Commercial and large truck accidents present critical issues for the trucking industry and all road users. Although large trucks account for less than 5% of registered vehicles nationwide and only 8% of the total miles driven, these vehicles are disproportionately involved in passenger vehicle occupant injuries and fatalities.
Federal and state laws allow accident victims to recover damages for their injuries due to another’s negligence. For nearly 40 years, the Lake County truck accident attorneys at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg have successfully represented accident victims in their personal injury claims. Contact BB&G to speak with an experienced attorney about your right to compensation after an accident.
Prevalence and Severity of Trucking Accidents in Lake County
According to recent data from the National Safety Council, there were 4,842 fatal large truck crashes in the last reporting year. During this time period, 107,000 large trucks were involved in crashes resulting in injuries.
In addition to national statistics, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) publishes the Illinois Crash Facts & Statistics every year. The report offers a comprehensive review of driver behavior that helps the IDOT understand why, where, and when accidents occur. The data is crucial to preventing injuries and fatalities on Illinois roadways.
Rate of Trucking Accidents in Lake County
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) yearly County Summary Crash Report reveals the following :
- 348 Lake County accidents involved tractors with semi-trailers;
- 11 Lake County accidents involved tractors without semi-trailers;
- 214 Lake County accidents involved a single-unit truck; and
- 59 Lake County accidents involving a single-unit truck with a trailer.
These numbers represent a 12% increase in traffic-related deaths from 2020. According to IDOT, the greatest number of crashes occurred on Fridays, with nearly 31,000 crashes in urban locations and over 18,000 in rural areas. Almost 68% of these crashes occurred between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Common Causes of Lake County Truck Accidents
Many federal and state policies often regulate driving behavior without regard to vehicle type (e.g., limiting blood alcohol content (BAC), setting a minimum drinking age, and requiring seat belt use). These regulations seek to limit fatal and injurious traffic accidents by all drivers. In the trucking industry, state lawmakers regulate speed limits and truck weight, length, and height. Despite these regulations, Lake County truck accidents continue to occur at alarming rates.
Truck accidents often involve the interplay of various factors. A comprehensive study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that the leading critical reasons for large truck accidents include the following:
Driver training and Experience
Truck accidents often involve driver error and negligence. Non-performance, recognition issues, decision-making skills, and overall performance contribute to Lake County truck accidents.
Vehicle Design and Manufacture
Vehicle defects such as faulty brakes, broken windshield wipers, and poor design all contribute to the likelihood and severity of an accident.
Highway Conditions and Traffic Signaling
Roadway conditions such as traffic flow interruptions, the prevalence of work zones, and inadequate signage can increase the chances of an accident.
Unexpected severe weather events such as hail, ice, snow, and heavy rain can impact the maneuverability of a vehicle and the likelihood of a trucking accident. The IDOT found that over 11,000 crashes involved weather-related causes.
In addition, the study found that many associated factors, such as fatigue, inadequate surveillance, over-the-counter drug use, roadway problems, unfamiliarity with the roadway, and speeding, contributed to truck accidents.
Injuries after a Trucking Accident
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that motor vehicle collisions account for nearly 2 million injuries and more than 32,000 deaths annually in the country. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center reported that motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of spinal cord injuries in the nation. In addition, truck accidents can cause the following injuries:
- Head injuries such as concussions and traumatic brain injury;
- Internal damage to the liver, bladder, pancreas, and lungs;
- Burns from explosions and smoke; and
- Crush injuries, including compressed nerves and fractures.
The IDOT classifies the severity of motor vehicle injuries on a scale from A through C. In addition, IDOT ranks accidents resulting in property damage only under “O.”
These are incapacitating injuries, other than fatal injuries, that prevent the victim from walking, driving, or continuing the activities they were capable of performing before the injury. A-
injuries include severe lacerations, broken limbs, chest injuries, and abdominal injuries.
These are non-incapacitating injuries, other than fatal or incapacitating injuries, that are evident to observers at the scene of the accident. Some common b-injuries are bumps on the head, abrasions, and minor lacerations.
These are possible injuries that do not fall under an a or b injury. C-injuries may include claims of non-evident pain, limping, nausea, and hysteria. IDOT’s County Summary Crash Report indicates that Lake County truck accidents resulted in 10 fatalities and 238 injuries.
Truck Lawsuits in Lake County
Most Lake Country truck accident lawsuits involve claims of negligence. For instance, an accident victim may allege that the accident occurred because of the truck driver’s negligent conduct. In some cases, a trucking company may be liable for the accident. These cases usually involve allegations of improper hiring, training, or retention. In addition, a trucking company may be responsible for improper vehicle maintenance. Moreover, a truck manufacturer may be liable for damages if the accident involves faulty or defective truck parts.
Defenses to Truck Accident Lawsuits
Truck drivers and trucking companies go to great lengths to defend against accident lawsuits. These entities may purport various defenses to avoid paying compensation to a personal injury claimant. Some common defense tactics include asserting mitigating factors. Mitigating factors may consist of presenting evidence that the driver was adhering to traffic laws or taking action to prevent a crash.
Further, the trucking company or driver may claim that the victim was partially responsible for the accident and their damages. Under Illinois comparative negligence system, accident victims who are 50% or more at fault for the accident are barred from collecting compensation from the other party. However, if their responsibility falls under 50%, they can collect reduced compensation proportionate to their level of fault.
Damages after a Lake County Truck Accident
After a Lake County trucking accident, an attorney can help victims, and their surviving loved ones recover compensation for their damages. Damages after a truck accident may include compensation for the following:
- Past, current, and future medical expenses;
- Lost wages;
- Lost earning capacity;
- Decrease in quality of life; and
- Permanent disability.
However, collecting damages requires a comprehensive understanding of complex federal and state laws. In addition, accident victims must comply with procedural, statutory, and evidentiary requirements. An attorney can ensure that accident victims abide by the statute of limitations, meet any notice and filing requirements, and present a compelling case supported by evidence.
Have You Been Injured in a Lake County Truck Accident?
If you or someone you love was recently injured or killed in a Lake County trucking accident, reach out to the dedicated injury advocates at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. At Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, we have been helping accident victims and their families recover meaningful compensation for what they’ve been through since 1987. Over this time, we’ve developed a highly effective strategy for ensuring that our clients’ cases receive the attention they deserve without unnecessarily delaying the process or causing you and your family unneeded stress. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a Lake County truck accident lawyer today, give us a call at 877-595-4878. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.