Road accidents have been a major cause of death and injury in the US. However, the severity of an accident is determined by the type and vehicle involved in the accident. Hence, an accident caused by an 18-wheeler, semi-trailer, or tractor trailer will have a much worse effect than a collision between two cars.
The names mentioned above for a tractor are used interchangeably. They are usually used for commercial purposes and can carry toxic products as well, which increases their risk factor. Let's take a closer look at tractor trailer accidents and how a Chicago tractor trailer accident lawyer can help you.
Key Tractor Trailer Accidents Statistics
To give you a clearer idea about the severity of these accidents, let us look at the key statistics gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
According to the research, the estimated amount of trucks involved in police-reported cases in a single year (2013) were 342.000 with an estimated gross weight of 10,000 pounds. The people injured in cases were around 95,000, and those who lost their lives because of these accidents made a total of 3,964.
The statistics represent such huge numbers because the impact a tractor trailer has is much more devastating than that of any other road accident.
Every year, people lose their loved ones or get severely injured in such accidents. Hence, at CCAL, we try our best to make sure that they can come to us if any person ever ends up in a similar situation. By doing so, these truck drivers and their companies could be held accountable for their negligence, which resulted in devastating outcomes.
The consequences are for life, so it is only right to do everything possible to serve justice. Hence, contacting our Chicago tractor trailer accident lawyers, with a combined experience of over 150 years, will surely help you with the case.
Steps to Take Immediately After the Accident
Accidents caused because of 18-wheelers usually take place on highways. Hence, if you ever find yourself in a tractor trailer accident, you must follow certain steps immediately after the accident. This will help you make your case stronger and help your Chicago tractor trailer accident lawyer out so that they can guarantee success.
The first thing to do is to move towards the side of the road. Since you will probably be on the highway or a freeway, your first move should be this to avoid any further damage. Once you are out of the way and if you are in the right state of mind, try and assess the injuries. The damage may be greater in comparison to a normal car accident. Hence, it is significant to keep a record of that.
Lastly, follow all the rules by calling the police and filing an official report. You will also have to see a doctor and identify any internal injuries that may have taken place. Additionally, make sure to call your insurance company so that the process could be made easier.
Once you have followed all these steps, when you contact CCAL, it will be easier for our Chicago tractor trailer accident lawyers to establish a strong case for you since you would have followed proper protocol.
Why are Tractor Trailer Accidents More Dangerous
While we understand that you may not be at fault in a tractor trailer accident, certain factors may cause the collision's severity to increase. It is harder with a tractor because of the following reasons:
The size and weight a tractor trailer carries are a huge factor in increasing the accident's seriousness. It can usually weigh 16 times more than the average car. Hence, you can determine why a slight mistake could result in severe damage.
Because of their size, the braking ability is also extremely poor. They need around 350 feet distance to be able to stop the vehicle completely. Hence, the concept of an emergency brake is quite alien here.
It is also harder for a truck to make moves. Turnings are more difficult, and so is to follow any other road rule. Hence, it is even harder for them to avoid hazards and accidents when on the road.
Lastly, several tractor trailers are used for commercial purposes and do carry hazardous and toxic components. These toxic components can lead to lifelong consequences.
Are There Any Regulations for Truck Drivers?
There is certainly a law in place by the state of Illinois that defines rules that a truck driver or the truck company needs to follow. When these rules are violated, it can result in truck accidents followed by an increased number of injured and dead people every year. Some of the general rules could be identified as:
- Completing specific sleep hours before driving.
- Regulating the driver's drug and alcohol usage.
- Ensuring that the truck is not overloaded.
- Taking care of the truck's maintenance.
Violating any of these rules could be used against the truck company when a lawsuit is filed.
No-Zone for a Large Truck
While most accidents are caused by negligence on the truck driver or their company's end, you must drive safely when around such trucks. You can ensure this by not entering the no-zone of an 18-wheeler.
A no-zone is the area behind or on either side of the truck. For behind, ensure to stay out of a short distance from the truck, your truck's view should not be obscured by the truck. For sides, you need to see whether you are in the rear quarters of the truck or not. If a truck cannot see your car before making a lane shift, it can cause serious destruction.
Who Can be Held Liable for a Tractor Trailer Accident?
While it may seem like the truck driver is accountable for the accident, it is much more complex. Several factors can determine who is actually at fault. It can be the driver or any other person involved in the process. There is also a possibility of multiple parties being held liable for a single crash.
Once you contact us, the investigation will help determine which of the following parties could be held accountable for the accident:
There is a high chance that the truck driver is partially or fully responsible for the crash. If they were driving under the influence or were fulfilling their responsibility as a truck driver, they would not determine their role in the overall situation.
If it is proved that the driver was responsible and didn't make any mistake on their part, there is a possibility that the company itself is at fault.
As mentioned above, truck accidents can take place because of a lack of maintenance. If this could be proved, the company or person responsible for the maintenance of that truck could be held accountable for their negligence.
If the person or company responsible for shipment and loading didn't follow proper procedures, there is a high chance that the accident occurred because of their unprofessional behavior.
Lastly, an accident may occur because of the poor manufacturing of specific parts like the brake. If this is the case, the manufacturer will be liable for their actions.
Once the case is analyzed and determined that who is liable for the accident, you may want to know what can be included in the compensation. Like any other personal injury case, the compensation will be categorized as economic and non-economic.
Based on these two categories, the compensation may include but is not limited to medical expenses, future medical bills, lost wages or earning capacity, pain and suffering, mental disturbance, and loss of consortium.
Does the Truck Company Owner Try to Protect Their Employees?
Yes, the company’s owner will make every effort to reduce the claim against them when an accident occurs. To do so, they have a team of investigators who will reach the crime scene at their earliest and try to erase evidence that can be used against them. This is why hiring a professional lawyer, such as the ones at CCAL, is crucial.
Our Chicago tractor trailer accident lawyers will ensure that the evidence is not erased, including the truck driver's logs and certain other key factors. Hence, calling a lawyer when involved in a tractor trailer accident will be the best decision.
Can a Lawsuit be Filed for a Deceased Family Member?
Yes, an immediate family member can surely file such a case. However, you will have to take a look at the statute of limitations or consult your Chicago tractor trailer accident lawyer first. In most cases, a lawsuit can be filed within three years of the accident. However, we would advise you to contact us at your earliest to gather as much evidence as possible. By doing so, you will be able to recover major losses.
Additionally, no matter what the case is, make sure that you provide your Chicago tractor trailer accident lawyer with all the evidence that has been gathered in the first meeting. This will help them in making the process faster and smoother so that maximum loss could be recovered.
Hiring a Chicago Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer
You would have gotten some idea as to how serious and complex tractor trailer accidents can be. If you ever find yourself a victim of such a crash, you or your family should immediately talk to the best Chicago tractor trailer accident lawyer in town.
With the combined experience of 150 years, our car accident lawyers in Chicago will ensure that your lawsuit is a success. We understand how severe and mentally disturbing the aftereffects of such an accident could be. Hence, we want to do our part and help you out in every way possible. Contact CCAL at (312) 300-2515 today to book a consultation so that we can understand your case better!