According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois has 2,185 interstate miles, ranking third among states for the most interstate mileage. In Springfield, IL, Interstates 55 and 72 help connect over 7,200 commercial trucking companies to the state’s extensive highway network.
Large trucks, tractor-trailers, and other commercial vehicles often carry heavy loads and must meet strict delivery deadlines on these highways. The presence of such vehicles can make an accident more likely to occur with smaller vehicles, causing severe injuries or wrongful death.
The Springfield truck accident attorneys at the law firm of Nessler & Associates can help you recover compensation for your losses after a crash. We can investigate the collision and hold the negligent parties responsible for your injuries in your truck accident case.
Causes of Illinois Truck Accidents
Determining the cause of your truck accident can help assign liability and get you a fair settlement. An Illinois truck accident attorney from Nessler & Associates can investigate the responsibility of all parties involved.
We can look at the truck driver’s driving records and the company’s inspection reports. We may review other evidence gathered at the truck accident site, such as security footage and witness testimonials, to determine the facts of the accident, including its cause.
Your attorney will look for evidence of a trucking accident caused by one of the following:
Distracted driving includes anything that takes the driver’s attention away from operating their vehicle safely. Truck drivers may become distracted by several factors outside and inside their cabs, including:
- Texting and calling while driving
- Using dispatching devices
- Eating and drinking
- Adjusting a navigation system
- Looking at the passing scenery and billboards
These behaviors endanger the lives of other drivers and passengers on the highway. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that 71% of truck accidents occurred when a driver focused on an activity other than driving their truck.
An attorney can investigate if they suspect distracted driving contributed to the accident. For instance, your attorney can refer to the police report to learn about the officer’s parties involved, conclusions from the accident, and traffic citations. Truck drivers can face fines from the state and FMCSA due to regulations prohibiting using hand-held devices while operating their vehicles.
Hours of Service Violations
Truck drivers who exceed the maximum allowed hours of operations can cause fatigue-related accidents—the FMCSA limits property-carrying commercial drivers to 11 hours of driving after 10 hours off duty. Upon returning to duty after 10 consecutive hours off, they cannot drive for more than 14 hours.
Electronic logging devices (ELDs) record the driver’s service hours and times off from work and transmit them to the truck carrier. Your attorney can use ELD data to determine if the truck driver took off-duty breaks and suffered from fatigue or exhaustion.
Truck Tire Blowouts
Motor carriers must regularly inspect, repair, and maintain all motor vehicles under their management. They must also keep records of their inspections for 3 months. Failure to routinely inspect and maintain a truck’s tires can lead to a blowout and a catastrophic accident.
For instance, a drop in tire pressure during the colder months can lead to underinflated tires. If the tires remain underinflated, they can burst while the truck is in motion. An attorney can check the carrier’s inspection reports to see if they carried out vehicle inspections as required by federal law.
Improperly Loaded Cargo
Federal law requires commercial trucks not to weigh more than 80,000 pounds. However, many cargo shippers and loading companies may attempt to load too much cargo onto the truck. When trucks load their cargo improperly, the uneven distribution can lead to them overturning. Tractor-trailers that carry overloaded cargo can jackknife, resulting in a blowout of the truck tires and increased brake failure.
Your attorney can ask the truck company’s legal team for the loading dock reports. Cargo reports may reveal if the cargo shipper should be held liable for the accident if they show an excessive shipment weight on the truck at the time of the accident.
What Compensation Can I Recover From My Injuries?
Your lawyer will use medical records, W-2s, and other evidence to determine damages you can receive if you sustained severe injuries, such as a brain injury, in your accident. Potential damages you can receive in a settlement for a truck collision include:
- Lost wages, including diminished earning potential and business opportunities
- Medical bills, such as emergency room visits, surgeries, doctors appointments, assistive devices, and in-home care
- Vehicle repair compensation for property damage to your car
- Non-economic damages, including pain and suffering, disability, and disfigurement as a result of your injuries
If you lost a loved one in a truck crash, non-economic damages could include loss of consortium in your settlement. Your attorney can use the doctor’s prognosis and the medical expenses incurred from your loved one’s injuries up to their death to help calculate the intangible losses.
How Long Do I Have to Submit a Truck Accident Claim in Illinois?
For most personal injury claims, the statute of limitations in Illinois is two years. This law means you must file your claim within two years of the date of your injury.
The following exceptions may apply to the two-year rule:
- The statute of limitations extends to your 22nd birthday if you were under 18 at the time of the accident
- If you had a legal disability at the time of the injury, you must file a claim two years from the date of the removal of the disability
Your attorney can work to identify the liable parties and their insurance companies involved in your truck accident claim. They can help you negotiate a fair settlement with the negligent parties using your records, and other evidence gathered for your case. If the insurers refuse to settle for a fair amount, your attorney can take them to court to argue for the maximum compensation.
Consult a Springfield Truck Accident Lawyer
When you or a family member suffers injuries from a large truck accident, you can rely on the experienced truck accident attorneys at Nessler & Associates. We have worked with truck accident victims for nearly 40 years, helping them pursue compensation claims for their losses.
Our attorneys can offer legal advice and the resources needed to conduct an investigation and gather evidence to support your claim.
Call our law offices today at (800) 727-8010 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We work on a contingency basis, which means you don’t pay anything until we win the case or negotiate a favorable settlement.