The Chicago truck accident lawyers of Abels & Annes represent individuals who were injured in Illinois trucking crashes due to the negligence of others. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Have You Been Injured in a Truck Accident?
A large commercial truck, such as a tractor-trailer manufactured by Freightliner, Kenworth, Mack, or Peterbilt, may be 20 times the size of a conventional passenger car when pulling a trailer. Given the extreme disparity between the weight and mass of commercial trucks and regular passenger cars, it is not hard to imagine how dangerous it is for the occupants of a regular car when they get in an accident with a big rig—not to mention the effects on pedestrians, motorcyclists, or bicyclists.
How Common Are Truck Accidents?
According to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration:
- Large trucks make up only 4.3% of all motor vehicles registered in the United States
- Only 5.2% of all traffic accidents involve trucks
- Accidents involving large trucks account for nearly 10% of all traffic accident fatalities
- Most of those fatalities are to the occupants of smaller vehicles rather than trucks
For Illinois specifically, according to the 2016 Crash Facts and Statistics compiled by the Illinois Department of Transportation:
- There were over 11.5 million registered vehicles within the state
- Accidents involving tractor-trailers numbered about 11,000
- 106 of those truck crashes had fatalities
- A total of 117 people died in Illinois in tractor-trailer collisions
- 101 of those fatalities were the occupants of other vehicles
Unfortunately, while new safety regulations such as mandatory seat-belt laws and installed technological innovations such as airbags seem to consistently help drivers and passengers to survive more accidents, the dismal numbers relating to large truck accident fatalities are unlikely to improve significantly in the near future. This is true in Illinois and across the United States.
Commercial trucks not only include tractor-trailers hauling freight. There are garbage trucks, delivery trucks, construction vehicles, emergency service vehicles, and so on. In fact, tractor-trailers account for only 2 million of the 15.5 million commercial trucks that operate in the United States. Also, commercial trucks transport nearly 70% of all freight traveling the nation’s roads. As the use of these vehicles persists and even increases, they bring with them a sobering reality. The fact is that smaller passenger vehicles simply cannot contend with these trucks in the event of an accident.
Check out this link for more Truck Accident Statistics.
Commercial Driver and Truck Regulations
Large truck accident cases are quite a bit different from other car accident cases. In particular, commercial vehicles and drivers are regulated more stringently than regular vehicles and drivers.
Because of the inherent danger that these huge vehicles pose to other drivers, there are numerous laws and regulations at both the federal and state level to ensure that truck drivers are safe.
These laws include:
- Ensuring that truck drivers have adequate training,
- That their vehicles meet specified safety standards,
- That operators comply with regulations.
Illinois commercial truck regulations include:
- Limiting how many hours a trucker may drive per day
- How often they must be tested for alcohol or drug use
- How often their vehicles must be inspected
- The regularity of vehicle systems for maintenance and service
- How loads must be secured
There are additional regulations regarding the transport of hazardous materials. All of these rules and regulations are constantly being updated and revised to reflect the discovery of new risks and the development of new safety equipment.
Truck Drivers Who Violate Regulations Can Cause Serious Accidents and Injuries
Unfortunately, however, it is not uncommon for one of the contributing causes of a commercial truck accident to include a violation of one or more of these driver or vehicle regulations. In one study presented to Congress on Large Truck Crash Causation, it was noted that, of the trucks involved in the study, over
- 66% inspected after a crash had some sort of regulatory violation
- 32% had brake violations
- 23% had signal, light, or marking violations
When you consider these mechanical problems in the light of other factors that can contribute to commercial vehicle accidents, it is not surprising that commercial trucks pose a significant risk of danger to all users of the highways. Other factors may include:
- Driver fatigue
- Unfamiliarity that commercial drivers have with many of the highways and roads they drive upon
- Driver distraction or inattention
- Road or ramp designs or conditions that are not optimum for big rigs
- The different ways in which large and heavy vehicles respond to various weather conditions
Semi truck accidents are serious business. Because of the size difference between a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle, it is important that truck drivers are safe. However, just like any other motor vehicle accident cause, there are some things that tend to increase the chances of a semi truck accident. For example:
- Driver Fatigue
- Lack of Training
- Overweight Trucks
- Drunk Driving
- Distracted Driving
- Road Hazards
- Speeding While Driving
- Jackknife Accidents
- Swinging Turn Accidents
- Wide Turn Accidents
Semi-Trailer Accident Injury Statistics in Chicago, IL
If You Have Been Injured in a Truck Accident, the Chicago Truck Accident Attorneys at Abels & Annes Can Help
At Abels & Annes, we believe commercial drivers and trucking companies should be held accountable when they are responsible for causing accidents and injuries. The unfortunate reality is that some trucking companies and drivers fail to adhere to the rules and regulations that are there to keep the roads safe.
When drivers and companies are under economic pressure to meet deadlines or to complete contracts, they can make poor decisions that impact the safety of others, such as foregoing inspections, overloading trailers, operating without required safety equipment, or committing similar infractions. And more often than not, the result of these bad decisions is an accident.
An experienced truck accident lawyer in the Chicago area understands all of the special considerations that may be relevant in truck accident cases. At Abels & Annes, we are familiar with both Illinois and federal commercial motor carrier regulations regarding vehicles and drivers, and we are diligent in investigating the potential causes and issues that may impact issues of liability for commercial trucks.
Even if the trucking company involved is based out of state, or the case may involve independent drivers, leased vehicles, maintenance contracts, and so on, at Abels & Annes, we have the resources and knowhow to get results. The sad fact is that large truck accidents often involve very serious injuries, such as spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and permanent disablement, or even death. If you are injured in an accident involving a large truck, it is essential for you to work with a law firm that has the capability to fight large companies, large insurers, and the law firms that defend them, and that has the resources to make detailed and timely inquiries into the facts and factors that apply in commercial trucking cases.
Commercial Insurance Policies with Higher Limits
Most commercial vehicles must carry insurance with limits that are significantly higher than passenger vehicle limits. Our truck crash attorneys in Chicago have experience working with and negotiating with commercial insurance carriers. We pursue claims so that our clients obtain all that they are entitled to. Our law office does this no matter which insurance carrier, and no matter who is representing them. We can help truck accident victims recover medical costs, loss of income, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and other direct losses. Further, if necessary, we will pursue punitive damages if the motor carrier has acted especially egregiously in ignoring public safety.
Contact a Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer at Abels & Annes, P.C.
If you or someone you care about has been involved in an accident involving a large truck, contact us online or call the truck accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Abels & Annes. You may contact us toll-free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or locally in Chicago at (312) 924-7575. Your consultation is completely free. If we agree to take your case, we will not charge any fee unless and until we recover damages on your behalf.
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