Accidents involving large commercial trucks are more dangerous than accidents involving smaller vehicles. A fully loaded semitrailer can weigh 25 times more than a typical passenger car, so any collision between a large truck and a car can easily lead to catastrophic injuries for the occupants of the smaller vehicle.
Truck accidents can also raise more complex legal issues than other types of accidents on Illinois roads. As with all motor vehicle crashes, people who have been injured in an accident caused by a negligent truck driver may hold the driver liable for their damages, but in truck accident cases there may be other liable parties as well.
When a truck driver causes an accident through negligence, the truck driver's employer can sometimes be held liable through the legal theory of respondeat superior. This theory holds employers liable for negligence committed by their employees in the course of their employment. In some cases, there may be other liable parties, such as truck maintenance companies.
Because commercial trucking is highly regulated, truck accident cases can often involve questions of state and federal trucking laws. For example, federal laws designed to combat truck driver fatigue place limits on how many hours drivers can be on the road, but trucking companies sometimes pressure their drivers to exceed those limits in order to deliver goods to market faster. When an accident investigation uncovers evidence of this type of violation, it can spark penalties for the trucking company and affect a related personal injury case.
These accidents can easily cause life-changing injuries or death, and so the damages suffered by the victims can be extreme. An experienced personal injury attorney can help the injured or their family members to understand their legal options for recovering compensation.