There are many ways that a commercial truck driver can err and cause an accident with injuries. These can include good-faith judgment mistakes, such as going too fast for a rain or ice-slicked highway. Other times, the driver’s actions are less “good-faith,” such as when a driver causes an injury crash because he was impaired by drugs or alcohol. When you’re injured by a commercial truck driver, you are entitled to sue for the harm you suffered. Getting the full recovery you deserve often depends on accumulating and presenting the right evidence about who was legally liable for those injuries caused, and getting a judgment against all of them. To ensure you are equipped to get that full recovery, be sure you have a knowledgeable Chicago truck accident attorney working for you.
In one recent Central Illinois commercial truck accident, the outcome was tragedy. According to WAND TV, a grandmother was outside her vehicle in the parking lot of a local gas station when a dump truck lost control trying turn at a nearby intersection. The truck slammed through a ditch, passed over a street and careened into the parking lot, where it hit and killed the woman.
A day after the crash, the state charged the truck driver with aggravated DUI, reckless homicide and various drug crimes, according to the WAND report. The driver was operating a dump truck for the local township at the time of the fatal accident.
This terrible accident is a reminder of how intricate truck accident legal actions can be, and why it is also worth your while to have a powerful attorney on your side. Certainly, a family like this woman’s can go to court and sue for the damages the truck driver caused. However, in a case like this where the total harm is clearly substantial, simply suing a truck driver may not be enough, as he/she may not have enough wealth and/or insurance coverage to compensate you fully.
The different pathways to success in your truck crash case
That’s why it often pays to pursue more than just the driver. If the driver was an employee, you possibly can take on the employer under a legal theory called “vicarious liability,” which holds an employer legally responsible for the negligent acts of its employee.
Many times, though, truck drivers are independent contractors and the companies for whom they work may use that legal status to try to escape liability. You still have options for success, though. Take, as an example, a truck driver who was on drugs when he hit and injured you and who was working as an independent contractor. If you could prove that the driver had a history of driving impaired and was an untreated addict, and that the trucking company that contracted with him knew (or should have known) about the past DUIs and the untreated addiction issue, then you may be able to win a claim that the company was itself negligent for contracting with and using that driver.
If, however, the truck driver was a municipal employee, that requires an extra degree of legal skill for success. Illinois law says that municipalities (including townships) are immune from injury lawsuits in many situations. You can still succeed in your injury action, though, if you can present proof that the municipality acted with an “actual or deliberate intention to cause harm.” Those instances are very rare. A better avenue for potential success against a municipality can lie with showing that its actions demonstrated “indifference” or “conscious disregard” for the safety of others.
Whether the commercial truck driver who hit you was an employee of a private entity, an independent contractor, a state employee or a municipal employee, getting the full and fair recovery you need will require many things, including a clear and in-depth knowledge of Illinois law regarding liability and immunity. To make sure you have that sort of knowledgeable and effective legal advocate representing you, talk to the skilled Chicago truck accident attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our attorneys have been helping injured people for many years in using the legal system to achieve successful outcomes. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.