Injured in a Truck Accident? Call Our Truck Accident Attorneys in Springfield, IL for Help
Motor vehicle accidents involving large commercial vehicles such as semi-tractor trailers, big rigs, tankers, and other large trucks are often catastrophic. Occupants in smaller, passenger vehicles often suffer significant and life-changing injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and other life-threatening harm. Many of the common causes of trucking accidents can be avoided too, but for the negligent conduct of a truck driver, trucking company, or another entity responsible for the truck accident in Illinois. Although some insurance carriers will offer to cover medical bills, victims and their families should turn to experienced truck accident attorneys in Springfield, IL for help.
At the Noll Law Office, their compassionate and knowledgeable team of personal injury lawyers will treat you and your family with the respect and dignity that you deserve. Unlike other bodily injury law firms in Illinois, they offer personalized and dedicated service for each of their clients and their families – not just as another file number. That’s why they offer FREE consultations and case evaluations and cover the upfront costs of litigation which are only reimbursed after they recover compensation for you. If you or a loved one suffered any type of serious or catastrophic injuries in a truck accident, or if a loved one was wrongfully killed in a truck accident anywhere in Illinois, contact the Noll Law Office today to learn more about your rights and how their family can help your family.
Why Truck Accidents Are Different
Although all types of motor vehicle accidents can cause serious personal injuries or wrongful death, crashes involving big rigs and semi-tractor trailers are disproportionally more likely to cause these types of significant or fatal injuries. For instance, 2019 statistics from the Illinois DOT reveal that crashes involving semi-trucks roughly account for 3.8 percent of overall crashes, with 11,741 total semi-truck-involved crashes. However, semi-trucks accounted for 10.7 percent of fatal crashes during the same year. Across the United States in 2020, the NSC found there were 4,842 semi-trucks involved in fatal crashes. Large trucks accounted for 4 percent of all registered vehicles in the U.S., but 9 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes.
There are several reasons for this. Notably, commercial vehicles are much heavier than passenger vehicles. This generates more momentum that translates into greater force in an impact. As a result, victims who are hit by a truck often have more catastrophic injuries because of the greater force and impact on their bodies.
In addition, the business of driving a truck is both physically and cognitively fatiguing. This is particularly true from the long hours that many truck drivers work because of the time-is-money business model. That means that far too many truck drivers are pushing their physical and mental limits to make more money, at the expense of others on or around the road. This is a recipe for disaster.
Most Common Cause of Truck Accidents in Illinois: Fatigued Truck Drivers
There are many different causes of commercial truck accidents in the United States and in Illinois. However, one of the most common causes is truck driver fatigue or drowsiness. This cause can play a role in virtually all types of truck accidents, although it can be very difficult to detect without an experienced truck accident attorney on your side.
According to an NCBI study, truck drivers average about 4.78 hours of verified sleep. Since the “ideal” amount of sleep for an adult is 7.1 hours per day, you can see that truckers are chronically sleep-deprived. Truck drivers are permitted to drive 11 hours straight before being required to take a break. Since they don’t get paid unless they are driving, some drivers keep two sets of logbooks and drive even longer hours.
Driving for extended periods of time dulls the senses leading to fatigue. This fatigue increases at night when the body is ready for its natural sleep cycle. A lack of sleep causes truck drivers to be less alert and can affect reaction time, coordination, and judgment. The CDC found that driving while overly fatigued can be just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. Being awake for at least 18 hours is equal to having a BAC of 0.05 percent. After 24 hours, it equates to a BAC of 0.10 percent—higher than the legal limit.
Other Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Illinois
Although the truck accident attorneys in Springfield, IL know that fatigued driving is just one common cause of truck accidents in Illinois, there are many other common causes of 18-wheeler wrecks. Some of the other most common causes of truck accidents include the following:
- Drunk driving
- Drugged driving – including illegal drug use such as cocaine to stay awake
- Driving too fast for the weather conditions or failing to stop when it is unsafe to move forward
- Distracted driving
- Equipment and mechanical failures
- Failing to inspect the truck and cargo before starting a delivery or at regular intervals
- Traffic violations such as speeding, running a red light, failing to yield, and other negligence conduct
- Improperly secured cargo
- Truck driver inexperience or failure to have a CDL
- Prescription drug use, even if legal and prescribed, can be dangerous when operating a large machine like a commercial truck
- Using a cell phone to make a call or text
- Failure to use emergency lights when disabled on the side of the road, including using three warning beacons
- Eating, drinking, or engaging in other distractions
- Using improper straps or securement devices, or not using enough
- Road rage or aggressive driving
- Unrealistic delivery schedules set by a trucking carrier, and
- Many other common causes of truck accidents in Illinois and throughout the United States that the experienced truck accident lawyers in Springfield, IL may be able to recover for you.
FMCSA Violations Causing Trucking Accidents in Springfield
In addition to these many common causes of trucking accidents, some of the common causes are also due to regulatory violations. These regulations are promulgated by a federal agency that oversees all commercial driving activity throughout the United States. This is because trucking is an interstate business, meaning that most semi-tractor trailers will operate in several different states to make a pickup and a delivery.
The federal agency in charge of overseeing commercial driving operations is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The majority of the FMCSA regulations pertain to safety. That means many FMCSA violations by truck drivers and trucking companies are often due to unsafe or outright dangerous conduct. If a defendant causes a trucking accident in Springfield or anywhere else throughout Illinois due to a violation of an FMCSA regulation, a victim may be able to use that violation as evidence of negligence in a personal injury lawsuit.
Some of the most commonly violated FMCSA regulations include the following:
- Using a hand-held mobile phone while operating a commercial vehicle – 49 CFR s 392.82 prohibits truck drivers from operating a hand-held mobile phone while operating any type of commercial vehicle. That means any truck driver who is operating a commercial vehicle and causes an accident while texting, placing a call, checking email, playing a game, reading an article, or otherwise performing any other action on his or her hand-held cell phone while driving may be violating federal regulations. Although not all states have a prohibition against hand-held mobile phones, Illinois statutory law further makes it illegal to use a hand-held phone while operating a commercial vehicle.
- Drug Use – the FMCSA regulations contain a strict drug prohibition which includes both illegal narcotics but also prescribed or over-the-counter medications that may inhibit or impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle. Even merely possessing such a drug can result in a violation.
- Alcohol Use – the FMCSA regulations create the strictest drunk driving rules in the United States. Even though Illinois state law defines driving while intoxicated as having a BAC of .08 or higher, the FMCSA regulations prohibit a truck driver from having any BAC (even .01). In fact, the FMCSA regulations prohibit a truck driver from consuming any alcohol four hours before a shift even starts – meaning there could be a FMCSA alcohol use violation even before a truck driver picks up the keys.
- Hour of Service (HOS) Violations – Given that fatigue is one of the most common causes of trucking accidents, the FMCSA has set hours of service (or HOS) regulations that govern how often a truck driver can operate a commercial vehicle in a given time period. This includes the time during a single day before a rest is required and the maximum drive time in a day, seven-day period, and eight-day period.
- Other FMCSA violations include inclement weather, disabled trucks, inspections, equipment, headlights, driver credentials, delivery schedules, securing cargo, testing, and other FMCSA regulations.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Injuries resulting from truck accidents are often severe for those in smaller, passenger vehicles. This means that victims and their families often need to hire truck accident attorneys who know both the law and the medicine involved in their personal injury cases. Some of the most common types of personal injuries following a truck accident include the following:
- Head injuries and brain injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) such as concussion, diffuse axonal injuries, coup-contrecoup injuries, or other injuries
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs), including those causing paralysis like paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Amputations or the loss of a limb
- Broken bones or fractured bones, including compound fractures
- Nerve injuries, especially brachial plexus or cranial nerve injuries
- Neck injuries and back injuries, including disc herniations, slipped discs, compression fractures, and other damage to the spinal column
- Shoulder injuries such as impingement, dislocations, separations, SLAP tears, rotator cuff tears, and other damage to the shoulder
- Burn injuries and disfigurement
- Knee injuries including to the meniscus or ligaments (LCL, PCL, MCL, or ACL)
- Lower leg injuries, including bi- and tri-malleolar fractures
- Emotional injuries including PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other psychological harms
- Joint replacements
- Post-concussive syndrome
- Organ injuries
- Blindness, partial or full
- Wrongful death, and
- Any other personal injuries related to a truck accident in Illinois that the truck accident attorneys in Springfield, IL can handle for you.
Why Our Truck Accident Attorneys Are Different: Truck Accident Case Illustration
If you have been injured in a trucking accident in Springfield, IL, or the surrounding area, the truck accident attorneys at Noll Law Office can help. They understand that you may be badly hurt and unable to return to work to support yourself or your family. They will work hard on your behalf to ensure you receive a fair settlement for your injuries. Consider the following truck accident case illustration:
Jack is driving late at night, on his way to see his parents in another state. On a long stretch of Interstate 55, a truck driver falls asleep, crossing into Jack’s lane and striking his vehicle. While Jack was able to swerve enough to avoid a deadly head-on collision, the truck struck the back of Jack’s car, sending it into a spin, and a subsequent rollover. Jack sustained internal injuries, broken bones, and facial lacerations that are expected to cause permanent scarring.
After two weeks in the ICU, Jack’s internal injuries are no longer critical, his broken femur has been set, and his broken arm placed in a cast. Jack’s facial scars will not mature for at least six months. Currently, it is emotionally traumatic for him to go out in public. Jack is unable to return to his job as a carpenter, so cannot pay his monthly expenses. The medical bills are piling up and he feels entirely overwhelmed.
Jack could receive significant benefits from retaining the lawyers at the Noll Law Office for his case. The Noll Law Office lawyers are familiar with the administrative requirements, log information, and other practices truck drivers are supposed to follow. If the trucking company does not follow those practices, a claim may be filed against its insurance company. One of the main goals the Noll Law Office has in a trucking accident is to obtain coverage through larger commercial insurance policies. Due to the potential for more severe injuries, including death, trucking companies are required to carry larger insurance policies compared to a normal passenger vehicle. Once a claim is filed on the large commercial policy, the trucking accident lawyers at the Noll Law Office will seek compensation for medical expenses (including future medical needs), lost wages, scarring, as well as pain and suffering, and other applicable damages.
What Should I Do Following a Semi-Truck Accident?
Seeking medical attention is the most important thing you will do following your truck accident. Once you have done that, you should speak to the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Noll Law Office. Their truck accident attorneys in Springfield, IL will help you go through the necessary steps to assert a claim for coverage. They will fight for you every step of the way. Their goal is to alleviate the stress and burden of fighting with the trucking company and their insurance company so the injured person can focus on healing.
How Do I Choose the Best Truck Accident Attorneys for Me?
Choosing a truck accident attorney can seem like “one more thing” when you are already overwhelmed. You need an attorney who will take the burden from your shoulders, giving you time to heal. At the Noll Law Office, its attorneys believe strongly in honest communication with their clients. They are highly skilled negotiators and successful litigators who will use their positive track record for your benefit.
In addition to their skill and experience, the Noll Law Office dedicates itself to providing its clients with personalized attention with its lawyers so you will know who is representing them from day one. You will not be handed off to a junior associate right out of law school or farmed off to a different office or law firm somewhere else in Illinois. You become part of the Noll Law Office litigation team which will ensure the job is done correctly from day one. Their family will take care of your family and are just a phone call away from discussing any concerns, ideas, or questions you may have.
What is the Semi-Truck Accident Injury Claims Process?
The Noll Law Office truck accident attorneys will first thoroughly investigate your truck accident. They will determine who the responsible party or parties are and then hold them accountable. Your injuries, lost wages, and conscious pain and suffering are all considered “damages” that will be calculated. Under Illinois law, the term “damages” refers to the award that a party to a lawsuit may obtain. In a personal injury action like a truck accident, damages are typically given in the form of monetary compensation. Their bodily injury team will evaluate what damages you may be entitled to under the law during their investigation to help build your case.
To do this, various experts may need to be hired to determine future medical care. The Noll Law Office can file a claim for damages on your behalf and make a demand from the insurance company based on their experts’ opinions and review of your case. Of course, the goal of every insurance company is to pay out as little as possible. The trucking accident attorneys in Springfield, IL at the Noll Law Office will fight for a fair settlement, filing suit and proceeding forward to trial when necessary. Their firm will aggressively advocate from beginning to end. Contact the Noll Law Office today for a free initial consultation to determine if they are the right lawyers for you.
How is Fault Determined in Illinois Semi-Truck Accidents?
Truck accidents are unique in that there can be more than one liable party. The truck driver may have caused the accident through recklessness, carelessness, impairment, distraction, or fatigued driving. The trucking company could be liable for hiring an untrained driver. They may not have conducted a thorough background check or may be aware the driver is exceeding allowable hours.
If the accident was caused by shifting or falling cargo, the loading company may be partially liable. If the accident was the result of poor truck maintenance—usually tires or brakes—then the maintenance company may share the blame. Finally, if the accident was caused by a defective truck part, your attorney may file a product liability claim against the manufacturer. Liable parties will be identified through a comprehensive investigation of your trucking accident.
Can I Recover Compensation if I Was Partially At Fault?
A victim who is partially at fault may be entitled to recover compensation under the law. States have adopted several different statutory schemes for this rule. Historically, most states followed the contributory negligence standard. This standard barred any recovery by a victim if he or she was partially at fault – even just 1% at fault. Following certain victim-rights movements, states began to adopt a standard known as comparative negligence. This standard allowed a victim to still recover compensation, minus his or her proportional fault. Some states, finding utility in both rules, combined them in what is known as a “modified” approach, which often allows a victim to still recover compensation but have his or her recovery barred if he or she was more than 50% at fault.
Here, victims who are injured in a trucking accident in Illinois may be entitled to compensation even if they were partially at fault for a crash because Illinois has adopted a modified comparative negligence statute. Also known as comparative fault, this doctrine allows victims to still recover compensation minus their proportional fault as long as he or she is less than 50% at fault. As such, this doctrine is an important one for protecting the rights of victims.
It works like this: If a victim recovers $100,000 but was 10% at fault for the crash, a victim may only recover up to $90,000 (or minus 10%). If that was 20% at fault, the total recovery would be $80,000 (or minus 20%). However, if a victim was 55% at fault, instead of recovering $45,000 in the scenario above, the victim’s recovery may be entirely barred.
How Comparative Fault Can Hurt Your Case?
As a result of this, defense lawyers and insurance adjusters will often try to attack a trucking accident victim’s recovery in two ways. The first way is by arguing that a victim’s injuries and damages are not significant or are not entitled to as much compensation as the victim deserves. This means undermining a victim’s injuries or cases by giving low offers or valuing cases in a very unfair manner.
The second way that a defense lawyer or adjuster will try to lower your recovery is by claiming you were either entirely at fault or more than 50% at fault for the trucking accident. By doing this, your total recovery may be barred. If that is unsuccessful, a defendant’s lawyer or adjuster may still be able to get your recovery lowered by a percentage.
Therefore, the combination of claiming that a victim had little damages and the percentage of the victim’s fault was so high, is just like the proverbial “burning the candle at both ends” saying. This type of argument can really hurt a victim’s total recovery, and nearly all insurance adjusters and defense lawyers will do it. That’s why victims and their families need to hire an experienced trucking accident lawyer in Springfield to fight back to help maximize their recovery from an Illinois truck crash.
Interstate Truck Accidents: I-55 Truck Accidents and I-72 Truck Accidents
Although serious personal injuries can occur in any type of trucking accident, crashes on interstates can be particularly devastating and catastrophic. This is because the heavy weight and fast speed of these trucks can generate extreme momentum and force in an impact. As a result, many interstate trucking accidents in Illinois result in TBIs, SCIs, broken bones, wrongful death, and explosions or fires which can cause significant injury or death.
In Springfield, Illinois, there are two main interstates that carry an increased risk for trucking accidents. Both overlap in Springfield at an exchange before going their opposite directions. These two important but dangerous intersections include the following:
I-55 Truck Accidents
Interstate 55, or I-55, is a major highway that runs through Illinois in a vertical manner. It travels through Illinois and almost splits it in half, connecting the major hubs of St. Louis and Chicago together. In fact, I-55 is roughly 964 miles long and starts in Louisiana and ends in Chicago.
I-55 meets with I-72 just south of Springfield, and they travel together to the east before branching off, with I-55 continuing north and I-72 continuing east. As you approach the exchange south of Springfield, you have the option to go into and through Springfield or follow the towards Chicago (carrying east around Springfield).
Unfortunately, due to its logistical importance, I-55 commonly has truck accident accidents which cause serious or fatal accidents. This includes semi-trailer crashes, fiery crashes from big rigs that lost control, and fatal rear-end collisions.
I-72 Truck Accidents
Interstate 72, or I-72, is another major highway that runs through Illinois horizontally. Although I-72 is roughly 179 miles and much shorter than many other interstates, it is a very important interstate as it travels through Missouri and to Champlain, Illinois. It also serves as a major feeder into I-55 which critically runs north and south in Illinois, serving the major hubs of Chicago and St. Louis in the south.
Unfortunately, given the importance of I-72 as a connector, there are many major trucking accidents caused by negligent truck drivers or trucking companies. Many of these trucking accidents occur in Springfield at the exchange or as truckers are going around Springfield. Many injury accidents are caused on ramps on I-72, especially involving semi-trailer trucks that rear-end other vehicles, while merging on and off exits/ramps, or may even flip over on or near ramps.
Do I Have a Truck Accident Injury Claim?
When you visit the Noll Law Office during your initial consultation, the lawyers at the Noll Law Office will personally meet with you and review your case to determine whether you have a valid claim for your injuries. They will ask you questions regarding the accident and review any paperwork you have. The police report may shed some light on liability. The lawyers will determine what your truck accident claim is worth by calculating medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
How Can Our Truck Accident Attorneys in Springfield, IL Help You
When you hire Noll Law Office, you will work with Sarah Noll and Daniel Noll directly throughout the process. They take pride in their deep community roots, always working toward positive outcomes for their community members and neighbors. They pay attention to your goals and your best interests. As skilled and experienced truck accident attorneys in Springfield, IL, they are committed to fighting for you, your family, and your future.
That’s why they offer FREE consultations and case evaluations. They also have a no-win, no-fee guarantee, and will pay the upfront costs and disbursements of litigation which are only reimbursed after a recovery is made for you and your family. To learn more about your rights to compensation, call the Noll Law Office by dialing (217) 414-8889 or by using the “Contact Us” box available here.