers have valid CDLs. If they don’t, they could bear responsibility for the accident.

Somebody may have overloaded the truck or improperly loaded it. Overweight or improper loading can also contribute to a driver’s difficulty slowing down, and can contribute to accidents. Many trucking companies subcontract loading and packing to other companies. If a load or cargo issue caused the accident, they can bear liability.

In short, the potentially at-fault parties in any truck accident include:

  • The driver
  • The trucking company
  • Companies hired to vet driver qualifications, if different than the trucking company
  • Inspection, maintenance, and repair companies, if different than the trucking company
  • Companies hired to load, pack, and secure cargo

Fault is not restricted to any one of them. In many truck accidents, multiple parties bear some responsibility.

To top that off, many of these parties will have separate insurance carriers and separate lines of insurance. Finding the liable insurance carriers may require significant effort. For more information about how to file a truck accident claim speak to an experienced truck accident attorney today.

Challenges of Dealing With an Insurance Company

Many victims of a semi truck accident have found it is by no means easy to recover a just settlement from insurance companies. Unfortunately, insurance companies are not dedicated to the well-being of victims. They are for-profit companies that emphasize their own profits over justice for you. They view a just settlement for you as a threat to their bottom lines.

As a result, insurance companies use sophisticated techniques to minimize and even deny claims.

They may:

  • Claim their insured is not at fault for the accident
  • Claim the accident occurred differently from what you say
  • Claim your injuries are not as severe as you indicate, especially if you did not initially seek medical attention
  • Claim your treatment should be less expensive
  • Claim your time off work is excessive
  • Set a low amount for pain and suffering compensation
  • Try to settle quickly, but for far less than your injuries have cost you
  • Delay the processing, hoping you will become desperate for any settlement (or forget about your claim)

Insurance companies exhibit a great deal of skill in keeping just settlements from victims. You will want an equally experienced truck accident lawyer on your side, fighting to make sure the insurance companies don’t take advantage of you.

How an Attorney Can Help

Fortunately, you do have recourse if an insurance company is difficult to find or difficult to deal with. Experienced truck accident attorneys can negotiate with insurance companies and enter settlement talks on your behalf.

Contacting an experienced attorney can investigate who or what caused the accident. They can determine the appropriate insurance company to contact for compensation. They can help you compile evidence. They know all of the strategies used to minimize or deny claims. Most importantly, they can negotiate for the highest settlement possible.

Finally, if settlement fails, they can help you bring a truck accident claim in civil court against the at-fault party or parties. There, an impartial judge and jury can hear your case, and your lawyer can fight in court for the justice you deserve.

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

Falling Cargo Accidents

Falling Cargo Truck Accidents

All across the country, thousands of accidents happen because of unsecured loads. If you or a loved one has been in an accident because of a falling load, contact a truck accident attorney to learn more about your legal rights.

How Do Falling Cargo Accidents Happen?

In one case, a piece of plywood flew into the windshield of a car, just narrowly missing the driver. In another, 1,000 grapefruits littered a turnpike; thankfully, no one was hurt. The same cannot be said for two women who died when a large boulder went through their windshield after the driver of the semi in front of them failed to secure their load.

Dave Abels Lawyer
Dave Abels, Truck Accident Attorney

Cases like these happen more often than you may think. According to AAA, more than 200,000 accidents in three years because of falling debris. While the analysis includes all types of vehicles, it illustrates the dangers posed by debris in the road. According to the report, more than one-third of all deaths in the study happened when a driver swerved to avoid the falling load, proving that catastrophe can result even without an actual collision with the falling cargo.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has strict rules when it comes to drivers securing their loads. Regardless of what the driver carries, they must ensure their load stays in place while they drive. Despite these rules, accidents continue to happen. As a driver, stay alert and report anything that looks unsafe.

Common reasons for falling cargo accidents include:

Broken Tie-Downs

Drivers rely on tie-downs, anchors, and other safety devices to secure their loads. When these devices fail, accidents can happen. Tie-downs can fail if they wear down or sustain damage before use. That’s why drivers must check the condition of these parts before securing their loads. Broken tie-downs may also result from improper use or too much stress on the device.

Uncovered/Overfilled Dump Trucks

Dump trucks carry loose material like bark, sand, and rocks. The truck’s design allows drivers to easily load and unload the material. Accidents can happen when drivers fail to cover their loads or attempt to carry too much. While loose loads like gravel or bark may not seem like they pose a threat, when they fly out of a truck in large amounts they can obscure visibility or cause drivers to swerve to avoid a collision. It may take only one stone from a dump truck to knock a motorcycle rider off his or her bike.

Shifting Cargo

Keeping a load behind closed doors doesn’t make it safe. Drivers still need to secure the load inside of the truck and take preventative measures to make sure it doesn’t shift. But that’s not enough. The driver needs to check the load often to make sure it is still in place. If cargo shifts during transport it can put pressure on the door and cause the cargo to spill out of the vehicle, or cause the truck to tip over.

Common Injuries From Falling Cargo Accidents

Accidents involving falling cargo can happen in a matter of seconds, leaving you with little time to react. Unfortunately, you cannot always avoid the falling load and if you do, you may end up in the path of another vehicle.

Common injuries after a falling cargo accident include:

Traumatic Brain Injuries

About 1.7 million new traumatic brain injuries happen every year. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons estimates that about 50 to 70 percent of these injuries result from motor vehicle accidents. These injuries result from an external force, such as a blow to the head or penetrating wound.

TBI symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Mood changes
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Sleep changes
  • Difficulty concentrating

If you suspect a traumatic brain injury in yourself or someone else, talk to a doctor right away. This is a medical emergency.

Spinal Cord Injuries

The spinal cord relays messages from the brain to the rest of the body and vice-versa. It is a vital component of the central nervous system. Serious trauma like a motor vehicle accident can cause chronic damage to the spinal cord and result in permanent paralysis. Signs of a spinal cord injury may not appear until hours or even days after the injury, so see a doctor immediately and carefully monitor your symptoms after an accident.

Common symptoms of a spinal cord injury include:

  • Extreme back pain
  • Difficulty walking
  • Numbness/tingling
  • Weakness
  • Loss of sensation in arms or legs
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control

Broken Bones

Fractures commonly occur after a motor vehicle accident. Falling cargo accidents increase the risk of crush injuries when the cargo falls onto another vehicle.

Some of the most common types of fractures after a motor vehicle collision include:

  • Facial fractures
  • Clavicle fractures
  • Shoulder fractures
  • Leg fractures
  • Arm fractures

Treatment for a broken bone will depend on the severity and location of the break. While some injuries may heal completely, with no long term effects, severe breaks can cause recurring or chronic pain years after the initial injury.

Your Rights Matter

Truck drivers have a responsibility to properly secure their loads. When they fail, accidents can injure other people.

After an accident, you may be eligible for financial compensation. While money won’t fix your injuries, it can help you make sure you get the care you need.

You’re not in this alone. An experienced truck accident attorney can help fight for your rights and help you understand the process. If you need help after a recent accident or have questions about your legal rights, contact a truck accident attorney.

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

Truck Accidents That Involve Drivers Under the Influence

Dave Abels Lawyer
Truck Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels

Across the United States, truck drivers spend long hours on the road and away from their families. Spending all day on the road can raise stress levels considerably, adding to the sense of loneliness or regret when missing life events at home. Truck drivers, to alleviate that loneliness, may turn to drinking. Around the world, as many as 91 percent of truck drivers admit to abusing alcohol on the job.

When drug tested, a study found that 12.5 percent of American truck drivers tested positive for alcohol. Unsurprisingly, those truck drivers may have a substantially higher accident risk than their sober counterparts. If you suffered injuries in a drunk driving accident with a truck driver, contact a truck accident lawyer.

How Alcohol Increases Accident Risk

Every year, more than 10,000 people die and thousands more suffer severe injuries as a result of accidents related to drinking and driving. Even a seemingly low blood alcohol content can impact a truck driver’s ability to drive safely, inhibiting decision-making skills and leading to poor choices on the road.

As alcohol use increases, driving use can decrease along with it. Drunk drivers may:

  • Experience severe loss of motor control. Many drunk drivers, especially truck drivers, struggle with the motor skills needed to successfully navigate on the road.
  • Suffer decreased reaction time. Drinking and driving can slow reactions substantially. As blood alcohol content increases, truck drivers may struggle to control their vehicles, especially as they need to respond to the actions of other drivers on the road.
  • Impaired decision-making skills. Drunk drivers have a higher likelihood of speeding, running red lights, or failing to follow other traffic rules. They may also experience an increased likelihood of road rage.
  • Narrowed field of vision. After consuming high quantities of alcohol, the driver’s eyes may not focus as effectively. Poor focus can make it harder to judge the road and other vehicles on it.

Drinking on a regular basis can create a false sense of security, especially for truckers who regularly drink and drive. Over time, the trucker may grow overconfident, increasing alcohol consumption without regard for how it impacts his or her ability to safely navigate on the road. For truck drivers, who drive extremely large vehicles that require more coordination and skill to maneuver, this may substantially increase accident risk and the severity of the injuries associated with those accidents.

Common Injuries from Drunk Truck Driver Accidents

Drunk truck drivers plus large vehicles amount to a dangerous combination on the road. Not only can drunk truck drivers face more challenges navigating the road safely, but also big trucks often cause more serious injuries when involved in an accident.

Injuries may include:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Burns, including chemical burns from tanker truck cargo and friction burns
  • Amputations
  • Broken bones
  • Internal injuries
  • Soft tissue damage

Filing a Claim After a Drunk Truck Driver Accident

Serious injuries after an accident with a drunk truck driver can leave you with heavy financial burdens. Filing a personal injury claim can help you seek compensation for those injuries.

Who bears legal liability for an accident with a drunk truck driver?

Typically, in a drunk driving accident, including one involving a truck, the drunk driver and trucking company bears liability for the accident. Drunk drivers may also face serious criminal penalties in addition to the civil damages that they may end up owing any victims. In some cases, however, factors other than driver error can contribute to drunk driving accidents, changing the balance of liability.

Consider the following:

  • Mechanical failures that caused or contributed to the accident
  • Improperly-loaded cargo
  • A trucking company that required the driver to drive in spite of inebriation or had other unrealistic requirements for the driver

Consult with an attorney if you believe other factors may have contributed to your drunk truck driver accident. An attorney can help you identify all parties who bear liability for your accident and, therefore, help maximize the compensation you may receive for your injuries. Keep in mind, however, that each case turns on its specific circumstances, and no one can guarantee you a favorable result in your case.

How much compensation should I expect from a drunk truck driver accident?

Your compensation after a drunk truck driver accident will vary. Truck drivers and trucking companies usually carry substantial insurance coverage to help protect accident victims.

Most people, when filing a personal injury claim after a truck driving accident, include the following:

  • All medical expenses related to injuries sustained in the accident, including emergency treatment, ongoing medical care, therapy, and the cost of durable medical equipment
  • Payment for wages lost due to the accident, including time hospitalized or unable to work during recovery
  • Lost earning potential if your injuries permanently prevent you from returning to work
  • Compensation for pain and suffering resulting from the accident

Consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer before pursuing compensation for your drunk truck driver accident. An attorney can help provide you with a full breakdown of the compensation you should expect for your injuries.

Should I accept the insurance company’s settlement offer?

Some insurance companies may contact you shortly after you suffer injuries in an accident with one of the drivers the company covers, especially if the driver showed signs of inebriation at the time of the accident. Do not accept this offer without consulting an attorney first. Often, insurance companies will attempt to minimize the compensation that they offer, especially in the early days after an accident. Instead, consult with an attorney to learn what compensation you should expect, including when to accept an offer.

Do You Need an Attorney After a Drunk Driving Accident with a Truck?

Yes. You will need legal assistance to help you seek the compensation you deserve after an accident with a drunk truck driver. An experienced personal injury attorney can provide valuable legal advice, help you understand the compensation you deserve after an accident, and fight for you if your claim needs to go to court.

Abels & Annes, P.C.
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

How to Preserve Evidence for a Truck Accident Claim

Dave Abels Lawyer
Truck Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels

When you are involved in an accident, everything happens very quickly at the scene of the accident, and important evidence can be lost.

While your first step should be to ensure the safety of you and your passengers, there are some important steps that you can take at the scene of the accident, and following the accident, to ensure the preservation of important evidence if you file a truck accident claim in the future.

Preserving Evidence Matters With Truck Accidents

More than 10 percent of roadway accidents in Illinois involve a tractor-trailer, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. These scenes are often chaotic and may involve more than two vehicles. Because it is initially difficult to determine who caused an accident, preservation of evidence matters. Once you feel confident that you’re in a safe place following your accident, you should start to take proactive steps to prevent the destruction of evidence.

While at the scene of the accident, you should:

  • Photograph the scene. Photographing the scene of the accident is important. Taking photos of signage near the scene, the vehicles involved in the accident, and the location of the accident may prove useful later.
  • Obtain contact information. You should obtain contact information from all drivers, passengers, and witnesses to the accident. Additionally, you should request information regarding the truck driver’s employer.
  • Accurate police report. An accurate report to police is a crucial step in the preservation of evidence at the scene. Do not accept blame for the accident. Use caution answering questions, providing only facts, not opinions.
  • Seek medical attention. As quickly as possible, seek medical attention if needed. Whether you are transported via ambulance, or you take yourself, see a doctor immediately and let him or her know about any pain or discomfort. Make sure it is documented by the medical professionals that you have been involved in a truck accident.

Preserving Non-Scene Evidence

After you seek medical care, you need to take additional steps to ensure that there is no evidence destroyed or altered before a truck accident claim. Keep in mind, while a trucking company has records preservation rules, some may get destroyed before you have to file a claim within the Illinois statutes of limitations.

Here are some things that need to be done after the fact to ensure the preservation of evidence following a truck accident:

  • Contact a truck accident attorney. Because of the complexity of truck accidents, you need to seek legal help. An experienced Chicago truck accident lawyer can help. The attorney will ask you questions pertaining to the accident, help you determine what steps you need to take, and make sure that you understand your rights. Your attorney may also recommend the submission of a spoliation letter. This letter can preserve information found in the black box of a truck that may otherwise be overwritten within 30 days of the accident, as well as other important information. Destruction of this evidence could harm your accident claim.
  • Notify insurance carriers. Your lawyer will file an insurance claim shortly after your accident to provide a written notice of a claim.
  • Documenting your health. Oftentimes, victims of truck accidents think that after their initial medical care, it is no longer important to do anything to preserve information about their health. This is not accurate; you should create a written record of your day-to-day challenges with your health, including pain levels, the time you spend running back and forth to doctors and physical therapists, and any additional information that may substantiate your final truck accident claim.

Fault and Truck Accident Claims

Driver fatigue, improper maintenance, and poor training are some of the issues that may cause a truck accident. When you retain an experienced Chicago truck accident attorney, he or she may need to launch a thorough investigation to find out the root cause of your truck accident. The investigatory process can be complicated, as it may involve numerous entities, including the police, insurance company, trucking company, and the driver of the truck.

If there is a catastrophic injury or death, a thorough investigation of the accident scene, information obtained from trucking logs, and data found on the truck’s black box will all be reviewed and analyzed to establish the facts of the accident. Such evidence will help your truck accident lawyer determine if the accident is the fault of the driver, both the driver and his or her employer, or other third parties.

Working With a Truck Accident Lawyer

After the accident you should avoid speaking directly with the insurance company. Instead, you should direct all insurance representative inquiries to your legal representative. This is important because the insurance company may reach out to you and try to obtain a recorded statement or reach an early settlement. Keep in mind, the earlier the offer, the more likely the settlement will be a small amount meant to avoid paying a larger claim. Depending on what the driver of the truck was transporting, Illinois, as well as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), have strict requirements for truck driver liability policies.

One of the reasons that it is important to avoid speaking with the insurance adjuster is his or her training. Keep in mind, insurance adjusters do not work for victims of a truck accident. Their role is to ensure that insurance companies pay as little as possible toward any claims. The less paid in claims, the lower the trucker’s insurance rates stay, and the higher the profit of the insurance company. Keep in mind, if the insurance company asks you to sign any documents, avoid doing so because it may constitute a waiver of your rights to file a claim later in the process.

You need to focus on your physical recovery following a truck accident. You likely also have several questions pertaining to what rights you have, what steps you should consider taking, and how the claims process works. The best thing you can do for yourself is to make sure you contact an experienced truck accident attorney, and ensure the preservation of evidence that may prove vital during the claim process.

Abels & Annes, P.C.
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

How Long Do You Have to File a Claim for a Truck Accident?

Dave Abels Lawyer
Truck Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels

Big rigs, tractor-trailers, eighteen-wheelers, and commercial trucks go by many names. They are all large and cumbersome, and when your car is hit by one, the consequences may prove deadly.

Regardless of whether you have a sedan or an SUV, tractor-trailers weigh much more than your car. The sheer size and weight of those trucks can cause intense damage to other vehicles and serious injuries to passengers, even at slow speeds. At higher speeds on highways, the results of impacts with big rigs are often catastrophic.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident on Illinois roads, you will not want to delay your search for an experienced and skilled truck accident lawyer who has your best interests in mind. Choosing the right lawyer for your case can give your personal injury claim a leg up and make sure you don’t miss any important deadlines for filing your case.

Start Your Claim Quickly

In Illinois,you typically only have two years from the date of the accident to file lawsuit. Two years may seem like a long time, but life quickly gets in the way, especially when you consider the severity of your injuries.

Depending on the type of injury you have suffered, you could be in the hospital for extended periods, which also means you are out of work during those times. Your bills will quickly pile up, and you may have no way to pay them.

Financial stress should not be your focus following an accident. You should put all of your effort, energy, and focus into your physical and emotional recovery. By handing off the stress of a personal injury claim to your lawyer, that weight is lifted off your shoulders, giving you the best chance of making a full recovery from your truck accident injuries.

Not taking swift action may cause you to lose out. If you do not file your personal injury claim in time, a court may dismiss your case, and you may end up paying out of pocket for injuries that you did not cause. We have seen this happen, tragically, and do not want to see it happen to you.

Truck Accidents Cause Serious Injuries

Illinois roadways have over 300,000 accidents a year. Tractor-trailers were in 3.5 percent of those crashes but caused 9.6 percent of all fatal accidents. While not all truck accidents will cause death, the size and weight of commercial trucks often cause more serious injuries. These include:

  • Burns
  • Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Amputation

The aforementioned injuries play a massive impact on your enjoyment of life and your ability to return to the life you had before your accident. When you are the victim of a truck accident, your life may change in dramatic ways:

  • Temporarily or permanently out of work
  • Long hospital stays
  • Rehabilitation center stays
  • In-home medical care and assistance
  • Help with daily routines, like bathing and getting dressed

Truck accident injuries are serious and life-changing. It’s important to remember that you did not cause the accident, and thus you should bear none of the responsibility for the medical bills you face in your recovery. When you work with a trusted Illinois truck accident injury lawyer, you give yourself the best chance of making a complete recovery, getting back to the life you love, and maximizing your compensation.

Make Sure You Seek Compensation

Medical bills are expensive. When you face serious, life-altering injuries from a truck accident, your medical bills may prove astronomical. Nearly two-thirds of all United States bankruptcy filings result from medical bills.

Medical bills, however, are not the only exponential costs that you will face in the aftermath of an accident. You should also seek compensation for the following:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of life enjoyment
  • Past, present, and future medical bills
  • Rehabilitation costs

What many truck accident victims forget to include in their claims are future expenses. Many victims are excited to get a quick settlement offer from the at-fault truck driver’s insurance company. Unfortunately, this initial offer likely doesn’t account for future expenses, and thus often leads to victims paying out-of-pocket for their own medical expenses in the future.

When you work with a seasoned personal injury lawyer in Illinois, you gain access to years of experience investigating truck accidents and helping clients maximize their compensation. Part of this process begins with creating an accurate estimate of your future medical needs. When you suffer injuries from a truck accident, your injuries are likely severe and will require lots of medical attention. Such care is expensive, but when you work with us, we can help you understand your future medical expenses and how much they could cost.

If you take the first offer from the insurance company, you may miss out on recovering these additional expenses. The first offer from the insurance company is usually a low-ball settlement offer. Insurance companies know that you are out of work and concerned about the medical bills you see piling up on your kitchen table. Retaining a lawyer helps to make sure you don’t fall victim to insurance company tactics.

What’s more tragic is that if you sign the lowball settlement offer, you will likely waive your right to bring any future claims against the insurance company for your accident. This means you could end up paying out of pocket for costs associated with your recovery from an accident that you did not cause.

The best way to avoid this situation is to work with an Illinois personal injury lawyer whom you trust. Let your lawyer take control of the legal aspect of your claim, so you can focus on your physical recovery and getting back on your feet.

Don’t Delay Contacting a Lawyer

If you delay too long, your claim may suffer. Maximizing your financial recovery is key to your physical recovery. You have more than enough to worry about with your injuries and your recovery. Let go of the stress and worry about how to pay your bills, and let a truck accident lawyer deal with the legal complexities of your personal injury claim and work on maximizing your financial recovery.

Abels & Annes, P.C.
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help You After a Serious Crash?

Dave Abels Lawyer
Truck Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels

It only takes a second for a truck driver to lose control of his tractor-trailer on a busy highway. When a large truck crashes into you, the results are devastating. If you experienced serious injuries due to a negligent truck driver, trucking company, or both, you deserve justice.

Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you should seek compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To learn if a personal injury lawsuit is an option for you, contact a truck accident lawyer today.

Why Truck Accidents Happen

Truck drivers spend long hours on the road and away from family. The pressure to deliver their loads on time and to return to their families may result in drivers taking unnecessary—and dangerous—risks behind the wheel.

The following are just a few examples of how a truck accident can happen in a second, leaving victims with traumatic and life-changing injuries:

  • Drowsy driving – According to the National Sleep Foundation, 60 percent of Americans admit to driving while sleepy. Federally mandated hours-of-service limit the amount of hours truck drivers can drive. However, some truck drivers may experience trouble resting during breaks or have an undiagnosed sleeping disorder.
  • Driving under the influence (DUI) – The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) legal limit in Illinois for a driver with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) is 0.04 percent or higher. This is lower than the 0.08 legal limit for other drivers. As of January 1, 2020, recreational marijuana is now legal in Illinois; however, the drug remains on the federal list of Schedule I drugs and off-limits for truck drivers.
  • Aggressive driving– A truck driver who is in a hurry to reach his or her final destination on-schedule may purposely speed or tailgate other drivers. Aggressive driving can quickly escalate into road rage, leaving victims with serious injuries.

Other reasons for truck accidents involve truck maintenance issues. Failing to inspect tires, brakes, or properly maintain a truck is a deadly combination when combined with a negligent driver. A trucking company that fails to maintain its fleet or check driver records for prior traffic convictions is irresponsible and potentially liable for your injuries.

Discussing your case with a personal injury lawyer is your best option for pursuing justice. A personal injury lawyer can review the evidence, determine liability, and handle your claim so you can focus on your health and recovery.

Types of Truck Accidents

  • Rear-end crashes – A fully loaded truck, traveling at normal speed in good weather conditions, needs the length of two football fields to stop. Even if you see the truck approaching in your rearview mirror, there is typically no time to get out of its way.
  • Side underride crashes – Government statistics estimate that as many as 200 people die every year due to side underride crashes with tractor-trailer trucks. Safety groups are advocating for more attention and solutions to this dangerous problem.
  • Jackknife – When a truck accident causes a truck to jackknife, the truck and the trailer become out of sync. The result is an L or V shape of the tractor-trailer on the highway. Driving too fast for weather conditions and improper braking are among the leading causes of jackknife accidents.
  • Rollover accidents – A rollover accident is especially dangerous when it involves a tanker truck. If the truck is carrying flammable liquid, it can leave you with serious burns in addition to other injuries.

These are just a few examples of the types of truck accidents that can change your life within seconds. If you experienced serious harm due to a negligent truck driver, a personal injury lawyer will help determine your eligibility to pursue compensation.

Common Truck Accident Injuries

An out-of-control truck is no match for a passenger vehicle. No matter the type of accident, the injuries are often catastrophic and may include the following:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Internal injuries

Medical costs continue to rise, making the ongoing need for your care—or that of a loved one—expensive. When you experience life-changing injuries due to no fault of your own, you deserve quality medical care. While each case is different, filing a civil action against those responsible for your situation can possibly alleviate your financial stress.

Sadly, not all truck accident victims survive their injuries. If you lost a close loved one due to a negligent truck driver, you may want to consult with an attorney regarding a wrongful death claim. You may be eligible to seek compensation for final medical expenses, funeral costs, and more.

Wrongful death claims are complex and best left to a legal professional. You have enough to deal with during your time of immense grief. Let a personal injury lawyer experienced with truck accident cases handle your claim, so you can focus on your family.

How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You

Insurance companies like to settle claims quickly and for the least amount of money possible. Representatives may offer you a settlement that seems like a large amount of money. The reality is that an initial settlement offer is most likely not enough to cover your future financial and medical needs.

Do not fall for the high-pressure tactics of big insurance companies, and don’t try to handle negotiations on your own. Insurance companies are too skilled at what they do to take on alone. Protect your best interests by not speaking with insurance company representatives and securing legal representation instead.

Act quickly due to the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is a law that limits the amount of time you have to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Once you miss the deadline for filing your case, your opportunity for legal action is lost forever.

No one deserves to suffer physically, financially, and emotionally due to the careless actions of a truck driver, trucking company, or both. If you were seriously injured due to no fault of your own, give careful thought to contacting a truck accident lawyer. Securing legal representation not only protects your best interests, but it can also afford you peace of mind during this most difficult time.

Abels & Annes, P.C.
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Tow Trucks Can Cause Serious Accidents

Dave Abels Lawyer
Truck Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels

Many people only think of tow trucks when their car has broken down. However, tow trucks can also cause accidents. And because of their size and weight, the accidents caused by tow trucks can be extremely harmful, resulting in serious bodily injury.

More than 4,000 people die each year in large truck accidents, including accidents with tow trucks. Tow trucks, like all trucks, have the potential to seriously injure you or a loved one if you find yourself in an accident with one.

Types of Tow Trucks

There are many types of tow trucks that you frequently see on Illinois roads. The most common types include:

  • Flatbed – These tow trucks have a flatbed that allows a car or other vehicle to be pulled up onto the flatbed by a hydraulic lift. These tow trucks don’t require any part of your vehicle to be in contact with the roadway.
  • Integrated – These are larger tow trucks used for towing buses or tractor trailers. Because they tow larger vehicles, integrated trucks are also larger than other tow trucks.
  • Hook and chain – These tow trucks aren’t frequently seen today because they can actually cause additional damage to a vehicle. Hook and chain tow trucks are mostly used for vehicles that are going straight to a junkyard.
  • Wheel lift – These trucks are what you probably think of when you think of a tow truck. Wheel lift trucks hook onto two wheels and pull the car behind.

There are other types of tow trucks, but these are what you see most often. Because these vehicles are lifting and towing other vehicles, they must be incredibly sturdy and heavy. If you are involved in an accident with a tow truck, you and your passengers may suffer serious injuries. The accidents and injuries that victims suffer are similar to other heavy truck accidents and can involve life-altering scenarios.

Tow Truck Accident Causes

Human error causes most accidents. In fact, 94 percent of all accidents on the road are a result of human error or humans taking risks behind the wheel. When you are injured because someone else acted negligently behind the wheel, it’s incredibly frustrating. Not only are you dealing with an unnecessary injury, one that could have easily been avoided, but now you have to mend yourself and deal with rehabilitation to make a full recovery.

Tow trucks are just like any other vehicle on the road and are not immune to negligent drivers. Common causes of tow truck accidents include:

  • Tow Trucks Can Cause Serious Accidents Abels and AnnesNot securing the load
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Running red lights
  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Failure to yield
  • Driving too quickly for the road conditions
  • Improper maintenance

All tow truck drivers must be properly trained, just like any other commercial vehicle. In fact, each tow truck driver must maintain a commercial driver’s license and pass regular physical exams. This shows that the driver is focused on his or her work and willing to make efforts to ensure everyone’s safety.

Tow trucks are unique commercial vehicles because they tow other vehicles. This requires additional training about not only how to safely secure the other vehicle, but also how to drive while towing a car. These areas are often the cause of accidents and are the result of improper training or maintenance.

Injuries Caused by Tow Truck Accidents

When you’re injured in a car accident, your first thought is likely to figure out how you will get better. Being the victim of a tow truck accident is no different. Your injuries might be even more severe, so your recovery time might be much longer.

The severity of injury you received could depend on many factors, including:

  • The size and weight of the tow truck
  • If the tow truck was carrying a load

Common injuries include:

As a victim of a tow truck accident, you’re probably most concerned about your injuries, and that’s understandable. Regardless of the severity of your injuries, you’re likely facing some time out of work and several visits to the doctor. All of this is frustrating and worrisome. That’s why a you need a trusted truck accident lawyer who can fight to protect your rights.

Damages to Seek

From the day you’re injured, your sole focus should be on your recovery. When you’re facing time out of work, you may wonder where the money will come from to pay your medical bills, some of which may be extremely high, depending on the type of injury you suffered. That’s where we come in.

When you work with us, we’ll fight hard to get you compensation for the following:

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

Many people vastly underestimate their medical costs. As a result, we’ve often seen victims of tow truck accidents settle with the insurance company for an amount that doesn’t cover all of their medical bills. It’s like adding insult to injury. When this happens, it forces the victim of the tow truck accident to pay out of pocket for injuries that they didn’t commit. The best way to avoid that scenario is to speak with a seasoned truck accident lawyer.

Picking the Right Truck Accident Lawyer

When choosing an attorney to represent you in your tow truck accident claim, you need someone with whom you feel comfortable speaking and someone you can trust to help you recover what you need to heal physically and emotionally. You have enough to deal with right after your accident, and you don’t need to deal with the legal complexities of a personal injury claim, too.

Abels & Annes, P.C.
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

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.

Abels & Annes, P.C.
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575