Truck accident victims are often injured twice: first in the crash itself, and then in the grueling task of collecting fair compensation for their injuries. Victims who are already at a disadvantage due to extreme pain and financial difficulty may soon discover that they are up against well-funded trucking companies who have years of experience in fighting accident claims. For this reason, it is vital that you consult with a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after the crash.
Truck Crashes Are Different From Car Accident Cases
One of the biggest differences between truck accident cases and car accident cases is the potential number of people involved. Many different parties may share blame for the accident, including the truck driver, the maker of the cab or trailer, the company who loaded the vehicle, and the company that owns the truck. In addition, trucking companies have teams of attorneys and insurance representatives working for them, all of whom are trained to protect the trucker and commercial carrier from liability.
Truck accident cases are also more complicated than passenger vehicle crashes due to:
- Insurance limits. When two cars collide, victims may be able to collect payment from an at-fault driver’s insurance company or through their own insurance provider without the need for a lawyer. However, trucking companies are required to carry a much higher policy limit than other vehicles, making them fight hard against potential high-value claims.
- Laws that apply to commercial trucks. Commercial carriers are required to adhere to numerous federal safety laws regarding the behavior of their drivers and the condition of their trucks. Many of these regulations are not commonly known to the public, but a truck crash attorney will be able to investigate whether the commercial carrier was running afoul of the law. For example, many crashes occur due to a lack of proper driver training, expired commercial driving licenses, unsafe tractors or trailers, reckless driving practices, overloaded trailers, or defective underride guards.
- Types of evidence. Trucking companies are required to maintain extensive records of driver activities and the condition of their vehicles, but they only need to keep these records for a limited amount of time. A trucking company may destroy incriminating driver logs or maintenance records related to a serious crash as soon as they are legally permitted to—unless it has been ordered to preserve this evidence. Our legal team can request copies of driver logs and onboard data recorder files, as well as block the destruction of key pieces of evidence.
- Extent of injuries. The sheer size and power of tractor-trailers make them overwhelmingly likely to cause devastating injuries, leaving victims with lifelong medical costs and the inability to earn a living after a crash. An experienced accident attorney will know how to properly value a claim that includes payment for medical bills, lost wages, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, and wrongful death.
Our attorneys represent individuals throughout Illinois and Missouri who have suffered serious personal injuries, including those caused by commercial trucks. Simply fill out the short contact form on this page to schedule an appointment for a free consultation, or download your FREE copy of one of our books, When the Rules of the Road Get Broken: A Guide to Illinois Car Wreck Cases or The Missouri Car Crash Guide: Don't Wreck Your Car Crash Case!