Question

In Illinois, Why Do Truck Accident Legal Cases Have To Be Handled Differently Than Car Accident Cases?

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Timothy S. Mahoney - Personal Injury - General - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Timothy S. Mahoney

Located in Freeport, ILMahoney & Mahoney, LLC

Freeport, IL
Phone: 815-656-4600

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Answer

With a motor vehicle accident that involves a semitruck, many victims assume it’s exactly like an accident involving two cars – you exchange insurance information, and you move forward with your life.

The reality is this: Car accidents and truck accidents must be approached very differently.

The first reason for this relates to the severity of the accidents.

Truck accidents aren’t fender-benders. Truck accidents often cause catastrophic injuries, and victims in truck accidents sometimes don’t survive.

As a result, there’s a lot more money at stake – and this drastically changes how the involved parties must deal with the aftermath.

Determining Who’s At Fault

That brings us to the issue of fault.

With a truck accident, many different parties could be responsible for the accident.

  • It could be the driver, who was distracted or driving too fast for the conditions.
  • It could be the trucking company, which forced the driver to be on the road without adequate rest.
  • It could be the owner of the cab or the trailer.
  • It could be the manufacturer of the tires, brakes, or other part of the truck.

 

When there are many layers of fault, it’s important to meticulously analyze every element of the accident. Careful examination will help to determine who is responsible for paying compensation to the victims.

How To Preserve Evidence

After a truck accident, it’s important for the victim to have a lawyer who can act quickly and make the right decisions. There truly is no time to waste. A lawyer who’s experienced with truck accident cases will immediately do several things:

  • Send a spoliation letter to opposing parties. A spoliation letter asks that all relevant evidence be preserved. This is crucial, because it is common for parties involved in truck accidents to destroy evidence. In fact, in some cases, companies have been known to destroy their trucks.
  • Download the truck data as soon as possible. Modern trucks have equipment that records vast amounts of information. To preserve your legal rights and to understand what caused an accident, it’s important for your attorney to gather the data before it’s destroyed. It might seem outlandish that a company would alter data, but it happens all the time when millions of dollars are on the line.
  • Have an experienced truck crash investigator on the scene as soon as possible. The trucking companies and their insurers dispatch their people to the accident scene immediately. You need to have someone there too, who’s looking out for you and your rights. 

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a truck, the victim and his or her family might be entitled to compensation. It’s imperative that you contact an attorney who knows what to do with these types of cases.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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