Compared to most passenger cars, big rig trucks are giants on the road. These vehicles sometimes weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and can measure up to 65 feet in length. It’s no wonder, then, that accidents involving big rig trucks are often devastating, causing substantial property damage as well as severe and sometimes fatal injuries.
If you’ve been injured in a Chicago truck crash, read on or contact the respected personal injury team of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. for a free consultation. Our law firm has carefully selected our team of top litigators to ensure you have the best representation possible. We have the skills and resources needed to protect your rights and pursue the compensation you need to recover, and our track record of successful results speaks to the passion and dedication we bring to every case.
Don’t hesitate to call us today to discuss your case. We’re ready to listen.
What Causes Big Rig Accidents?
Big rig operators are responsible for inspecting and maintaining their trucks appropriately, as well as observing safe driving practices. Truck accidents can occur when truck drivers or any related parties are negligent in any of the following ways:
- Speeding – Big rigs require more time and distance to slow or stop, so speeding while driving a large truck is especially dangerous.
- Distracted driving – Truck drivers who are distracted by texting, talking on the phone, or even fiddling with work-related devices are much more likely to crash.
- Aggressive driving – Operators who follow other cars too closely or weave between lanes can cause disastrous rear-end or sideswipe accidents.
- Driving under the influence – When big rig drivers operate under the influence of alcohol or drugs, their ability to make safe decisions is compromised.
- Inexperienced drivers – Drivers with inadequate training or experience may commit driving errors such as oversteering or braking too late for conditions.
- Hours of service violations – If truckers work more hours than allowed by federal regulations, they are more likely to be involved in drowsy driving crashes.
- Improper cargo loading – Overloaded or improperly secured cargo can sometimes shift in transit and cause dangerous jackknife or rollover accidents.
- Defective truck components – If a big rig’s tires, brakes, or steering systems fail, the resulting loss of control can cause accidents for even the safest drivers.
Big Rig Truck Accident Statistics
The following statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) demonstrate just how devastating big rig truck accidents can be. In 2018 alone:
- There were approximately 499,000 reported large truck crashes in the U.S.
- 107,000 (21 percent) of these resulted in injuries, and 4,136 (1 percent) were fatal
- 67 percent of those killed in big rig accidents were occupants of other vehicles
- There were 13.5 fatal big rig accidents for every one million Americans
- The number of big rig accident fatalities increased 31 percent from 2009 to 2018
Things You Should Know After Being Involved in a Big Rig Truck Accident
Many people are unaware that the process for resolving a big rig truck accident claim often bears little resemblance to that of a passenger car crash claim. Below are some of the things you should know if you were involved in a big rig truck accident:
- Truck drivers are subject to different rules and regulations. There are several requirements that only apply to big rig operators, which may play an important part in a big rig accident claim. These include hours of service regulations that limit the number of hours a driver can be on duty, as well as rules that require regular inspection and maintenance of big rig trucks.
- Different types of evidence are often available in big rig accident cases. Most modern big rigs have one or more digital tracking systems that can monitor factors such as a truck’s location, speed, acceleration, braking, or steering input. This means that significant quantities of data may be available for analysis in truck accident cases of questionable liability.
- Truck drivers are often represented by aggressive insurers or lawyers. Big rig drivers typically work for commercial entities with access to corporate lawyers and combative insurance company representatives. They know that big rig accidents can cause tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and often fight tooth and nail to minimize or deny subsequent claims.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Big Rig Truck Accident
To pursue the financial recovery you deserve for the losses you suffered in a big rig accident, you’ll need to identify who should be held accountable and present solid evidence to support your claim. Any of the following parties could be responsible for an Illinois big rig truck accident:
- Truck drivers – Drivers who are distracted, reckless, or simply inexperienced are frequently the cause of big rig truck crashes.
- Trucking companies – Trucking companies may be held liable for accidents if they require truck drivers to adhere to unreasonable schedules or delivery quotas.
- Owners of trucks or trailers – Some big rigs are owned by third parties who may be negligent in the maintenance or repair of their vehicles.
- Truck mechanics – Mechanics may be responsible for wrecks if they are negligent in inspecting or repairing big rigs that go on to cause accidents.
- Truck manufacturers – If manufacturers produce unsafe trucks with unreliable components, they may be held liable if a truck’s defects cause a collision.
- Cargo-loading crews – Teams that load and secure cargo may be responsible if overloaded or improperly loaded trailers cause a big rig to crash.
What to Do After a Big Rig Truck Accident
If you’re involved in a big rig truck accident, the actions you take in the days, weeks, and months that follow will have a significant impact on your available options and ability to pursue compensation. The truck accident lawyers of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. recommend that you take the following steps to protect your rights:
- Seek immediate medical attention, even if you aren’t sure you were injured.
- Follow through on any treatment or medication plans prescribed by your doctor.
- Collect the contact and insurance information of the truck driver.
- Gather statements and contact information from any available eyewitnesses.
- Take photos of the accident scene and any vehicle damage or visible injuries.
- Report the accident to your insurance provider.
- Avoid admitting fault or discussing the accident with others or on social media.
- Keep a post-accident journal to document any chronic pain you suffer.
- Keep track of all accident-related costs, such as medical bills and repair invoices.
- Contact a qualified attorney for a free consultation to discuss your options.
How Our Chicago Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help You
The Chicago truck accident attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. are passionate about fighting for the rights of injured victims. We have won more than $1.5 billion to date in settlements and trial verdicts for deserving clients, and if you’ve been injured in an Illinois truck accident, we want to help you, too. Our team is available to help 24/7, and we provide free, confidential consultations to all new clients, so contact us now to start taking action in your case.