A collision between a massive commercial truck and any smaller vehicle can have catastrophic results: extensive damage, expensive repairs and, sadly, frequently devastating injuries or even fatalities. When a collision of this type is the result of the actions or neglect of a big rig driver or the company that owns the vehicle, the injured party has the legal right to seek compensation for injuries and financial damages resulting from the accident.
If you have been involved in an accident involving a semi-truck, a Monticello truck accident lawyer can discuss the facts of your case with you and can assist you with what can be a complex process of proving your case. An experienced local attorney could also help with identifying all of the responsible parties and negotiating with insurance companies and help you achieve the settlement you deserve for your pain, suffering, and other losses you have experienced.
How are Big Rig Accidents Different?
The damages that result from a collision involving a commercial vehicle are frequently much greater due to the size – as well as the size difference – of the vehicles involved. It’s also more likely that the injuries that result will be more extensive and, unfortunately, the likelihood of fatalities is greatly increased. Approximately 10 percent of all car accident fatalities in Illinois are the result of semi-truck vs. automobile collisions.
These factors – more extensive damages and the potential for more serious injuries – can make a case involving a semi-trailer much more complex than one that involves two automobiles. A Monticello attorney with experience handling commercial vehicle accident claims will know that there are unique factors to consider. For example:
- Were all state and federal regulations followed by the operator and the trucking company?
- Was the truck properly maintained and inspected on schedule?
- Was the driver operating within his/her allowable driving hours?
- Was the truck properly loaded and weighed?
- What parties may be involved who could share liability? The driver? The company or companies that owns the truck? The company or companies that own the freight?
A seasoned lawyer who has handled these specific kinds of claims will understand the factors that need to be considered and understand how to gather and preserve the type of evidence required to establish liability. An experienced attorney will know when it is appropriate to seek an expert to help establish fault. There may be a need to do accident reconstruction, obtain driver records, inspect the truck, its tires, brakes, and other safety equipment, examine traffic signal timing, etc., to build a case for a claim. Establishing fault is a critical first step in the process.
What Compensation is Available After Being Struck by a Semi?
Damages related to personal injury cases are often thought of in two categories: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are for your financial losses, like past and future medical expenses, lost wages, the loss of future earning capacity, and property damages. Noneconomic damages include factors like pain and suffering, emotional trauma, scarring or disfigurement, disability, the loss of the ability to do things you enjoy in life, and even the grief related to the loss of companionship of a loved one. All of these factors should be considered when evaluating your damages.
In addition, there is potential for a third type of compensation known as punitive damages. This type of compensation will be awarded in any case where it can be proved that the losses you suffered were directly related to more extreme recklessness or intentional misconduct of the at-fault party. If you can establish the actions were willful, reckless, malicious, or fraudulent, punitive damages will be awarded, both as a punishment for the other party and to compel others to avoid being caught up in the same activity in the future. All too often trucking companies put profits over people and choose to violate safety rules. If egregious misconduct is involved in your accident, it may be appropriate to seek punitive damages.
Steps to Take After a Commercial Vehicle Wreck
Knowing that a case that involves a commercial vehicle can be complicated and drawn out is often enough motivation to consult with an lawyer who handles cases in Monticello. Establishing a good case often requires experts with complex accident experience. If the injuries suffered are extensive, it can be critical to consult with experts to understand what the long-term outlook might be for you or your loved ones.
Knowing how to negotiate with insurance companies that represent commercial vehicles and large trucking firms takes experience and knowledge. It is important to have help to avoid common mistakes that can reduce or destroy the value of your claim. Working with a truck accident attorney in Monticello will help make the process much easier for you and may substantially improve your prospects of obtaining the financial compensation you deserve.
Call a Monticello Truck Accident Attorney Today
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident caused by a commercial semi-truck, we encourage you to call our office today. Our Monticello truck accident team will listen, do our best to answer your questions, and guide you through the process. We can help you develop a plan to gather evidence to prove your case, help you identify your damages, and develop a strategy to help maximize your recovery. In most cases we can successfully negotiate a settlement for injured clients, but if necessary, our team can represent you in court.
The initial consultation is always at no charge to you, and if you hire our team, we are only paid if we are successful in recovering money for you. If your injuries prevent you from coming to us, we will come to you.