Truck Accidents Are Uniquely Difficult, But We Are Up To The Challenge
Most personal injury firms could help you seek compensation after a standard car accident (those involving a collision with another car, a pedestrian or bicyclist). Does that mean any of these firms could just as easily represent you after a truck accident? The answer, which may seem surprising, is no.
Trucking accidents are distinct from other motor vehicle accidents in a number of important ways, and how these differences are addressed can make or break a case. At Kent M. Lucaccioni, Ltd., we have earned a reputation for successfully taking on some of the most complex trucking accident lawsuits in Illinois. On this page, we discuss what we’ve learned about how and why truck accidents are different.
They Are More Likely To Result In Catastrophic Injury Or Death
Large semi trucks can weigh 20 to 30 times more than a standard personal-use vehicle and have a similar size disparity. In a crash between a truck and a smaller vehicle, there is no question about which vehicle’s occupants will fare worse.
Approximately 4,000 people are killed in the United States each year in truck accidents, and the victims who lose their lives are almost always occupants of the smaller vehicle. When truck accidents are injurious rather than fatal, the injuries are likely to be catastrophic, including:
- Neck and back injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Paralysis (paraplegia and quadriplegia) and other permanent disabilities
- Broken bones and crushed limbs
These injuries have much higher financial costs because many require years of medical treatment and rehabilitation. Consequently, truck accident lawsuits tend to have much higher financial stakes than others, with plaintiffs sometimes seeking damages of over $1 million.
Truck Accidents Have Multiple Defendants And Liable Parties
While not true in all cases, truck drivers are often at-fault for causing accidents. And when truck drivers are to blame, their employers are also liable. Trucking companies are responsible for hiring safe, responsible drivers, and for training and monitoring those drivers. Both drivers and companies are responsible for overseeing regular vehicle maintenance and repairs. If an accident occurred because of worn-out brakes or some other vehicle issue, both parties would be held liable.
Depending on the details of the crash, other potential defendants in a truck accident could include the cargo company shipping or loading the freight in the trucks and the mechanics/repair shops hired to service and fix the vehicles.
Insurance Companies Fight Especially Hard To Defend Truck Accident Claims
Insurers are primarily concerned with their own bottom line, which means limiting or denying claims whenever possible. Because trucking companies are backed by commercial policies that can be worth millions of dollars, insurers focus much their legal resources on aggressively defending these cases.
To that end, many commercial insurance investigators are adept at immediately responding to an accident scene and working quickly to take control of both the evidence and the narrative surrounding the crash. If they can find any reason to deny the claim or blame you for the accident, they will almost certainly do so.
For these reasons, you need a legal team that isn’t afraid of insurance companies or the bully tactics they use to deny responsibility. When building a case, our attorneys pay extreme attention to detail, and we utilize all of our resources to secure compelling evidence and witness testimony. We also conduct our own investigation because we know that the insurance company’s version of events is very likely to be biased in their own favor.
Truck Accidents Require Special Evidence That Can Be Hard To Obtain
Unlike personal-use vehicles and drivers, trucks and truck drivers generate a lot of data that can be critical to proving liability in a crash. Unfortunately, both trucking companies and their insurers make it as difficult as possible to obtain these records.
Our experienced attorneys will fight to obtain and preserve all available records and evidence, including:
- Vehicle maintenance and service records
- Information taken from the truck’s event data recorder, commonly called the “black box,” which contains information about location, braking, speed and other vehicle stats in the time leading up to the accident
- Driving logs that show whether the driver was complying with hours-of-service rules and whether they may have been fatigued
- The truck driver’s medical records, which could contain information on medical conditions (like sleep apnea or a seizure disorder) that may have caused or contributed to the accident
- Detailed pictures and videos of the damaged truck, the damaged car and the accident scene
- The driving record and history of the truck driver, including any criminal history related to driving offenses
- The safety record of the trucking company
- A cargo manifest on the day of the accident as well as any information we can gather about how the truck was loaded and by whom
As you can imagine, the trucking company and their insurers have immediate access to and custody of this information. They are required to preserve it after a crash, but it is easy for such evidence to “disappear” if a plaintiff’s attorney doesn’t act quickly and decisively to demand access to it. We get to work on your case as soon as you contact us.
We Have The Experience Your Case Needs – Contact Us Today
Kent M. Lucaccioni, Ltd., is based in Chicago and can serve clients throughout the state of Illinois. Our attorneys have more than a century of combined legal experience, and we have a reputation for success in complex truck accident cases that other firms cannot or will not take on. To discuss your legal options with us during a free initial consultation, just call 312-386-7683 or fill out our online contact form.