Illinois Trucking Accident Lawyers
LEGAL HELP FOR ILLINOIS TRUCKING ACCIDENT INJURY VICTIMS
Illinois — the Prairie State and Land of Lincoln — is in the heart of the American Midwest. Home to an estimated 12.8 million residents, Illinois is one of the nation’s top manufacturing and agricultural states. Although a bulk of the population resides in the Chicago area, the state is crisscrossed by a plethora of interstate highways, connecting major cities and states alike. From I-57 and I-80 to I-70 and Interstate 64, Illinois’ moniker as a national crossroads is easy to understand.
These major highways allow businesses and corporations to transport their products and goods to every corner of the country. Unfortunately, these Illinois thoroughfares are no stranger to commercial trucking accidents. Each year, thousands of accidents involving semi-trucks occur on the roadways, resulting in severe injuries and death. In 2014, there were 111 people killed in crashes involving a large truck in the state of Illinois alone.
Most trucking accidents are unnecessary and entirely preventable. If trucking companies and drivers follow the appropriate safety rules prescribed by federal and state law, many people would still be living full and prosperous lives. When tragedy strikes, you need a trucking injury attorney with the experience and resources to take on the largest trucking companies in the country. Thomas J. Henry has helped trucking injury victims throughout the nation stand up against these companies and achieve record-breaking results.
At Thomas J. Henry, we understand how difficult it is to work when you have sustained a severe, life-changing injury due to a semi-truck or other commercial vehicle. That is why we advance your court costs and litigation expenses. In addition, we can advance you money for living and medical expenses — interest free. You spend nothing and you pay zero attorney’s fees unless we win your trucking accident case. Thomas J. Henry is dedicated to developing your case properly and keeping clients comfortable and informed throughout the entire process.
THE LEGAL RESOURCES TO WIN YOUR ILLINOIS TRUCKING ACCIDENT CASE
In order to successfully take on the largest trucking companies in the United States, you need a personal injury firm with the necessary resources to do so. Thomas J. Henry ensures your case is handled with efficiency and effectiveness from intake to resolution. Our experienced Illinois trucking accident attorneys are dedicated to our clients’ needs, available day or night to take your call and hear your concerns.
- At Thomas J. Henry, we conduct business in a state-of-the-art technological environment conducive for innovation and efficiency. Our injury attorneys are constantly applying innovative and cutting-edge solutions to the management of your case. We employ the best case management, client interaction, and information security solutions to make sure your case files are readily available at any time and from anywhere. Equipping our attorneys with the best technology possible ensures that our clients are kept up-to-date and informed.
- In addition to being available 24/7, our attorneys are accessible from anywhere on the globe. Not only can our experienced injury lawyers access your case files from anywhere, but through satellite technology, cutting-edge mobile technologies, and jet services, they can meet with you wherever it is convenient. At the click of a mouse, our team of experienced Illinois accident lawyers can stream live video of evidence and depositions to any courtroom in the country.
- In every trucking accident case, we use an array of knowledgeable experts from across the nation to give expert reports and testimony on your behalf. Experts can bring significant and powerful specialized knowledge that will enhance the facts of your case. Thomas J. Henry has spent years finding the best experts in the country — each one thoroughly examined and questioned before ever participating in your case. Our attorneys are always looking for inventive and innovative ways to use expert knowledge.
- Examples of expert trucking witnesses can include:
- Commercial motor vehicle compliance consultants
- Automotive forensic consultants
- Accident reconstructionists
- General equipment technical experts
- Hazardous materials experts
- Physicians, radiologists, surgeons, pharmacists, and other medical professionals
WHAT DO I DO AFTER A TRUCK ACCIDENT?
There are certain things you can do following an Illinois trucking accident that will help your case in the future. Here are some tips to follow:
- Stop immediately after the crash and assess the situation
- Accidents can be disorienting. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Make sure it is safe outside your vehicle before attempting to exit.
- Make the accident visible
- Use your vehicle hazard lights, set out reflectors, or use road flares to signal to other motorists that there is a crash scene approaching.
- Notify the police
- Contact your local police department or call 911 if there is an emergency. Filing a police report is an important step in filing insurance claims. Be sure that paramedics arrive on the scene to care for any injuries sustained in the crash.
- Record the facts and take pictures
- Speak with responding officers and be as accurate as possible, but do not speculate about facts surrounding the accident or any injuries you may have incurred. In addition, take pictures of damage to your vehicle, the scene of the accident, any injuries you or passengers suffered, or anything else that may help your case in the future.
- Gather and exchange information
- Collect the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all parties involved in the accident as well as any witnesses to the crash. Obtain the insurance information of all drivers involved, too.
- Seek medical attention
- Sometimes injuries or pain from the accident won’t become apparent until days after the crash. If you are uncertain if you suffered an injury, err on the side of caution and get a check-up from your physician.
- Report the accident to your insurance company
- Contact your insurance company as soon as you can. As your claim is processed, keep a log of any medical expenses or crash-related expenses as well as any changes in health. Avoid speaking with other insurance companies or trucking company claims adjusters.
- Contact an experienced truck accident lawyer
- Attorneys are responsible for protecting your rights as an accident victim and for making sure insurance companies are acting in your best interest. At Thomas J. Henry, we will immediately work to obtain and preserve evidence from the accident, give you legal advice, and ensure you receive ample medical attention. Our experienced Illinois trucking injury lawyers will make sure you are comfortable and informed throughout the entire process and will pursue every option available to obtain the compensation you deserve.
COMMON ILLINOIS TRUCKING VIOLATIONS THAT RESULT IN ACCIDENTS
Semi-truck accidents are commonly caused by several traffic violations, the severity of which is due to the massive weight differential between 18-wheelers and passenger vehicles. Semi-trucks in the United States can weigh up to 40 tons, which is 20 times heavier than a typical passenger car.
Here are ten common violations that lead to trucking accidents:
- Following too closely
- Improper lane changing
- Improper turning
- Driving while impaired
- Parking on the shoulder
- Driving while fatigued
- Improper loading
- Failure to maintain vehicle
- Distracted driving
Because of the size and weight differential, trucking accidents likely result in serious or fatal injuries. This is why it is imperative that trucking companies and their employees strictly adhere to the guidelines and regulations laid out for them that are made to keep you and your loved ones safe on the road.
WHO CAN BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR MY TRUCKING ACCIDENT INJURY?
In the case of a trucking accident, there are several parties that could potentially be negligent, making trucking injury cases more complex than others. Our trucking accident lawyers have the knowledge and expertise to find out who was negligent in your case and who can be sued. Potential liable parties include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The commercial motor vehicle manufacturer (for example, in the case of a defective vehicle or part)
Understanding how trucking companies operate gives us an advantage when pursuing actual and punitive damages for our clients. Thomas J. Henry has consistently demonstrated through expansive discovery, depositions, and massive use of experts exactly how trucking companies and drivers have caused injuries and deaths that were completely avoidable.
WHAT ARE ECM AND GPS DEVICES?
Many commercial motor vehicles and Department of Transportation-regulated vehicles contain Electronic Control Modules (ECM) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) onboard. Following a semi-truck accident, these devices can contain vital information and facts about the circumstances of the crash. ECM and GPS devices track and record the movement of the truck, such as the speed of the truck and the routes driven prior to the accident. In addition, these devices can record the driving habits of the truck driver. The acquisition of these devices can be paramount in finding liability and negligence in a trucking accident case.
Thomas J. Henry achieve successful, record-breaking verdicts and settlements for trucking injury victims because we know how the trucking industry operates. Our lawyers understand that immediate acquisition of the ECM and GPS devices could be a determining factor in the case. Your choice of injury attorney matters. In order to be put in the best position possible to achieve the compensation you deserve, you need trucking injury attorneys with experience, legal resources, and tenacity to develop your case to its maximum potential.
FEDERAL TRUCKING GUIDELINES HELP PREVENT HIGHWAY ACCIDENTS
There are various federal trucking regulations and guidelines in place to help keep other drivers safe on the roadways. Problems occur when drivers and companies fail to comply with these rules, putting motorists at risk. Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations contains all of the rules and regulations pertaining to commercial motor vehicles and the people who operate them.
Commercial motor vehicle drivers are required to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). CDL holders are held to a higher standard and can lose their CDL certification by committing serious traffic violations. These are a few highlights of the requirements and regulations for commercial motor vehicle drivers:
- Drivers must be 21 years of age or older to drive across state lines or operate a vehicle containing hazardous materials.
- In Illinois, CDL holders must be 18 years of age or older to drive within the state.
- To be eligible for a CDL, drivers must have no prior disqualifying criminal offenses.
- Prior to obtaining a CDL, drivers must test for and obtain a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) and hold it for 14 days.
- In order to obtain a commercial learner’s permit, drivers must be cleared by a qualified medical examiner that they are physically able to operate a commercial vehicle.
- For commercial motor vehicle operators, the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is .04, compared to .08 for regular drivers.
- Truck drivers are banned from using handheld mobile phones while driving. Trucking companies are prohibited from allowing or requiring drivers to use handheld devices while driving.
- Drivers are prohibited from holding a CDL issued by more than one state or jurisdiction.
HOURS OF SERVICE (HOS) REGULATIONS
One of the leading causes of truck accidents is drowsy or fatigued drivers. Insufficient sleep can have the same negative effects on driving as consuming alcohol. All commercial motor vehicle operators, both property-carrying and passenger-carrying, must comply with hours of service regulations.
For property-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers,
- 11-Hour Driving Limit: May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- 14-Hour Limit: May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.
- 60/70-Hour On-Duty Limit: May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
- Sleeper Berth Provision: Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least eight consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate two consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.
For passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers,
- 10-Hour Driving Limit: May drive a maximum of 10 hours after eight consecutive hours off duty.
- 15-Hour On-Duty Limit: May not drive after having been on duty for 15 hours, following eight consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time is not included in the 15-hour period.
- 60/70-Hour On-Duty Limit: May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days.
- Sleeper Berth Provision: Drivers using a sleeper berth must take at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth, and may split the sleeper-berth time into two periods provided neither is less than 2 hours.
ILLINOIS STATE TRUCKING REGULATIONS
- Texting and driving ban: Texting while driving is considered a moving violation for commercial truck drivers. The ban applies to reading, composing, and sending of text messages.
- Federal regulation 395 exemption: Drivers within a 150-mile radius of their reporting location are not required to maintain a driver’s log.
- Agricultural driver exemption: During planting and harvesting season, drivers are exempt from the hours of service (HOS) regulations.
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED ILLINOIS TRUCKING ACCIDENT AND INJURY ATTORNEY
When hiring a lawyer to handle your trucking accident case, you need someone who is experienced and tenacious. You need a law firm that has the financial resources to develop your case properly. You need a team of injury attorneys that can take your call any time of the day or night. At Thomas J. Henry, we can do all of that and more. Our team of Illinois trucking accident attorneys are available to assist Illinois residents 24/7, nights and weekends. Thomas J. Henry has helped trucking injury victims throughout the nation stand up against large trucking companies and obtain real results.
Disclaimer: Any summary, description, or paraphrase of a regulatory requirement on this site is intended to provide general guidance only. Please consult the text of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for a full account of the applicable requirements.