A collision with a large commercial truck can have a devastating impact on the lives of accident victims. Due to their smaller sizes and weights, passenger vehicles are at an extreme disadvantage in any trucking accident. When an 18-wheeler collides with a car, the car’s occupants face serious risk, as injuries and deaths are more likely in a trucking accident than any other type of motor vehicle accident.
The Chicago truck accident lawyers at Coplan + Crane have substantial experience in these difficult cases. This is important because truck accident claims differ from other types of vehicle collision cases. A knowledgeable attorney can provide the guidance and counsel you need in these complex matters.
Determining the cause of a truck accident requires a comprehensive investigation, and it is important that this investigation takes place as soon after the accident as possible. While every accident is different, here are 10 of the causes that are most likely to be uncovered during an investigation:
Driving distractions and driver fatigue are among the leading causes of commercial truck accidents. Truck drivers spend long days behind the wheel, and they are often under pressure to meet tight delivery deadlines. Driving for hours on end can be both monotonous and exhausting; and, as a result, it is not unusual for truck drivers to use their phones, get drowsy, or both.
In addition to distracted and fatigued driving, other forms of truck driver negligence frequently lead to accidents as well. Just like other drivers, truck drivers often cause accidents as a result of:
Trucking companies have a legal obligation to ensure that they are putting safe trucks and safe drivers on the road. If a trucking company fails to meet this obligation (and if an accident occurs as a result), the trucking company can be held liable. Common forms of trucking company negligence include hiring unqualified drivers, forcing drivers to spend too many hours behind the wheel, and failing to adequately maintain their trucks.
Typically, the shipping containers loaded onto tractor-trailers are not filled by the trucking company. Instead, they are filled by a shipping company which could be located anywhere across the United States or around the world. If a truck accident results from an issue with the truck’s cargo (i.e., the cargo is unbalanced or unstable), then the shipping company could be liable for the victims’ injuries.
Most trucking companies rely on third-party maintenance providers to take care of their trucks. If a trucking company sends a truck for maintenance and the third-party provider performs negligent work, this third-party provider can be held liable in the event that its negligence leads to an accident.
In addition to negligent maintenance work, trucks can also have issues as a result of defects existing from the time they leave the factory. Tires, brake pads, and other replacement parts can be defective as well. If a defect causes an accident, the manufacturer can be held liable under Illinois law.
Potholes, low shoulders, inadequate signage, construction zones, sharp curves, and various other road hazards can cause truck drivers (and other drivers) to suddenly and unexpectedly find themselves in dangerous situations. When a hazardous road condition triggers an accident, the government agency or contractor that is responsible for the road’s condition may be liable.
Especially during the winter months, it is not unusual for hazardous weather conditions to play a role in truck accidents in Illinois. When weather plays a role in the accident, determining liability requires an assessment of whether driver negligence, inadequate maintenance (i.e., failure to replace worn tires), and/or other issues played a role as well.
In some cases, a passenger vehicle driver will leave a truck driver with no way to avoid a collision. If a negligent passenger vehicle driver set off the chain of events that led to your (or your loved one’s) accident, the driver’s insurance company may be on the hook for your accident-related losses.
Finally, just as truck maintenance issues and defects can lead to accidents and injuries, so can issues with other vehicles. If your brakes failed, if your loved one’s airbag failed to deploy properly, or if any other issue with any other vehicle played a role in the crash, you may have a claim against the vehicle’s manufacturer.
After a truck wreck, you need a law firm you can trust. Coplan + Crane has a proven history of success in truck accident litigation. Our experienced truck accident lawyers know the challenges you may be facing after a serious injury. We will work diligently to help you recover the maximum compensation you need to get back on track.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident, call (708) 358-8080 or contact us online today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Coplan + Crane serves Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and other areas in Illinois.