Injured in a Drunk Driving Truck Accident in Springfield? Contact the Trucking Accident Lawyers at the Noll Law Office in Illinois for Help
Drunk driving is one of the most preventable causes of personal injury accidents in the United States – if not the entire world. Unfortunately, the trucking accident lawyers at the Noll Law Office know that drunk driving truck accidents in Springfield are still a huge problem. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 35% of all traffic fatalities are caused by alcohol use, whereas each year in the United States statistics reveal that over 13,300 people die in alcohol-related traffic accidents. As it relates to large commercial vehicles like trucks and tankers, almost 6,000 people are killed in trucking accidents each year in the United States. Although the same statistics indicate that drunk truck drivers were much less common than drivers for other types of vehicles, truck drivers under the influence of alcohol still accounted for approximately 5% of all traffic fatalities in the United States each year. In addition to these fatalities, there are hundreds of thousands of personal injuries caused by drunk driving trucking accidents.
If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident with a commercial vehicle like a big rig, box truck, flatbed, tanker, semi-tractor trailer, or another type of large truck, call the Noll Law Office for help. Their experienced trucking accident lawyers in Springfield know how to handle an 18-wheeler wreck accident case, which is very different than other types of motor vehicle accident cases. Indeed, commercial trucks have different mechanical equipment such as brakes and steering columns, they have black boxes (called ECMs), and there is also a complex matrix of unique and specific regulations that apply just to them. Unlike other car accident lawyers who may not know how to use these regulations to prove a case, the skilled attorneys at the Noll Law Office understand how to use violations of federal regulations in addition to state law to help prove a trucking accident case. To learn more about how they can help you and your family, contact the Noll Law Office today to schedule a FREE consultation by dialing (217)414-8889.
Proving Liability in Truck Driving Truck Accidents in Illinois
When a drunk truck driver causes a trucking accident in Illinois, an experienced trucking accident lawyer in Springfield can help victims and their families recover compensation in a number of ways. This includes proving liability, or fault, against the defendant truck driver or trucking company. The most obvious and common way is through the common law (or judge-made decision law) cause of action (or claim) of negligence.
A defendant is negligent when he or she fails to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances that a reasonably prudent defendant would have in a similar situation. When it comes to operating any motor vehicle, especially a large commercial vehicle, a reasonably prudent driver would not drive while intoxicated. Therefore, a defendant who is operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated is likely failing to satisfy the standard of care that others would be complying with. As a result, drunk driving truck accidents in Springfield caused by intoxicated drivers are likely going to result in a finding of negligence.
However, there are at least two other ways that a drunk driving trucker could be liable for a trucking accident in Illinois. Both of these are under a special doctrine that can help prove liability, or fault.
Using the Doctrine of Negligence Per Se to Prove Liability
In addition to the common law, there is also the doctrine of negligence per se. This doctrine allows an injured party to hold a defendant liable for the violation of a statute. In doing so, this doctrine allows a victim to automatically prove liability and only have to focus on causation and damages. This makes it easier to establish a personal injury case.
In order to rely on the doctrine of negligence per se, a victim will need to establish each of the following:
- The defendant violated a statute
- The violated statute was intended to protect the victim from the type of harm that occurred, and
- The victim was within the class of persons who were supposed to be protected from harm by the statute.
Violations of State Law
Like most states, Illinois law prohibits operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. The purpose of this law is obviously one based on safety and orderly administration of traffic. Therefore, drivers in Illinois who operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 or higher are violating this statute and, if they cause a motor vehicle accident resulting in damages, they will likely be automatically liable (or at fault) under the doctrine of negligence per se to victims.
Violations of Agency Regulations
More specifically as it relates to truck drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established rules and regulations for operators of commercial vehicles, including large trucks. Under these regulations, truck drivers are prohibited from having any BAC over 0.0 – that’s right, any registered amount of alcohol in a driver’s system is a violation. More importantly, the FMCSA regulations also prohibit truck drivers from having any alcohol within four hours of starting a shift.
However, unlike a statutory violation which is an automatic finding of fault under the doctrine of negligence per se, a truck driver who violates the FMCSA regulations on alcohol and causes a trucking accident is not automatically liable. Rather, the defendant’s violation of the FMCSA regulations is evidence of negligence, and therefore can be used to help prove a case.
The distinction is important because a state law is made by the Legislature, making it more powerful because it follows the formal rule-making process of the law. Whereas the agency regulations are not specific to Illinois, and have different rule-making procedures that are not independently reviewed by the state. Due to this, some inexperienced lawyers may neglect using the FMCSA regulations to help prove a case. However, this is a huge mistake, which is why the experienced trucking accident lawyers in Springfield at the Noll Law Office use the violations of any law or regulation for their benefit.
Victims Injured in Drunk Driving Truck Accidents in Springfield or Anywhere Else in Illinois Should Call the Noll Law Office
If you or a loved one were seriously injured in any type of motor vehicle accident in Illinois, especially due to a drunk driving truck accident in Springfield, call the Noll Law Office for help. Their compassionate trucking accident lawyers offer free consultations, where there is no pressure to sign up immediately or pay any upfront costs. In fact, their legal team pays the upfront expenses of litigation and only collects attorney fees from a percentage of the total recovery.
That means there is no upfront cost or financial risk to work with the Noll Law Office, who also handles cases in-house and does not refer them to other law firms in Chicago or other big cities. To learn more about how the skilled team at the Noll Law Office can help you and your family, contact them today to schedule your free case evaluation.