Located in both Cook and Lake Counties, Wheeling, Illinois is home to nearly 40,000 residents. The city also sees heavy traffic each day on I-94 and I-294, as truck drivers use the Tri-State Throughway to transport loads south to Chicago and north to Wisconsin.
Large trucks play a key role in the economy of Illinois, Wisconsin, and neighboring states. When large trucks are involved in serious crashes, however, they can cause severe injuries. A semi truck’s height and weight give it the potential to cause more harm in a crash, especially when the other vehicle involved is a passenger vehicle.
Recovering from truck accident injuries is an uphill battle. But you’re not alone. Talk to the experienced Wheeling truck accident attorneys at Briskman, Briskman & Greenberg today. We’ll help you understand how the law applies to your situation and choose the best path forward for yourself and your family.
Truck Accident Statistics in Illinois
In 2020, semi trucks were involved in 9,966 Illinois roadway crashes. In 1,731 of these crashes, at least one person suffered injuries. One or more deaths occurred in 117 crashes.
Semi trucks may feel imposing to drive alongside due to their height and weight. A fully-loaded semi truck and trailer may weigh 80,000 pounds or more – several times what the average passenger vehicle weighs.
Smaller trucks are also involved in serious crashes in Illinois each year. In 2020, the Illinois Department of Transportation recorded 7,566 collisions involving single-unit trucks, like box trucks. These crashes caused 1,252 injuries and 51 deaths in 2020.
Certain factors make deaths, severe injuries, or expensive property damage more likely during a truck crash. For instance, semi trucks were overrepresented in Illinois Department of Transportation statistics on deaths, injuries, and property damage expenses related to vehicle accidents. In 1,268 work zone crashes in Illinois in 2020, a semi, single-unit truck, or another truck type hauling a trailer was involved.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Large trucks appear frequently in Illinois Department of Transportation statistics that measure harm to humans or property damage in roadway crashes. They also appear frequently in national safety statistics.
The National Safety Council estimates that large trucks make up only 4 percent of all registered vehicles on US roads. Yet these trucks are involved in 9 percent of all fatal crashes that occur on these roads.
When a large truck crash occurs, everyone involved faces a risk of death or serious injury. Those outside the truck, however, are more likely to suffer severe consequences. According to the National Safety Council, 4,965 people lost their lives in the US in 2020 due to a truck crash. Nearly three in four, or 71 percent, were inside another vehicle – such as a family car or minivan – when the crash occurred. Twelve percent were pedestrians or bicyclists, who lacked even the protection of a passenger vehicle against the impact of the truck.
Those outside the large truck itself are also at a higher risk of severe injuries. In 2020, 68 percent of those injured in large truck crashes were inside another vehicle during the collision. Two percent of non-fatal injury sufferers were pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-occupants.
In a truck crash, any part of the body may be injured. The type and severity of an injury affect the injured person’s chances of recovery and the permanent effects they may have to live with after the crash.
Head and Brain Injuries
Even a “mild” concussion can cause lingering problems with thinking, mood, memory, behavior, and concentration. More serious traumatic brain injuries can be permanently debilitating, affecting motor control or organ function. Skull fractures, damage to the eyes or ears, scarring, and other injuries can occur as well.
Neck, Back, and Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are among the most expensive and difficult injuries to treat. Spinal cord damage can result in paralysis and other severe medical conditions. Damage to the back and neck can cause ongoing problems with pain and functions, even if the spinal cord is not damaged.
Broken Bones and Tissue Damage
The intense forces generated by a large truck crash can break bones and damage nerves, muscles, and soft tissues. These injuries may require one or more surgeries to correct. An extended period of physical therapy or other treatments may be required for rehabilitation. In some instances, the damage is so severe that a limb must be amputated.
During a crash, the risk of a fire increases. Electrical components may short out. Gasoline or oil may spill and ignite from exposure to heat. If a fire occurs, severe burn injuries can result. Friction burns, also known as “road rash,” can also occur.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates that ten percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2020 involved a large truck. Of these, 97 percent claimed the life of someone in a passenger vehicle. Tractor-trailers were the most likely to be involved in fatal accidents: 74 percent of fatal truck crashes in 2020 involved these large vehicles, while 26 percent involved another type of truck.
Although freeways are the most commonly traveled roads in large trucks, fatal truck accidents are more likely to occur on other major roads, like state highways. Only 36 percent of fatal truck crashes in 2020 happened on freeways, while 47 percent happened on other major roads. Side roads and rural roads accounted for 15 percent of fatal truck crashes.
What to Expect During a Truck Accident Lawsuit
Illinois truck accident claims follow rules laid out by Illinois courts and by state law. Two common questions involve the time limits for bringing these claims and the compensation available to those who prove their case.
Time Limits for Illinois Truck Accident Lawsuits
In Illinois, an injured person typically has two years from the date of injury to file a truck accident claim in court. Several factors can affect how this two-year period applies to a specific case, however.
Factors an Illinois court may consider when looking at the time limit include:
- Knowledge. Some injuries take time to appear. If an injured person couldn’t have known about their injury on the date it happened, the two-year period may begin from the date they could have known about the injury.
- Age. When someone is injured as a child, the two-year period may begin to run from the date of their 18th birthday rather than the date of the accident.
- Capacity. Some people are not recognized as having the legal capacity to bring their claims to court. If a person without legal capacity is injured, their two-year period may begin on the date they regain their capacity.
Calculating time limits on Illinois truck accident claims can be challenging. Even if you think your time limit may have passed, talk to an experienced Wheeling truck crash attorney.
Damages in Wheeling Truck Accident Cases
The goal of a truck accident claim is to secure compensation or “damages” for the injured person. Damages focus on the losses the injured person suffered as a result of another’s negligence.
Economic Damages cover financial losses. Medical bills are a common form of economic damages in truck crash claims. Lost wages, transportation costs to and from medical appointments, and the cost of repairing or replacing a damaged vehicle also fall into this category. An attorney can help you determine exactly how much you’ve lost in economic damages.
Non-Economic Damages focus on losses that aren’t financial but that are real and devastating. Damages for pain and suffering are perhaps the most well-known form of non-economic damages. Other losses in this category include the loss of enjoyment of life when injuries prevent you from doing things you once enjoyed. Damages for the emotional effects of scarring or disfigurement also fall into this category.
Your attorney may ask sensitive or difficult questions about the crash to determine the full extent of your non-economic damages. Typically, a lawyer will ask these questions only after you have had one or more conversations to help establish trust. Answering these questions as honestly as possible will help you understand your options and will also help your lawyer understand the full extent of your losses.
Talk to an Experienced Wheeling Truck Accident Lawyer to Learn More
A truck accident changes everything. You began your day believing life would continue as usual, only to find yourself devastated. You may struggle to recover from severe injuries, worry about how to support your family, and fear that life will never be the same again. If a truck crash claimed a loved one’s life, imagining the future may feel even tougher.
Yet there is hope. The experienced Wheeling truck accident lawyers at Briskman, Briskman & Greenberg have helped our clients recover from a truck crash. We understand how challenging it is to live with the consequences of a crash. That’s why our legal team is dedicated to helping our clients with skill and understanding. To learn more about your legal rights, contact us today at 1.877.595.4878 to schedule a free, confidential consultation with an experienced attorney.