Trucking accidents are often catastrophic, leaving victims seriously or fatally injured. According to statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), each year in the United States roughly 5,000 people are killed and approximately 108,000 are injured in traffic accidents involving commercial vehicles. Right here in Illinois, statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveal that almost 1,300 people are killed in traffic accidents involving commercial vehicles such as large trucks each year. According to statistics from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), although tractor-trailers account for only 3.8% of all traffic accidents in Illinois, they result in over 8.5% of all traffic fatalities. Victims and their families who have suffered serious personal injuries or have lost a loved one should call an experienced Hillsboro trucking accident lawyer for help after a commercial trucking accident.
At the Noll Law Office, their knowledgeable and skilled legal team understands how devastating the injuries from trucking accidents can be as well as stressful, confusing, and overwhelming it can be to recover compensation for the damages caused in a crash. That’s why the Noll Law Office provides free consultations to victims and their families, allowing them to ask questions and to get legal answers. Unlike other bodily injury law firms, the Noll Law Office handles cases in-house and does not refer them out to new lawyers across Illinois and not from this community. If you were injured in any type of personal injury accident, especially an 18-wheeler wreck, call the Hillsboro trucking accident lawyer at the Noll Law Office for help (217) 414-8889.
Injuries Caused by Commercial Trucking Accidents
Commercial trucks are quite large, and if struck by a commercial truck the force can cause serious or fatal injuries for drivers and passengers in smaller vehicles. Some of the most common injuries associated with commercial trucking accidents include the following:
- Spinal cord injuries – Spinal cord injuries are some of the most devastating injuries that a victim can sustain. Spinal cord injuries often leave victims with some degree of paralysis, often causing some degree of permanent physical disability.
- Traumatic brain injuries – There are many types of traumatic brain injuries or other head injuries that can occur as a result of a trucking accident. These include the following: concussion, hemorrhage, skull fracture, hematoma, diffuse axonal injury (DAI), coup-contrecoup injury, and many other injuries that can be caused by commercial trucking accidents. These injuries may lead to permanent brain damage, coma, seizures, personality changes, and many other effects.
- Head injuries – in addition to traumatic brain injuries, head injuries such as nerve damage, eye injuries, significant scarring, orbital fractures, TMJ, and other facial injuries can all impact a victim and his or her family.
- Amputation or loss of limb – This is another devastating injury caused by commercial trucking accidents. The loss of a limb is devastating and permanent, causing permanent disability and disfigurement. Victims often need physical modifications to function as independently as possible and may be unable to return to their job causing significant financial losses.
- Burns from fires or explosions – Burns can happen as a result of something flammable in the accident or other causes of burns which can cause significant pain, infection, scarring, disfigurement, or even death in severe cases.
- Scarring or disfigurement – Scarring or disfigurement can occur as a result of a variety of injuries caused by commercial trucking accidents, and may be due to a severe laceration caused by a projectile in the accident.
- Internal injuries – Internal injuries are quite common in commercial trucking accidents, ranging from organ injuries to loss of an organ.
- Broken bones or fractures – Although very common, broken bones cause victims serious pain and can lead to the need for prolonged hospitalization, surgery, infection, and prolonged immobility in some cases. Some victims may be unable to work for a period of time while their broken bone injury heals.
- Back or neck injuries – Back and neck injuries are fairly common injuries that victims often sustain in trucking accidents. Disc injuries, muscular injuries, fractures, spinal stenosis, whiplash, and other injuries that can caused chronic or permanent pain and disability for trucking accident victims.
- Knee, hip, shoulder, or other joint injuries – These injuries occur quite often in trucking accident victims, often requiring immobility, surgery, and other interventions for recovery. Some victims may never fully heal from their injury and may have long-term effects.
- Joint dislocations – Joint dislocations can happen as a result of a commercial trucking accident and can cause significant pain and in some cases may require surgery for repair.
- Emotional trauma – Being involved in a commercial trucking accident is scary and the injuries caused by trucking accidents can lead to significant emotional trauma. It is not uncommon for trucking accident victims to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, or other emotional effects of being involved in a commercial trucking accident.
- Wrongful death – This is the most severe type of injury caused by trucking accidents. Death is permanent, ending the life of the individual and causing significant emotional, physical, and financial losses for the victim’s loved ones, and
- Other types of serious personal injuries caused by commercial trucking accidents that the Hillsboro, IL trucking accident lawyers can handle for you.
Most Common Causes of Commercial Trucking Accidents
Although there are instances in which an accident involving a commercial truck is not the fault of the driver or trucking company, that’s not usually the case. In fact, far too many trucking accidents are caused by outright careless, reckless, or negligent conduct, meaning that these accidents are preventable and cause needless harm to innocent people. When this happens, victims may be entitled to compensation for their damages.
One of the most common causes of commercial trucking accidents is truck driver fatigue. While truck drivers are required to adhere to hours of service guidelines implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial trucking companies often turn a blind eye and allow truck drivers to violate these regulations in order to meet delivery deadlines. That’s because the longer a trucker can work, the more money they make for the company. Additionally, truck drivers may choose to drive fatigued in order to gain extra compensation for additional deliveries or for delivering loads early for themselves, meaning that there is an incentive for both trucking companies and truck drivers to violate the hours of service rules and other FMCSA regulations. This is a serious problem because truck driver fatigue is incredibly dangerous, and driving fatigued has been compared to drunk driving as it affects the driver’s reflexes, reaction time, judgment, and coordination.
Other causes of commercial trucking accidents include distracted driving (i.e. texting, eating, drinking, reading billboards, fiddling with the radio, or other activities that take the driver’s attention off of the road), drunk or drugged driving, inadequate training, driving without holding a CDL, failing to drive cautiously in inclement weather, driver carelessness, and driver recklessness as well as many other causes of commercial trucking accidents.
Who is Liable in a Commercial Trucking Accident in Illinois?
Although you may immediately think that the semi-tractor trailer driver is liable for your accident, there are many potential parties who may share the liability. In fact, many parties who may be negligent include those that you may not even realize could be.
Some of these negligent parties include the following:
There are many ways that a trucking company may be liable for a trucking accident. That’s because an employer is often vicariously liable for the actions of their employees through the doctrine of respondeat superior. Thus, a truck driver who was negligent in operating a motor vehicle will likely impute liability on his or her employer. That means that a truck driver’s negligence will become the trucking company’s negligence.
The trucking company may also be independently liable. For instance, if a trucking company failed to provide a driver adequate training, they may share in the liability for the truck accident. As noted above, if a trucking company knowingly allowed a truck driver to work beyond the hours of service guidelines set forth by the FMCSA, the trucking company can be held liable for unrealistic schedules or for compelling a driver to violate these rules. Finally, a trucking company could also be liable if it failed to properly maintain its vehicles.
Some trucking companies use a warehouse or loading company to load the tractor-trailers for them. This may be a company or an independent contractor. If a loading company has improperly loaded a tractor trailer which resulted in a truck accident, that company may be liable for a victim’s injuries. This includes an unsecured cargo case or where a truck jackknives, flips over or disconnects from its hitch.
Maintenance Companies and Repair Companies
Maintenance companies that fail to properly maintain a truck or its trailer could be liable for a trucking accident. The same is true of repair companies which could be liable where a repair on a truck is improperly performed. These actions may be performed by one company, or they could be split between two. In either event, poor maintenance or improper repairs could result in liability against a trucking company.
A manufacturer of a truck part could also be liable for a defective product. This most commonly includes brakes or tires, which could be defective and cause catastrophic accidents. Victims who are injured in a trucking accident where a tire unexpectedly blew out or a braking system failed may have a product defect case against a manufacturer.
How Do I Pursue a Truck Accident Claim?
As mentioned above, navigating a trucking accident claim to recover damages for you or your loved one’s injuries can be complex and stressful. It takes an experienced trucking accident lawyer to successfully pursue a trucking accident claim. Evidence recovered in trucking accidents is far different than the evidence that is recovered in a traditional motor vehicle accident too.
For instance, evidence from a truck’s black box which contains invaluable information such as the speed in which the truck was going, the direction the truck was going, if and when the brakes were applied, how long the truck was given, and other related information that can help prove a case, including whether hours of service violations occurred. If not recovered or not recovered in a timely manner, pieces of evidence such as the black box can be erased, possibly destroying the chances of successful recovery of the damages you deserve. Inexperienced lawyers or those who do not routinely work on commercial trucking accident cases may not know how to successfully recover the evidence that is needed for successfully winning a commercial trucking accident case.
How Do I Choose a Trucking Accident Lawyer?
Making the decision to hire a Hillsboro trucking accident lawyer is an important one and should be made carefully. Not all lawyers are experienced in working with trucking accident victims and may not possess the knowledge needed to successfully win a trucking accident case. When trying to find a trucking accident lawyer, it is important to ask certain questions related to trucking accident cases, including the following:
- Have you handled a trucking accident case before?
- When was your last deposition? How many depositions have you done before?
- When was your last trial? How many trials have you done before?
- Do you handle appeals too?
- How are you paid and when do I owe you compensation?
- Have you handled cases with similar injuries?
- Who will be handling my case and where will they be physically located in Illinois?
How the Noll Law Office Can Help Victims of Truck Accidents
If you choose the Noll Law Office and if they accept your case, their experienced trucking accident lawyers in Hillsboro, IL can file a claim on your behalf for the damages that you sustained in a trucking accident. They will complete a thorough investigation, recover any pertinent evidence, speak with witnesses, and in appropriate circumstances work with expert witnesses who can further provide testimony regarding the accident or regarding injuries sustained. This includes working with experts who can look at your future injuries, and explain how these injuries may affect you or your loved ones for your lifetime.
In addition, the Noll Law Office handles cases locally and does not farm out matters to new lawyers across the state. Rather, the Noll Law Office’s lawyers at fifth-generation lawyers, serving their community after serious, life-changing, and catastrophic personal injuries. This experience and ties to the local community are what matters when it comes to protecting the rights of you and your family after an 18-wheeler wreck.
Do You Need a Trucking Accident Lawyer in Hillsboro, IL? Call the Noll Law Office
If you or a loved one were seriously injured or if a loved one was wrongfully killed, call the dedicated and experienced trucking accident lawyers at the Noll Law Office for help. They offer free consultations, pay the upfront costs of litigation, and they only recover legal fees after they successfully recover compensation for you in a settlement, verdict, or another type of award. That means that victims and their families who are facing unexpected medical bills and lost wages also do not need to face unexpected legal bills. To learn more about how the Noll Law Office can help you, contact them by dialing (217)414-8889 or by using the “Contact Us” box available here.