Given the massive size and weight of 18-wheelers, it’s crucial that truck drivers, trucking companies, cargo loaders, and maintenance companies all take the necessary precautions to make sure these trucks don’t pose a hazard on the road. Unfortunately, despite strict vehicle safety standards and federal trucking regulations, thousands of Americans are seriously or fatally injured in 18-wheeler truck accidents every year. If you were injured in an 18-wheeler crash, you need to learn about your legal right to compensation.
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C., our experienced truck accident attorneys have helped thousands of injured victims throughout Chicago and across Illinois secure the compensation they deserve after devastating collisions. Contact us today to learn how we can help you after a commercial truck accident. Our lawyers will review your case for free, and we don’t charge any fees unless we recover money for you.
What Should You Do If You Get Hit by an 18-Wheeler?
To protect your personal safety and your legal rights after an 18-wheeler truck accident:
- Call 911 or contact the police to report the accident.
- Get contact information, insurance information, and employer details from the 18-wheeler driver.
- Get contact information for any eyewitnesses to the accident.
- If possible, take photographs or video of the accident scene, your vehicle, the truck, and your injuries.
- Seek prompt medical attention, and follow all treatment and medication plans prescribed by your doctor.
- Contact a local 18-wheeler accident lawyer to schedule a free consultation as soon as possible.
- Do not give a statement to insurance providers or the trucking company.
- Avoid discussing details of your accident or your injuries on social media.
Who Is at Fault in an 18-Wheeler Accident?
Any of the following entities may have a stake in an 18-wheeler’s operation, and therefore could potentially be at fault for an accident:
- 18-wheeler truck owners or drivers
- Trucking companies that employ 18-wheeler drivers
- 18-wheeler mechanics and repair shops
- Manufacturers of cargo hauled by 18-wheelers
- Cargo loaders who pack goods into 18-wheeler trailers
- Manufacturers of 18-wheeler trucks, trailers, or their components
Demanding Full Compensation for Your Injuries
If you were injured in a Chicago big rig accident, you may be wondering how you’ll afford to pay for your medical treatment and any other related losses. With the help of a skilled semi-truck accident lawyer, you can hold negligent trucking companies and others accountable for damages like:
- Hospital and ambulance bills from treatment of your initial injuries
- Current and future medical expenses for rehabilitation and recovery
- Caregiving expenses, if you need help to complete basic tasks of daily living at home
- Travel expenses, if you are unable to drive yourself around after the accident
- Lost income, if you are forced to miss work while you recover
- Future lost earning potential, if you are unable to return to your previous line of work
- Physical pain, mental anguish, and reduced quality or enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death compensation, if your loved one was killed in an 18-wheeler crash
How Long Do You Have to File a Claim?
It’s important to take action immediately following your truck accident to ensure no deadlines are missed that could prevent you from securing the compensation you deserve. The most important deadline you need to be aware of is the statute of limitations for personal injury accidents in Illinois. Almost all personal injury lawsuits in Illinois are subject to a two-year statute of limitations, which is a legal time limit for taking action in court.
Two years may sound like a long time at first, but before you make the decision to go to court, you will most likely pursue compensation by filing an injury claim with the applicable insurance company(s). It also takes time to gather evidence and document the full extent of your losses.
A knowledgeable Chicago 18-wheeler accident lawyer can help ensure that you do not miss any deadlines in your case.
Injuries from 18-Wheeler Accidents
Accidents between 18-wheeler trucks and standard passenger cars tend to be especially catastrophic. Occupants of smaller vehicles usually bear the brunt of the damage. Common injuries that result from semi-truck accidents include:
- Head, skull, and neck trauma
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
- Whiplash and shoulder injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Bruises, lacerations, and puncture wounds
- Heat, friction, and chemical burns
- Facial injuries and disfiguration
- Amputated limbs and digits
- Rib cage and abdominal injuries
- Partial or complete paralysis
- Wrongful death
Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents
In the United States, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the trucking industry and imposes strict safety measures to protect motorists. Unfortunately, commercial truck accidents are still common. Causes may include:
- Reckless or distracted driving
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Fatigued driving
- Failure to check blind spots
- Speeding, tailgating, or lane weaving
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Failure to properly signal turns
- Brake or steering component failures
- Negligent inspection or maintenance practices
- Unscrupulous trucking company policies
- Inadequate driver training
- Improperly secured cargo loads
- Poor road conditions
How Our Chicago 18-Wheeler Accident Attorneys Can Help
If you’ve been hit by an 18-wheeler in a traffic collision, chances are you have serious injuries. The last thing you need now is more stress. Let the Chicago 18-wheeler accident attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C. manage your injury claim from start to finish.
With more than $1.5 billion recovered for deserving clients over our 35 years of practice, we have the skills and the resources to fight or you. Contact us to schedule your free, no-obligation case review today.