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joliet truck accident lawyerLarge commercial trucks can cause devastating accidents. If you or a loved one were seriously hurt in a truck accident, you may be interested in seeking compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Through an injury claim, you may be able to get compensation for the damages that you suffered including medical bills and lost income. To bring the strongest claim possible, it is crucial to work with a personal injury attorney who has experience successfully handling truck accident cases.  

Collecting Information and Preserving Evidence

When someone contacts a personal injury attorney about a possible truck accident claim, the first thing the attorney will need to do is collect information about the accident. Your lawyer will want to know the circumstances of the collision, what types of injuries you suffered, and what medical treatments you have sought for those injuries. Your attorney may also utilize evidence such as the truck’s event data recorder (EDR), traffic camera footage, the truck driver’s electronic logbook, and forensic evidence from the crash scene. In many cases, a personal injury attorney sends a “preservation letter” or spoliation letter to the trucking company which prohibits the company from destroying evidence.

Identifying the Liable Parties

Truck accident cases are often complicated. It is not always clear who is legally at fault for a truck crash. In some cases, the truck driver himself or herself is responsible for causing the accident. Distracted driving, drowsy driving, and driver intoxication are all common causes of truck collisions. In other cases, the trucking company’s failure to properly maintain the truck or correctly load truck cargo is the cause of the accident. It is also possible that defects in the truck’s brakes, tires, or cargo securement devices are a key contributor to the crash. By pinpointing the cause of the crash, your lawyer can build a more compelling claim for damages and ensure that the claim is brought against the correct party or parties.

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Orland Park personal injury lawyerMost of us drive several times on any given day. Although the act of driving may become second nature, it is important to remember how dangerous driving a vehicle actually is. Motorists should always exercise caution and constantly be on the lookout for hazards which could cause an accident. This is especially true when sharing the road with a semi-truck, flatbed truck, or tractor-trailer. Fully loaded, a tractor-trailer may weigh up to 80,000 lbs. These vehicles are not capable of maneuvering as swiftly as smaller vehicles and also take significantly longer to stop. Truck accidents can lead to catastrophic and often fatal injuries, so learning how to reduce your risk of being involved in a truck accident is essential.

Avoid Driving in The Truck Driver’s Blind Spots

Driving in a large truck is dramatically different than driving a passenger vehicle. While drivers of smaller vehicles can see most of the space around the vehicle, truck drivers must contend with large blind spots. Because of the way truck windows and mirrors are orientated, there are large spaces on all four sides of the truck that the truck driver cannot see. A truck driver cannot see up to 20 feet in front of the cab and up to 200 feet behind the truck as well as certain areas on each side of the truck. Staying out of these blind spots or “no-zones” is crucial to your safety and the safety of other drivers. If you cannot see the driver’s face in his or her mirror, that means that he or she cannot see you either.

Be Prepared for Wide Turns and Slow Acceleration and Deceleration

When a tractor-trailer turns at an intersection, the trailer portion takes up a great deal of space. Motorists should always avoid driving between a truck that is turning and the curb. You could end up colliding with the truck or being forced off of the road. This puts your life and the lives of pedestrians and cyclists in danger. It is also important to remember that trucks take a long time to speed up or slow down. When merging from an entrance ramp onto the highway, keep in mind that truck drivers cannot maneuver their vehicles the way other motorists can. It is also imperative that motorists avoid tailgating a truck driver.

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Orland Park personal injury lawyerIf you have ever watched a news story about an airplane accident, you may have heard experts talking about the plane’s flight recorder or “black box.” Many commercial trucks are also equipped with a recording device which is often referred to as a black box. Technically called an event data recorder (EDR), this device can be an extremely valuable source of evidence in a truck accident injury case. Most personal injury claims hinge upon the question of fault and proving that the negligent actions of the truck driver, trucking company, or other party caused your truck accident is often the biggest obstacle in successfully obtaining compensation for injuries.

How Do EDRs Work?  

Most event data recorders are capable of recording vehicle and occupant information immediately before, during, and after a collision. Depending on the type of EDR installed, the device may record data about the vehicle’s engine performance, vehicle speed, whether or not the brakes were applied, steering performance, airbag deployment, seat belt usage, electronic stability control, and the force of the impact. Commercial trucking companies are not required to install EDRs in their trucks; however, more and more trucking companies are voluntarily installing these black boxes. After a truck accident, a data-retrieval technician may be able to extract data from the EDR. Because many of these devices do not permanently retain data, it is important to retrieve EDR information as soon as possible after an accident.

Proving Liability for a Truck Accident

The information contained in an EDR may be combined with other types of evidence and used to establish exactly what happened during an accident. Evidence from dash camera footage, security camera footage, the truck driver’s hours of service logs, the driver’s driving history, and the truck maintenance records may also shed light on how and why a truck accident occurred. Data from the truck driver’s personal cell phone may reveal whether or not distracted driving was a contributing factor in the accident. However, gaining access to this information is not easy. Trucking companies are usually very hesitant to release EDR data and other information and may even destroy data in an attempt to evade responsibility for an accident. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help ensure that this valuable evidence is preserved.

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