After being hurt in an accident with a large 18-wheeler truck, you might be unsure how to proceed while recovering from your injuries. The sheer size and catastrophic damage that such an accident can cause can be quite overwhelming, and the future might seem uncertain as the medical bills pile up, and you are not yet able to return to work.
Such accidents, while daunting, are, unfortunately, common. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), police across the United States received reports about 450,000 crashes with large trucks in 2017.
If you are interested in pursuing legal action to hold the parties in your truck accident accountable, we might be able to help you recover medical expenses and damages to your vehicle, among other losses, by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at 800-794-0444 today for a free case review.
Accidents with Large Commercial Vehicles
Many Illinois roadways are divided so that commercial vehicles like 18-wheeler trucks and passenger cars do not have to drive alongside one another. However, there are some areas of Berwyn where accommodating alternative routes for each type of vehicle is not possible.
Berwyn, which is situated in a suburban city just outside of Chicago, depends on freight transportation for everything from food supplies to construction materials. Demand for freight transportation is expected to rise, according to the American Trucking Associations, which makes it likely that trucks will continue to pass through Berwyn for years to come.
While all motorists have a duty of care to consider the well-being and safety of others, crashes are an unfortunate reality for a densely populated area like Berwyn. In Illinois, drivers must provide car insurance to register and operate a vehicle in the state. Additionally, there are certain requirements for driving commercial-type vehicles in the state, which apply to nearly all 18-wheeler trucks.
Commercial Vehicle Requirements in Illinois
Anyone driving an 18-wheeler truck in Illinois is subject to federal and state laws and regulations. First, to legally get behind the wheel of any weight-pulling vehicle such as an 18-wheeler, drivers must carry a commercial driver’s license (CDL), or drive under the supervision of someone with an in-state CDL.
These licenses must be renewed at least every four years, according to the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State. Additionally, several procedures are required to operate large vehicles, such as 18-wheeler trucks:
- Licensing: Vehicles and trailers must be appropriately licensed along with the manufacturer’s information per each trailer.
- Driver Knowledge of CDL Laws: CDL laws concern several regular issues with 18-wheelers, such as weight-bearing, traffic laws, and what to do to avoid hazardous driving situations.
- Lights, Reflectors, and Signage: For maximum visibility, CDL drivers must ensure all vehicles are equipped with working lights, reflectors, and other signs of caution for other people on the road.
- Pre-Trip Inspection: Drivers must ensure the vehicle is safe to drive inside and outside of the vehicle, checking for leaks, fluid levels, and potential engine issues. Additionally, it is the driver’s responsibility to make sure windows and mirrors are clear.
- Additional Driving Mechanisms: Due to the complex nature of some larger vehicles like 18-wheeler trucks, various mechanical safety features must be checked before getting on the road.
- Driver Physical Health: State and federal laws regulate the requirements for being able to physically drive large, towing-capacity vehicles like semi-trucks and 18-wheelers. These standards have a minimum requirement for everything from vision and hearing, to general health, and use of medications. CDL drivers are subject to blood and alcohol tests at any time while operating the vehicle.
These safety precautions are considered standard procedure for operating any commercially-driven truck safely, especially those with larger towing capacities. By driving such vehicles, liable parties assume responsibility for operating them with the understanding of safe driving conditions. In the event of a crash, a Berwyn 18-wheeler truck accident lawyer can investigate to see if commercial driver protocol was followed.
Legal Considerations After 18-Wheeler Truck Accidents
Problems can arise after an accident with an 18-wheeler truck under different circumstances, which often involve preventable mistakes. Illinois is a no-fault insurance state, meaning that after any accident, all drivers must file claims through their personal insurance policies first, regardless of who caused the accident. However, this does not prevent victims of these accidents from seeking additional compensation.
In addition to typical driver insurance, most 18-wheeler trucks will carry insurance policies through employers, businesses, or large-scale organizations. A lawyer can help determine all liable parties in the accident, so filing a claim can be a straightforward and efficient process.
You can work with a lawyer to discuss your legal options, and you can contact a lawyer for guidance with your case if you are within the statute of limitations for the state.
A Berwyn 18-wheeler truck accident lawyer can help you calculate the injuries and expenses incurred from the accident so that you can seek the amount of compensation that is suitable for you. You can seek compensation for:
- Personal expenses. These expenses include short-term and long-term medical bills and prescription medications.
- Lost income. If your accident led to lost wages or a loss of potential wages, you could seek to recover that income. If a loved one died in the accident and that person contributed financially to the household, that might also be counted as lost income.
- Property damage. If your vehicle or any other personal property was affected by the accident, other parties might be liable for the damages caused.
- Breach of contract. When your insurance claims are denied, breach of contract claims can be helpful for getting a fair settlement.
- Burial, funeral costs. If you are filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you might be able to recover the costs of the deceased loved one’s medical care, and funeral and burial expenses.
- Pain and suffering. This payment would cover physical and emotional distress you have experienced as a result of the accident. A lawyer can help you calculate this noneconomic damage accurately.
The claim types listed above are not exhaustive of all legal options that you may consider in this type of accident. Consult with an attorney who can help you seek the settlement that meets your needs.
For a free legal consultation with a 18-Wheeler Truck Accidents Lawyer serving Berwyn, call (800) 794-0444
Seeking Legal Representation for 18-Wheeler Accidents
An attorney can help you navigate the litigation process after an 18-wheeler accident. A Berwyn 18-wheeler truck accident lawyer can review important documents, such as police reports about the accident, photos or surveillance from the accident scene, and statements from eyewitnesses. A lawyer will also make sure your lawsuit is filed on time by the Illinois statute of limitations, which is two years, according to 735 ILCS 5/13-202.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you figure out your next steps. Call us today at 800-794-0444 for a free legal consultation with a member of our team.