Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Illinois

Dodds Law Office, PC
Car after a collision with a heavy truck. Concept of common causes of truck accident

The common causes of truck accidents in Bloomington, Illinois, include tire blowouts, improperly loaded and overloaded cargo, truck regulation violations, and hours of service violations. Other causes include negligence, driving under the influence, cell phone use, commercial driver’s license fraud, and under ride crashes. A truck accident may result in amputations, burn injuries, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic injuries, and head/brain injuries.

Car after a collision with a heavy truck. Concept of common causes of truck accident

You may recover compensation if someone else is to blame for your truck accident injuries. A truck accident lawyer can help you understand how to file a truck accident lawsuit, and help you seek financial recovery when the insurance company denies liability or when you find it hard to navigate the claims process.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Bloomington, IL

Determining the cause of a semi-truck accident is an essential step in pursuing compensation for your injuries. You will only have a valid claim if you can directly link your injuries to the accident.

The following are some common causes of truck accidents:

Truck Tire Blowouts

Truck tires require routine inspection and maintenance for optimal performance. Failure to do this may cause a blowout that leads to a serious accident.

A blowout may also occur when the weight of the truck load overburdens the tires. It may also happen when the tire is past its lifetime of wear and tear. Other causes of tire blowouts include over-inflation and poor road conditions.

Improperly Loaded and Overloaded Cargo

The law requires commercial truck owners to observe weight limitations when operating their vehicles on U.S. roadways. In particular, the Federal Bridge Formula only allows 20,000 and 34,000 pounds on a single and tandem axle, respectively. It also allows a gross weight of 80,000 pounds.

Besides observing the weight limitations, drivers need to ensure that they have permits for the weight of loads they are transporting. Overloading is among the leading causes of trucking accidents. Loading the cargo improperly on the truck can also make the load distribution uneven and cause an accident.

Brake Failure

Semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and big rigs are susceptible to brake failure because of their large sizes. The weight of their loads also makes them prone to this problem. When a truck brake fails, it becomes difficult to stop the vehicle during an emergency, increasing the chances of an accident.

The brakes may also fail due to improper inspection, repair, or maintenance. So, it is up to truck operators to ensure that their braking systems are properly functioning before hitting the road.

Traffic Code Violations

Traffic regulations are established to help control traffic flow and reduce road accidents. However, not all motorists comply with these regulations. Those violating these rules pay hefty fines or serve jail/prison terms when caught.

Violations of traffic regulations are among the leading causes of truck accidents in Illinois. They may include failing to stop at the red light and improper lane switch.

Hours of Service Violations

Illinois law requires truck drivers to follow regulations on hours-of-service. As such, they can only operate commercial vehicles for a specific duration. Drivers who fail to observe these rules may fall asleep or feel fatigued when driving.

Fatigue can make it hard for a driver to react when faced with an emergency on the road. The reduced reaction time may prevent the commercial vehicle operator from taking the required steps to prevent an accident from occurring.

The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) only allows drivers to operate commercial vehicles for up to 11 hours. That is after taking at least 10 hours off of work.

Cell Phone Use

Cell phones are among the top causes of distracted driving incidents. Paying attention to the road and your cell phone simultaneously is hard. If a driver is distracted, he or she may fail to react to an emergency or lose control of the vehicle.

The FMCSA imposes sanctions for such behaviors to reduce cases of distracted driving on the U.S. interstate system. In particular, drivers who fail to adhere to this regulation risk getting disqualified from driving on interstate commerce roads. They also risk facing harsh penalties.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol/Drugs

Drugs and alcohol impair motor and cognitive skills, reducing the reaction time and the ability to respond to an emergency. Driving while intoxicated with drugs/alcohol can have the same effect and increase the risk of an accident. Substance abuse and alcohol consumption can also cause increased fatigue and loss of concentration.

Truck Driver Negligence

Negligent actions, such as speeding, reckless driving, and unlawful overtaking, can cause truck accidents. These actions can also result in injuries and civil and criminal consequences.

Commercial Driver’s License Fraud

Drivers need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate large vehicles, such as semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and big rigs. The license proves the driver has the necessary training and certification to operate a commercial vehicle. It also helps demonstrate that a person is willing to follow safety regulations when driving. Without this license, a driver may not have fully demonstrated his or her ability to operate a commercial vehicle as per Illinois law requirements.

Under Ride Crashes

Commercial trucks are larger than passenger cars. As such, their size makes the impact of a collision massive and life-threatening.

Trucks are prone to under ride accidents, which happen when the hood of a vehicle hits the side of a truck. The accident may result in the vehicle getting pulled off or crushed completely, as the underside of most trucks is the same height as the hoods of regular vehicles. Large commercial trucks need a specially-fitted device underneath them to lower the risk of under ride collisions.

Common Injuries From Commercial Truck Accidents

Injuries sustained from a truck accident include spinal cord injuries, amputations, orthopedic injuries, head/brain injuries, and burn injuries. Understanding the nature of these injuries can help you make a strong personal injury claim.

Broken Bones

You might suffer broken bones after getting involved in a serious truck accident. Your bones can get twisted, shattered into multiple pieces, fractured incompletely, or forced into each other due to the crash impact.

The treatment for broken bones depends on the break. It may include surgery, splints, minor cases, and extensive rehabilitation.

Amputation

You may suffer amputation due to the force of the crash. When this happens, a limb will be damaged to the extent that it has to be cut out through surgery. Amputation may also be necessary when the following situations occur:

  • Poor blood flow to the limb
  • Severe trauma to the limb
  • A worsening infection in the limb

After a successful amputation, it takes quite a while to recover. The patient must also relearn how to carry out day-to-day tasks with the missing limb. The patient may have a prosthetic limb fitted once the wound heals.

Spinal Cord Injuries

You may suffer a spinal cord injury if the discs and bones of the back get damaged due to the impact of a truck accident. The injury is usually characterized by broken bone fragments and bones that lodge into the spine. The grades of spinal cord injuries range from A to E. Grade A comprises the most severe injuries, while E covers the least severe injuries.

Depending on the injury, symptoms may include bone degeneration, loss of muscle function, incontinence, and complete paralysis. Spine injuries also fall into different categories based on the affected part. As such, they may include cervical spine injuries (around the neck), lumbosacral injuries (in the lower back), and thoracic injuries (in the mid-back).

Head Injuries & Brain Injuries

Concussions, caused by a sudden blow to the head, are the most common type of head injury. The ensuing trauma can result in unconsciousness, insomnia, reduced alertness, and headaches. It can be life-threatening if no medical attention is sought.

Other types of head injuries include hematoma and hemorrhage. Hematoma occurs when blood suddenly collects outside the blood vessels in the head. On the other hand, a hemorrhage, which can be caused by a contusion (a bruised brain tissue), is characterized by internal bleeding.

Brain injury symptoms include mood changes, anger outbursts, confusion, depression, memory loss, and intellectual deficiencies. See a doctor if you experience these symptoms after a truck accident.

Burn Injuries

You may get burn injuries from a trucking accident when a large truck ferrying hazardous chemicals or fuel bursts into flames. Burn injuries are usually life-threatening and life-changing. They may require an amputation of the limb or a blood transfusion as part of the treatment.

A burn injury falls into four categories, depending on the nature of the accident. These categories include first-degree (the outermost skin layer is damaged), second-degree (that affects the superficial skin layer), third-degree (that covers the whole dermis, causing permanent scars), and fourth-degree (that reaches the bone and muscle).

Whiplash Injuries

Neck injuries sustained in a car accident can be whiplash, neck strain, or neck sprain. Their side effects include headaches, neck aches, back stiffness or pain, general numbness or pain, blurred vision, and dizziness.

Whiplash injuries are injuries to the soft tissues in the neck. They stretch neck tendons, muscles, and ligaments beyond their normal motion range. 

Attorney Terry Dodds has been protecting the rights of the people of Bloomington, Illinois for over 20 years. Whether you were injured in an accident, or you have been charged with a crime, Terry Dodds can tip the scales of justice in your favor.

Years of Experience: More than 20 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar Admissions:Illinois State Bar Association Missouri State Bar Association McLean County Bar Association