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Chicago Truck Accident Lawyers

Because of their size and weight, tractor-trailers (or semi-trucks) cause serious damage when they are involved in accidents. In fact, recent Illinois Department of Transportation data shows that semi-truck accidents account for nearly a tenth of all fatal traffic accidents within the state.

Truck overturned on a Chicago road causes serious injuries to Driver and Passenger of Car involved.

A collision with a massive, 80,000-pound tractor-trailer can change life for you and your loved ones in an instant. As you look for answers and a sense of direction after being involved in such a traumatic experience, allow the Chicago truck accident lawyers of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. to help you.

Our legal team has more than 30 years of experience with handling truck accident claims in Chicago and throughout Illinois. We know how truck accidents are different than other types of cases and know what it takes to seek a maximum recovery for our clients.

Due to the many challenging factual, legal and insurance issues that truck accidents present, it will be important for us to get to work on your case right away. Contact us today. We can provide a free consultation at our offices in Chicago or Waukegan or any other location that is convenient for you.

What Is Our Experience with Truck Accident Cases?

Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. has a record of success in truck accident cases. Our results include:

After a two-week trial, we obtained this verdict in Cook County Circuit Court for a 47-year-old Lombard woman. The woman suffered a severe spinal cord injury after she was struck by a semi-truck driver who failed to yield the right of way at an intersection. The woman’s contributory negligence would have reduced her recovery to $12.6 million. We negotiated a settlement for $14 million.

We secured this settlement on behalf of the family of a 22-year-old Chicago man who died after he was hit by a tractor-trailer on I-57 in Champaign County while en route to visit his girlfriend at the University of Illinois. The truck driver had failed to slow down and rear-ended the man’s vehicle, causing it to become trapped beneath the trailer.

We represented two clients in this personal injury case – the driver and the passenger of a motor vehicle that was involved in a collision with a large commercial truck in Illinois.

Every case is different. Our past results are in no way intended to guarantee that the same result will be obtained in your case. However, we believe our record shows the extent of our experience when it comes to serious truck accident cases. Reach us today to discuss the unique facts in your case.

How Can Our Truck Accident Attorneys Help You?

Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. can help you address the many unique issues that arise in personal injury and wrongful death claims involving 18-wheelers. Those issues include:

  • The need to conduct an aggressive investigation. Much is at stake for trucking companies and their insurers. To protect their interests, they will make it difficult to inspect the tractor-trailer, electronic data recorder (“black box”), logbooks, truck maintenance records, driver employment records and other pieces of important evidence. By taking immediate, aggressive action, we can knock down the many walls that the trucking company will try to put around the evidence.
  • The involvement of multiple liable parties. In contrast to most auto accident cases, the at-fault driver may not be the only one liable when a crash involves a commercial truck. The trucking company, broker, shipper, warehouse operator, manufacturer and even a government agency may be liable as well. Some of these parties may be based in another state or country. They may all be insured by different companies. We have the resources to identify every party that should be held liable for your losses.
  • The violation of state or federal regulations. Nearly every aspect of the trucking industry is addressed by state or federal regulations. Size and weight limits, driver qualifications, speed limits, inspections, maintenance, record-keeping and insurance requirements are all examples of areas controlled by the rules established by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Our lawyers have a thorough understanding of these regulations. We can determine whether a violation of these rules played a role in your case.
  • The seriousness of your injuries. The size and weight of tractor-trailers contribute to the devastating injuries that victims suffer in collisions with these vehicles. Additionally, these crashes often occur at high speeds on the busy roads and expressways in and around Chicago such as the Kennedy Expressway, Dan Ryan Expressway, Eisenhower Expressway and Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway. We know how to pursue just compensation for catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputations, burns, scarring and disfigurement.

Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. can work with experts in engineering and accident reconstruction to investigate and analyze your case and to determine what caused your crash. We can also review your medical records and consult with health care and life care planning experts to determine the extent of your injuries and your future medical needs.

We will work hard to prepare your case for settlement with all of those who should be held legally responsible in your case. If necessary, we will be ready to go to trial on your behalf in state or federal court.

Once a settlement or verdict is reached in your case, our legal team will move as quickly as possible to collect the award, resolve any liens that may be attached to your recovery and disburse the funds that are owed to you in either a lump sum or a series of payments.

We represent truck accident clients on a contingency basis. So, you will pay no costs or attorney fees unless we obtain a financial recovery for you.

Who Can You Sue for Personal Injury or Wrongful Death After a Truck Crash?

Driver error is a leading cause of tractor-trailer accidents in Chicago and throughout Illinois. In your case, we certainly will investigate whether the truck driver’s careless or reckless conduct played a role in your crash.

Examples of truck driver negligence include:

  • Speeding, tailgating and other forms of aggressive driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs
  • Driving while fatigued (or in violation of hours-of-service rules that limit the number of hours a driver can be on the road)
  • Failing to keep in the proper lane.

Under Illinois law, a trucking company can be held responsible for the negligent acts of its employees. However, the trucking company may be liable because it has acted negligently on its own. For instance, the company may have:

  • Hired an unfit driver. The trucking company may have put a dangerous driver on the road. Before hiring a driver, the company should check the driver’s commercial driver’s license status, traffic violation record, criminal records and physical and mental fitness.
  • Poorly trained and supervised drivers. The trucking company may have failed to properly prepare the driver for his or her job duties and/or to monitor the driver’s performance. In particular, the trucking company should make sure that its employees always comply with state and federal safety rules.
  • Failed to inspect and maintain its vehicles. Your crash may have occurred because the company did not conduct mandatory inspection and maintenance of the vehicles in its fleet.
  • Allowed cargo to be improperly loaded. A company can be liable if it permitted a truck to hit the road with excessive weight or unsecured cargo, causing the truck to jackknife or roll over or allowing objects to spill onto the road.
  • Forced or encouraged drivers to violate safety rules. Unfortunately, your wreck may have been the inevitable result of a trucking company’s string of violations of state and federal safety regulations. For example, the company may have regularly forced drivers to meet delivery deadlines – even if it meant breaking hours-of-service rules.

In many trucking operations, third-party vendors are used. If one of these parties acted negligently, they could be responsible as well for your damages. Examples of third-party vendors are employment agencies, brokers, cargo shippers, loaders and mechanics.

If a defective truck or truck part contributed to your accident, the manufacturer and others in the distribution chain may be sued. For example, many crashes can be traced to:

  • Brake problems
  • Defective tires
  • Steering column defects
  • Wheel roll-offs
  • Insufficient underride protection
  • Defective couplings and hitches
  • Flawed hydraulic systems.

Additionally, it is important to examine whether a state or federal government agency or its contractors should be held accountable. For example, the agency may have failed to properly design or maintain roads, leading to conditions that caused your crash.

What Damages Can You Recover for Your Truck Accident Injuries?

A major concern you may have after a truck accident is securing compensation that will pay for your medical treatment. At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., we understand the serious nature of the harm that can be caused by these wrecks.

We will pursue compensation that includes:

  • Past and future medical expenses – All medical costs arising from your accident, including emergency treatment, surgery, hospitalization, rehabilitation, assistive devices and medication.
  • Lost income and diminished future earning capacity – All of the wages you have lost and will lose in the future due to your injuries, including benefits, bonuses, commissions and self-employment income.
  • Pain and suffering – The physical pain and emotional anguish you have endured to date and will likely experience in the future. For instance, you may have lingering back pain that prevents you from enjoying life as you did before the crash. You may also experience post-traumatic stress disorder due to the horrific nature of the accident.
  • Scarring and disfigurement – A crash may cause you to lose a limb or suffer severe scars due to cuts and burns. You have the right to seek just compensation for such harm.

In some cases, punitive damages may be sought as well. These damages are aimed at punishing and deterring willful and wanton misconduct. For example, your truck accident may have been caused by a mechanical defect that the trucking company should have caught through an inspection. Punitive damages may be warranted if the trucking company had a long history of neglecting to conduct inspections and allowing dangerous trucks to be on the road.

If a collision with an 18-wheeler caused you to lose a loved one, our attorneys can pursue a wrongful death claim on your behalf. The claim would seek a different set of damages, including compensation for funeral and burial expenses and the loss of money, goods and services that your loved one would have contributed if he or she had lived.

It will be important to identify all available insurance coverage for your damages. In many cases, multiple insurance policies may be involved.

The truck driver, trucking company and third-party vendors, for instance, may all carry separate coverage. One policy may cover the truck, while another policy may cover the trailer. A manufacturer may carry special commercial liability coverage.

Generally speaking, state and federal laws require commercial motor vehicles to carry a higher level of minimum liability insurance coverage than what is required for standard passenger motor vehicles, ranging from $750,000 (for vehicles over 10,000 pounds carrying non-hazardous freight) to $5 million (for vehicles transporting hazardous materials).

If the amount of insurance coverage of the parties at fault in your crash fails to fully cover your losses, we may be able to turn to your own underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.

Our goal will be to seek the maximum amount for you so that you can move on with your medical needs met and with the sense of security you deserve.

Our Chicago Truck Accident Attorneys Are Ready to Help You

Time is of the essence when it comes to seeking compensation after a serious tractor-trailer accident. You need to get started right away on preserving and gathering evidence. Many other steps must be taken to pursue a full and fair recovery for you.

Put your trust in Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. With a record of more than $1 billion recovered on behalf of clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases, including truck accident claims, we are ready to go to work for you.

Contact us today for your free consultation.

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