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The Dangers of Big Rig Trucks and Illinois’s Snowy, Icy Roads… and What You Can Do If You’re Hurt in an Accident Like This

While the calendar says that winter lasts for about 13 weeks, here in Chicago, we often experience wintry weather for much more than just those three months. Given the size and weight of a commercial truck (especially a fully loaded one), big rigs can inflict massive harm on the snowy and icy roads around Chicago and throughout Illinois. If you’ve been hurt in an accident involving a commercial truck, whether or not wintry road conditions were a factor, then you may be entitled to sue the trucker, the trucking company, and perhaps others to recover compensation for all the harm you’ve suffered. To find out about the legal avenues available to you, waste no time in contacting an experienced Chicago truck accident attorney.

There are lots of ways that you can potentially get the proof you need to win your case against a commercial truck driver and/or trucking company. One possible source of evidence can be the truck’s “black box” data recorder. The black box (a/k/a the electronic control module or electronic data recorder), can provide you with essential information about the truck’s speed, whether or not the trucker braked, whether or not the truck’s cruise control was on, or whether or not the truck suddenly sped up or slowed down right before the crash.

Another common source of proof is expert evidence. These witnesses, such as accident reconstruction experts and expert engineers, can provide very helpful testimony describing how the accident happened and why. However, as a recent truck accident case from federal court demonstrates, just because you don’t have expert evidence, that alone doesn’t mean you can’t win your injury case.

The injured driver in that lawsuit, M.P., was driving along Interstate 294 early one January morning in 2016 when his vehicle slid due to snow and ice. Subsequently, a big rig operated by K.W. rear-ended M.P.’s SUV.

As part of his case against K.W. and the trucking company that employed her, the injured SUV driver secured opinions from two experts: an accident reconstruction expert and a commercial vehicle expert. Eventually, after reviewing the experts’ bases for their opinions, the trial court concluded that their opinions were too speculative and threw out both experts.

Anytime a judge excludes some of the evidence you desire to present, that is a blow to your case. As the federal appeals court’s ruling in this matter demonstrates, though, it does not have to be a fatal blow if you have sufficiently strong evidence elsewhere.

When a Jury Can Infer Negligence in Your Truck Crash Case

That’s especially true if the trucker who hit you rear-ended you. Illinois law is clear that “it is negligence … to drive an automobile at such a rate of speed that it cannot be stopped in time to avoid a collision with an object discernible within the driver’s” view. Even if the truck driver was traveling at (or possibly below) the speed limit, it was possible that, given the icy road conditions, she was going too fast and was liable for the crash.

Given that Illinois law permits a jury to infer negligence on the part of the rear driver in a rear-end crash, in addition to the facts surrounding M.P.’s accident, a reasonable jury could infer that this trucker was negligent and reasonably could hold her and her employer liable for M.P.’s harm. In other words, even without the experts, M.P. had a strong enough case that a jury could still find in his favor and award damages.

Whatever the circumstances of your commercial truck accident, you need a skilled legal team that knows how to obtain the evidence it will take to get you all of the compensation you deserve. Count on the Chicago truck accident attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca to be that powerful legal team advocating on your behalf. Our team has many years of experience helping injured people just like you to achieve success through the legal system. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.

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