Commercial trucks and construction vehicles are massive. Considering their size, it can be difficult for their drivers to be aware of their surroundings. Despite improvements in truck technology and the ideal placement of mirrors, trucks still have substantial blind spots in which a driver cannot see other vehicles.
One of these major blind spots is just to the side and rear of the cab and cargo bay. Because of the presence of this blind spot, truck drivers must take extra care when preparing to change lanes. This typically involves signaling well in advance of making such a change, as well as patient and careful actions before and during the move.
Still, Chicago truck accidents caused by unsafe lane changes are common, and these accidents can result in severe injuries for the people in the other cars. Fortunately, many individuals who are hurt in this way have the right to demand compensation. A qualified truck accident attorney could help you understand the relevant law, gather evidence, and create a demand letter that outlines trucker negligence due to an unsafe lane change.
Truck Driver Responsibilities on the Road
Truck drivers maintain a duty to protect all other people they may encounter while behind the wheel. This duty is constant and applies regardless of the driving displayed by other motorists.
Because of this, truck drivers still have a duty to protect other drivers who may be in their blind spots. If a truck driver fails in this duty to protect others and injures another person as a result, that trucker could be found legally negligent and liable.
If the injured party wants to recover civil damages after the accident, though, it is their responsibility to present evidence that demonstrates the truck driver’s negligence. For example, someone injured in a truck accident stemming from an unsafe lane change in Chicago might claim that the trucker did not signal before making the lane change, was using their cell phone or CB radio while making the lane change, or did not have proper mirrors on their truck.
The police report following the incident could provide even more powerful evidence. If the police officer cites the trucker for an improper lane change, this could be strong evidence that the trucker was negligent per se. This simply means that the law assumes that the defendant truck driver was negligent and is responsible for the accident based on the fact that they violated the law prior to the accident.
Limitations on Filing
However, even the clearest case of trucker negligence may fail if a plaintiff does not file their case on time. A law in Illinois called the statute of limitations controls when a plaintiff can file a case in court by establishing a time limit for filing. If this time limit passes and the case is not in court, the court would likely refuse to hear the case.
Defendant insurance companies know this rule and will also cease to engage in settlement negotiations after the deadline passes. According to 735 Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/13-202, plaintiffs have two years from the date of injury to file a truck accident case.
Injuries That May Result from an Unsafe Lane Change
At the center of any personal injury lawsuit is a physical harm. While an individual may suffer intense mental anguish from an accident, they cannot file a civil lawsuit if they are not physically injured.
While the physical injuries resulting from a truck wreck may be severe, they are not the only injuries for which a plaintiff can seek compensation. If plaintiffs are forced to miss time at work, or are left with a permanent disability, they could demand that the trucking company compensate them for this lost income.
In addition, the mental anguish that can follow a truck accident may be severe. Depending on their circumstances, injured victims could claim compensation for PTSD, the pain associated with medical treatment, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Truck Accidents Caused by Unsafe Lane Changes in Chicago Can Result in Serious Injuries
Commercial vehicle drivers have a duty to protect all other people they may encounter while behind the wheel. This includes a duty to ensure that the lanes next to them are clear before attempting to move over. A failure to perform this duty that results in an injury can be the basis for a personal injury claim.
A dedicated truck accident lawyer could help you with your claim by working on your behalf to investigate the accident, gather evidence, and to frame that evidence into Illinois law to form persuasive demand packages. Call today to let a Chicago truck accident lawyer get to work for you.