Trucks are big, heavy, and dangerous. Passenger vehicles are no match when they collide. In Illinois, between 4,000 and 5,000 people are injured every year in truck accidents. In the first nine months of 2021 alone, truck accidents resulted in nearly 100 deaths.
Injuries can be severe, permanent, and debilitating. Fatalities can be overwhelming and sorrowful for those left behind. In every case, lives are changed forever when someone fails to uphold their duty of care in the manufacturing, maintenance, or operation of a vehicle that can weigh up to 40 tons.
At Larson Law Group LLC, we understand that no personal injury case is easy, but we believe every case is worth fighting for. That belief is what has always driven us in our representation of accident victims and their families in LaGrange, Chicago, Brookfield, Western Springs, Lyons, and McCook, Illinois.
Federal laws regarding the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles are codified in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). The state of Illinois recognizes and upholds the FMCSR. The regulations require trucks to adhere to a higher standard of rules regarding driver training, performance, and work schedules, as well as safety inspections and maintenance, and documentation of compliance with the FMCSR.
Illinois law limits the amount of time for filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim resulting from a truck accident to two years. The victim or their family must either settle a claim with the insurers of all negligent parties or file a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death action within two years of the crash or two years of the death that resulted from the crash.
Everyone on Illinois roadways, and everyone responsible for the condition of the vehicles they are in, owe a duty of care to everyone else. This means that there is a wide range of individuals and companies that can potentially be held responsible for injuries and deaths they cause if they breach that duty.
The truck driver is the most likely responsible party for any number of reasons, including being distracted or fatigued, failing to inspect their vehicle as required, being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, following too closely, or driving too fast.
Because the driver is operating in the agency of the trucking company, the company may be held liable as well for failing to train the driver adequately, ignoring poor driver performance, or scheduling the driver for excessive hours of work.
If a design flaw or failure of the truck, trailer, or any part of either contributes to the crash, the manufacturer can be held responsible. Those who failed in their responsibility to properly inspect and maintain the truck or trailer may be held liable. If shifting or unsecured cargo contributes to the crash, the individuals who loaded it could be held liable as well.
Some fault can be assigned to the vehicle driver as well. For example, if they were using a mobile device, following too closely, or stayed in a truck’s blind spot too long, they could be assigned a percentage of fault. As long as the percentage of fault is less than 50%, the injured party can still file a claim against parties bearing greater negligence. Any settlement or jury award you might receive would be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Road conditions may also be part of the liability determination. While a truck may not have been exceeding the posted speed limit, for example, it may have been driving too fast for weather and pavement conditions.
If you were injured due to another party’s negligence, you can file a personal injury claim against every negligent party and their insurers. Identifying all parties is critical and requires a thorough investigation of the circumstances of the crash and of all vehicles and trailers involved. If insurers will not offer adequate compensation in full and final settlement of your claim, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against them in civil court.
If your loved one suffered incapacitating injuries that have rendered them unable to pursue a personal injury claim on their own, someone else can file on their behalf. If the victim has a durable power of attorney, the attorney-in-fact may file the claim. If not, the court can appoint a conservator to do so.
If your loved one was killed, the personal representative of their estate can file a wrongful death claim. If there is no will — and therefore no personal representative — the court will appoint one, often a surviving spouse or adult child.
Following an accident, you need a personal injury lawyer on your side who is willing and knows how to fight back even harder. At Larson Law Group LLC, we serve clients in LaGrange, Chicago, Brookfield, Western Springs, Lyons, and McCook, Illinois. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, call us to schedule a consultation.