Decatur Truck Accident Attorney
In the most recent available statistics from 2016, tractor trailers – also known as semis or trucks – were involved in 11,031 crashes, comprising 2.8% of injury crashes and 10.6% of fatal crashes. For the most part, the drivers or other occupants of the trucks were not among those injured in the accidents, making up only 10% of total truck accident injuries. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a large truck accident, contact the Decatur accident attorneys from Kanoski Bresney right away. Our experienced and top-rated team are tough advocates for truck accident victims.
Why Choose Our Firm?
- We are trial lawyers who are not afraid of large corporations and their teams of attorneys. We will not hesitate to take your case to court to recover the compensation you deserve if this will best serve your interests.
- We have a long and successful track record, with more than 40 years of experience and over $400 million recovered for our clients.
- We are the largest personal injury law firm in Central Illinois, with 12 experienced lawyers and more than two dozen staff to handle your truck accident claim.
Decatur Truck Accident Resources:
- When should I hire a truck accident lawyer?
- How do I prove negligence in a truck accident claim?
- Who is liable in a truck accident?
- What are the current federal trucking regulations?
- What are the most common causes of truck accidents?
- Truck Accident Statistics
When Should You Hire a Truck Accident Attorney?
Truck accidents are typically complex cases, involving federal regulations and multiple potentially responsible parties. Trucking companies and their insurers have teams of lawyers standing by to fight your claim. Our experienced Decatur truck accident attorneys can:
- Thoroughly investigate your accident
- Obtain and preserve evidence
- Determine and prove liability
- Negotiate skillfully with insurance companies on your behalf
- Fight for the compensation you deserve in court, if necessary
How to Prove Negligence in a Truck Accident?
An individual who has been involved in a truck accident may wish to file a personal injury suit to obtain compensation for his or her injuries. If the truck driver broke a traffic law and caused the accident, which the police then filed on their report, the individual’s insurance company will likely seek compensation from either the driver or the company’s insurance company.
In cases where the accident was a result of driver exhaustion due to illegal company policy, the situation becomes more complicated. The injured party must prove that the driver, the company, or both contributed to or directly caused the accident as a result of the driver’s exhaustion. The company is legally obligated to ensure its drivers are taking federally mandated breaks, while the driver is legally obligated to drive safely. Failure to do either is a sign of negligence.
Trucking companies could formerly escape fault by claiming the driver was an owner-operator, but new laws now make it easier to hold the company accountable as well. Certain situations do exist where only the truck driver is at fault. A personal injury attorney has the experience to handle these complicated at-fault determinations.
Who Is Liable?
A truck driver may be liable for accidents due to distracted driving, operating while intoxicated, or breaking traffic laws and procedures for proper merging, yielding, and stopping. Similarly, if investigators find the truck driver was speeding, he or she may be liable for a resulting accident. Perhaps the most infamous cause of truck-related accidents is exhaustion. There may be several parties potentially liable for your truck accident injuries. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to seek compensation from the:
- Truck driver: Driver negligence is the cause of many large truck collisions.
- Trucking company: When they place profit over safety, trucking companies may fail to maintain equipment or make unreasonable demands of their drivers.
- Truck or parts manufacturer: If a defective truck or its parts contributed to your accident, manufacturers, and sellers may be liable.
- Cargo company: An overloaded truck or improperly loaded cargo is a common cause of accidents involving semi tractor-trailers.
Current Trucking Regulations
The federal government regulates trucking standards and provides a variety of situation-specific clauses.
- 11-hour rule. Truck drivers may not drive more than 11 consecutive hours after each 10 consecutive hour break.
- 14-hour rule. Truck drivers may not drive more than 14 hours, consecutive or not, past each 10 consecutive hour break. If the driver takes a break, the break does not extend the 14-hour period.
- 8-hour rule. Truck drivers may not drive unless 8 hours or less have passed since the driver’s last break of at least 30 minutes.
- 60–70-hour rule. Truck drivers may not exceed 60 to 70 hours on duty in 7 to 8 consecutive days. However, the period may restart again after a driver has been off-duty for at least 34 consecutive hours.
- Sleeper berth. If a driver has a sleeper berth and chooses to use this provision, the driver must take 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus two more consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth or off duty.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
In the Large Truck Crash Causation Study Analysis Brief, FMCSA reports on the findings of research regarding the causes of large truck accidents. Researchers assigned the critical reason for the crash to 55% of the large trucks involved in accidents. The top 10 factors contributing to an accident that researchers associated with large trucks and their drivers are:
- Brake problems
- Interruption of traffic flow (wreck, traffic congestion, etc.)
- Prescription drug use
- Traveling too fast for conditions
- Unfamiliarity with roadway
- Roadway problems
- Truck required to stop before a crash (traffic light, crosswalk)
- Over-the-counter drug use
- Inadequate surveillance
- Driver fatigue
Sleep Deprivation in Truck Drivers
Truck drivers drive a considerable number of miles each year, and experience delivery and other deadlines that compel them to reach certain destinations at certain times. As a result, some drivers may push the limits of their ability to drive safely in an effort to make delivery times. If a company fails to educate its drivers about the hazards of driving while tired, drivers may drive unsafely.
Some companies employ compensation systems that incentivize faster delivery times, resulting in faster truck speeds or driving more hours than may be safe. Even if not incentivized, companies that expect unreasonable delivery times encourage drivers to adopt unsafe habits to meet demands. As a result, federal standards were put into place regulating the number of hours truck drivers may operate their vehicles.
Truck Accident Statistics
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that:
- 4,213 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2016, representing a three percent increase from the previous year.
- 145,000 people in the U.S. were injured in traffic crashes involving large trucks in 2016.
- Of approximately 475,000 police-reported truck accidents, 3,864 caused fatalities and 104,000 caused injuries.
- 27% of fatal construction zone crashes and 8% of construction zone injury crashes involve at least one large truck.
- 83% of people who died in large truck accidents were not large truck occupants.
Contact Us for Help
With an experienced Decatur truck accident attorney by your side, you have a better chance of recovering full compensation for your injuries. Call Kanoski Bresney today to schedule a consultation. Our Decatur truck accident lawyers can advise you of your options under the law.