An Illinois Truck Accident Lawyer Who Knows How To Win
An attorney focused on helping you recover maximum compensation
Trucks can be seen every day in the Champaign-Urbana area and throughout Central Illinois. Tractor-trailers carry cargo down the interstate. Big rigs make deliveries to businesses in the city. We usually don’t give trucks a second thought. But when a passenger car is involved in a crash with one of these trucks, people can be seriously hurt.
The injuries from these accidents can be devastating to both the victims and their families. At The Cerasa Law Firm P.C., we can help you track down all of the parties who need to answer for this tragedy. We never lose sight of how your life was impacted. You deserve the fullest compensation possible to recover from what happened.
Truck accidents are much different from other types of accidents. Not only can a truck do far more damage than a car, determining all of the liable parties is somewhat trickier. While the truck driver may have been the person most directly responsible for the accident, their employer and the truck owner can also play a role in these cases.
Insurance companies and truck driver employers are used to defending themselves against truck accident claims. While they may seem friendly, their ultimate goal is to minimize their responsibility. They may even offer you an early settlement right away, but you should not forfeit your right to legal action without speaking with an attorney first.
What are the different types of truck accidents?
Tractor-trailers (also called 18-wheelers, semi-trucks or big rigs) have a high center of gravity and require a longer distance than other vehicles to come to a complete stop. When there is a driver error or something else goes wrong, many types of accidents can occur. These include:
- Rollover accidents: A tractor-trailer ILip over completely onto its side or back.
- Jackknife accidents: The cab of a tractor-trailer and the trailer fold in on each other, forming the shape of a folding jackknife.
- Underride accidents: A passenger car slides underneath the trailer of an 18-wheeler.
- Rear-End accidents: A tractor-trailer crashes into the back of a passenger car.
- Blind Spot accidents: A truck tries to make a turn, switch lanes, or merge into traffic and hits a passenger car that the driver doesn’t see.
- Head-On accidents: The front of a tractor-trailer crashes into the front of a passenger car.
How do trucking companies respond when there’s an accident?
Trucking companies have a lot of resources at their disposal, including investigators and lawyers. When there’s been an accident, they put these resources to work right away. A response team is often sent to the scene of the accident. Their job is to take steps to protect the company.
The response team takes photos and talks to witnesses. They also gather information from the truck’s event data recorder (the “black box”) and hours of service logs. This information is owned by the trucking company. That’s why it’s important to talk to an experienced attorney, who can take steps to preserve this evidence.
There are many factors that make pursuing compensation after a truck accident complicated. One is that there can be many parties involved. These can include the truck driver, the trucking company, the owner of the trailer, the owner of cargo, the company that loaded the cargo, the truck manufacturer and the manufacturer of any defective parts on the truck. And each party can have its own lawyer and insurance company.
Another factor is that the trucking company owns much of the information that can help prove negligence. This includes information from devices on the truck as well as employment and maintenance records. Also, trucking companies and insurance companies will put a lot of time and effort into fighting your claim, because they know there’s a lot of money at stake.
A truck can be incredibly dangerous if mishandled. Anyone who drives or utilizes a truck's services needs to understand that they are taking an important responsibility in order to ensure the safety of other drivers. There are numerous state and federal regulations that truckers and their employers must follow to limit their liability and maintain safety on the highways. Unfortunately, these rules are often broken or ignored in order to meet demanding deadlines. When these rules are broken, the fault for an accident usually lies with the trucker and the person who entrusted the truck to the driver.
Here are some of the federal regulations imposed on truck drivers:
- Drivers must pass a physical exam every 2 years
- Drivers can only work up to 70 hours in 8 consecutive days
- Drivers must keep a record of their time at work, including all stops
- Drivers can only drive up to 11 hours per day before a 10-hour rest
Many truck drivers are pressured to break these rules to speed up deliveries, which is why fault lies just as much with the employer as the drivers themselves.
You can seek compensation for all medical expenses related to the treatment of the injuries you suffered. This includes treatment you need now and will need in the future. For example, you may need surgery, hospitalization, medication, physical therapy, home health care and multiple follow-up visits with doctors.
In addition, you can seek compensation for lost wages you suffered if you couldn’t work because of your injuries, as well as loss of future earnings if you are no longer able to work. You may also be able to recover compensation for other types of damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life.
If you were hurt in a truck accident in Champaign, Urbana or in Central Illinois, it’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible. Attorney Michael Cerasa is ready to meet with you to talk about what happened and go over your legal options. If we represent you, you owe us nothing unless we recover compensation. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
There are around thousands of truck accidents in Illinois every year - and many of them are avoidable. When a truck crashes, it’s almost always the people in passenger cars, bicycles, and pedestrians who pay the highest price.
If you or a loved one was in a truck accident, you’re probably in pain, out of work, and uncertain about what to do next. While still reeling from the shock of a collision with an 80,000-pound truck, you may start getting calls from insurance adjusters eager to have you agree to a settlement. The Cerasa Law Firm P.C. knows that these are almost always lowball offers.
It doesn’t matter how serious your injuries are or that you did nothing to cause the accident. Insurance companies want to pay you as little as possible. Taking an offer may be tempting – especially as the medical bills pile up and everyday expenses are put on credit cards – but don’t fall for it. Get an experienced attorney on your side.
Truck accidents are inILuenced by numerous factors but are often caused by sheer negligence. There are hundreds of factors that can lead to truck crashes reasons why trucks crash, but the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has identified the most common crash causes. They include:
- Brake problems
- Traffic jams or congestion
- Prescription drug use
- Unfamiliarity with roadway
- Missed a required stop like a stoplight, stop sign or crosswalk
- Roadway problems
- Over-the-counter drug use
- Inadequate surveillance, lack of driver education.
Digging deeper into the cause of truck accidents, the FMCSA found that the biggest risk factor for determining the likelihood of a crash is cargo placement. If a truck is overloaded, improperly loaded, and/or overweight the chances that it will cause a crash skyrocket.
In addition to cargo-shift and weight, other factors that often contribute to truck crashes include:
- Illegal truck-driving maneuvers
- Tailgating, following too close
- Driver illness
- Distracted driving
- Tire problems
- Illegal drugs and alcohol.
Whatever caused the truck accident that led to your injuries, vehicle or other property damages, if negligence led to the crash that left you hurt, you deserve compensation. This includes compensation for medical bills, lost wages, reduced earning potential, and future accident-related costs, among other things.
It’s unfair, but most insurance companies don’t care about the promises their policies make, how important you are to your family, or if you ever recover. Their first settlement offer is likely to be far less than what your case is worth. Attorney Cerasa knows that without strong legal representation, there is virtually no pressure on them to budge from their first too-small offer.
Our firm represents most accident victims on contingency, which means that there is no down payment, no hourly wage, and no retainer for you to cover. Our fee is calculated into your final settlement or verdict. The at-fault person’s insurance company pays your compensation as well as our legal fee. We only get paid when we win.