Choosing the correct lawyer to represent you after a truck accident could be the difference between you receiving the damages you’re owed and having to pay out of pocket for your expenses.
If you have been in an accident, but aren’t sure what steps to take next, start working with a Chicago truck accident lawyer at Langdon & Emison right away.
What is the Truck’s “Black Box” and What Does It Track?
Whether your truck accident claim ends in a settlement or a verdict, evidence is everything. The so-called “black box” can provide the proof you need to get the compensation you deserve.
This is just one area your truck accident lawyer will explore when building your case. Here are a few types of truck technology they’ll inquire about.
Electronic Control Modules
Electronic control modules are built into the engines of trucks by the manufacturers. These systems register whether there is a malfunction in the engine or its parts. Initially, these were designed to assist manufacturers in denying fraudulent warranty claims. Now, they can be used to assist plaintiffs in truck accident cases.
The electronic control module is required in all modern tractor-trailers. They are the systems that turn on the dashboard warning indicators of a malfunction in the truck’s systems. An electronic control module records information on the engine performance, fuel efficiency, cruise and climate controls, mechanical problems, airbag systems, and diagnostic findings.
Electronic control modules can help determine if a vehicle system failure was the cause of the accident.
Electronic Logging Devices
Electronic logging devices are a way to monitor a truck driver’s records. These are set up to send information back to the trucking company regarding the driver’s hours logged, breaks, average speeds, and more relevant information about their performance. They are federally mandated as a way to combat exhausted drivers and companies who don’t give their drivers breaks.
However, some drivers choose to ignore these legal limits, which are recorded on these electronic logging devices. These can be invaluable in proving driver error.
Event Data Recorders
Event data recorders are not constantly running. They are triggered by an event associated with a truck accident, such as hard braking or loss of grip on the tires. Typically, these recorders do not contain information from before the crash. In some cases, they may register speed data from five to twenty seconds before the impact. These devices record brake application, speed, throttle percentage, engine RPM, and cruise control.
Event data recorders can show what happened immediately before and after the accident. For example, they can show if the driver was going too fast right before impact or if the tires were spinning more than usual, showing a lack of traction.
Why Commercial Truck Black Boxes Are Crucial for Tractor-Trailer Accident Victims
Truck black boxes are very valuable when investigating an accident. Unlike other car accidents, where investigators have to rely on word-of-mouth reports, copious amounts of data can be used to determine fault in a truck accident.
However, data extraction can be complex. Different systems require special extraction techniques. Since black boxes have a finite amount of recording space, there is the risk of them being recorded over before an investigator can analyze the data.
A Chicago truck accident lawyer will have access to specialists who can retrieve the data and interpret it. They will also be able to file injunctions to prevent the trucking companies from destroying the data before it can be evaluated.
What To Do After a Truck Accident in Chicago
The moments after a truck accident are critical.
After being involved in a crash, you are likely to feel confused and anxious. Knowing what to do after the truck accident can make all the difference.
Follow these steps if you’ve been in a truck accident in Chicago:
1. Contact the Police.
The first thing to do after a truck accident is to notify the police. They will arrive on the scene to handle traffic direction, take statements, investigate the scene, and ensure that all parties get medical attention, if necessary.
You will need a police report to file your claim for damages. Collect the officer’s name and badge number for later reference. Be polite and helpful with the police, but remember to protect your rights. Don’t admit fault, minimize your injuries, or make any assumptions in your statements.
2. Gather Evidence.
Although the police will gather evidence, it’s important to have your own evidence for your claim. This can back up the police report if the defense disputes their claims. It can also help you dispute the report if you find any errors in it.
Gather witness names and contact information. Take photos of the damage, the scene, and the weather and road conditions. Exchange information with the other driver. Make notes about the crash. When the adrenaline and shock wear off, it may be difficult to remember them.
3. Seek Medical Treatment.
Car and truck accident victims often think they are fine after an accident, only to realize that they have sustained an injury hours or days later. Inflammation and swelling can take time to appear. See a physician after your accident to ensure that you do not accidentally aggravate the injury without knowing.
Seeking medical treatment allows you to get official documentation about your physical state after the crash. The insurance company will have a harder time disproving your injuries if you have a medical report.
4. Keep a Truck Accident File.
You’ve gathered evidence and sought treatment, which means you now have a collection of items related to your accident. Create a truck accident file where you can keep all of the documents and evidence related to your claims for ease of finding later. Remember to keep all of the bills relating to your treatment or the property damage caused by the truck accident.
5. Contact Your Insurance Company.
Your insurance company will require you to file a claim after your truck accident. Depending on your policy, they may require you to file a claim before you take your car in for repair following the accident.
When speaking to your insurance company, remember that they are going to try to pay out as little as possible, regardless of what is in your best interest. Provide them with all of the evidence you have to help support your claim.
6. Contact a Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer.
Truck accident lawsuits are an uphill battle. While it may seem like the hard work is over, it’s only just beginning. Langdon & Emison know that you don’t need the stress of a lawsuit when you’re trying to heal after a traumatic accident.
Our team of expert truck accident attorneys is here to help. Let us make your legal claim simple, so you can focus on healing.
7. Focus on Your Recovery.
Continue following your doctor’s recommended treatment while your truck accident lawyers handle your case for you. Following the doctor’s orders can impact your case, as showing that you are taking your recovery seriously tells the courts that you are actually injured and that the prescribed treatments are necessary.
Causes of Chicago Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can occur on any road in any type of weather. This means that drivers of smaller vehicles have to be on high alert when driving near large commercial trucks. It’s daunting to drive beside a truck when you assume that the driver is in full control. To learn that many are not in control of their big rigs is very frightening.
Although truck drivers require special licenses and testing, many are put in dangerous situations by their trucking companies. The companies pay drivers based on their delivery rate. This leads to drivers working through legally required breaks, sleeping for less time, and eating on the road. Companies will also overload trucks with cargo to hit delivery targets. These negligent practices lead to truck accidents on Chicago’s roadways.
Although human error is not always the cause of truck accidents, they are some of the most common causes of collisions.
Common causes of truck accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Impaired driving
- Lack of experience
- Overloading the vehicle
- Failure by the company to train the drivers
- Failure to inspect the vehicle
- Defective tires
- Faulty brakes
- Manufacturer error
- Poor weather conditions
- Passenger car error, including cutting off a truck or driving recklessly
Common Types of Truck Accident Injuries
Truck accident injuries are far more severe than car accident injuries. The size and weight of trucks increase the chances of a fatality due to an accident. The National Institute of Traffic and Highway Safety found that 73% of all injuries and fatalities as a result of truck accidents are suffered by the people in the regular passenger vehicle.
Even if the truck accident doesn’t result in a fatality, the crash can leave victims with lifelong impairments. They may have survived, but they have to live with a decreased quality of life going forward.
The common types of truck accident injuries are:
- Back and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal injuries
- Rib injuries
- Seat belt injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Wrongful death
If you or a loved one has suffered any of these common truck accident injuries in a Chicago crash, call (312) 872-3389 to find out how Langdon & Emison can help you get your life back today.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer in Chicago?
Hiring an expert Chicago truck accident lawyer doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Langdon & Emison works on a contingency basis, meaning that you don’t pay a thing until we win your case.
After losing so much in a traumatic accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about paying more bills. That’s why we pay for expert witnesses and investigators to support your case. You won’t have to spend a penny until we get you the damages you deserve.
What Damages Can I Collect in a Chicago Semi-Truck Accident?
The damages that you can collect after a Chicago truck accident vary based on the losses that you suffer from the collision. The severity of your injuries, the extent of the property damage, and any loss of life can alter the types of damages that you’re eligible to collect.
Victims of car accidents can collect economic damages as compensation for the losses they received that can be readily calculated via bills or missed time at work. These include the costs of medical bills, rehabilitation costs, prescription fees, lost wages due to time off work, home modifications, physical therapy, and any mobility devices required after the accident.
Victims can also collect non-economic damages, which refer to compensation for injuries that don’t have a financial price tag attached to them. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish, permanent disfigurement, diminished quality of life, emotional stress, and loss of companionship.
If you lost a loved one in a Chicago truck accident, your lawyer may file for wrongful death damages. These damages are compensation to cover the deceased’s medical expenses, funeral arrangements, their wages that you relied on, and the emotional impact of their loss on your life.
How Our Chicago Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help You
At Langdon & Emison, we treat our clients as people. We only take on cases that we are certain we can win. You don’t pay until we’ve got you the highest compensation possible.
Our reputation as expert personal injury litigation attorneys have earned our clients almost $1 billion in damages.
Maximum Results for Big Truck Wreck Victims
A study by Nolo found that 90% of car accident victims who hired a lawyer received a settlement. Those who defended themselves only received a settlement 50% of the time. The same study found that the settlements reached with the help of lawyers had a value four times higher than that of the victims who represented themselves.
An expert attorney can recover more damages because they understand the tricks that insurance companies play and won’t back down from a fight.
Call a Chicago Truck Accident Attorney Today
Langdon & Emison has over three decades of experience serving clients in Chicago. Whether you’re from Cook County, DuPage County, Will County, Kane County, Lake County, or anywhere else in downstate Illinois, you can be certain that our team will protect your rights.
Call us today for a no-obligation consultation with a truck accident lawyer. You don’t pay until we win your case.
Truck Accident Questions and Answers
What can I do to protect my rights after a truck accident?
There are several steps you can take to protect your rights after a truck accident. Immediately following the collision, be sure to:
- Collect your own evidence at the scene of the accident
- Take pictures of the scene
- Collect witness statements
- Document your damages and maintain receipts
- Avoid statements of guilt
- Do not speak to the other driver’s representatives or insurance company without consulting your lawyer
The best way to protect your rights is to have someone committed to defending them. Hire a Langdon & Emison truck accident lawyer today to protect your right to compensation and defend you against greedy insurance companies.
What should I do if someone from the trucking insurance company calls me before I’ve picked a truck accident lawyer?
To begin, here are three things that you should not do if the trucking insurance company calls you:
- Sign anything they provide you with
- Give an admission of fault or say anything that could be interpreted as such
- Give a recorded statement
Saying the wrong thing to a trucking insurance company can result in financial injury on top of the trauma you have already suffered. Insurance carriers are likely to twist your words to lower their payout. Remember, they are not calling you to check on your wellbeing; they are calling to collect information to defend themselves against a claim.
The best course of action is to ask for their name and contact information. Avoid responding to any questions. Even “I’m doing well” can be twisted negatively. Tell them that your lawyer will contact them to discuss the matter.
Once you get off the phone with the insurance company, reach out to Langdon & Emison’s Chicago truck accident lawyers. Give your new attorney the insurance company representative’s contact information.
What should I tell the police at the scene of a truck accident?
You are legally obligated to call the police to the scene of a truck accident in Chicago. While the police are there to assist all parties involved, they are not focused on protecting your rights. This means that you need to be careful about what you say to them.
Never admit fault at the scene of an accident. Apologizing can be seen as an acknowledgment of fault. Do not give a statement to anyone except the police at the scene of the accident. Keep your statement brief and factual. Provide all of the necessary information about what you remember of the accident without speculation. Do not say that you have no injuries until a medical doctor clears you.
Following these guidelines makes it infinitely easier for your Chicago truck accident lawyer to defend your case to the courts, as a police record will not disagree with your testimony.
Who can be sued in a truck accident case?
Any person or company directly responsible for the cause of the truck accident can be sued in a truck accident case. The defendant will vary depending on the cause of the accident. For example, if the accident was due to driver error, you can sue the truck driver and potentially the trucking company, if their practices forced the driver to drive unsafely.
However, if a malfunctioning part of the commercial truck caused the accident, you would not sue the driver. Instead, you’d sue the repair shop or manufacturer who supplied the part.
It is possible to sue the company shipping goods if they do not disclose that their goods contain hazardous materials. Government bodies can be sued if poor road maintenance or broken traffic signals caused the accident.
If you are unsure who to sue for your truck accident case, contact Langdon & Emison for a free, no-obligation consultation. We will help you determine who was at fault and how to proceed with your claim.