Every year, thousands of people in the United States are killed or injured in truck accidents. If you or a member of your family is injured in a truck accident, you may be able to receive compensation for your injury and your related expenses. After seeking medical attention, speak as soon as possible with a good personal injury lawyer, and in the Chicago area, contact experienced personal injury attorney Joseph M. Dooley. If you’ve been injured by a truck driver’s negligence, compensation for your injury is your legal right. Because of the size and weight of trucks, truck accidents can cause severe injuries. One out of every eight traffic fatalities in the United States is the result of a truck accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: “In 2012, there were 3,921 people killed and 104,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks …. In the United States, 333,000 large trucks were involved in traffic crashes during 2012.”
Unrealistic delivery schedules, mechanical failures, and drug abuse – particularly stimulant abuse – cause many truck accidents, but for decades, virtually every study of these accidents has concluded that driver fatigue is the leading cause of truck collisions in the United States. Under federal regulations, truck drivers may not drive more than 11 hours a day or 70 hours a week. Of course, there are enticing financial incentives for drivers and trucking companies to violate the hours-of-service rules, and violations are a key factor in many truck accidents.
Drinking, texting, and other distractions also cause accidents, but in some collisions, the truck driver is not the negligent party. If a truck isn’t properly maintained and properly loaded, if the truck itself or a part of the truck is defective, or if a street or highway where an accident happens was negligently constructed or maintained, and you’re injured, someone other than the driver may be held accountable. An experienced personal injury lawyer can find all of the potential sources of compensation, hold the guilty parties accountable, and fight for the maximum possible amount of compensation available to you.
TRUCKING IS REGULATED
All truck drivers in the United States are required by federal regulations to meet a number of safety standards. In addition to the 11-hour-a-day and 70-hour-a-week limits, truck drivers in the United States must have a valid commercial driver’s license, must speak and understand English and all road signs, and may not have any alcohol whatsoever in their bloodstream while behind the wheel. Truck drivers who cross state lines must be at least 21 years old.
The injuries and deaths that are the result of negligent truck driving can leave surviving family members angry and confused. Catastrophic injuries, permanent disability, and wrongful death are far too often the consequences of truck accidents. The most frequently-suffered serious injuries in truck accidents include bone fractures, soft tissue injuries, head and chest bruises, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. If you’ve sustained a spinal cord injury or a traumatic brain injury, or if you’ve lost an arm or a leg to amputation because of a truck driver’s negligence, you’ll need substantial compensation for long-term care.
FIRST, SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION
A person may not even immediately realize that he or she has suffered a serious injury, so it’s always wise to have a physician examine you after any traffic accident. A traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury may seem insignificant at first but may emerge weeks later as a serious medical condition. When someone else’s negligence is the cause of your injury, you are entitled by law to full compensation for all of your past, present, and future medical expenses and all related losses including lost earnings. However, being “entitled” makes the process sound easier than it is. To win the compensation that rightfully yours, you have to prove that you were injured by negligence, and that will require the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.
If you are injured in a truck accident, don’t admit to any fault or sign any insurance forms prior to consulting with a good personal injury lawyer. Call the police and obtain medical treatment at once after a truck collision. Make sure that you will receive a copy of the police accident report. Get the names and contact information of everyone involved, including witnesses, and be certain to get the truck driver’s license number, license plate number, insurance details, and contact information regarding the truck’s owner and the driver’s employer. If possible, take photographs of the accident site, the vehicle damages, and your injuries both before and after your treatment. Good photographs can sometimes make all the difference in a personal injury case. Make and retain copies of any medical, police, and insurance documents and paperwork. Keep everything linked to your accident and injury in a secure spot. Take notes and write down any details that you might forget, because personal injury cases can sometimes drag on for months.
WHAT TO DO (AND WHAT NOT TO DO)
If you are an injury victim due to a truck accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can evaluate your case, explain your legal options, negotiate on your behalf, and fight for the compensation and justice you need and deserve. If your personal injury was caused by a negligent truck driver, you should make the call to a personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible. In or near Chicago, contact experienced Chicago personal injury attorney Joseph M. Dooley. Along with the list of things you should do after a truck accident, there’s also a short list of what you should not do:
- Do not communicate with the defendant, the defendant’s attorney, an insurance adjuster, or with any other insurance company representative. Let your personal injury attorney do all the talking and negotiating on your behalf.
- Your treatment should be determined by your doctor. Do not let an insurance company or adjuster determine what medical treatment you will receive.
- Do not accept a settlement without the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer. An insurance company may offer you a quick settlement amount that’s far less than the actual value of your case.
A good personal injury lawyer will provide honest, candid advice based on years of personal injury experience. You might end up receiving advice that you didn’t expect. For example, if you have been injured in a truck accident and you believe the truck driver was negligent, but you have no proof and no way to prove that negligence, a personal injury attorney will explain why your evidence is insufficient and why filing a lawsuit can’t help you. When you have a legitimate injury claim and proof of it, whether or not to move forward with legal action is still up to you. Let an experienced personal injury lawyer explain to you the pros and cons of filing a lawsuit and help you to understand how the law applies to your case.
If you choose to move forward with a personal injury claim after being injured in a truck accident, an experienced personal injury lawyer can gather evidence on your behalf, interrogate witnesses, and if necessary work alongside medical specialists and accident reconstruction experts to provide the evidence and testimony that your claim will need to prevail. As an injury victim, you also need an attorney who will keep you fully informed about the progress of your claim. If you’re injured by a negligent truck driver in the greater Chicago area, discuss your rights and options as quickly as possible with Chicago personal injury attorney Joseph M. Dooley. With more than 25 years of personal injury experience, attorney Joseph M. Dooley is prepared to advise and assist you. Contact him by email at [email protected] or call 312-236-7282 immediately after any accident with injuries in the Chicago area.