Whether the semi-truck driver who hit your vehicle and caused your injuries was drowsy, intoxicated, distracted, or negligent for some other reason, if the police cited that trucker for some sort of infraction (like speeding, improper lane usage, or failure to reduce speed,) that citation can be an extremely important piece of your successful injury case, helping you get the compensation you need. That’s often because of a legal concept called negligence per se. Whether your injuries arose from a trucker’s ordinary negligence or negligence per se, be sure to seek out representation from an experienced Chicago truck accident lawyer to help you select the best pathway forward to get the compensation you need.
There are various scenarios in which a trucker can be cited by the police. Back in March, a 62-year-old semi-truck driver crashed downstate in Wayne County. The trucker fell asleep while traveling east on Interstate 64 and overturned in the median. The trucker’s passenger was injured in the crash. Police cited the trucker for “driving while fatigued and improper lane use,” according to 14news.com.
In late April, a trucker crashed on Interstate 57 in Franklin County after he veered to the right, overcorrected, and overturned his rig. In that crash, the driver received a citation for “failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash and improper lane usage,” KFVS 12 reported.
In early May, another drowsy trucker – this one outside Peoria – crashed when his rig left Interstate 155 and went down a hillside and overturned. Fortunately, there were no human injuries in the crash, just the loss of 20 tons of processed chicken. That driver received a citation “for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, and operating a commercial motor vehicle while fatigued,” WEEK reported.
Each of these crashes was different – different drivers driving different trucks in different locations. But each of these crashes also bore notable commonalities, as each involved commercial big rigs on interstate highways, drivers who made errors behind the wheel, and who received citations from the police for those errors.
‘Negligence per se’ and the role a citation plays
Here’s how that citation can help so much in your injury case. In an ordinary negligence lawsuit, you have to establish several things to get a judgment and be entitled to collect anything. These include elements like: (1) that the defendant had a duty toward you, (2) that the defendant’s conduct or inaction amounted to a breach of that obligation, (3) that the action or inaction caused your injuries, and (4) that your injury was a reasonably foreseeable outcome arising from the defendant’s negligence.
In a negligence per se case, your path to holding the defendant liable and obtaining a judgment is simpler. You merely have to establish that the defendant violated a statute or ordinance that carries with it a potential fine or jail time, that the defendant’s conduct caused you the sort of harm the law was meant to prevent, and that you were among the group of people the law was designed to protect.
So, if you were hurt because a trucker made an improper lane change and crashed into you, then an improper-lane-usage citation may be enough to clear these hurdles and be the foundation of a successful negligence per se case, potentially saving you time and expense along the way.
Truck accidents can be among the most injurious types of crashes on the road. Given these vehicles’ sheer size and weight, even a low-speed crash may cause massive damage. If you or a loved one was harmed in a crash with a commercial truck, count on the experienced Chicago truck accident attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca to be the powerful advocate you need. We have decades of combined experience handling – and winning – these cases and are ready to get to work for you. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.