Chicago residents face a high chance of being involved in a truck accident. Through proactive measures, traffic fatalities and injuries continue to decrease. However, due to the large number of commercial vehicles on the road, truck accidents continue to occur at a high rate. Statistics show that when a large commercial truck collides with another vehicle or vehicles, the occupants of the other vehicles will be the ones to suffer the most devastating injuries or fatalities.
Causes and Devastating Results
Excessive speed can cause truck accidents. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports additional contributing factors such as driver distraction, fatigue, inexperience, and driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The NHTSA also reported the following as factors contributing to collisions:
- Unsafe lane changes.
- Excessive or improper vehicle weight.
- Improperly-secured cargo.
- Improper backing.
- Improper maintenance.
- Lack of vehicle safety features.
- Equipment failure.
- Defective design.
Impaired drivers or faulty equipment are the causes of many accidents. However, accident victims often find it difficult, if not impossible, to determine the cause of an accident on their own. Many victims may benefit from consulting with an attorney who is familiar with truck accidents and personal injury laws. Personal injury attorneys are experienced in investigating and determining the cause or causes of a truck accident.
Recent changes in Illinois law affect trucking companies and their potential for liability. For example, trucking companies may be liable for the actions of drivers claiming to work as independent contractors. Classification of the driver as an employee or an independent contractor may be a very important factor in a truck accident case.
Trucking companies may be liable in a lawsuit if they failed to document maintenance properly or if they failed to perform maintenance at all. In addition, if a trucking company did not do its due diligence and hired a driver with previous driving violations, the company may be legally responsible for subsequent truck accidents.
Sometimes, the cause of the accident comes from a vehicle defect or from a trucking company’s failure to follow strict federal safety guidelines for properly maintaining their vehicles. Indeed, there can be one or more causes for a truck crash.
Whatever the reason, truck collisions can result in death or cause overwhelming injuries such as:
- Severe cuts and bruising.
- Neck and spinal cord injuries.
- Loss of hearing or vision.
- Loss of limbs.
- Brain injury.
- Multiple bone fractures.
- Nerve damage.
Do’s and Don’ts If You Are in an Accident
If you are in a truck accident:
- Call the police to make an official report.
- Get complete and proper medical attention.
- Make sure you understand the extent of your injuries.
- Do not speak to anyone other than police and law enforcement officials.
- Understand your legal rights before signing, settling, or releasing any claims or rights.