Collisions between personal cars and large trucks often result in cataclysmic damages to the smaller vehicles. Even at low speeds, the sheer size and weight of a commercial truck can crush a commuter car and the people inside, and anyone able to walk away from such an incident can consider themselves lucky.

In addition to various special regulations and requirements to obtain a trucking license, truck drivers must follow the same rules of law concerning safe driving as everyone else. If truckers violate these laws, they are responsible to compensate people who are injured. A Cicero truck accident lawyer could be dedicated to holding negligent truckers and their parent companies legally liable for all injuries and damages resulting from an accident. Contact a seasoned personal injury attorney today to see if you are eligible for compensation. En Español.

Determining Fault for a Truck Accident

Truck drivers have the same duties to follow the rules of the road as all other drivers. There are also some additional laws that govern how heavy a truck can be and how it must be loaded. A violation of any of these laws that leads to an accident can be a key piece of evidence indicating that the defendant in a truck accident case was negligent. An accomplished lawyer could also assist the plaintiff in gathering the evidence to prove the defendant’s fault.

If the police report produced after an accident states that the trucker was violating a common rule of the road, the concept of negligence per se can apply as well. This means that because the defendant was breaking a law at the time of the injury, and that law was intended to prevent that very sort of injury, the defendant is assumed to be at fault. Common examples of such violations that may affect a truck accident case include:

  • Speeding
  • Failing to yield
  • Failing to signal
  • Tailgating
  • Ignoring stop signs or red lights

Rules Specific to Truck Drivers

All the aforementioned rules apply to people in their own vehicles. However, truckers and their companies are also required to follow laws concerning trailer weight. Police officers investigating truck accidents may seek to have the trailer weighed to ensure the truck driver—or their parent company—adhered to these laws, especially if the accident was caused by a jackknifing trailer. Just like a citation for a moving violation, if the trucker is cited for having an overloaded trailer, the law will assume negligence on their part.

Most professional truckers must meet certain qualifications and pass a driver’s training test in order to receive clearance to drive these vehicles. A legal professional will be in the best position to check whether the driver met these standards. If it is determined that they did not meet the standards, that can have a significant impact on the case.

Is Cicero a Contributory or a Comparative Negligence Jurisdiction?

An accident can be the fault of more than one person – and it does not need to be 100 percent the fault of the truck driver for a plaintiff to recover compensation. When an accident is partially the fault of the plaintiff and partially the fault of the defendant, this is considered contributory negligence. Contributory negligence will reduce the amount of damages recoverable based on the percentage of fault. For example, if the plaintiff is 10 percent at fault for the accident, the total damages recovered in the case will be reduced by 10 percent.

Some cases are straightforward: if a truck fails to stop at a light and rear-ends the car sitting in front of it, then that should be 100 percent the fault of the trucker. However, there might be a disagreement as to who was at fault. This can happen when a truck and a car are both trying to merge into the same lane. Having a local truck crash lawyer to investigate the facts of the case might increase a plaintiff’s odds of victory.

Statute of Limitations

It is important to know that even the clearest examples of trucker negligence will fail in court if the case is not filed on time. Illinois statute 735 ILCS 5/13-202 gives plaintiffs two years after the date of an accident to file a case in court.

Insurance companies are aware of this law, and as a result, they may refuse to negotiate settlement agreements when this time limit has expired. Because of this, time is often of the essence in all truck accident cases, which can make the help of a qualified Cicero truck accident attorney that much more important.

Contact a Cicero Truck Accident Attorney Today

Truck accidents have the potential to permanently change a person’s life. Even if you are able to make a full physical recovery after such an incident, the accompanying mental anguish and missed time at work can combine to negatively impact your foreseeable future.

If you are in this position, an experienced Cicero truck accident lawyer is available to pursue claims of negligence against both the at-fault truck driver and their parent company. In the course of pursuing compensation on your behalf, your attorney could talk to witnesses, form compelling demand packages, potentially settle without ever needing to go to court, and argue your case before a jury if a trial is necessary to get you the compensation that you deserve. To get started on your case, call today and schedule a consultation.