Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer
Our law firm can tackle your commercial truck accident claim or lawsuit
Commercial trucks – including tractor-trailers, delivery trucks and box trucks – often cause serious accidents in Chicago. Perhaps an 18-wheeler rear-ended your car on I-90. Or maybe you’re dealing with a jackknife accident on I-290 or another major highway in Illinois.
When this happens, injury victims need to act fast – to protect their health and their rights. This is especially true if there are serious injuries that require emergency medical care at Northwestern Memorial Hospital Emergency Department or another nearby hospital.
We know what’s at stake. That’s because the Chicago truck accident lawyers at Ferrell Young, LLC have years of experience handling such complicated legal cases. Our dedicated legal team is here to help you and your loved ones demand the money you deserve.
There’s no time to waste after your collision. Contact us to learn more about your legal rights. We know exactly what to do when it comes to collisions caused by heavy commercial vehicles like 18-wheelers, dump trucks, tow trucks, delivery vans, and street sweeping vehicles.
Why truck accidents happen
Collisions caused by commercial truck drivers often occur because of mistakes made by the truck driver. Examples often include:
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions, especially during hazardous winter weather.
- Driving recklessly, including changing lanes without warning.
- Driving aggressively, including following other vehicles too closely.
- Inexperience driving a large commercial truck.
- Failure to properly maintain the truck.
- Tired truck drivers who fall asleep at the wheel, especially long-haul truckers driving cross country. This is why commercial truck drivers must take mandatory rest breaks as outlined in the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations for commercial truck drivers.
However, sometimes the truck driver is not to blame. The trucking company the driver works for might not have properly maintained the truck. Or the company that loaded the contents of the truck may not have properly secured the items inside the truck.
Whatever the circumstances of your commercial truck accident, you can count on our Chicago law firm to work tirelessly on your behalf.
What makes commercial truck accidents different?
Accidents involving semi-trucks are typically far more devastating than passenger vehicle wrecks, and often result in serious injuries and wrongful death. Trucking companies will also do everything they can to avoid liability. Trucking companies and their insurance carriers almost always quickly send accident investigators to the scene of a truck accident to begin working on ways to limit their liability in these situations.
Plus, there are significant differences between handling an interstate trucking case and other truck wreck cases. It is imperative to have knowledge of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations, technology, business practices, insurance coverages, and to have the ability to discover written and electronic records. Expert testimony is of utmost importance.
Our lawyers, staff, and in-house accident investigators immediately begin the important task of documenting and preserving the evidence of a truck collision. We would like to review any case involving catastrophic injury or death.
Types of truck accidents
There are many kinds of truck accidents. Common scenarios include
- Freight-related accidents: When a truck carrying excessive or improper freight malfunctions or crashes as a result
- Jackknife accidents: When a tractor-trailer turns in on itself with the trailer moving toward the tractor at a 90-degree angle, causing the driver to lose control
- No-zone crashes: Collisions caused by a truck driver’s failure to check their blind spots before changing course
- Ordinary collisions: Including head-on collisions, sideswipes, and rear-end collisions, all of which can be equally catastrophic
- Overrides: When a large truck runs up over the top of a personal-sized car
- Rollovers: When a truck with a high center of gravity loses balance, usually after making an unsafe maneuver or hitting an obstacle in the road, turning on its side
At Ferrell Young LLC, our experienced Chicago truck accident attorneys can help with any of these accidents, regardless of how big or small the damages might seem.
What should I do after my Illinois truck accident?
Like other motor vehicle accidents, you need to act fast if you have been involved in a crash caused by a commercial truck:
- Call 911 and tell them you have been involved in a crash caused by a commercial truck. Such crashes are often very serious and should be investigated by the police.
- If you or anyone else appears injured, ask the police to send an ambulance.
- If it’s safe to do so, take photos of your truck crash, especially before anyone moves any of the vehicles.
- If someone saw your collision, get their full name and phone number. This way, investigators can interview the eyewitness about what happened.
- Get the truck driver’s information, including their name, address, driver’s license number, insurance information and the name of the trucking company they work for, along with the company’s contact info.
- Give the same personal information to the truck driver.
- Once you have exchanged information, don’t discuss your accident. Anything you say about it could later be used as evidence to reduce or deny your claim.
- Get the investigating police officer’s name and badge number. That way, you can contact them later, if necessary, about your crash.
Within the next day or so after your collision, you should also take the following steps:
- Schedule an appointment with a doctor, even if a medical professional examined you at the scene of the crash. Many truck accident injuries take days to develop, including whiplash.
- Notify your insurance company and tell them you have been in an accident.
- If the truck driver’s insurance company contacts you, don’t talk to them. Anything you say, sign or put in writing with them can be used as evidence to deny your accident claim.
- Contact our law firm right away. The sooner you have a Chicago truck accident attorney handling your case, the better.
Who investigates truck accidents in Illinois?
Crashes caused by drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) are subject to different rules than those caused by regular drivers. In addition to local law enforcement, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) often investigates these types of crashes, especially those resulting in serious injuries or fatalities.
However, the investigations carried out by the authorities are not the only ones that take place. Insurance companies and trucking companies also conduct their own investigations because they are always on the lookout for reasons to deny injury claims. This is where having a lawyer on your side becomes crucial. An attorney can conduct an independent investigation that supports your claim, which can provide evidence in support of your request for financial compensation for your injury claim.
Who’s responsible for paying for my accident?
Unlike other motor vehicle collisions, more than one at-fault party might be responsible for paying for your accident. Such parties can include:
- Truck driver who caused your crash.
- Trucking company the driver works for.
- Company that loaded the truck, especially if the contents of the truck were not secured and shifted during transit.
- Company responsible for maintaining the truck.
- Company that owns the trailer on a tractor-trailer, which can often be a different company.
- Company that manufactured the truck or any of its parts, especially the tires and brakes, which sometimes have defects and can be dangerous.
Each of these parties has their own insurance company. And while those insurance companies may be nominally competitors, they share the goal of paying you as little as possible. Level the playing field with an attorney on your side.
How much is my truck accident worth?
Truck accident claims often involve lots of money, ranging from thousands of dollars to significantly higher amounts in some cases. The reason for this is simple: the injuries sustained can be very severe, leading to expensive medical treatments and long periods of time off from work to recover. In certain cases, victims are left permanently disabled and are unable to return to work at all.
In order to determine the full value of your truck accident claim, it’s essential to take into account every single expense, including future expenses years after your accident. It’s not just the short-term costs like emergency medical care that need to be included. Long-term expenses such as physical therapy, prescription medication, and follow-up doctor’s appointments all need to be factored in when calculating how much money you should receive.
Insurance companies often only include some expenses. Our Chicago law firm looks at the big picture. When we calculate how much money you should receive, we work hard to make sure all past, present, and future expenses are included in your truck accident claim.
Should I file a truck accident lawsuit?
Sometimes, the best way to get the money you need for your truck accident is to file a truck accident lawsuit seeking damages.
Deciding whether to take legal action can be a difficult decision. And in cases involving commercial truck accidents, you also have to decide where to file your lawsuit. Because there’s often more than one at-fault party, you may have a choice of legal jurisdictions for where to take legal action. Some jurisdictions might be better than others.
So what should you do? The best way to know more about your legal options is to talk to a Chicago truck accident attorney at our law firm. We can help you better understand if and where to file a lawsuit, then help you with the legal process every step of the way.
How much time do I have to take legal action?
In most case, you have two years to file a truck accident lawsuit in Illinois against the at-fault party. This deadline (known as the statute of limitations) is due to Illinois Compiled Statute 735 ILCS 5/13-202.
But just because you have two years to take legal action after your truck accident does mean that you should wait that long. In many cases, you need to take action much sooner. For example, if a government-owned vehicle was involved, you may need to file a “Notice of Claim” against the municipality or government within 90 days of the accident.
In addition, critical pieces of evidence can legally be destroyed long before your two-year deadline expires. Such evidence can include:
- Hours of Service (HOS) logs can be destroyed after six months. All truck drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) are required to keep HOS logs, which record how many hours they drove in a given day or week and when they took mandatory rest breaks.
- Truck inspection, repair, and maintenance records, which can be destroyed after one year.
- Truck’s black box data stored in the event data recorder (EDR) is often erased and overwritten within three to four weeks, as most EDR devices only store data for 250 ignition cycles or less in some older EDR devices. EDR data often records how fast the truck driver was going at the time of the crash, how long they had been driving before the collision and if they applied the brakes before the accident.
- Traffic or security camera footage might be erased or recorded over within days unless someone specifically requests that it be preserved.
There’s no time to waste after a serious commercial truck accident. This is your opportunity to demand justice. Make sure you give your legal case the best chance for success. Talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.
How can a Chicago truck accident attorney help?
Commercial truck accident claims and lawsuits can be very complicated legal cases. Because there’s often a lot of money involved and more than one at-fault party, you might have to deal with several insurance companies and lots of lawyers. And in each case, their goal is often the same – to pay you as little as possible or nothing at all.
We know what’s at stake. That’s why we want to get to work on your legal case now. Our experienced Chicago truck accident attorneys know how to handle such complex legal cases. When you have our legal team on your side, you can be sure we will do everything we can to demand the money you deserve.