Truck Accident Attorney in Peoria, Illinois
We all know how distressing it can be to be driving next to a large semi-truck on the highway. They’re large, loud, and can create blind spots for all drivers near them. Though this can be stressful, it's remaining safe and accident-free is typically quite doable.
However, for those who have been involved in an 18-wheeler accident, you know that the resulting damage is far more serious than with an accident between two passenger vehicles. Because of this, a semi-truck accident claim or lawsuit can be much more complicated to pursue, and many people end up contacting a personal injury attorney for help.
If you’d like to learn more about your options for filing an insurance, personal injury, or wrongful death claim after a trucking accident, call me at The Law Office of David Hunt. From my home offices in Peoria, Illinois I help clients throughout Peoria County, Woodford County, and Caswell County.
Laws Affecting Truck Accidents
There are both federal and state laws that regulate how commercial trucks can be operated on our roadways. It’s essential to have a solid understanding of how these laws can affect a potential claim.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations: The FMCSA sets out rules for the entire country about how and when semi-trucks can be driven. The most important of these laws pertains to how many hours a truck driver can operate their vehicle in a set period of time. For example, a driver can’t start a new shift if they’ve been on for 60 hours in seven consecutive days or 70 hours in eight consecutive days. There are also regulations on how many hours total per day they’re allowed to drive, typically limiting this to shifts of no more than 14 hours but within this time they can’t drive more than 11 consecutive hours.
Illinois Regulations: Illinois sets its own regulations for drug testing of drivers, licensing, and maintenance and inspection of vehicles which must be followed in addition to FMCSA laws. State law also sets a statute of limitations on when a personal injury claim can be brought against a truck driver. In most cases, this is set at two years from the date of the accident.
When you work with a skilled truck accident attorney, they will have a thorough understanding of these and how to determine liability.
The trickiest part of pursuing a claim for a commercial truck accident is figuring out who was at fault in a truck accident. In many cases, liability will fall on more than one party. So who can be liable for a semi-truck accident? The following are a few possibilities:
Truck driver. If it’s determined the driver acted carelessly or negligently while driving, they can be held liable for the accident.
Truck company. Since most truck drivers are employees, in some cases their employer will be held liable for their actions. This is especially true if you can prove that the company allowed the driver to work without proper training or beyond the hourly limit set by the FMCSA.
Truck or parts manufacturer. If the crash was caused by a faulty or defective part, the manufacturer could be to blame.
Person who loaded the cargo. Cargo in the back of a truck must be loaded correctly to ensure safe traveling. If it’s loaded incorrectly it could cause the truck to tip over when making a turn. In these cases, the individual who loaded the cargo would be responsible.
Maintenance personnel. Finally, if an issue was found and not addressed during the truck’s regular inspection, the maintenance personnel could be legally liable.
Factors in Determining Liability
When determining liability in a personal injury claim, you’ll have to look at several factors to see who was at fault. Per Illinois’ law of comparative negligence, fault can be shared between multiple parties. In a truck accident, you likely consider the following factors:
Truck Driver: If the driver was overly fatigued, or had inadequate training, either the driver or the company that employs them could be to blame.
Vehicle Driver: In other cases, it may have been the driver of the passenger vehicle who caused the crash. For instance, if they failed to signal a turn or didn’t give the truck enough space to pass, they could be at fault.
Road Conditions: Lastly, the road conditions could have contributed to the accident. If the roadway wasn’t maintained or if there was snow or ice, this too could have caused an accident.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
If you yourself were the victim of a truck accident, you may wish to file a personal injury claim to seek damages. If you’re filing on behalf of a loved one who lost their life in a semi-truck accident, you can file a wrongful death claim. Possible damages could include:
pain and suffering, or
(in cases of wrongful death) funeral and burial costs.
Truck Accident Attorney Serving Peoria, Illinois
If you’re in the Peoria, Illinois, area and would like to speak with an experienced lawyer about your options for compensation after a commercial trucking accident, contact me at The Law Office of David Hunt. I’ll listen to your story, thoroughly examine your case, and work aggressively to secure the full compensation you and your family need to move forward from the accident.