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When you think of someone being injured in a semi-truck accident, you probably think of the truck colliding with a car or motorcycle. However, not all trucking accidents and injuries involve vehicle-to-vehicle collisions. Trucks can also seriously injure people as a result of improperly loaded cargo that spills onto a roadway.

Toxic Chemical Exposure from Truck Accident

In April 2019 in a northern suburb of Chicago, a farm tractor pulling two 1,000-gallon tanks of fertilizer leaked significant amounts of anhydrous ammonia into the air. The tanker leak created a suffocating cloud of ammonia gas that looked like fog. Anyone who drove through it instantly felt their lungs burning. Exposure to the toxic gas sent about 40 people to the hospital, seven of whom required treatment in the intensive care unit. Injuries included chemical burns to the lungs, which could leave permanent damage, as well as vision and speech impairments. 

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Joliet Motor Vehicle Accident AttorneyIn the latest statistics released April 2019, the Illinois Department of Transportation reported that the statewide number of auto accident fatalities rose 8 percent for the second year in a row, while miles driven rose less than 2 percent. The nationwide rise in fatal crashes has been linked to higher highway speed limits, and this is somewhat borne out by Illinois statistics. Controlled-access, interstate-type highways saw a 16% jump in fatalities from 2015 to 2016, while state routes saw a 32% leap.

However, the rise in fatalities was offset by a significant reduction in A-injury accidents, defined as an incapacitating injury such as severe cuts, broken bones, head injuries, and internal injuries. While the total number of fatalities rose from 998 to 1,078, an increase of 8 percent, the total number of A-injuries dropped from 10,078 to 9.060, a decline of 10 percent.

In Cook County alone, there were 255 fatal accidents and 3,170 A-injury accidents. Will County saw 42 fatal crashes and 427 A-injury crashes in 2016.

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Joliet Whiplash Injury AttorneyWhiplash is a common car crash injury that not only causes severe pain in the days immediately following a crash but can also cause disorders that persist for years. If you suffered whiplash in a rear-end collision, you may be able to claim compensation for your injuries from the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company. However, because this type of soft-tissue injury is rarely visible on X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans, you can expect the auto insurance company to argue the reality and severity of your injury. You may need the help of an experienced car accident injury lawyer to prove the full extent of your injuries and demand all due compensation. If your damages exceed the other driver’s liability coverage, your attorney may also recommend suing that driver personally.

Allow Time to Evaluate the Full Extent of Injuries

While it is important to file an insurance claim immediately after any car accident, you should not rush to settle a claim involving a whiplash injury. It may take months for the full effects of a whiplash injury to become evident. You may need expensive surgeries and other therapies to relieve your pain and address other symptoms. You could be unable to work, care for your family, and generally enjoy life for months or years. You deserve compensation for all of your losses, both financial and emotional, that stem from a car crash caused by another driver’s negligence or carelessness.

Gather Evidence Needed to Prove Whiplash Injury

Research has shown that the pain of whiplash is caused by tiny breaks and tears in the soft tissue that connects and protects the bones of the neck, aka the cervical spine. Specifically, the damage tends to be concentrated in the facet joints that connect the vertebrae together and allow the head to bend and rotate. In addition to neck pain, other disorders caused by a severe whiplash injury include: loss of range of motion in the neck, headaches, dizziness, and pain that spreads to the arms. Because none of these problems can be easily proven by X-rays or other medical tests, other sources of proof will be needed to support a personal injury claim.

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Cook County Semi Truck Accident AttorneyIf you have been seriously injured in a collision with a commercial truck or semi-trailer, proving that the crash was primarily the truck’s fault will be crucial to obtain compensation for your injuries. Three things you can do to improve your chances of winning your case are: document, watch what you say, and consult an experienced truck accident lawyer.

1.  Document As Much As You Can About a Truck Accident

The quality of witness testimony about an accident can play a crucial role in the determination of fault and the amount of compensation that will be paid. The more you can document about the accident and its aftermath, the better. Start a journal or computer file, and write down everything you remember, feel, and do. Also, take pictures of your injuries, your vehicle, the crash site, any medications or medical devices (e.g., casts or braces) prescribed, and anything else that could later serve as evidence.

2. Watch What You Say and Where You Say It

When you are involved in a personal injury case, heed the warning given to criminal suspects: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you.”

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Joliet semi-truck accident lawyerNational statistics on large truck and bus crashes are alarming. In 2016, 180,000 people were injured and over 4,500 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks and buses. Compared to 2011, these figures increased by over 20 percent, while the number of large trucks and buses on our roadways increased by 14 percent over the same time period. Because of the weight of these vehicles (30,000 to 80,000 pounds) relative to the weight of an average person (175 pounds) or passenger vehicle (3,000 to 6,000 pounds), a truck accident often leads to a catastrophic personal injury or wrongful death.

Negligence in Large Truck Accidents in Will County

There are many ways in which a person can be killed or injured as a result of negligence on the part of a truck owner or operator. In one 2018 incident on I-80 near Joliet, a wheel hub became detached from the rear axle of a semi-trailer and went flying through the windshield of a passenger car. The car’s driver and her unborn son were both killed in the ensuing crash. The truck driver was cited for an “unsafe equipment” violation by the Illinois State Police. If the driver and/or his employer are found to have been negligent in maintaining the vehicle properly, one or both could be held liable for significant damages for the woman’s wrongful death

A particularly dramatic crash on I-80 near Joliet in 2017 involved three tractor-trailer trucks. One FedEx truck was broken down on the shoulder, and a second FedEx truck had also parked on the shoulder to offer assistance. A third semi-truck, driving out of control, veered out of its traffic lane and onto the shoulder, striking both FedEx trucks and causing all three trucks to burst into flames. Both FedEx drivers were killed. The Illinois State Police charged the driver of the third truck with improper lane usage and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. 

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