How would you react if a commuter jet crashed every week and killed everyone on board? You would be outraged, and so would the entire country. This is essentially what’s happening with the rising number of trucking accidents across the United States, but not many people are talking about it.
Fatal truck accidents are happening at a rate of 11 times a day, killing roughly 4000 people a year. There are advocacy groups out there, representing the families of those killed, but it’s not something the general public hears about all that often. The accidents and resulting deaths are spread out geographically, so you’re not likely to know about them unless there’s a news report about a specific accident in your area.
Common culprits in these accidents seem to be unqualified or over-tired drivers, and old trucks in unsafe condition. Lobbyists, of course, argue that other motorists and not the truck drivers are to blame for the majority of the accidents; many disagree. But regardless of blame, people are dying as the result of the growing demand within the trucking industry.
All drivers have to follow the basic rules of the road, but truckers are required to follow additional regulations that were specifically made with trucking safety in mind. It’s a pretty long list and includes laws about how long truck drivers can be on the road at a time and what they have to do to inspect their trucks and make sure their vehicles are properly maintained at all times.
When someone is seriously injured or killed in an accident with a truck, they or their family members might have a lawsuit against the driver or trucking company. In general, a lawsuit is appropriate when the accident was the fault of the driver or due to unsafe practices within the company.
It’s important to gather evidence quickly in these cases, as they are usually more complicated than accidents involving two passenger vehicles. Most trucks have a computer on board, and obtaining the data from the electronic systems is important. Next, there are other records to gather, including maintenance history, driver history, etc. All of this is used to determine the cause of the accident and pinpoint who was at fault. And most importantly, evidence needs to be preserved immediately. There are Illinois injury attorneys who have experience in these cases and know how to do a thorough investigation and make a strong case, and they know how to act fast.
There are thousands of personal injury attorneys in Illinois, but they aren’t all equal. We recommend hiring someone with significant experience – and success – in trucking cases. If you have what lawyers call a “good” case, meaning fault is fairly clear and damages are significant, then you might have a lot of lawyers eager to take on your case. It’s still important to choose wisely in order to give your case the best chance at a successful outcome.
In addition to experience, you want your law firm to have resources. Accident investigations, especially ones that get off the ground right away, cost a lot of money. Your lawyer should front these costs, but they can only do this if they have the money. You don’t want your lawyer skimping on your case because they can’t afford an aggressive approach.
So, beware of ambulance chasers or others who see dollar signs but don’t know what they’re doing. In our opinion, there are only a handful of Illinois law firms we’d recommend for a trucking accident. These are firms and attorneys we would hire ourselves if we were in a similar position. If you’d like our take on your situation, give us a call.