While some may joke about feeling as if they were hit by a truck on one of their “bad days,” to those who actually have been in an accident involving a large truck, this is not laughing matter. Truck drivers do not have an easy job, but it is one they have chosen. While everyone carries with them some personal responsibility, commercial drivers go through additional training and health checking requirements in order to assure that they are doing the best job possible in order to keep themselves and others on the road safe. Still, accidents happen. When they do, it leaves many looking for a Chicago truck accident attorney.
Truck Accidents in Illinois
According to statistics compiled by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), in 2011, 835 fatal crashes happened in the state of Illinois, killing 918 people. While just over 6% of these accidents involved large trucks, these crashes were responsible for nearly 13% of all injuries that year, a total of 117 people in the state. In these crashes, more than 4,000 experienced non-fatal injuries. Whether the crash results in fatal injuries or not, over half of those hurt are the drivers of other types of vehicles involved in the crash. The passengers of the other vehicles are also injured or killed more often than the driver of the commercial truck. Injured passengers account for 23% of injuries in large truck crashes, and 18% of fatalities. The actual truck drivers were killed in 14% of crashes, and injured in 18% of them. Non-occupants, such as pedestrians, and bicyclists, accounted for 12% of fatalities, and 3% of non-fatal injuries. Regardless of the specifics of an individual accident, more than three quarters of the time it is someone other than the truck driver that pays the price.
Who Causes Truck Accidents?
When it comes to who causes truck accidents, there are multiple people to blame. There many things about the industry itself that are faulty. For example, truck drivers are often encouraged to deliver their hauls quickly and work long hours to do so. Even with regulations in place limiting the number of hours a truck driver should work in a day, per week, and requirements for rest breaks, a truck driver’s work week is often far longer and more strenuous than most, leaving even the most experienced drivers vulnerable to fatigue.
Other drivers also make mistakes and sometimes fail to recognize just how much power is behind a large rig. Mistakes made merging, passing, and driving too close to a truck where the driver does not have proper visibility can also create dangerous situations that can contribute to the cause of a truck crash. Other actions, such as speeding, driving distracted, being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, or driving while sleepy or fatigued also adds to a person’s risk of being in an accident.
When a Crash Happens
For those who are involved in a truck accident, it is important to take the proper steps and contact an experienced Chicago truck accident attorney as soon as possible. If the person is seriously or fatally injured, their family and friends will need to take the initiative to get things going for either a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. They can also help by making sure a police report is filed at the accident scene, and by taking pictures of the damaged vehicle and gathering statements from witnesses and medical professionals. As much as possible, a person who has been injured in a truck accident should track the different ways their lives are affected by the accident. This can range from noting the added difficulties they experience in everyday life, to time they miss at work, to actual medical bills and more. An experienced Chicago truck accident attorney will be able to analyze this information and use it to build a strong case, increasing the chances that the accident victim will be able to obtain a satisfactory settlement that they can use to help them move forward in the future.