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Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents

After a truck accident in Illinois, injury victims often have many important questions, and finding accurate answers can be challenging. At Coplan & Crane of Chicago and Oak Park, we understand what you're going through. That's because we have decades of experience helping people dealing with serious truck accidents. In case after case, we consistently obtain sizable settlements and verdicts for accident victims and their families, including $2.5 million for an Illinois family who lost a loved in a fatal truck accident, and $1.4 million for a farmer hit by a tractor-trailer in rural Winnebago County near Rockford, Illinois.

These questions are designed to give general information relevant to all truck accidents. If you have a question that's not listed here or you need information on your individual case, simply contact us. We can explain all the options available to you and help create a legal strategy that addresses your specific concerns.

What should I do immediately after my truck accident?

First, call the police. Ask them to send an ambulance if you or anyone else seems hurt after your accident. We also strongly advise people involved in an accident caused by a commercial truck driver to take these steps:

  • Obtain this information from the truck driver:
    • Name
    • Driver's license number
    • Name of truck company driver works for
    • The U.S. Department of Transportation number for the trucking company
    • Trucking company's address and phone number
  • Take photographs of the accident
  • Talk to any witnesses who saw the accident and get their full name and phone number. Witness statements can make dramatic difference in the outcome of your case.
  • Get the investigating police officer's name, badge number and best phone number to contact him or her. That way, we can obtain a copy of the official Illinois Traffic Crash Report for your accident.

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How can a lawyer help if I disagree with the police officer's accident report?

An attorney can help you set the record straight with the police. Our law firm knows how to analyze traffic accident reports and exactly what information to look for in these detailed, 2-page-long documents. Insurance companies carefully examine these documents when determining whether to compensate injury victims. That's why it's critical that you make sure your Illinois Traffic Crash Report is absolutely accurate. Otherwise, you could lose out on obtaining money your rightfully deserve after your accident.

While the lawyers at Coplan & Crane specialize in all types of personal injury cases, the regulations and other laws involved in the trucking industry are extensive, and lawyers pursuing cases for truck accident victims must have a special skill set and working knowledge of trucking regulations. The experienced injury lawyers at our firm battle the teams of investigators, insurance company lawyers, and insurance adjusters who have focused on defending truck accident cases. Our work includes investigating the causes of truck accidents early on, gathering crucial evidence unique to truck accident cases, and aggressively working to discover facts about our clients' tractor-trailer accidents to put our clients' cases in the very best posture for success.

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Should I see a doctor if I don't feel injured after my truck accident?

Yes. Don't try to diagnose yourself. Have a medical professional examine you as soon as possible. You could have a potentially-life-threatening internal injury and not even realize it. In addition to being the best course of action for your health, getting medical attention right away will help a potential personal injury claim.

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How can a lawyer help me if I've been injured in a truck accident?

Making sure you receive the proper medical care is one of the most important issues after your accident caused by a commercial truck driver. As your attorney, we can make sure you receive the medical care you need to fully recover from your crash. Some doctors or insurance companies might downplay the seriousness of your injuries. You know your body best. We can help you find another doctor who can properly diagnose and treat you.

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What should I do if a truck driver denies causing my accident?

Contact our law firm right away. We know the games some commercial truck drivers and trucking companies play after a serious accident. Don't engage in a debate with the other driver or an insurance company. Simply leave the matter to us. We can know how to set the record straight and gather the facts you need to build a strong legal case.

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How can a lawyer help if the truck driver who caused my crash is from another state?

While the federal laws that apply to tractor-trailer drivers and motor carriers (trucking companies) are uniform from state to state, the laws that apply to litigating truck accidents vary widely depending on where each case is filed. That's why it's important to hire an attorney in Illinois familiar with litigating out-of-state trucking accidents. Our law firm has dealt with many such accidents in venues across the country, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania, among others . We understand all the state and federal laws that apply to trucking companies and commercial truck drivers. As your attorney, we can make sure the applicable laws are taken into consideration after your accident.

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What should I do if the trucking company doesn't return my calls after my crash?

Often, trucking companies that broke the law (falsified driver logs, hired unlicensed, unqualified or dangerous drivers, etc.) try to make their problems go away after an accident by simply not returning phone calls from you or other people investigating your accident. We know how to handle such irresponsible behavior. We will take legal action if the trucking company does not cooperate. We can also involve the police or federal investigators, as necessary. What matters most to us is making your questions are answered and the truth comes out. If a truck driver or trucking company broke the law, they should be held accountable for their actions and pay a full measure of damages to compensate you for the harms they caused.

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How can an attorney help me with my rear-end truck accident?

Evidence builds strong cases. This is especially true with rear-end truck accidents. That's why we get straight to work gathering as much information as possible to demonstrate that a truck driver caused your rear-end accident. We normally obtain a copy of the accident report and carefully go through this document. We consult with accident reconstruction experts on virtually every truck accident case. We visit the accident scene itself, including taking photographs of the scene, and searching for skid marks left by the truck. We hire trucking experts to download data from the truck's electronic control module or "ECM,", the truck's "black box" that contains information about the truck driver's speed, acceleration, braking, and other actions behind the wheel.  We download data from other electronics in the cab, including Highway Master, PeopleNet, Qualcomm, Cummins "Road Relay" program, and GPS devices to prove whether the truck driver was violating federal law by driving too far or too long without necessary rest, creating dangerous driver fatigue.  We request video footage from any cameras the truck is equipped with, like a "DriveCam" or similar devices, to show whether the driver should have acted differently, or if he or she was asleep at the wheel.  Don't panic just because the truck driver isn't telling the truth. Allow us to help you set the record straight.

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How can a lawyer help if my truck accident was caused by a mechanical problem?

Often, mechanical problems with tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, delivery trucks and other large commercial vehicles cause accidents. Sometimes, defective brakes fail to stop a truck in time before a crash. Other times, the trucking company didn't properly maintain the truck, causing serious accidents due to tire and wheel separations, loads spilling onto the road, truck rollovers and other problems. Or perhaps the company that made the truck or a certain truck part made a mistake, resulting in an accident caused by a truck defect. Whatever type of mechanical problem caused your truck accident, we will aggressively investigate your accident and uncover the truth. We know what questions to ask and how to compile such information into a strong, legal case.

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Should I accept an offer from an insurance company after my truck accident?

Always carefully review any offer before accepting it. Even if your offer seems reasonable, the reality is most offers from insurance companies after a truck accident don't even come close to covering the true cost of the accident. It's not just emergency medical expenses you need to consider. As long as you cannot work or function normally due to your truck accident, you should be financially compensated - and depending on the severity of your injury, you might not be able to work for weeks or months or even longer. During that time, bills can add up fast, and you shouldn't be the one responsible for paying them.

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Should I hire a lawyer to deal with an insurance company after my truck accident?

Yes. Having an attorney who knows how to negotiate with insurance companies after a truck accident can often make a big difference in how much money you receive after your accident. Our lawyers are not afraid of insurance companies or their attorneys. We have years of experience going up against them and winning. That's why so many people in Cook County and throughout Illinois rely on us to negotiate with insurance companies on their behalf.

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How much is my truck accident worth?

There's no set dollar amount for how much most accident victims obtain when they're involved in a crash caused by commercial truck driver. Sometimes, it's a few thousand dollars. Other times, it could be millions. So many different factors come into play, including whether the truck driver knowingly broke any laws and if the trucking company tried to conceal such illegal behavior. We know how to find the facts. And we always advocate for the maximum compensation for our clients.

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What types of compensation am I eligible for after my truck accident?

As a victim of an accident caused by a commercial truck driver, you could be eligible for these damages (financial compensation):

  • Money for medical bills
  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Home modifications (if you have a permanent disability from your accident)
  • Lost future income
  • Loss of consortium (normal marital relations)
  • Physical therapy
  • Future medical treatment due to accident

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How long do I have to file a truck accident lawsuit in Illinois?

In most cases, you have 2 years to file a lawsuit after your truck accident in Illinois. That might seem like a long time, but truck accidents are among the most complicated cases we handle at our law firm. The sooner you take legal action, the more information you'll likely be able to gather in support of your case. If you wait, evidence could disappear. Witnesses might change their story or no longer be available to testify. That's why it's critical you take action as soon as possible after your truck collision.

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Should I hire a lawyer to file a truck accident lawsuit in Illinois?

Yes. Sometimes, the best way to get the money you rightfully deserve after your truck accident is to file a lawsuit against the truck driver or trucking company. Our law firm has years of experience handling all the legal aspects often associated with truck accident lawsuits, from filing the correct paperwork to following up in writing with the court, the trucking company, its attorneys or anyone else involved in such complicated legal matters.

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Why should I hire Coplan & Crane to handle my truck accident?

Our law firm knows how to handle the most complicated truck accidents in Illinois. That's because we have been working on such tough cases for decades. There's no substitute for experience - or success. You have too much riding on the outcome of your legal case to settle for second-rate representation.

Contact our law firm right now. We know the law and we will passionately pursue justice on your behalf. Whether it's tracking down truck companies that refuse to cooperate and taking necessary legal action against insurance companies that won't give you the money you deserve after your crash, we will not rest until justice is served. That's our promise!

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