Have you been involved in a truck accident? A truck company or their insurance carrier will try their best to minimize their liability or fault for the accident. They have a lot of resources and experience in truck accident cases, so you could find it challenging to go up against them. The good news is that you can hire a skilful truck accident lawyer to help you through the process. Let us explore how you can prove fault in a truck accident case in Illinois and how an attorney can help.
Truck Accident Fault Laws in Illinois
While several states follow a “no-fault” system, Illinois is not one of them. In Illinois, there is a traditional “fault-based” system, under which the party at fault for the auto accident is legally responsible for all losses of the other parties. This includes injuries and property damage. Illinois also requires all motorists to have liability insurance to cover damages for which the insured party is at fault.
Illinois law requires drivers involved in an accident to report the accident if there is bodily injury, property damage of more than $1500, or death. The $1500 limit drops to $500 if an uninsured driver is involved in the accident.
The statute of limitations, which sets a timeline to initiate a lawsuit, in truck accidents in Illinois is two years from the date of the accident. If you miss the deadline, you could lose your rights to recover damages for your suffering. Your case will likely be dismissed unless there is a rare exception that applies to your case.
Illinois uses a modified comparative fault system to determine the share of liability. Under this law, a party can recover compensation for losses as long as their share of the fault is less than 50 percent. The maximum compensation they get is adjusted according to their percentage of fault. The comparative fault system also allows for the allocation of fault among multiple parties that were involved in the accident.
Potentially Liable Parties in a Truck Accident
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- Truck manufacturer
- Maintenance company for the truck
- Cargo loading company
- Another driver
- Government entities
- Truck parts manufacturer
How to Prove Fault in a Truck Accident Case?
Now that we have highlighted some of the key auto accident laws in the state of Illinois, let us explore how you can prove fault in a truck accident case. To prove fault in a truck accident, you have to prove the following four elements:
Duty of Care
One of the most important elements in a truck accident case is to prove that the opposing party owed you a duty of care. In other words, you need to establish that the opposing party had a responsibility to act with reasonable care in a certain situation. For example, motorists have a legal duty to be careful so they don’t harm other road users.
Breach of Duty
Next, you have to prove that the opposing party breached their duty of care by not acting in the way a reasonable person would in similar circumstances. For example, if they were legally required to stop at a red light but ran through it, causing an auto accident, then that would be a breach of duty. Speeding, changing lanes improperly, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are other major causes of car accidents. However, you must keep in mind that it’s not just the driver who could be at fault. There could be multiple liable parties in a truck accident.
The third element to proving fault in a truck accident is proving the breach of duty directly resulted in your injuries or property damage. The link between the driver’s fault and your losses needs to be clearly established if you want to have a strong case. If your injuries were caused by a random event or an unexpected act of nature, then the defendant will not likely be found liable for your losses.
The last element in proving fault is to show that your losses warrant compensation. You can prove this by showing all the expenses you incurred as a result of the accident, such as medical bills and lost wages.
The damages in truck accident cases in Illinois can include economic losses and non-economic losses. Economic losses refer to lost wages, property damage, and medical bills. Noneconomic expenses refer to the pain and suffering, emotional distress, and trauma caused by the accident.
How Can a Truck Accident Attorney Help?
Truck accident cases are typically more complex than car accidents, and it can be quite stressful to handle all the tasks required to build a strong case. If you are going up against a truck company, you need all the support you can get. You may need to obtain a copy of the police report, examine the defendant’s driver history, review the trucking company records, and more. You will need legal help for truck accidents in Belleville. An attorney can guide you through each step of the legal process.
The experience, resources, and skills of a truck accident attorney can be extremely valuable in a truck accident claim or lawsuit. In your initial consultation with the attorney, they can guide you on your legal options based on their assessment of your case. This will help provide you with some direction on how you can recover compensation for your damages. An experienced attorney knows how a defendant could handle the case, so they can guide you on which legal route is your best option.
If you hire an attorney, they can help you gather evidence, which is a key factor in proving fault for the accident. For example, if you can get witness testimony or video footage of how the accident happened, they can significantly strengthen your claim. The attorney has resources that an average person doesn’t and this allows them to dig deeper in their search for evidence. They can also assist you in preserving evidence until it can be submitted or presented in court.