Many devastating crashes involving large trucks occur in Rockford, IL. These accidents often happen as the result of negligent actions committed by truck drivers and trucking companies. Fortunately, victims may obtain payment for their injuries by filing lawsuits against at-fault parties.
A truck accident lawyer can help investigate the cause of your accident and determine the proper course of action. Most defendants are represented by insurers who will attempt to disprove elements of plaintiffs’ cases. An experienced attorney can help deal with insurance companies and recover the full range of compensation available to you.
If you were injured because of a truck accident in Rockford, IL, get help recovering the payment you deserve. Get in touch with our experienced Rockford truck accident lawyers today by calling the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 586-9429 for a free review of your case.
Common Causes of Rockford, IL Truck Accidents
There are many types of careless and reckless actions that lead to crashes involving large trucks. Our Rockford truck accident lawyers can find out if your crash stems from one of the following causes:
A great number of truck accidents happen because of tired drivers. Tired drivers are likely to commit careless errors behind the wheel. For instance, a tired truck driver may cause an accident by veering out of his lane or ignoring a traffic signal.
In some cases, tired truck drivers cause accidents because their employers force them to remain on the road for excessive periods of time. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets forth hours of service regulations that limit the amount of time a commercial truck driver can stay on the road without a break. Unfortunately, trucking companies may choose to violate these regulations in order to deliver loads on time. Our attorneys can hold trucking companies liable for crashes that occur because they force their drivers to violate hours of service regulations.
Negligent Cargo Securement Practices
Negligent cargo securement practices are another common cause of truck accidents. When cargo is not properly secured, it can cause accidents by shifting and moving during transit. For example, a crash may occur because a trucking company did not store cargo in direct contact with each other. Our Rockford truck accident lawyers can help victims of such accidents build their cases.
Improper Tiedown Usage
Tiedowns are devices like webbings, chains, and straps that are used to secure devices during transit. Many truck accidents occur because truck drivers and trucking companies utilize tiedowns with inadequate weight ratings. Furthermore, accidents can occur because tiedowns were secured into positions where they were likely to unfasten or become worn. Victims of truck accidents caused by improper tiedown usage may be entitled to multiple forms of monetary damages.
Additionally, many crashes involving large trucks occur because of drivers traveling at excessive speeds. Most vehicles become difficult to handle at high speeds. However, speeding trucks are especially difficult to control. Further, accidents involving trucks traveling at high speeds are more likely to cause serious harm.
Drunk driving is also a common cause of truck accidents in Rockford. Drunk drivers will have poor decision-making abilities and be inhibited by blurry vision and poor motor skills. Unfortunately, some truck drivers still choose to operate their vehicles while impaired. Victims of such accidents should contact our attorneys for help holding drunk drivers accountable for the harm they caused.
Lastly, many truck accidents happen because of mistakes made by distracted drivers. Drivers can be cognitively, manually, or visually distracted. Some activities, like texting, incorporate all three categories of distraction. The following are examples of other activities that can distract truck drivers in Rockford:
- Talking on the phone
- Viewing social media on a mobile device
- Eating or drinking
- Typing information into a GPS
Many other activities can cause distracted driving accidents. If you suspect your crash may have occurred because of a distracted driver, you should contact our experienced Rockford truck accident lawyers for help assessing the strength of your case.
What You Should and Should Not Do After a Truck Accident in Rockford, IL
Truck accident scenes – or any auto accident scene, for that matter – can be chaotic and overwhelming. If you are involved in a truck accident, you must remain calm, call for help, and try to take certain steps while avoiding others to protect your legal rights and interests.
What You Should Do
The first thing you should do after a collision is call for help. Some injured plaintiffs are badly hurt and cannot call for help on their own. In that case, someone in the area, perhaps another driver, should call for help instead. You must remain at the scene and wait for law enforcement and emergency responders.
While you wait for help, you should record and document the scene. Take pictures and records videos of the crash and the surrounding area. While many people do this so they have something to show insurance companies, these recordings can also be valuable evidence in a lawsuit.
If you cannot take pictures, you can still try to commit the scene to memory. Your testimony may be extremely important in a truck accident lawsuit, and it is a good idea to try and create a clear image in your mind of the crash. You should also exchange information with other drivers, as they might be called on as witnesses.
Finally, once you have received medical care, you should call a lawyer for legal assistance. Recovering from a truck accident might take a very long time, and your attorney can begin the process of getting your fair financial compensation while you rest and recover.
Things to Avoid After an Accident
While taking steps to get help and preserve evidence, you should keep in mind some things that are best avoided. Saying or doing the wrong thing might be misconstrued and used against you when you take legal action, and you might lose compensation.
One thing you should avoid is apologizing. This might be difficult for people who tend to apologize as a reflex, not because they are actually guilty of any wrongdoing. An apology, whatever the reason behind it, can be twisted and used to argue that you are at least partially to blame for the crash.
If you believe you might have contributed to the accident, do not say anything. There is a good chance you are mistaken and did not do anything to cause the accident. You do not want to admit fault for something that might not be your responsibility. Talk to a lawyer first.
Finally, you should avoid leaving the scene unless you have spoken to law enforcement or are being transported by emergency responders. Leaving the scene before the authorities arrive may be deemed a hit and run, and criminal charges could follow.
Recoverable Damages in Rockford, IL Truck Accident Cases
Our truck accident attorneys can review the accident and your injuries to help you calculate your damages. While many damages are based on money, many others are not. It is important to be open and honest when discussing damages so that nothing is overlooked and your potential compensation is maximized.
Your economic losses, including medical bills, vehicle repairs, and the loss of income from being unable to work, might be staggeringly high. Not only are you seriously injured, but you might have difficulty keeping up with normal living expenses on top of the expenses from the accident. Your attorney can help you review all the money you have spent or lost since the accident to calculate your economic damages.
A major component of your damages is emotional or psychological injuries. The accident was likely very traumatic, and you might be living with severe emotional distress and mental turmoil. Diagnosable psychological conditions like depression and PTSD are common after serious truck accidents. Talk to your attorney about your mental state after the crash. You might have significant non-economic injuries to assess.
Time Limit to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit in Rockford, IL
The time limit to file a truck accident in Rockford is established by the Illinois statute of limitations. Under 735 I.L.C.S. § 5/13-202, victims usually have 2 years from the dates of their crashes to file their truck accident lawsuits. Noncompliance with the statute of limitations will cause you to miss out on important compensation.
Even though you may have 2 years to file your case, you should contact our experienced Rockford truck accident lawyers as soon as possible after your collision. Certain evidence is hard to preserve. For example, an eyewitness to your accident may forget a pertinent detail, or a piece of physical evidence from the scene may be lost. The sooner you contact our team, the more easily we can gather evidence to support your claim.
There are certain exceptions to the statute of limitations. For instance, a parent may bring a truck accident claim on behalf of their injured child at any time until the child reaches the age of 18. After turning 18, according to 735 I.L.C.S. § 5/13-211, victims will have 2 years to file cases stemming from any truck accidents suffered while they were minors. You can contact our team for help determining how the Illinois statute of limitations will apply to your case.
Elements of a Rockford, IL Truck Accident Lawsuit
Several factors can affect the legal strategies utilized in your case. However, in every truck accident lawsuit, the plaintiff must establish the following four elements:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- The defendant did not adhere to their duty of care
- You were hurt because of the defendant’s breach of duty
- You suffered damages because of the injuries you incurred
Our Rockford truck accident lawyers can help analyze the facts of your case to determine if the required elements are present.
Using Evidence in Your Rockford, IL Truck Accident Claim
As discussed above, you should take pictures or record videos at the accident scene if you can. These recordings might contain details we can use to shed light on the accident and prove your claims against the defendant. For example, the defendant might claim they were not speeding when the accident occurred, but your photos of lengthy tire marks on the highway might indicate otherwise.
We should also try to obtain physical evidence from the crash. This might include smaller objects we can transport to a courtroom and larger objects that might need to be shown via photos.
One important piece of evidence we should work to obtain is the black box recording device in the truck. Many trucks are equipped with these boxes, and they record data about the trucker’s driving. Information about speed, braking, and the overall time spent on the road might be recorded. We can use this data to prove how fast the trucker was going, whether they hit their brakes, and when was the last time they stopped for a rest to avoid fatigue.
It might also be possible to have this information and other evidence reviewed by an accident reconstruction expert who can scientifically recreate how the accident likely happened.
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer for Your Truck Accident Case in Rockford, IL
It is normal for people to wait before initiating legal action. Lawsuits have a reputation for being time-consuming, frustrating, and unpredictable. However, you should still contact an attorney so you can make an informed decision about what you want to do. Your attorney can advise you on why filing a lawsuit may be a very good idea.
Perhaps the most prominent reason that injured accident victims sue is because of very high damages. As discussed above, damages can cost plaintiffs a lot of money. Even if they are not financially costly, they might take a significant toll on your life in other ways. A lawsuit can help you get the compensation you need to get out from under your costly damages and back to your normal life.
Regardless of how much your injuries cost, you should still consider suing. Even you your injuries only required minor medical treatment, you were still physically harmed because of someone else’s negligence. This experience leaves many people feeling violated, and a lawsuit can bring you the sense of justice, vindication, and closure you need to move on.
If You Suffered a Truck Accident in Rockford, IL, Our Attorneys Can Help
If you were hurt because of a truck accident, seek support from our experienced Rockford truck accident lawyers by calling the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 586-9429 for a free review of your case.