A truck accident can easily destroy your physical and financial health. Make things right again by working with a Chicago 18-wheeler accident lawyer to secure the funds you need to pick up the pieces of your life.
The fear, physical pain, and catastrophic damage that commercial truck accidents can cause are unrivaled by almost any other type of motor vehicle accident. In many cases, these enormous trucks weigh up to forty tons—an impact at any speed with a vehicle that size is bound to do a lot of damage.
In Chicago, the trucking industry plays an important role in supplying our stores and businesses with products and groceries, but it also plays a role in the number of accidents that injure our friends and neighbors. If you find yourself the victim of one of these horrific accidents, you deserve compensation from the person or company responsible for your pain.
Allow a Chicago truck accident lawyer from Lane & Lane, LLC to help you pursue the compensation you’re entitled to. We’ll go to bat for you at every point possible to make sure the trucker, trucking company, and insurers don’t shortchange you.
Determining Fault in Commercial Trucking Crashes
The process of determining fault in an 18-wheeler crash can quickly become confusing. However, it’s an essential step—if you fail to identify all the truly at-fault parties, you will be unable to receive the full and fair compensation you deserve.
This process is, in most cases, more complicated than determining fault in car or motorcycle accidents because so many parties within the trucking industry could be at fault. Below, we’ve listed some of the most common negligent parties in Chicago truck accidents:
- Individual Truck Drivers – In most truck accidents, the trucker is going to hold at least some of the blame for what happened. Truckers can be found liable for your damages if they were drunk, drugged, distracted, or drowsy at the time of the crash. Also, if the trucker broke any traffic laws, such as the speed limit, he or she could be considered negligent.
- Trucking Corporations – Commercial trucking companies are often responsible for the damage their trucks cause. If the trucking company violated any federal or Illinois trucking regulations, and that violation led to your crash, you might be able to name the company in your claim for compensation.
- Semi-Truck Service Technicians – Large industrial trucks require regular maintenance. If the trucking company paid a third-party mechanic to service the truck, and the mechanic was careless in providing that service, you could pursue compensation from the mechanic if he or she ultimately caused your Chicago truck accident.
- Truck Manufacturers – This could include truck manufacturing companies or the manufacturers of individual parts on the 18-wheeler. If any part malfunctioned, causing your truck wreck, the manufacturer could be to blame.
- Government Agencies – Various government agencies are responsible for keeping the roads safe for travel, and you can hold them accountable if they fail to do that and, as a result, cause the trucking accident that injures you. For example, if a trucker swerved after hitting a massive pothole and crashed into you, you might be able to place the blame for the crash on the agency responsible for keeping that road safe.
If any of the above parties are liable for your crash, you will have to have significant evidence to back up your accusation and demand for compensation.
Your Chicago 18-wheeler wreck lawyer can help you gather all the necessary evidence, which could include work logs, photos and videos, police reports, witness statements, your medical records, and truck maintenance histories, among other items.
What Happens When You’re Partially Responsible for Your Truck Crash
You might have contributed to your truck accident in a number of ways, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t file a claim against the liable party. Illinois follows modified comparative negligence laws, which means you can still pursue compensation for your losses, but your percentage of blame will be deducted from your award.
For example, if you are found to be 10 percent at fault and are awarded $350,000, you should expect to come away with a sum of $315,000 after your 10 percent of the blame has been deducted.
It is important to note, though, that Illinois’ negligence law is modified comparative negligence, so the threshold for your blame is 49 percent. This means that you can only seek compensation if you are 49 percent or less at fault. What’s more, if you are more than half to blame, you could find yourself being brought to court for the damages the other involved parties endured.
Your attorney will thoroughly review the details of your case to determine what your expected level of blame is, if any, and what that will mean for the outcome of your claim.
Accounting for Your Chicago 18-Wheeler Wreck Injuries
Although you should call a Chicago truck crash attorney as soon as possible, you have to value your health above all else. That means you have to go to a doctor as soon as you can after your crash, even if you don’t think it’s necessary.
Not only will visiting a medical professional help ensure that you don’t have any hidden injuries that could be putting your life in danger, it will also create a paper trail that documents your injuries. This is going to be useful to your attorney as he or she builds your claim for compensation.
As a general rule, serious injuries warrant more compensation than minor injuries, but you should account for every injury you’ve suffered to make sure you’re fully compensated. The following are some common serious injuries that truck accident victims report:
Injuries of this nature will often require you to take a significant amount of time off from work, which can severely impact your ability to support yourself and your family. If you don’t get help pursuing your truck crash claim, you could wind up stuck with a mountain of household expenses that remained unpaid and a pile of other damages that will negatively impact your life.
Pursuing Fair Compensation After a Commercial Truck Collision
To maximize the value of your Chicago trucking accident claim, you must be able to account for every damage you have suffered as a direct or indirect result of your collision. Your attorney will know how to identify and quantify all of your damages—perhaps even some you wouldn’t have thought you could be compensated for.
The list of losses that you may be able to include in your case is extensive. These damages are often categorized into two areas: economic damages and non-economic damages. Continue reading to learn more about the losses that could be included in your claim.
What You Need to Know About Non-Economic Damages
When we talk about non-economic damages, we are referencing the ways your involvement in an 18-wheeler wreck has impacted your lifestyle and emotional state. Some of the most commonly sought non-economic damages our clients have endured include the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship and love
- Loss of household services
- Scarring and disfigurement
Many injury survivors report that these types of damages are far more influential than financial losses on their lives. With that in mind, your Chicago semi-truck crash attorney will be sure to quantify these damages accordingly so you are able to achieve maximum compensation for all you’ve been through.
The Impact of Economic Damages
Economic damages are more commonly known as financial losses. These will include the wages you were unable to earn while you were out of work, the damage to your earning capacity, and any property damage you might have incurred.
Possibly the most important component of economic damages is the coverage of your medical expenses. With the cost of healthcare in the United States being so high, it is imperative that your medical bills are covered in their entirety. Such expenses may consist of the following:
- Ambulance fees
- Accommodations to your home (shower rails, wheelchair ramps, stair lifts, etc.)
- Medical equipment (hospital beds, wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, etc.)
- Hospital bills
- The costs of prescription medications
- Diagnostic imaging fees
- Rehabilitative services
- Physical therapy
- Transportation costs
You should never be stuck covering the costs you incur due to an injury caused by the negligent actions of another. Your tractor-trailer collision attorney in Chicago can ensure that each of these economic damages is accounted for when calculating the value of your claim.
When You Could Be Awarded Punitive Damages
Not every truck accident claim entitles the victim to punitive damages. In fact, punitive damages are only awarded in cases where the at-fault party behaved egregiously or was intending to cause harm.
Despite the fact that an award of punitive damages will benefit you, the ultimate purpose is to punish those responsible for causing your injuries. Ultimately, the judge’s hope is to deter future wrongdoers from making the same mistakes, thus preventing similar accidents from occurring in the future.
The Purpose of Your Big Rig Claim
In addition to the damages we’ve discussed above, family members of individuals who have passed away after suffering catastrophic injuries in a collision with a big rig may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the party responsible for the commercial truck crash.
Although you need and deserve to be awarded compensation for all you’ve been through, there is a deeper purpose in pursuing a civil lawsuit. By holding the defendant accountable for their negligence, you’ll be able to obtain justice for your suffering, which can greatly benefit your peace of mind and ability to move forward with your life following the accident.
Chicago Truck Accident FAQ
The following are some questions we often hear from Chicago truck accident victims. For any additional questions, please reach out to us directly.
What if multiple parties share the blame for my truck accident?
The trucking industry is enormous and extremely complex, and that means more than one person or company can share the blame for the truck accident that injured you. Because of an Illinois law called modified comparative fault, that’s no problem.
Essentially, this law means multiple parties can hold a percentage of the total fault for your Chicago truck wreck. However, you can also be found partially responsible. If that happens, your compensation will decrease by the same percentage as the percentage of the blame you’re found to hold.
In any case, your Chicago trucking collision attorney will work diligently to build a powerful case against any and all parties who may have played a part in the cause of your collision.
The trucking company’s insurer immediately offered a settlement. Should I accept it?
Don’t be fooled by this tactic. In almost every case, an early initial settlement offer is a ploy to make you accept less than what your claim is actually worth. Insurers think you’ll take anything you’re offered because you’re desperate to pay your medical bills and other expenses.
Accepting such an offer without first allowing your truck accident lawyer in Chicago to take a look could leave a significant amount of money on the table.
How late is too late to file a claim for compensation?
If your Chicago trucking collision happened more than two years ago, you have likely missed the window of opportunity to file an injury claim. Illinois places a deadline of two years on personal injury claims. This deadline, called the statute of limitations, is strict, so it’s important to get started as soon as possible.
Work with a Chicago Semi-Truck Accident Attorney
If you’re like most truck accident victims, you’re facing significant physical pain, financial stress, and emotional trauma after your crash. When you’re dealing with all that, there’s no room to add all the difficulties that come with filing a claim for compensation by yourself.
So team up with a Chicago truck accident lawyer from Lane & Lane, LLC. We’re prepared to make the process as painless as possible and fight hard for every penny you deserve. Give us a call at 312-332-1400 or fill out the form below to schedule a free consultation.