Interstate Truck Accidents
Millions of large commercial trucks drive on interstate highways in and around Illinois and across the country. Often, interstate truck drivers work long hours and face enormous pressure to meet delivery deadlines. Because of this intense pressure, they must keep driving even when they are sick, tired, or distracted by personal matters. Interstate truck accidents are often catastrophic and involve multiple victims. Often, the truck driver's insurance policy has only limited coverage, and it cannot provide full compensation to all of the victims of the accident for all of their losses. It is important to retain an experienced Chicago truck accident attorney who understands how to examine a truck accident and determine all of the potentially responsible parties, and who can aggressively pursue parties for damages with a high degree of skill and knowledge.Seeking Compensation for an Interstate Truck Accident
When large commercial trucks are involved in an accident, the outcome often involves catastrophic injuries or deaths. For example, if a commercial truck hits the back of one car, the force may be such that the car is driven into the back of another car, which is in turn driven into the back of another car. Or, for another example, if a tractor-trailer jackknifes, the cab may continue to drive straight while the long trailer swings to the left or right, causing the truck to form an L-shape and potentially injuring or killing people in adjacent lanes.
In most cases, you will need to establish negligence in order to recover damages from the driver. Negligence is proven by showing by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant owed you a duty of reasonable care, as well as a breach of duty, causation, and damages. Often, a breach of the duty of reasonable care is shown by establishing that an interstate commercial driver violated the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. These federal regulations apply to interstate commercial truck drivers and trucking companies and cover such matters as hours of service, keeping a logbook, and inspections and maintenance of the truck.
There may be many individuals claiming that the truck driver is at fault and seeking recovery through the truck driver's insurance policy. Accordingly, it is important for your lawyer to look at other sources of recovery, such as the trucking company. A trucking company can be held vicariously liable for a truck driver's negligence. It can also be held directly liable for negligent hiring, negligent supervision, or negligent training.
The FMCSA regulations mandate that trucking companies follow strict rules in connection with hiring truck drivers, including conducting background checks and drug and alcohol testing. They also mandate that trucking companies provide adequate supervision of truck drivers, including by reviewing logbooks to make sure that truck drivers are honestly and accurately recording their time on the road. Failing to follow FMCSA regulations can be strong evidence of a trucking company's negligent hiring, negligent supervision, or negligent training.
Sometimes an interstate truck accident arises out of a defect in the truck or a truck part. In that case, it may be possible to bring a product liability lawsuit. For example, if the brakes stop working due to a defect (rather than a failure to conduct appropriate maintenance on the truck), it may be possible to sue the manufacturer of the brakes and recover damages under a theory of strict liability.Consult an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney in Chicago
Interstate truck accidents often happen at higher speeds and can result in catastrophic injuries, such as broken bones, amputations, internal organ injuries, paralysis, and traumatic brain injuries. Often, these types of injuries are expensive to treat and can be life-changing. Sometimes the injured person can never work again. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an interstate truck accident, you should consult an experienced attorney about your claim. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we represent accident victims in Chicago, Quincy, Rockford, Champaign, Springfield, and Aurora, as well as other cities in Adams, Winnebago, Champaign, Sangamon, Kane, and Cook Counties. Call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525 for a free consultation.