Medical bills lost wages, and the ongoing recovery costs add up quickly if you have been seriously injured in a truck accident. It is not fair that you be forced to shoulder these costs if you were not the one responsible for the accident. That is why the Stein & Shulman team fights to get our Chicagoland clients every penny of compensation they need and deserve when they have been injured in an accident with a large truck, tractor-trailer, or semi.
All of the attorneys at our firm graduated from John Marshall Law School in downtown Chicago, and have dedicated their careers to serving clients in the greater Chicago area. Over the years, we have recovered millions of dollars for our clients.
Why Are Trucking Accidents Worse Than Other Accidents?
A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. When that kind of weight crashes into you, serious injuries are almost guaranteed. Thanks to the laws of physics, the faster the truck is traveling, the more damage it is likely to cause. This is why there are so many laws specific to truck safety.
Unfortunately, many of these truck safety rules, which are often designed to protect the rest of us who are on the road. These laws regulate:
- Driver licensing;
- How long a trucker can be on the road without stopping to rest;
- Special truck safety equipment;
- How much an 18 wheeler can weigh;
- How fast a truck should be traveling under various circumstances;
- How much distance a truck should maintain between itself and other vehicles;
- Safety during the loading and unloading process;
- The connection between the truck and trailer; and
- Countless other trucking-specific issues.
After a trucking accident, we often discover that the driver was violating one or more trucking laws. No matter how minor, these violations contribute to the trucker’s culpability, and we hold them responsible for their mistakes.
Having someone at your side who knows these trucking-specific laws, and how to look for violations that may have contributed to your accident is just one reason why hiring an experienced attorney to assist you as you make a claim is important.
The Blame Game
Gathering evidence that shows who caused the accident that injured you is critical. Illinois is a comparative negligence state, which means the amount of compensation you are eligible for depends partially on who is to blame for the accident.
Based on the evidence in the case, the court, or if you are negotiating a settlement, your insurance company and the trucker’s insurance company, will assign a percentage of blame to each party involved in the accident. The percentage of fault assigned to you (the plaintiff) is the same percentage that will be deducted from the total amount of damages you have suffered.
If, for example, your medical bills, lost wages, decreased future earnings, pain and suffering, and other damages add up to $100,000, but the evidence suggests you are 20% to blame for the accident because you were going slightly over the speed limit, the damages you are eligible for will be reduced by 20%. In this example, that would reduce your compensation by $20,000, leaving you with $80,000.
If you are found to be more than 51% to blame for the accident, you will receive no compensation at all. This is what the “modified” part of modified comparative negligence means.
The Stein & Shulman team knows how critical it is to gather evidence that proves our client was not the one that caused the accident. In addition to checking to see whether the trucker was violating any truck safety laws, we pull police reports, interview witnesses, and visit the scene of the accident to find compelling evidence that proves our client did not cause their own injury. In today’s increasingly high-tech world we also look for digital evidence such as video of the accident that may have been captured by a nearby camera.
What Else Can An Attorney Do For Me?
Another reason to hire an attorney if you have been injured in a trucking accident is so you can focus on healing instead of pushing papers and negotiating with the various insurance companies that are going to be involved in the case.
Insurance commercials are designed to make us think that our insurers are always there, just waiting to help us out if we run into trouble. The truth is insurance companies make money by looking out for themselves, not their customers. The trucker’s insurance company and your insurance company are going to do everything in their power to deny your claim or get you to accept a lowball offer.
This is where we come in. We get the insurance companies to the negotiating table, and we don’t leave until they have made an offer that fairly compensates our client. If they refuse to take our client’s claim seriously, we have no problem taking them to court.
During these negotiations, we often find that our team’s intimate knowledge of Illinois trucking law and truck insurance law plays a critical role.
Each state has different laws and policies in terms of how it treats trucking accidents. These laws impact the way insurance policies are written, and how they are applied after an accident. In Illinois, there are laws that require the insurance policy limits be at certain levels. When those dollar amounts are not at or above the minimum levels our law firm has successfully gone into court and attacked those policies to have them reformed to raise the limits to Illinois required levels.
We Do Not Get Paid Unless You Do
The Stein & Shulman team is not going to pressure you to settle for the first low-ball offer an insurance company throws at you just so we can cash a check. We will aggressively fight for every penny you deserve because we know that after a truck-related accident, you will need as much money as possible to fully recover from your injuries.
This is one of the reasons our team takes truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis. We aren’t going to nickel and dime you, or bill you by the hour. Our fee will always be just a portion of what we recover on your behalf.
Contact Our Experienced Team Of Chicago Area Truck Accident Attorneys Today
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury in a truck, semi, or tractor-trailer accident, we are here to help. Whether you are ready to take legal action right now, or are just curious about what options are available to you, we are ready to take your call. Please contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.