Commercial vehicles and tractor trailers move thousands of tons of cargo over Illinois roads every year. It is nearly impossible to travel anywhere in Lake County without encountering these large and unwieldy vehicles. Even when properly driven and within the legal weight, though, trucks are prone to accidents that can have a devastating effect on passengers in smaller cars. If you sustained severe injuries following a collision with a truck, contact a skilled Lake County truck accident lawyer to discuss your potential legal options.
Despite their size and licensing requirements, commercial truckers are obliged to follow the same rules of the road as all other drivers. This means that if a commercial truck driver is at fault for an accident, they or their parent company may be held liable to reimburse any injured individual for their losses. An experienced personal injury attorney could work on your behalf to acquire this compensation. Among other actions and tactics, a dedicated personal injury attorney could conduct an investigation of the accident, gather vital evidence, and protect you from aggressive insurance companies.
Obligations of Truck Drivers
Drivers of commercial vehicles have the same obligations to follow the rules of the road as all other motorists. Therefore, a truck driver involved in an accident who the court determines was speeding, failed to yield, or ignored a stop sign may be held responsible for that accident.
However, in addition to the universal rules of the road, additional limitations are placed on the way that commercial trucks can travel in Illinois. One major violation of federal law involves maximum weight limits.
When traveling on an interstate highway, trucks may not exceed a certain predetermined weight based on the number of axles on their vehicle. There are also rules that control the number of consecutive hours a driver can remain on the road, as well as how many hours they may drive in any given week.
What a Plaintiff Must Prove to Win Their Case
In order to recover damages from a truck driver who caused an injurious crash, a plaintiff—or their Lake County truck accident attorney, if they retained one—must prove that the defendant truck driver was negligent and that this negligence caused the accident. Negligence is a strictly defined legal term that carries specific elements, which include that:
- The defendant truck driver owed them a duty of care
- Actions taken by the truck driver violated this duty of care
- The violation of the duty of care directly caused the accident
The first and third elements are typically easy to prove. All drivers have a duty to protect all other people that they encounter while on the road, and this duty naturally extends to both car and truck drivers. It is also uncommon for a defendant insurance company to dispute that the accident was the direct—or proximate—cause of the injury.
Disputed Truck Accident Collision Cases
Most disputed cases instead center on whether the truck driver breached their duty towards the injured plaintiff. Accident reconstructions and police reports can serve as powerful evidence here, both of which a truck accident lawyer in Lake County could work with plaintiffs to obtain.
Statutes of Limitations
Finally, a plaintiff must meet the Illinois statute of limitations for civil cases. This is a law that controls when a court will hear a case. If this time limit passes, and the case is not yet in court, a plaintiff would likely not be able to collect any compensation. Under 735 ILCS 5/13-202, plaintiffs have two years from the date of their accident to come forward.
Talking to a Lake County Truck Accident Attorney
Negligent truck drivers and their parent companies can cause havoc on Illinois’ roads. Truckers that ignore weight limits or maximum driving hours are a leading cause of accidents, and because of the massive size of these vehicles, occupants of smaller cars involved in collisions may be lucky to escape without permanent injuries.
No matter how severe the resulting injuries are, all individuals hurt in a truck crash caused by someone else have the right to demand compensation. A Lake County truck accident lawyer could help you pursue these payments from at-fault trucking companies and their insurance companies, including compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and mental anguish. Call today to schedule an initial meeting and learn more about your options.