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Trucking accidents can cause severe injuries and lead to complex investigations and insurance claims. The claims may involve both Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Claims and complicated liens may be levied against any settlement proceeds.
If you were struck by a trucke driver or if you are a truck driver and were injured, please contact the personal injury attorneys at the Noll Law Office today at (217) 414-8889. Our office will be happy to speak with you and discuss your case at no cost to you. We are experienced civil litigators who understand the huge emotional and economic impact a truck accident can have on a victim and his or her family. Our lawyers provide compassionate counsel and aggressive advocacy to make sure your family is taken care of.
Common questions regarding trucking accidents include:
- Is it a good idea to obtain a police report about how my accident occurred?
- Is it a good idea to move my vehicle after a truck accident?
- What makes truck accidents different from other types of motor vehicle accidents?
- What distinct laws apply to truck drivers and trucking companies?
- I am a truck driver and was struck by another vehicle. Do I have a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim?
- I am a motorist and was struck by a truck. How do I file an insurance claim for coverage?
- How should I respond if the trucking company or its insurance carrier contacts me?
- How is it established that an accident was the fault of a truck driver?
- How do I file a personal injury suit?
- How do I file a workers’ compensation claim?
- What happens during a trucking lawsuit?
- How do I prepare for my first meeting with Noll Law Office?
Is it a good idea to obtain a police report about how my accident occurred?
It is almost always a good idea to obtain a police report after an accident. The police report will contain official information on how your accident occurred and will provide documentation that can be used as evidence in a court of law. Insurance companies also frequently rely on police reports when deciding what to pay on a claim.
Is it a good idea to move my vehicle after a truck accident?
If your vehicle is not blocking traffic, it is often okay to leave it where it is immediately after the accident. If your vehicle is blocking traffic or likely to cause an accident, however, it is important to move it out of the way provided you do not put your safety at risk to do so.
What makes truck accidents different from other types of motor vehicle accidents?
Accidents involving commercial trucks are much more likely to result in serious injuries and fatalities than other types of accidents. Trucks are much larger in size and carry tons of extra weight when loaded with cargo. This makes them harder to stop than other vehicles and the force of their impact much greater during a collision.
There are also a number of other unique considerations involving truck accidents. Some truck accidents occur because drivers are required to be on the road for extended periods of time. Driver fatigue is dangerous in any circumstance, but even more so when that driver is navigating a large commercial vehicle.
One of the other unique considerations involved with truck accidents is that trucks frequently carry large loads, which can sometimes come loose if not properly secured and end up endangering the lives of others on the road.
It is for these reasons and others that there are numerous federal regulations that are enforced to make sure that trucks are safely operated.
What distinct laws apply to truck drivers and trucking companies?
In the year 2000, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was created to reduce the number of truck accidents and associated injuries that occur. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration strictly enforces trucking regulations to make sure that safety practices are properly followed.
One of the goals of these regulations is to make sure that truck drivers are adequately qualified and trained to operate their vehicles. Truck drivers also must follow rigorous safety checks of their vehicles at regular intervals when out on the road. All trucking companies are required to follow these federal regulations. There are special laws in Illinois that apply to truck drivers, as well.
I am a truck driver and was struck by another vehicle. Do I have a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim?
If you are a trucker and are hit by another motorist, you may have both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim. Whether you can file a workers’ compensation claim depends in large part upon whether you are determined to be a contractual agent or employee of the trucking company for which you have been working. The terms of the contract alone do not determine this issue. Whether or not a truck driver is considered to be an independent contractor or employee hinges upon the amount of control the truck driver, versus trucking company, holds in the performance of assigned activities. Our attorneys can assist you with this analysis.
Injured truck drivers may need to file personal injury actions against the person who struck them in addition to claims for underinsured or uninsured coverage with their own insurance company. If a workers’ compensation claim has been filed, the workers’ compensation provider may assert a lien against any personal injury suit that you file. Therefore, it is extremely important that you hire a competent attorney who is well-versed in insurance law before moving forward with any claims.
I am a motorist and was struck by a truck. How do I file an insurance claim for coverage?
If you are a motorist struck by a truck driver, you should file a claim with the insurance company covering the truck that hit you. An attorney can send a letter of representation on your behalf, requesting that the insurance provider pay for the medical bills associated with the claim. The insurance adjuster handling the claim will assign a “claim number,” and open a file to investigate the claim.
If that claim leads to a lawsuit, you may need to file a complaint against both the truck driver and the company for which the truck driver was working at the time. The company may or may not be self-insured.
How should I respond if the trucking company or its insurance carrier contacts me?
One of the best ways to respond in these situations is to give the trucking company or your insurance carrier, the contact information for your attorney. It is also critical that during this interaction you avoid providing any recorded statements about how the accident occurred.
Often after a truck accident occurs, the trucking company will promptly respond by performing an investigation to limit its liability and end up paying the accident victim as little as possible. Sometimes, the trucking company will even attempt to have someone speak with accident victim about his or her medical condition in hopes the victim will say something to derail his or her claim for damages. Insurance companies then use these statements to support paying the lowest amount of compensation possible.
How is it established that an accident was the fault of a truck driver?
To establish fault after a car accident, your attorney will analyze evidence to determine exactly how the accident occurred. In many situations, your lawyer will speak with numerous parties who have knowledge about the accident including witnesses, the truck driver, the company that owns the truck, and anyone else who might have been involved. In many situations, law enforcement will obtain records and take steps to obtain information about how the accident occurred. Attorneys may even speak with experts who can help determine how the accident occurred.
Even if the accident is only partially caused by the truck driver, accident victims are often still able to pursue legal action. Some of the various ways in which truck drivers cause accidents include the following:
- Driving in an aggressive manner
- Driving too fast
- Failing to watch out for other vehicles on the road
- Failing to yield
- Losing control of cabs, cargo, or trailers
- Not stopping or slowing down
- Operating trucks that do not have properly secured loads
- Swerving into oncoming or nearby lanes of traffic
- Violating Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations
How do I file a personal injury suit?
Your attorney will usually file the lawsuit in the county where the action forming the basis of the injury occurred. For example, a person injured by a truck driver in Springfield, Illinois, would likely file suit in Sangamon County, with the Seventh Judicial District Court.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit is usually the person who was injured, or his or her family if the victim was killed in the accident. The lawyers will file a complaint at law describing the negligent acts of the defendant and the injuries sustained. For example, the complaint may allege that the truck driver disregarded a stop sign, thereby killing the driver of another automobile. The Complaint will request that monetary damages be paid to the decedent and his or her heirs.
How do I file a workers’ compensation claim?
You must provide your employer with notice of the collision within 45 days. Your attorney will then prepare an Application for Adjustment of Claim and file it with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. A copy will also be sent to your employer with an appropriate proof of service. This formally begins the claim for arbitration.
What happens during a trucking lawsuit?
The plaintiff or his or her legal representative will file suit against the defendant for negligence. The process begins when the attorney files a complaint seeking monetary damages for the defendant’s negligent behavior.
After the complaint is filed, the defendant is served. He or she typically has 30 days to enter an appearance and claim any possible legal defenses. Usually, an attorney enters an appearance on behalf of the defendant.
After the defendant’s attorney has entered an appearance, discovery will commence. This process usually involves exchanging copies of the evidence held by both parties and taking the depositions of witnesses. Depending on the complexity of the litigation, experts may be retained for trial. Their depositions will also be taken.
Your attorney may also choose to file requests for admission and other legal documents in order to simplify the issues presented at trial. Following the close of discovery, summary judgment motions and other pre-trial motions will be heard. Trial preparation will then begin in earnest. Witnesses will be subpoenaed, trial exhibits prepared, and other pre-trial paperwork will be filed. Jury instructions will be prepared. The jury trial should follow shortly thereafter. When the jury awards a verdict, the sums are usually paid by the insurance company.
How do I prepare for my first meeting with Noll Law Office?
To expedite legal review of your claim, you should bring a copy of your medical records, police reports, photographs, videos, Facebook pages, text messages, correspondence, insurance information, and any other evidence in your possession to your meeting. The attorney will review the records together with any other evidence in your possession, and provide you with a free legal opinion as to the merits of your claim.
The trucking accident attorneys at the Noll Law Office have over 50 years combined legal experience. Our family firm is known for its compassionate communication with clients as well as its aggressive advocacy in court. All of our attorneys are experienced trial litigators who will make sure that you are kept up to date with all steps in the litigation process.
If you or a loved one would like a free consultation, call us today at (217) 414-8889. You will not be a charged unless our firm obtains a settlement offer on your behalf or wins at trial.