Common Truck Accident Injuries In Illinois
Common truck accident injuries in Chicago, Illinois, include head/brain injuries, neck/back injuries, broken bones, and spinal cord injuries. You may sustain these injuries from a truck accident caused by a fatigued driver, distracted driving, speeding, improper lane changes, and defective brakes. No matter the cause, you should seek medical attention, collect evidence at the scene, and work with a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer after the accident.
A lawyer will investigate the crash to determine fault and losses incurred. The liable party will be expected to pay for your medical expenses, property damage, or pain and suffering. At-fault parties in a trucking accident may include the professional driver, another motorist, the trucking company, the cargo loader, and the manufacturer.
Truck Accident Statistics for Illinois
Trucking accidents are often more serious than other vehicle crashes due to the size and weight of trucks. Illinois recorded 295,604 motor vehicle crashes in 2021, with 12,040 involving tractor-trailers and 9,261 involving single-unit trucks. These trucking accident statistics suggest that truck accidents accounted for about 7.2% of all motor vehicle crashes in Illinois in 2021.
Top Causes of Truck Accidents
Determining the cause of a trucking accident can help you pursue compensation for your injuries. You will only have a valid truck accident claim against the at-fault party if you can prove that your injuries are related to the crash. Some common causes of truck accidents in Chicago, Illinois, include:
Truck Tire Blowouts
A truck tire requires regular maintenance and inspection to perform optimally. Without this, it may suffer a blowout that can cause a fatal truck accident. Tire blowouts also occur when the tires are past their wear and tear lifetime, there are poor road conditions and debris on the road, the tire is overinflated, and the truckload weight overburdens the tires.
Improperly Loaded and Overloaded Cargo
Trucking companies must meet the law-mandated weight limitations when operating their fleet on U.S. roadways. It’s also important for truck drivers to have permits for the weights of loads they are ferrying. These regulations help prevent overloading, which may result in an uneven load distribution and an accident.
Hours of Service Violations
Under Illinois law, truck drivers must follow hours-of-service regulations, which mandate them to operate commercial motor vehicles for a certain timeframe. FMCSA only allows drivers to work 11-hour shifts and take at least 10-hour breaks from work. Failure to follow these hour-of-service rules can lead to fatigued driving, reduced reaction time, and fatal road accidents.
Traffic Code Violations
Traffic regulations are instrumental in controlling traffic and preventing accidents. Some motorists, however, fail to follow these regulations. Traffic code violations like improper lane switches and failing to stop at the red light may result in serious truck accidents.
Truck Driver Negligence
Unlawful overtaking, reckless driving, and speeding are negligent actions that can lead to truck accidents. Truck drivers must possess a commercial driver’s license to demonstrate that they have the certification and training to operate large vehicles, such as big rigs, semi-trucks, and tractor-trailers. The license also proves drivers can adhere to traffic laws and safety regulations.
Due to their massive sizes and loads, big rigs, tractor-trailers, and semi-trucks may experience brake failure. Other causes of brake failure include improper maintenance, repair, and inspection. Brake failure makes it difficult to stop a truck in an emergency, putting the vehicle at risk of an accident.
Under Ride Crashes
Since trucks are larger than most passenger cars, the impact of a crash can be life-threatening. Trucks are also susceptible to under-ride crashes, which occur when the vehicle hood hits the side of a truck. The crash may end with the smaller vehicle getting crushed or pulled off completely, leaving victims with life-threatening injuries or even dead.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident in Chicago, Illinois?
The person or entity liable for a truck accident is financially responsible for the harm or damages caused to the injured party. Illinois personal injury law requires the at-fault party to compensate the truck accident victim by paying for medical costs, pain and suffering, and property damage. Potentially liable parties include:
- The truck driver for negligence, traffic law violation, or failure to follow rules
- The other motorist, if the truck driver was sideswiped or rear-ended
- The trucking company, if the company’s actions caused the truck accident
- The truck manufacturer, if there was a critical failure or faulty equipment in the truck that caused the accident
- The cargo loaders, if they failed to properly inspect and secure the cargo or disclose that the cargo contains dangerous material
What Are the Most Common Truck Accident Injuries?
Victims of truck accidents suffer different types of injuries, including spinal cord injuries, broken bones, head/brain injuries, and neck/brain injuries. These injuries can have varying effects on their daily lives and be life-threatening if left untreated. Here’s a breakdown of each injury:
Head and Brain Injuries
A head or brain injury usually occurs when an individual experiences a sudden blow or sharp force to the head. When you suffer a concussion, which may occur when your brain rapidly shakes inside the skull, you may experience symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, blurred vision, nausea, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue. If the force on the head is significant, you may suffer severe head injuries, such as bleeding in the brain, traumatic brain injury, and skull fractures.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Your spinal cord is an important part of your nervous system, since it consists of nerves that relay information from the brain to other body parts. If you injure your spinal cord in a truck accident, you may experience temporary or permanent damage, depending on the point of impact. The most common symptoms of this type of injury are loss of sensation in body parts controlled by the damaged section of the spinal cord.
Injuries to the spinal cord fall into two main categories: complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries. The former cause loss of sensation and paralysis below the point of injury, while the latter cause a milder paralysis or loss of sensation below the injured part.
Broken Bones and Fractures
A serious truck accident can lead to broken bones and fractures. The force of the crash can break bones in your ribs, pelvis, arms, or legs. When this happens, you may lose use of the fractured or broken bone temporarily or permanently, depending on the intensity of the accident.
Symptoms of broken bones and fractures include bruising, swelling, and pain. In severe cases, this type of injury may result in disfigurement and impairment, making it difficult to use certain body parts. Treatments like surgery can help repair some cases of broken bones and fractures.
Steps to Take After a Truck Accident
The steps you take after a car accident will determine your recovery from the injuries sustained and your ability to seek compensation for your losses. Take the following steps after a truck accident to improve your prognosis and stand a better chance of recovering damages:
Seek Medical Attention
Some injuries can have symptoms that take a while to manifest. The liable party or the liable party’s insurer may deny your claim and allege that your injuries stemmed from something else if you fail to get a medical diagnosis after the accident. You will need medical records, including doctor’s notes and diagnostic and medication reports, to prove that your injuries are related to the crash.
Collect Evidence at the Scene
Though it’s not always possible to collect evidence immediately after a truck accident, you can hire a lawyer to do this on your behalf. The lawyer will visit the crash site with investigators, find eyewitnesses to interview, employ accident reconstruction teams, and collect the black box data to build the case. Some pieces of evidence an experienced truck accident lawyer can gather to support your claim include:
- The police report, offering a police officer’s perspective on the causes of the accident.
- Electronic logging device data to help determine whether the truck company and driver violated FMCSA regulations on working hours.
- Black box data containing valuable data like the time the driver stepped on the brakes and the truck’s speed when the accident happened.
- Photos of the accident scene to help understand the events that led to the accident.
- Surveillance and dashcam footage to help determine the steps the driver took before the accident.
- Expert witness testimony from auto parts experts, mechanics, and accident reconstructionists to prove fault.
- Inspection, repair, and maintenance records to determine if the trucking company was negligent in maintaining its fleet.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney
A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer can investigate the accident, assemble evidence, determine the at-fault party, and build a strong insurance claim. The lawyer can also take your case to court if settlement negotiations are unfruitful or the responsible insurance company refuses to settle your claim.