The trucking accident attorneys at Goldberg & Schulkin have obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation on behalf of our clients. With access to some of the top experts in the nation and more than four decades of experience, our injury law firm has developed a reputation for success.
If you were injured or your loved one was killed in a trucking accident in Chicago, call the injury lawyers at Goldberg & Schulkin for a free case evaluation. 312-236-4146.
Semi-truck crashes happen for a variety of reasons, but approximately 87% are caused by truck driver negligence. Some of the most common causes of trucking accidents in Illinois include:
Truck Driver Fatigue: Truck drivers are often pushed to the limit, driving long distances for many hours at a time to deliver goods on tight schedules. While there are laws that regulate the number of hours truckers can drive without a rest break, irregular sleep schedules and the boredom from driving can quickly lead to overwhelming mental and physical exhaustion. A sleep-deprived commercial truck driver may experience blurred vision, slower reaction times, and impaired judgment. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study, approximately 13% of truckers are fatigued at the time of an accident.
Alcohol and Drug Use: Commercial truck drivers are held to a higher standard than other drivers in Illinois. It is against the law for a trucker to operate a semi-truck with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of greater than 0.04%. Despite the stiff DUI penalties truckers can face, however, many commercial drivers continue to consume alcohol or drugs while behind the wheel. A driver who is under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or even some prescription medications may experience delayed reaction times, problems with depth perception, difficulty focusing, and poor coordination.
Distracted Driving: Performing any activity that diverts a commercial trucker’s attention away from the road is distracted driving. Unfortunately, driving for long hours along the open road can tempt truckers to text or use social media, eat or drink, or change the radio station. At approximately 55 mph, a large truck can cover the length of a football field in the time it takes to send or read a text message. According to the National Safety Council, approximately 71% of truckers who were surveyed said they had used social media while behind the wheel and 68% admitted to video chatting while driving.
Improper Loading: When loads are not secured correctly, cargo can shift or fly off of the trailer of a large truck and into the path of another vehicle, causing a crash. Even with enclosed trailers, loads that are not properly secured can shift, raising the risk of a tip-over accident. This is especially true when an 18-wheeler is turning.
Defective Equipment: Approximately 10% of commercial truck accidents are caused by defective equipment. This may include faulty tires, defective brakes, powertrain issues, steering problems, or issues with the suspension. When faulty truck parts contribute to a crash, the parts manufacturer and/or maintenance company can be held liable.
The sheer size and weight of commercial trucks mean crashes with smaller vehicles are often catastrophic and injuries are generally severe for passenger car occupants. Victims typically face longer recovery times, permanent disability or disfigurement, or even death. The most common injuries our truck accident lawyers see include:
Traumatic Brain Injuries: Head injuries that are caused by commercial trucking crashes can range from mild to severe. Brain injury victims may experience emotional issues, cognitive disabilities, coma, or death.
Spinal Cord Injuries: Spinal cord and neck injuries are also common in truck accidents. These injuries can lead to multiple surgeries, long recovery times, and in some cases, paralysis. Many victims with spinal cord injuries also suffer from severe pain and loss of quality of life.
Internal Injuries: It is common for truck accident victims to suffer internal injuries as well. Although internal injuries can be life-threatening, symptoms may not appear for hours, days, or even weeks after a crash.
Mental Trauma: Truck accident victims often develop depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder after a crash. While many times these conditions can improve with therapy and medications, they are often permanent.
Determining liability for your truck accident injuries can be difficult because a number of parties may be able to be held liable, and in some cases, multiple entities may have contributed to the crash. If the trucker was driving recklessly or while impaired, for instance, he or she may be liable. The trucking company may be partially responsible, however, if the trucker was fatigued because of overscheduling. If defective truck parts contributed to the crash, the manufacturer could be held liable for damages.
Our truck accident lawyers work with investigators to determine the factors that may have contributed to your crash to ensure that all responsible parties are held liable.