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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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Orland Park commercial truck accident attorney insurance claimIf someone in your family has been seriously injured in a truck accident, you are part of a dangerous nationwide trend. In March 2019, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued its latest highway crash statistics for the year 2017. From 2016 to 2017, the number of large commercial trucks involved in fatal crashes in the U.S. rose from 4,251 to 4,657, an increase of 10%. Thousands more commercial truck crashes involved serious injuries. These statistics are concerning, because while the amount of semi-truck traffic on America’s roadways has been rising, the number of crashes is rising faster.   

Of course, FMCSA requires interstate commercial trucking companies to carry large amounts of liability insurance. For non-hazardous cargo trucks weighing 10,000 pounds or more, the minimum liability insurance is $750,000. Thus, anyone injured in a truck crash should be able to collect compensation for their injuries from the trucking company’s insurance policy. 

Why Do You Need an Attorney for a Truck Crash Insurance Claim? 

When someone you love is seriously injured or killed in a commercial truck accident, your family is both emotionally and financially vulnerable. When you have mounting medical bills and loss of income, why not accept the offer of a quick insurance settlement? Can you not trust the insurance company to pay you a fair amount of compensation for your injuries?

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Tinley Park truck accident lawyer excessive speedThe National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) points to rising speed limits as a critical factor in the increase in fatal truck accidents. Since 1995, states first increased highway speed limits from 55 to 65 mph, and then to 70 mph. Since January 1, 2014, over 80 percent of Illinois’ interstate highways have had a 70 mph speed limit. Speeds up to 80 mph are allowed on rural interstates in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming, while states like Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and nine others have a 75 mph cut-off. 

When speeding, truck drivers have little room for error. A fully loaded semi traveling at 55 mph will take about 300 feet to stop, but at 65 mph, tractor-trailer trucks can take 525 feet to stop. Tailgating, driver fatigue, or even a minor distraction can lead to a collision with tragic consequences. 

Why High-Speed Truck Accidents Cause More Severe Injuries

The faster a car or truck is going, the greater the force of the crash. In addition, the energy of the crash increases exponentially relative to the speed. Imagine backing into a concrete post at 25 mph. It would not kill you, but your bumper would take a beating. Now imagine this crash at even higher speeds:

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Joliet truck accident lawyerThere is a growing concern in the US regarding the number of fatalities resulting from rear-end semi-truck crashes and the preventability of these collisions. The NHTSA recently released the latest large truck crash statistics. 4,761 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks in 2017, a 9 percent increase from 2016 and a 12 percent increase since 2008. 

Currently, commercial trucks in the U.S. are not required to be equipped with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems. However, this technology is being studied intensively by federal safety agencies such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA’s primary mission is to issue and enforce regulations concerning commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). 

Two federal agencies are currently clashing over this issue. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is responsible for investigating transportation accidents and making recommendations for improving safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is in charge of setting motor vehicle and highway safety standards. 

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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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