In 2017, there were 96 fatal semi-truck accidents on Illinois roadways. Nearly 2,000 passenger vehicle occupants were injured in these crashes on interstates, rural roads, and city streets throughout Chicago and the rest of the state. Because of their substantial size, semi-trucks can be one of the most dangerous hazards for small passenger vehicles. When accidents do occur, the potential for severe injury and even death is high.
If you or a loved one was injured in a Chicago semi-truck accident, you may be eligible for compensation. At The Paul Powell Law Firm, we fight relentlessly to protect the rights of injury victims from insurance companies and commercial trucking firms who don’t want to own up to the often-devastating consequences of their actions. Contact our Chicago office today to learn more about how our trusted attorneys can help you build a winning case against those responsible for your pain and suffering.
What Causes Semi-Truck Accidents?
Semi-truck drivers are, for the most part, more cautious drivers in comparison to many other vehicle drivers. Some semi-truck accidents are caused by smaller vehicles who drive into the semi-truck’s blind spots, change lanes too quickly or without signaling, or fail to speed up or slow down when a truck merges into another lane.
However, because of the nature of commercial truck driving, there are a number of actions that will designate the semi-truck driver at fault in a collision:
Poor Driving Techniques
Operating an 80,000 pound vehicle requires different driving techniques than those used when driving a smaller passenger vehicle. As such, commercial truck drivers usually receive rigorous training to ensure they can operate a big rig safely. Sometimes, however, inadequate training, including a lack of defensive driving skills and safety regulation violations, can lead to a semi-truck accident.
Commercial truck companies sometimes encourage drivers to break safety rules with the promise of compensation that reward faster vehicle speeds and continuous driving without taking appropriate breaks. When semi-truck drivers are more concerned with meeting a deadline than operating their big rig safely, they put everyone else on the road at risk.
Some commercial drivers may use caffeine pills or other stimulants in order to work long shifts without stopping to sleep. These substances usually only mask the symptoms of sleep deprivation. Consequently, drowsy driving can be as deadly as drunken driving, especially when operating a vehicle as large as a semi-truck.
Distracted driving affects all motorists, including commercial truck drivers. In Illinois, handheld cell phone use while driving is illegal. Other distractions include eating or drinking, personal grooming, reading a map or looking at a navigation system, or fiddling with the radio. Any action that causes drivers to take their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel, or their mind off the task of driving is a distraction and can cause a collision.
All of these factors may help establish that a semi-truck driver behaved recklessly or negligently while behind the wheel. If recklessness or negligence can be established on the driver’s part, a Chicago semi-truck accident lawyer may level punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. They may apply to both the driver and the trucking company, depending on the circumstances.
How Much Will I Be Compensated?
What is the average semi-truck accident settlement? The truth is, even the most experienced Chicago semi-truck accident attorney can’t say with any certainty the exact figure you’ll receive. Settlement dollar amounts range anywhere from the hundreds to the millions. Factors that will determine your awarded damages include:
- The severity of your injuries
- Your lost wages and opportunities
- The amount of your medical bills
- Mitigating circumstances, such as severe weather
- Conduct of the truck driver
- Conduct of the truck company
Who Do I Contact About My Accident?
If you’ve been in a Chicago semi-truck accident and are hurt, it is imperative that you seek the legal counsel of an experienced attorney. If your injuries are due to the actions of a semi-truck driver or their employer, The Paul Powell Law Firm can help. Visit our office in Chicago during regular business hours, call us at 312-635-5400, chat with one of our representatives online, or submit a free case evaluation 24/7.