While trucking companies and their drivers transport necessary goods throughout the country, serious injuries and emotional trauma can occur in the event of an accident. Tractor-trailer crashes are among the deadliest, often because of the sheer size and weight difference between a commercial vehicle and a standard passenger car. If you’ve been involved in a crash, a Joliet truck accident lawyer from Schweickert Ganassin Krzak Rundio, LLP can help.
The majority of truck accidents are the result of human error. Our law firm understands the physical, emotional, and financial consequences of a wreck, which is why we believe it’s important to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions. You deserve the compensation you need to recover, and we’re prepared to help you file a claim to get you maximum compensation for your injuries.
Tractor-Trailer Accidents in Joliet
With Interstate 80 and Interstate 55 running through Joliet, there are always tractor-trailers on the road. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, thousands of truck accidents happen every year. As a result, hundreds are injuries and a significant number of fatalities are reported.
The city of Joliet is located in Will and Kendal Counties—both of which have seen their fair share of truck crashes. According to state data, there were over 1,500 crashes involving tractor-trailers and trucks without trailers in 2018 throughout both counties.
One of the accidents in 2018 occurred on I-80 when a broken brake drum flew off of a semi-trailer and shattered the windshield of a Coal County motorist. As a result of the crash, the driver and her unborn child were killed. The family pursued an injury claim against the trucking company for careless and negligent acts.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in Joliet, or you’ve lost a loved one in a crash, you have the right to pursue a claim to seek compensation for the related losses. Part of pursuing a successful claim includes determining the cause of the wreck.
Understanding the Causes of Truck Accidents
To determine who is responsible for your truck accident, we need to start by figuring out the cause. In general, there are three factors that can potentially cause an accident: the driver, the environment, and the vehicle.
To determine the cause of your tractor-trailer wreck, we’ll consult accident reconstructionists and truck accident experts. They will be able to use the evidence we compile with their assistance to determine the primary factor that contributed to your accident.
Truck drivers are often on the road for long hours. Because of that, they may get bored, distracted, tired, or anxious. When a driver isn’t focused on the road in front of them 100%, there’s the chance an accident can occur.
If you believe a truck driver caused your accident, your lawyer will review the company logbooks and data recorder/black box information to determine what happened at the time of the crash. They will be able to determine if the driver was fatigued, focused on their phone or GPS, or disobeying the law. They will also seek to obtain any dash-cam, window cam or other recording devices in the truck involved in the occurrence.
The larger a vehicle is, the higher its center of gravity. This makes a tractor-trailer harder to control in inclement weather or other less than ideal road conditions. If, for example, a trucker is speeding on the highway when they hit a patch of black ice, they may lose control of the vehicle. Depending on the direction the truck goes, there’s a chance the vehicle could roll over.
In addition to snow and ice, other environmental-factors include wet roads, loose gravel, potholes, road debris, and fog. All of those conditions have the potential to make it harder for a trucker to see or control their vehicle.
Tractor-trailers require regular maintenance. This means that prior to being driven, a truck should be inspected for potential issues with the tires, brakes, steering mechanism, windshield wipers, lights, and more. In the event something is wrong, the trucker or trucking company needs to ensure the vehicle is fixed so it’s roadworthy. Semis also need to be inspected once a trip is complete to determine if anything happened over the course of the trip that needs to be repaired.
Sometimes the vehicle-related factors that contribute to an accident are not due to negligence on the part of the trucker or the trucking company. It’s possible a mistake could have been made during the manufacturing process. If an auto part is defective, it’s possible it won’t be found until after an accident has already happened.
Once we know the cause of your accident, we can begin connecting that to the legal concept of negligence and determine how to value your claim.
Steps to Take After a Semi Wreck
The steps you take immediately following a truck accident play a crucial role in your personal injury claim. It’s important to know what to do to protect yourself and anyone else involved in the accident. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and shocked once you realize you’ve been hit by a tractor-trailer, but you’ll want to do what you can to remain calm so you can properly evaluate the situation.
Remember to stay at the crash scene. Examine yourself and any other passengers for injuries and, if possible, call 911. While it’s likely someone else who witnessed the crash will call for emergency responders, you should still attempt to call 911 if you’re able to.
Injuries after a truck accident vary, so remain immobile if you believe you’ve sustained a head injury or spinal cord injury. If you are able to move, try to take photos or videos of the accident scene. Your lawyer will be able to use that evidence to help re-create what happened.
You’ll also need to exchange information with the truck driver. In addition to getting their information, which includes the name, address, employer, and insurance policy number, you’ll want to get information about the trucking company.
Seek medical attention as soon as possible. You’ll want to be fully evaluated by a medical professional for injuries. Not only will this put you on the best path to recovering physically, but it will also create an official record of the trauma you suffered.
Once things have settled, you’ll want to contact an attorney in Joliet. When you contact us, we’ll begin reviewing your situation and explaining your legal options and rights to you.
Secure Your Future With Schweickert Ganassin Krzak Rundio, LLP
With offices in multiple locations in Illinois, we strive to help personal injury victims recover full and fair compensation for their losses. We understand that truck accident claims can be challenging, especially when it comes to proving fault and negligence. Fortunately, we have access to the knowledge and resources needed to build the strongest possible claims for our clients.
Filing a claim does take time, which is why it’s important to get started as soon as possible after a crash. You may be feeling overwhelmed with everything you’re dealing with, but we’re here to guide you through the legal process and fight for your right to a financially secure future.
For more information on filing a claim, get in touch with a Joliet truck accident lawyer today. We’ll provide you with a free, no-obligation initial consultation to review your situation and help you determine what the best course of action is for your unique situation.