Hurt in an 18-Wheeler Wreck? Illinois Trucking Accident Lawyers Share Tips on Proving Negligence in Springfield Trucking Accident Cases
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of accidental injuries and wrongful death in the United States. Large commercial vehicles like tractor-trailers and 18-wheelers play a large role in these traffic injuries and deaths. Statistics reveal that trucking accidents result in roughly 150,000 injuries and 5,000 deaths each year in the United States. Unfortunately, the trucking accident lawyers at the Noll Law office know that Illinois shares a large percentage of these injuries and deaths due to the major trucking routes through our state – especially I-55 and I-72. According to statistics from just Illinois, each year there are over 3,500 injuries and approximately 170 fatalities caused by trucking accidents. Although many of these big rig crashes are preventable and were caused by a truck driver or trucking company, defense lawyers and insurance adjusters often do not fairly compensate victims. This makes proving negligence in Springfield trucking accident cases important to holding defendants accountable.
That’s why victims and their families need to consult with an experienced Illinois trucking accident lawyer like one of those at the Noll Law Office. Their legal team can help fight back to protect your rights to compensation under Illinois law, proving the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company, establishing your damages, and seeking your legal remedies in court if a defense lawyer or insurance adjuster will not fairly compensate you. To learn more about how the Noll Law Office and its legal team can help you, call them today to schedule a free consultation by dialing (217) 414-8889.
What is Negligence in an Illinois Trucking Accident Case?
Nearly all motor vehicle accident cases will involve a claim of “negligence.” This is a common law, or judge-made law, which is a fundamental legal concept that is very important in many areas of law. In the context of a personal injury case, negligence is often the sole way to recover compensation.
Although there are many nuances to “negligence” and how it is defined or treated, the overarching principle is the same. Generally, negligence is the failure of a person to act as a reasonable person would have in similar circumstances. It applies not just to people, but also to businesses, companies, government actors, trusts, or any other entity. Importantly, negligence can arise from an act (i.e., driving drunk) or an omission (i.e., forgetting to inspect cargo before driving a truck).
Proving negligence in Springfield trucking accident cases requires an injured party to prove each of the following elements:
- The defendant owed a duty of care
- The defendant breached that duty
- The victim suffered damages or harm, and
- That the defendant’s breach of that duty was the proximate cause or a substantial factor in causing the victim’s damages.
Sometimes this is abbreviated as duty, breach, damages, and causation.
Application of the Negligence Elements to a Case
The order of the elements is also not necessarily important, as sometimes negligence is considered to be duty, breach, causation, and damages. Indeed, in the practice of law and the way a court will look at it, generally, a victim will need to first establish duty and breach, and then causation and damages.
However, these elements are not taken in a vacuum. Although a plaintiff must prove each element of negligence to win, a defendant only needs to disprove one to win. Thus, victims and their families who have suffered serious personal injuries in a trucking accident should contact an experienced Springfield trucking accident lawyer for help given that they have the burden of proving four elements whereas a defendant only needs to prove one.
Examples of Proving Negligence in a Springfield Trucking Accident Case
There are many ways that a truck driver or trucking company may be negligent under Illinois law.
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Excessive cargo
- Using the wrong cargo straps
- Cell phone use while driving
- Drugged driving
- Improper left turns
- Unsafe backing
- Reckless U-turns
- Improper merges
- Using a hand-held radio or map
- Operating a GPS
- Distractions within the truck’s cab like a passenger, pet, eating, radio, or other activities
- Unsafe lane change
- Following too closely
- Failing to inspect cargo
- Violating Illinois traffic law or FMCSA regulations
- Using damaged or improper equipment (i.e. tires)
- Aggressive driving
- Driving too fast for the weather conditions, and
- Many other types of reckless conduct that might be considered negligent under Illinois law.
Why Do Truck Drivers or Trucking Companies Refuse to Pay When Liability is Clear?
Even where the negligence of a defendant is obvious, it is also unfortunately true that most defense lawyers and insurance adjusters will not fairly compensate victims of truck accidents for their injuries, lost wages, and medical bills. Part of this is because it could impact their licensure with the Department of Transportation or a trucker’s CDL. It could further affect their auto insurance premiums too, which is something that trucking companies try to keep as low as possible.
Other times there could be something called comparative fault. This is where a victim is partially at fault for a crash. This is a valid claim that a defendant could make in a case. However, a defendant will often claim that the victim was the total cause and should not be entitled to recover any compensation, that’s just not the law. A victim who may have partially caused a trucking accident may still be entitled to compensation. This is why having an experienced Illinois trucking accident lawyer is important to fight back against a defendant who is overreaching or fighting back.
Victims and Their Families Should Call the Noll Law Office for Help Proving Negligence in Springfield Trucking Accident Cases
After any type of big rig, box truck, or semi-tractor trailer crash in Illinois, call the Noll Law Office for help. Their trucking accident lawyers are located right here in Springfield and are the fifth-generation of lawyers of a family dedicated to representing people in Illinois. They can handle nearly any type of motor vehicle accident case and anywhere throughout Illinois – especially catastrophic and wrongful death cases. To learn more about how their dedicated and compassionate legal team can help you, contact them today to schedule a free consultation. Unlike other bodily injury law firms in Illinois, they handle cases in-house, do not force you to sign up or pay anything upfront, and create a personalized strategy to prove your case. Call them today to learn how they can do that for you.