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Illinois Personal Injury & Criminal Defense / Danville Tractor-Trailer Jackknife Accident Lawyer

Danville Tractor-Trailer Jackknife Accident Lawyers

Usually, excessive speed causes jackknife collisions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding just 10mph over the limit increases the chances of a jackknife collision by almost 50 percent. The increase is even steeper if the road is wet or the truck is overweight. Speaking of weight, a fully-loaded truck weighs over 80,000 pounds. When such massive vehicles jackknife across freeways, they cause catastrophic injuries.

When these claims go to court, trucking company lawyers do whatever it takes to reduce or deny compensation to victims and survivors, no matter how much they need and deserve it. In contrast, the dedicated Danville tractor-trailer jackknife accident lawyers at Patel Law are committed to maximum compensation. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Because of the high duty of care, as outlined below, additional punitive damages are often available in these claims as well.

Truck Driver Duty of Care

Most noncommercial drivers have a duty of reasonable care. They must avoid accidents if they can and always drive defensively.

Avoiding accidents and driving defensively isn’t enough for most truck drivers in Illinois. Because these individuals are professional drivers, and because the vehicles they drive are so large, truckers usually have a higher duty of care.

The law usually reflects this higher level of legal responsibility or duty of utmost care. For example, the legal alcohol limit is lower for commercial operators than it is for noncommercial drivers. Additionally, special laws usually apply to large trucks, like route restrictions and a lower speed limit.

Informal “rules of the road” are different as well. Following distance is a good example. Vehicle operators, including Uber drivers and other commercial operators, must normally maintain about a two-second gap between their vehicle and the vehicle directly in front of them. The recommended large truck following distance for a truck with a 50-foot trailer is six seconds. This gap increases if the trailer is longer or conditions are less than ideal.

The higher duty of care makes it easier for a Danville tractor-trailer jackknife accident lawyer to establish negligence, or a lack of care, in court.

Compensation is available if a victim/plaintiff proves negligence by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning a proposition is more likely true than not. In a jackknife collision, a large truck’s Event Data Recorder conclusively establishes vehicle speed at the time of the wreck. Circumstantial evidence is admissible as well.

If an emergency responder cited the trucker for speeding or a similar violation, the negligence per se shortcut could apply in these cases. Tortfeasors who break safety laws and cause injuries could be liable for damages as a matter of law.

Vicarious Liability in Truck Crash Claims

This liability refers to legal and moral responsibility. The shipping, transportation, or other company that owned the truck is usually financially responsible for damages, because of the respondeat superior rule. This legal doctrine applies if:

  • An employee was negligent
  • During the course and scope of employment.

Once upon a time, Illinois law defined these keywords and phrases very narrowly. Today, the law defines them in broad, victim-friendly ways.

Scope of employment is a good example. This phrase used to mean something like a regular delivery driver on a regular delivery route. If the driver was a substitute or the driver was taking a break, the company wasn’t liable for negligence damages.

Now, this phrase means any act that benefits the employer in any way. For example, if Mike is hurt in a company softball game, his employer is financially responsible for his injury. The game meant free advertising for Mike’s employer. Furthermore, happy and healthy employees on the payroll benefit the company.

Reach Out to a Diligent Vermilion County Lawyer

Injury victims are often entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced tractor-trailer jackknife accident attorney in Danville, contact Patel Law, P.C. Home, hospital, and after-hours visits are available.

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