Peoria, located in north-central Illinois, is the state’s third-largest city outside the Chicago metro area and home to about 115,000 people with a metro population of nearly 374,000. About 27% of the population is between 25 and 44 years of age, and hospitals and medical centers are among the city’s largest employers.
We at Mike Agruss Law proudly serve citizens of Peoria in personal injury cases, including when you or a loved one has suffered injuries or wrongful death in an accident involving a truck, and our Peoria truck accident attorneys are fully committed to protecting your rights and ensuring that the other party is held legally accountable when negligence occurs. We will fight until the very end to ensure that you receive full financial compensation for all injuries and losses resulting from the accident, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, and you won’t owe us a dime for our services. Contact our Peoria truck accident lawyers today for a free consultation.
Trucking accidents are commonly categorized as “head-on,” “intersection,” “left-turn,” and “rear-end” accidents, and a study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found some surprising statistics: in a study of over 120,000 accidents involving large trucks which resulted in a serious injury or death, a whopping 87% of those accidents were caused by driver-negligence; this can be further broken down into distraction, speeding, driver-fatigue, intoxication, and other forms of negligence. About 10% of the accidents resulted from maintenance problems and/or vehicle defects, such as worn-out tires or faulty braking systems, and the remaining 3% resulted from poor weather conditions and other environmental factors.
Truck accidents can result in very serious injuries and even death – certainly more so than car accidents – and common injuries include bone fractures, back/neck injuries, internal organ damage, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and even paralysis.
Common Causes of Large Truck Accidents
Truck companies occasionally attempt to avoid following certain regulations to avoid paying additional expenses, such as for the repair and maintenance of vehicles or by limiting drivers’ hours to limit their wages. Here are some of the most common factors in semi truck accidents:
Truck companies continue to enforce stricter deadlines which are difficult for drivers to meet, resulting in fatigue and the temptation to falsify driver-logs to compensate for much-needed rest.
Lack of maintenance
Trucking companies must properly maintain their vehicles to ensure that engines, tires, hydraulics, and braking systems are functioning properly.
Lack of equipment-inspections
Truck drivers must also regularly check their vehicles for serviceable problems, especially before embarking on long drives.
Some trucks or pieces of trucking equipment are defectively designed or manufactured in the first place, which can result in a serious malfunction on the road and a potential accident.
Whether the driver or truck company was liable for your accident, our experienced attorneys will work with the insurance companies to ensure that the responsible party is held accountable and you are compensated for the damages you’ve sustained.
Truck drivers are commonly burdened with strict demands and deadlines by the corporate trucking companies, and many truck drivers end up speeding and even struggling with fatigue just to ensure that deadlines are met, which significantly increase the risks of accidents involving trucks on the road. In some cases, legal liability for an accident can fall on the truck company in addition to (or even instead of) the truck driver, such as when the truck was not properly maintained or inspected or the driver was not adequately trained to handle the responsibility; liability typically begins with the company’s owner and may extend to managers, supervisors, dispatchers, or further down the chain of command.
While trucking companies are legally obligated to ensure that each commercial vehicle is properly inspected and maintained at all times, even the truck’s manufacturer may be legally liable for a truck accident caused directly by defective design of equipment, such as faulty braking systems, tires, or axles. While corporate trucking companies certainly have the insurance coverage – and a lot of it, at that – to settle personal injury cases, the insurers also ensure their profits by paying out as little as possible or nothing at all for such claims, and that’s where we come in. Under the attorney client relationship, our experienced attorneys will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the accident to hold the at-fault parties accountable for their negligence and ensure that you are fully compensated for the damages.
Statute of Limitations
If you’ve been involved in an auto accident, remember that there is a statute of limitations (a time-limit to file your case), and in Illinois the statute is two (2) years. Our attorneys fight to ensure that truck accident victims’ rights are protected and you are fully compensated for your injuries and losses, and this includes working with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure a favorable settlement.
The more severe the accident or injuries, the more time your injury claim may take, often due to ongoing medical treatment and the need for depositions from eyewitnesses as well as expert witnesses. Some accidents involving commercial trucks are settled in a matter of months, while others – particularly those involving a wrongful death – may take one year or longer to resolve.
Here are some things you can do to help ensure that your truck accident claim is resolved in an efficient and timely manner:
- Cease all communication with the at-fault driver and his/her representatives;
- Collect all records, receipts, and similar documentation related to the accident, including for medical expenses, and lost wages;
- Contact your employer to inform them of the accident and request income-verification;
- Make a list of all parties involved in the accident and any important details or memories;
- Maintain open communication and availability with your attorney at all times.
Personal injury cases are rather personal in nature, and you will work closely with your attorney to bring all facts and evidence to light and present the best-possible case for your compensation. You may be curious about our attorneys’ success-rates in truck accident claims or how many cases like yours result in a trial rather than a settlement, and we’re here to answer all of your questions and guide you through each phase of the process.
Time-management is essential in personal injury claims for truck accidents due to the complex nature of these claims, and they commonly consist of four phases:
Phase one involves investigating the claim, the other party’s actions, and your injuries to gather facts and evidence.
In phase two, we begin building your case for compensation and will draft and file your official complaint. The defendant will then respond and there may be some motions and legal drafting between the sides.
This is typically the “discovery” phase which begins when the claim officially commences and commonly involves the exchanging of evidence and information between the sides.
Following all investigation and preparation, we will negotiate to secure a settlement which fully compensates you for your truck accident injuries and losses. In the small percentage of cases in which a settlement cannot be negotiated, a trial by jury may be necessary.
Auto accident cases in Illinois depend on proving the other party’s “negligence,” meaning that the other party failed to act reasonably or deliberately acted unreasonably in a way that posed a risk to others and resulted in injuries and/or losses. There are four components of negligence: first, the defendant owed a “duty of care” to you, the plaintiff; second, the defendant breached that duty of care; third, this breach directly resulted in your injuries; and fourth, your injuries resulted in economic and/or non-economic damages.
It is difficult to determine in advance what cases involving commercial vehicles may be worth, as this depends on the severity of the accident and resulting injuries, the extent of vehicle/property damage, and who is legally liable for the accident, be it the truck driver, trucking company, or even the truck’s manufacturer; it also depends on whether a settlement is reached before a trial by jury is necessary. Here are some findings about truck accident cases in Cook County and throughout Illinois:
- Median compensation for truck accident claims in Illinois is between $50,000 and $60,000;
- An estimated 54% of truck accident claims in Illinois, and 45% in Cook County, receive less than $100,000 in compensation;
- An estimated 18% of all truck accident claims in Illinois, and 28% in Cook County, receive compensation of more than $1 million.
I lost a loved one in a trucking accident. Can I sue?
As a surviving family member, you are eligible to file a claim for full compensation for your losses, including medical/funeral expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and lost companionship and financial support.
I was just in an accident with a commercial truck – what should I do?
Call law enforcement as soon as possible; seek a full medical evaluation, even if you do not believe you’ve been seriously injured; collect any and all necessary paperwork and documentation related to the accident; do not apologize or admit fault in any way at the scene of the accident; and contact an experienced truck accident attorney to ensure that your rights are protected and you can be compensated for your losses.
How long will my personal injury claim take?
Necessary time-frames for truck accident claims can vary greatly; some are resolved within three months while others, such as those involving severe injuries, may take one year or longer.
Should I sue the truck driver, the trucking company, or both?
This depends on whose negligence directly resulted in the accident; in some cases, only the truck driver is at-fault, while in other cases the trucking company may also be liable if failure to properly inspect and maintain the truck directly caused the accident due to a mechanical malfunction. Our attorneys will fully investigate the circumstances of the accident to determine which parties are legally liable.
The insurance company has made me a settlement offer – should I take it?
No, and for important reasons: the insurance company maintains its profits by paying out as little as possible for personal injury claims, and it’s likely that their initial settlement-offer to you will seem appealing, but will not actually fully compensate you for your losses and expenses. Furthermore, if you accept this initial offer, the claim is closed and you are barred from ever earning further compensation for the same accident. If you’ve been involved in an accident due to another driver’s negligence, you need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side to protect your rights, negotiate with the insurance company, and ensure that your compensation fully covers your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Contact a Peoria Truck Accident Lawyer Today!
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in an accident involving a truck, you need an experienced Peoria truck accident attorney. Contact Mike Agruss Law for a free case evaluation. We are a Chicago-based personal injury law firm, and helping our clients is about counseling, advocating, and ultimately solving problems. With years of experience successfully representing the people and not the powerful, we will file your claim and take care of the insurance adjusters, medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, our attorneys are not paid attorney fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.