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According to the American Trucking Association, there are 37.9 million trucks that are registered and in use that move 72.5 percent of the nation’s freight by weight. There were 10.23 billion tons of freight moved by trucks in 2020.
The sheer volume of these numbers means that nearly every time you’re on the road, you encounter a truck. Because their size and weight are significantly greater than cars and other motor vehicles, truck accidents can have disastrous consequences. You can greatly reduce the risk of an accident with a large truck by taking some of the following simple steps.
Commercial trucks have far larger blind spots than the average passenger vehicle. The largest blind spot is on the passenger side of the truck. The safest place for a car to pass the truck is on the driver’s side. This increases the potential that the truck driver will see you and not accidentally merge into your car.
When possible, you should stay out of a commercial driver’s blind spots. A rule of thumb is that if you cannot see the driver in the cab or in the truck’s mirrors, they likely cannot see you. Blind spots for a commercial truck are in:
Allowing adequate space behind a truck also improves your visibility on the road. When you follow a large commercial vehicle closely, you can fail to see approaching road hazards that may not affect a larger vehicle, such as potholes, debris on the road, and slowing traffic.
Cutting in front of a truck while merging takes away the critical space a truck requires to slow or stop on the highway. This increases the potential risk of being rear-ended by a vehicle that is significantly larger and heavier than yours.
Motor vehicles should give trucks plenty of space on the highway. This increases the potential that you’ll be out of their blind spot but also reduces the risk of an accident caused by other factors. For example, when a truck tire blows out, pieces of the tire can break off and hit your car or your windshield. This can cause you to overcorrect and have an accident.
If a commercial truck must suddenly brake, the truck may tip over, or your car may slide underneath. High winds can also cause a truck to roll. The size and weight of a commercial truck mean they require more space to stop and slow down.
Before passing a truck, changing lanes, or turning near a commercial truck, be sure you use your car’s signals. This allows the truck driver to anticipate your actions. Consider using your signal sooner than you normally would to give the driver adequate time to adjust their speed and avoid a collision.
Trucks often require multiple lanes to turn in an intersection. Drivers should never pass on the side the truck means to turn and avoid following too closely.
Since commercial trucks cannot stop as quickly or maneuver as easily, you should be careful while passing. Always pass on the truck’s driver’s side. Do not pass a truck while it’s going uphill or downhill since the truck will likely not maintain its speed, which can cause you to over or under correct. Maintain your speed while you’re passing and use the correct signals. After passing the truck, do not merge in front until you can clearly see the driver in your rearview mirror.
One of the common causes of all car accidents is distracted driving. The same is true of truck accidents. It is crucial that you do not operate your vehicle while you’re texting, eating, drinking, or watching your GPS. Any distraction that takes your eyes, hands, and attention off the road can cause distracted driving. Even noisy or demanding passengers can create enough of a distraction to increase the risk of an accident.
Our team of compassionate and skilled of Chicago truck accident attorneys understands the burden you can face after a significant truck accident. We believe that our clients should spend their time recovering from your injuries and leave the complicated and often time-consuming legal process to us.
We will advise you on how to speak with the insurance adjusters and help you request and understand the accident report. We will also help you gather evidence, like the information from the truck driver’s log and black box.
Don’t delay, every minute counts when gathering evidence after an accident. Give yourself the best shot to recover the maximum amount in compensation possible. Contact Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC to get to work with an experienced Chicago truck accident lawyer today.
The Illinois Department of Transportation reports nearly 73,000 people statewide were injured in car accidents in one recent year, with more than 8,500 people suffering incapacitating injuries. If you were involved in an accident in Illinois that wasn’t your fault and are seeking compensation for your injuries, one of the most important pieces of evidence you will need is the police accident report. This report can help establish a baseline set of facts regarding how the accident occurred and who was at fault, which can help you in a personal injury lawsuit.
If you do not know what to look for in an Illinois police accident report, you do not need to worry. The Chicago car accident lawyers of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC have been helping people pursue fair compensation for their injuries since 1970. In our more than 50 years of business, we have recovered more than $400 million for our clients. Our highly trained attorneys and staff can help you obtain your police report, show you what to look for, and assist with all other aspects of your personal injury case.
An accident report in Illinois will generally contain the following information:
As you are looking through the accident report, here are a few things to watch for:
Before you can obtain an accident report in Illinois, you need to figure out which agency investigated the crash and filed the report. If you were involved in an accident on a highway, your report was likely filed by the Illinois State Police (ISP). You can purchase a crash report from the ISP online or request one by mail. If you want to request the report by mail, send your request to:
Illinois State Police
Patrol Records Unit
801 South 7th Street, Suite 600-M
Springfield, Illinois 62703
When you send your request, be sure to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope and a $5 check or money order made out to the Illinois State Police. You also want to include as much information on the crash as possible (date, time, location, etc.).
If you were involved in an accident on a Chicago city street, you will likely have to go to the Chicago Police Department (CPD) for a copy of your accident report. CPD allows drivers to request their reports online for a $6 fee.
The Chicago car accident attorneys of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC can help you request your police accident report so you can seek fair compensation for your injuries. To learn more about how we can help you with your case, call (312) 346-8620 or visit our contact page today for a confidential consultation.
A car accident can be overwhelming and physically disabling. Within days of reporting the accident to the at-fault party’s insurance company, you will likely be approached by an insurance adjuster.
It’s important to understand that the insurance adjuster is focused on limiting their client’s financial liability. Their goal is to find something that could potentially damage your claim for compensation.
Insurance adjusters may try to get you to admit to being at fault in the accident, and they may minimize the extent of your injuries. Their goal is to get you to discuss your diagnosis and injuries in detail so they can turn the information against you.
They may suggest that they’re calling to get your version of the accident and answers to some of their questions. However, this is done in an effort to disprove your claim. The attorneys of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC have years of experience working with insurance companies and adjusters to represent and protect their client’s rights. Before talking with an insurance adjuster, consider getting your own representation from lawyers who have a successful track record of protecting their clients.
You have a choice to speak with the insurance adjuster on your own or with legal representation. Your personal injury lawyer can help prevent you from inadvertently sharing information that can damage your claim. Here are some things that you should never say to an insurance adjuster.
Admitting fault: Using apologetic language is enough for the insurance adjuster to assume you’re admitting fault and use that against you. Even if you feel you’re at fault, wait for the official investigation to prove what actually happened. Don’t say things like “I’m sorry” or “it was my fault.”
Your injuries: Insurance adjusters may reach out to you in the hours after an accident and well before an accident investigation has made clear who was at fault. Do not tell the insurance adjuster anything about your medical condition. Saying things like “it’s okay” or “I’m fine” can downplay your injuries and cause your adjuster to reduce the settlement offer.
Although the adjuster asking about your injuries may seem routine, you do not have to answer their questions. Explain to the adjuster that you will give them information when you and your attorney can send a demand letter to the insurance company. It may be tempting to go into detail, but you may not even know the full extent of your injuries at this point.
Recorded statement: You are not under any legal obligation to give a recorded statement or sign a statement after a car accident. Of course, the insurance company will need documentation of your injuries and property damage in order to settle a claim. But you can politely refuse to give a recorded statement or sign an initial statement until you have spoken with your attorney. This protects you from the adjuster finding ways to use the statement against you in the future.
Speculation: If you are involved in a crash, do not speculate about what happened with the insurance adjuster. For example, don’t say things like “I think he was speeding,” “I may have been changing the radio,” or “He was trying to avoid a pothole.” You must cooperate with the insurance adjuster during their investigation, but you do not have to offer information or speculate about information that you do not have or don’t remember.
First offer: Don’t say yes to the first settlement offer. The insurance adjuster may say it’s the last or final offer. However, until you have spoken with a personal injury attorney about your case, you can assume that the first offer is usually much lower than the true value of the claim. Most insurance companies and adjusters hope that you do not have enough information about insurance claims or the law to realize that the first offer will not be the best offer.
Insurance adjusters may call in the hours after the accident with the hope of getting information from you that can be used against you. There are several things you can do to help protect your rights.
Remain calm and be polite. You might be angry about the accident, property damage, and your injuries, but taking your anger out on the insurance adjuster will not help get you a fair personal injury settlement. You may also inadvertently say something they can use against you. Remember to keep your cool and stay professional.
Before you start the discussion, get the name, address, company, and telephone number of the person you’re speaking with. Next, only give out limited information initially. This can include information that does not implicate you in any way, such as your name, address, and telephone number.
You can also tell them about the work that you do and where you are employed. However, during this initial contact, you do not need to explain anything else about where you work, what schedule you keep, your income, or any other personal information.
The adjuster may try to get you to give a statement about how the accident happened. Even during a simple conversation, they may suddenly try to get you to tell them about the accident. Stay focused on what they’re asking and what they’re talking about so you can politely refuse to discuss these facts.
One of the tricks an adjuster uses is to come across as your friend. Remember, they may be friendly, but they are not on your side, and their goal is to get you to let your guard down, so you’ll say something you’ll regret later. Be concise with your responses and do not speculate. Stick to the facts and respond directly to each question.
If you were injured in a car accident that was not your fault, contact the Chicago car accident attorneys of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC today. During your confidential consultation, we’ll review the facts of your case and offer you advice on the next best steps you can take.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a big rig or other large truck, there are several pieces of evidence you should seek to recover and preserve for when you file a claim.
Being in an accident with a truck is not the same as being in an accident with a car. Trucks are big, and the accidents are often catastrophic. Like airplanes, most large trucks have onboard devices known as black boxes that are designed to record and preserve information. That information can include the speed and movement of the truck just before an accident. Accidents need not be deadly for this information to be valuable, as it helps to provide context for how the truck, and by extension, the driver were behaving prior to an accident.
If you have been involved in an accident with a truck, you should contact a lawyer about your case immediately. Only an experienced lawyer can guide you through the legal process toward the maximum possible settlement for your injuries.
Keep in mind these points about the importance of preserving the truck’s black box:
Because black boxes provide crucial evidence, trucking companies will often try to withhold this evidence unless they are legally compelled to provide it. There is a wealth of information to be found in the black box, as it stores data both in the moments leading up to the crash and after the crash. Because this information provides both the technical specifications and onboard activity, it can become much harder to prove that the trucking company or trucker was at fault if the black box information cannot be obtained.
What is known as a “black box” is actually several different pieces of equipment. They typically consist of the Electronic Control Module (ECM), Electronic Logging Devices (ELD), and Event Data Recorder (EDR).
Trucking companies will often try to withhold the black box and associated information from evidence, and for good reason – it contains vital information about the crash and information that can be used to prove that the truck driver was at fault. Therefore, trucking companies will often not submit the EDR into evidence unless legally compelled to do so.
They understand the rules surrounding the preservation of evidence and will work to ensure that this evidence is admitted into your claim for consideration.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a large truck, you need qualified legal representation on your side to ensure that you recover compensation and hold those who have injured you through their negligence accountable. Black boxes can provide critical information about trucking accidents, as they help to provide context to what was going on in the cabin prior to an accident. Contact a member of our legal team today.
A personal injury lawyer will understand how to recover this evidence and ensure that it does not get tampered with. Call the Chicago area truck accident lawyers of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC today at (312) 346-8620 for a free initial consultation.
Driving during the winter presents its own unique set of challenges. The lack of traction and lower visibility during snowstorms can increase the frequency of accidents. The Chicago car accident attorneys of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC have some tips for staying safe during winter driving conditions. Here are a few simple steps you can take to reduce your chances of being involved in a car accident this winter:
Driving during the winter can be stressful but watching your speed and ensuring your vehicle is in good working condition goes a long way toward preventing accidents. If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident due to another’s negligence, call the Chicago area car accident attorneys of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC at (312) 346-8620 today for a free consultation.
The holidays are a joyous and celebratory time of the year for families and friends. They can also be a dangerous time with significant numbers of people on the road, traveling near and far for family gatherings, holiday parties, and vacations. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for people ages 1-54. To keep you and your family safe while traveling, here are some helpful tips for this holiday season:
Before you hit the road, be sure you are well prepared. Start with your car. Take care of any necessary maintenance, such as an oil change or tire rotation. Check the windshield wiper blades. This is extremely important if you should encounter rain or snow. You need to be able to see clearly out your windshield, especially in unfamiliar surroundings. Stock your car with emergency equipment, such as a blanket, flashlight, jumper cables, ice scraper, cell phone charger, etc. These items will be helpful in the unfortunate event that your car breaks down or you get into an accident.
As you plan your route, consider the ideal driving conditions. Aim to leave at a time that avoids the heaviest traffic. This often means leaving very early in the morning. If inclement weather is in the forecast, plan ahead. If it is possible to leave before or after the brunt of the storm, do so. Plan your route so that you stick to the main highways, where convenience stores, gas stations, law enforcement, and emergency medical services are more accessible. Check to see if there is any road work along the route, and build in travel time accordingly.
There can be many distractions on the road. The kids are whining, Grandma is calling your cell phone to see where you are, your GPS is telling you to make a left turn, and you’re stressed out to boot. Make sure you are well-rested before you depart. If you get drowsy or sleepy while driving, stop and take a break. In absolutely no circumstances should you get behind the wheel if you have had any alcohol to drink, used drugs, or are on medication that impairs your ability to drive. You need to be 100 percent present and focused on the road while traveling during this hectic time.
If you are driving to an unfamiliar location or along an unfamiliar route, remain vigilant during your travels. Criminals can take advantage of you if you are not attentive to your surroundings. When you stop for a break, park in a well-lit area. Do not keep valuable items within plain sight in your car. Be cognizant of your appearance. If you look like a clueless tourist, you might be a target for burglary or worse.
The holidays are a busy time on the road. Not only are countless people traveling to visit family and friends, but large semi-trucks are speeding down the highways to deliver just-in-time holiday presents. Wintery conditions like snow, sleet, and freezing rain only make matters worse. Drive with caution, and constantly be watching for wayward drivers. Practice defensive driving by always using your blinkers, checking your blind spots before merging or changing lanes, double-checking in both directions before entering an intersection, and maintaining a sufficient following distance from the car in front of you. Lastly, make sure that everyone in your car has their seat belt buckled, always.
If you do find yourself in an accident this holiday season, do not rush to get to your destination. Take time to document what happened, including taking pictures of your car and the other vehicle and of any injuries sustained in the accident, and getting the other driver’s contact and insurance information. Call the police to report the accident. Before departing, make sure you are unharmed and your car is safe to drive.
It may help to contact an attorney about your accident, especially if your car sustained significant damage or you experienced serious injury. An experienced lawyer can advise you about your rights, gather crucial evidence, and if necessary, pursue compensation on your behalf.
The Chicago car accident attorneys of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC understand that accidents often come at the worst times. Let us handle the stress of the accident so that you can focus on your family this holiday season. Contact our office today at (312) 346-8620 for a confidential consultation.
Traffic accidents happen every day in America, and the numbers have increased during the last year. The statistics hold for all vehicles, including large trucks. Accidents involving large trucks tend to cause more severe injuries than other types of accidents, but why exactly is that? How are truck accidents any different from motorcycle or car accidents? Read on to learn more.
There are many reasons truck accidents tend to cause more damage and injuries than other types of accidents.
First, trucks are large vehicles. The average tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, be over 70 feet long, and reach over 13 feet high. Compared to a passenger vehicle weighing around 4,000 pounds, a large truck is almost a rolling building.
Trucks require longer distances to accelerate, brake, and maneuver in traffic. Their outward visibility is also significantly less than a passenger car. They are surrounded by no-zones, areas where the driver cannot see, and if your vehicle is inside a no-zone when a truck needs to change lanes or maneuver, the chances of an accident increase substantially.
All these factors mean truck accidents can happen quickly. Not only that, but injuries in truck accidents are almost always more severe for the occupants of other vehicles. Between 1975 and 2019, up to 75% of deaths in large truck crashes were occupants of passenger cars.
The large size and weight of trucks also mean more frequent and severe injuries in truck crashes. Even at low speeds, the inertia of an 80,000-pound vehicle striking a passenger car can cause severe damage to the vehicle’s structure and safety equipment. The truck driver may only experience a jostling or may not feel anything at all when hitting a passenger vehicle or motorcycle.
Some injuries common to truck accidents include the following:
Determining who is responsible for a truck accident is more complex than in car accidents because truck drivers aren’t the only ones responsible for the truck and its contents. Liability can often be spread across several different parties depending on the circumstances. The following entities may be held liable in a truck accident:
Liability could shift depending on the circumstances of the accident. For example, if you’re injured in a truck accident due to faulty brakes on the truck, the maintenance company may be responsible. If you’re hit in a low-speed accident by a truck trying to maneuver in tight spaces, the trucking company may be held accountable for not training their drivers properly. Suppose you’re injured by a truck due to a defect in the design. In that case, the manufacturer may be liable, or if the truck driver causes an accident due to fatigue from driving more hours than allowed by federal law, they may be responsible.
Tractor-trailers are made to haul thousands of pounds of cargo. This cargo can be anything from plumbing fixtures to petroleum, from toys to live cattle. This freight must be properly loaded and secured before the truck begins its journey. If it isn’t, lost load or other freight accidents can occur.
A lost-load accident occurs when a truck’s cargo is not loaded or balanced properly and spills out on the roadway, leaving a trail of debris or fluid that can cause accidents and injuries as other motorists collide with it or swerve to avoid it. Even properly secured loads can work loose over the course of a long road journey if not checked frequently.
Some of these loads can be hazardous, such as industrial chemicals or gasoline, increasing the danger even more. Truck drivers and trucking companies are required to have specific licensing and certifications to handle hazardous cargo, and not keeping these licenses current may be considered negligence.
If a truck accident ended in severe injury for you or a loved one, you should consider speaking to the truck accdient attorneys at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC. We may be able to help you get compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, or property. Call us today at (312) 346-8620 for a free consultation, and let us help you get the compensation you deserve after a truck accident.
Unless you are fortunate enough to live someplace where the weather never changes, the end of summer means a change in road and riding conditions. Some of them are obvious, like rain and wind; some are less so, like the effect of riding in chilly weather. At Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, we know that motorcycle riders love to ride in all weathers, and we want to keep you safe from avoidable accidents.
Here are some tips to keep you and your fellow bikers and passengers safe as fall approaches.
One hazard that is present year-round is the sightseer. In the summer, these slow-driving wool-gatherers are looking at the lake and the sky, and the buildings. In the fall, they’ll be looking at the lake and the sky and the pretty leaves and the deer. They won’t be looking for motorcycles. Pay close attention to slow-moving drivers, and always be prepared to stop suddenly.
If you and your passenger are the slow-driving sightseers, pull over and sightsee from the safety of a marked turnout or parking lot. This will protect you from traffic and other distracted drivers while you look at the spectacular scenery.
If you have done all these things and still get into an accident through no fault of your own, the attorneys at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC are here to help. We know the unique issues facing a motorcycle rider in an accident, and we’re ready to work through your case with you and help you get fair compensation for your injuries.
In motorcycle accident cases, we look for issues beyond the other driver’s liability for the accident. Road conditions, inclement weather, poor lighting, wildlife in the roadway, all of these can contribute to a serious accident and can be factors beyond your control in a collision. We know how to gather the information and the witnesses that will help make your case and negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf.
Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC offers free consultations at (312) 346-8620 or our website live chat. If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident and need someone to help you out, contact us today.
Auto accidents happen in a split second. All it takes is one drowsy blink, one change of the radio, one look at the view, or one text to send, and lives could be changed forever. And that’s just car accidents. Accidents with trucks are different – because they are big! A fully loaded 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. That’s more than 20 times the weight of a normal car. Truck accidents result in big injuries, big financial issues, and big life disruptions.
After a truck accident, you might be scratching your head wondering, “how did it happen?” What you need now is someone in your corner to help you through the next steps. If you’ve been in an accident with a truck in the Chicago area, give the attorneys at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC a call. We are here to help you navigate the legal intricacies of an accident with a commercial truck and to get you back on your financial feet in no time.
Many of the specific regulations that truck drivers must follow have to do with their Hours of Service (HOS). HOS regulations dictate how long a truck driver may operate their vehicle and be considered safe. Hours of Service are created, regulated, and enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Why does the FMCSA care so much about the HOS of truck drivers? Simply put, a drowsy truck driver can end a life. Sleepy drivers have slow reaction times and therefore are not able to make the split-second, life-saving decisions that could be necessary on the highway.
In years past, truck drivers logged their HOS on paper sheets. These logs included the date and time of departure, the time driven, the locations of all stops, and the mileage of the vehicle. Drivers would regularly mail these to their employer, who would keep them on file for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to reference.
These days, almost every commercial truck is required to be outfitted with an ELD, or Electronic Logging Device. ELDs are how truck drivers, their companies, and the DOT keep track of compliance with HOS laws and regulations. ELD’s are synchronized with the truck’s engine and record the time, date, and location of all stops, as well as the engine’s run time. ELDs will even warn drivers that their HOS are about to end — or that they must take a break.
Electronic Logging Devices contain valuable information about what happened in the moments before, during, and after a crash. If a truck driver was in violation of their HOS and then caused an accident, the ELD can help prove that they are liable.
The problem is this. If a trucking company suspects their driver is at fault for an accident, they won’t want to hand over ELD records. This is where the attorneys at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC can help.
Our experienced attorneys are here to go to bat for you against multi-million dollar trucking companies. We can help you find, collect, and present proof that a reckless truck driver caused your pain and suffering.
Before you sat behind the wheel of a car for the first time, you knew to follow the posted speed limit, come to a full stop at all stop signs, use your blinker, and never drive tired. To avoid accidents, truck drivers have to follow the same rules and more. But, sometimes, truck drivers break the law and cause lasting pain for innocent people.
If you have been injured in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, contact Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC at (312) 346-8620 to speak with a truck accident attorney today. We can help guide you through the legal process and work on getting the compensation you need to cover your accident-related losses.
Chicago personal injury attorney Phillip J. Fowler of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC will be speaking at a CLE event hosted by the National Business Institute.
The seminar, Personal Injury 101, is on Friday, February 24th, beginning at 9:00 am. It will provide general information about personal injury law procedures.
You can learn more about the seminar and register to attend at http://www.nbi-sems.com/Details.aspx/R-74507ER