On the whole, truckers are safe, experienced, attentive and considerate drivers. But when they aren’t, the accidents caused can be devastating and tragic. We’ve all witnessed how damaging, dangerous, and violent these big-rig, semis or 18-Wheelers can be — especially to smaller cars and their occupants. If you were injured or a loved one killed in a crash with a big-rig, it’s imperative that you have a Decatur truck accident lawyer with experience handling claims involving semi-trucks.
When a truck driver is unsafe or irresponsible, drives when distracted or overly tired to save time and money is careless or negligent, or certainly, if he’s violated traffic laws and signals, he is responsible for the terrible damages that can result, as in any other kind of auto accident.
In the case of truck accidents, there may be an additional legal liability an injury attorney can explore on the part of a trucking company or employer — for poor hiring, training, and supervision practices; or for mechanical defects and malfunctions resulting from poor equipment maintenance.
The Facts: Truck Crashes
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) reports that only 6.4% of all vehicle accidents in 2015 involved commercial trucks, but these same crashes accounted for 10.9% of all fatalities. Generally it’s not those in the larger vehicle that suffer serious injury or death. A car, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian is no match for a tractor-trailer.
Semi Crashes: What Makes Them Different?
Commercial truck and semi-accidents can be far more damaging and complicated than a regular car accident.
- Often weighing in excess of 80,000 pounds, a big-rig collision will likely cause greater property damage, more serious injuries and a higher likelihood of fatalities.
- A variety of factors can lead to a semi-trailer collision. Was the driver too tired to drive safely? Was the rig properly maintained and loaded? Was the crash the result of equipment failure?
- Complex regulations govern the operation of freight vehicles; maintenance, inspection schedules, and hours of service can all come into play when determining fault. An experienced attorney will be able to help ascertain whether any rules were ignored, leading to the crash.
- Insurers that represent freight companies are not interested in seeing you compensated for your losses. Backed by experienced legal teams, they may try to get you to take a quick settlement to minimize their loss. They may even tamper with or conceal evidence to make it more difficult for you to build your case.
- In an accident involving a freight vehicle, there can be multiple parties responsible including the driver, the owner of the truck, the freight company, a leasing agency, anyone that has done maintenance on the truck, the manufacturer of the vehicle or even the company that booked or loaded the truck. An experienced legal professional is best able to determine all responsible parties and see they are held responsible for your damages.
What damages can you recover in truck accident cases?
Personal injury claims encompass both economic and non-economic damages. An accident with a commercial freight vehicle is no different.
Economic damages compensate you for actual costs you incur including things like:
- Medical expenses
- Future expenses
- Lost wages. You may also be compensated if your ability to earn a living was affected by your injuries.
Non-economic damages are compensation for other losses including:
- Pain & suffering – the extent, nature, and longevity of the pain suffered should all be factored into compensation.
- Mental anguish — compensates for any emotional upset as a result of the accident, including fear, anxiety, worry, grief or stress.
- Disfigurement –The emotional effects of visible scarring – embarrassment, shame, loss of confidence, etc. – can qualify you for monetary damages.
- Loss of society and consortium — compensates a spouse, parent or minor children for the loss of things like companionship and care, assistance, or society resulting from the accident.
Punitive damages may result if the responsible party is found to have been malicious, willful, reckless or fraudulent. Punitive damages are designed to punish the liable party and discourage others from repeating the same actions.
How can an experienced truck accident attorney help?
An attorney experienced with truck accidents is adept at getting you the compensation you deserve from insurance companies that will be trying to pay out as little as possible. This is a complex process that will benefit from our experience with:
- Reviewing accident reports
- Gathering and preserving important evidence
- Reviewing medical records
- Gathering your expense information to access your economic losses
- Consulting with experts to determine liability and losses
How much does it cost to work with a truck accident lawyer?
Because we represent truck accident clients on a contingency basis, your initial consultation is free. We will only be paid once your claim is successfully settled and you receive monetary damages.
Schedule a Consultation with a Decatur Truck Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one suffered injuries or losses in a trucking accident, get the help of a Decatur truck accident lawyer. I’ve served as general counsel to a trucking company and seen both sides of these cases. I can help you determine who was at fault, explain your legal rights, and fight to get you the fair and just settlement you deserve.
We’ll evaluate your case, answer your questions, explain your legal rights, and advise you on the best strategy to recover the monetary damages you’re owed. If your injuries make it difficult for you to come to us, we can come to you.
Contact us for a free consultation, by calling, or just fill out our free case evaluation form now. We can help you with your case and you can get back to your life and loved ones.