Fatal Truck Accidents
When tractor-trailers travel at freeway speed and collide with other vehicles, their size and weight increase the likelihood of a fatal truck accident occurring. When a loved one has suffered a wrongful death in a crash, call the dedicated attorneys at Therman Law Offices for assistance. Our Schaumburg and Wheaton truck accident lawyers seek to recover compensation for injured victims from all at-fault parties. While we aim to provide straightforward solutions to your legal needs, we also extend compassionate support during a devastating time.Holding All Parties Accountable in Fatal Truck Accident Cases
When an individual or entity causes a death, such as through intentional wrongdoing or by acting negligently, the estate of the deceased may consider suing for wrongful death. This type of claim is filed when the deceased would have had the right to file a lawsuit for damages had they survived. A personal representative will file the wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased. In some cases, this person may be a surviving family member, friend or an appointed representative.
A successful wrongful death claim requires a showing that the defendant’s negligence directly caused the fatal accident. On the road, a driver must exercise ordinary care for the benefit of others. In situations involving truck accidents, this duty is equivalent to the level of care that a reasonable truck driver would exhibit in the same or similar circumstances. A truck driver that speeds through a hailstorm, failing to provide enough stopping distance to safely maneuver their vehicle, may be held negligent because a reasonably careful driver would not engage in this risky behavior. If their actions directly caused an accident and a death, the victim’s personal representative or family may be entitled to recover wrongful death damages.
When truck drivers or their employers violate a law which results in an accident, the drivers or employers may be found negligent. In a negligence per se action, the violation of a law where the victim was a member of the class intended for protection under that law may be considered evidence of negligence. This type of lawsuit makes it less of a challenge for the personal representative to prove negligence, but the plaintiff still must show that the violation of the law caused the accident.
Different legal theories may support a claim that holds the trucking company legally accountable. Vicarious liability or respondeat superior apply when an employer is indirectly responsible. While the employer may not be directly at fault, they can be responsible for their employee who caused the injury in the course and scope of their employment.
For example, negligent supervision applies when a trucking company is responsible for failing to properly pay attention to and supervise their employee. The company owes a duty to the public to supervise their drivers. This duty extends to the trucker’s actions, such as completing logbooks properly and abiding by rest periods to avoid truck driver fatigue. If a driver fails to meet their duty while operating their truck, their employing company may be liable.Available Compensation in Fatal Truck Accident Cases
Damages in a wrongful death claim are intended to benefit a surviving family. Surviving spouses and children are entitled to costs that place them in the position they would be, had their loved one survived the truck accident.
In most cases, compensation includes medical costs before death, burial fees, and pain and suffering endured by the victim. Family may be able to also secure future income that the deceased would have earned, had they survived. In addition, the family may be entitled to costs for their emotional suffering.Comparative Negligence
A defendant truck driver or company may assert that the victim partly caused the accident and their death. Illinois law provides that so long as the victim was less than 50% responsible for the accident, they may recover damages for their injuries. A skilled attorney can thoroughly investigate the accident to identify all responsible parties, as well as assess whether comparative negligence principles may apply.Skilled Truck Collision Lawyers for Schaumburg and Wheaton Residents
A wrongful death claim following a fatal truck accident can involve complex legal issues. The experienced attorneys at Therman Law Offices will work to ensure that a careful analysis uncovers all potential parties that may have contributed to the fatal accident in your case. To explore your options, schedule a free consultation by calling 312-588-1900 or by contacting us online. We represent families throughout Wheaton, Schaumburg, and the areas of Arlington Heights, Streamwood, Hoffman Estates, Bartlett, Elgin, Hanover Park, Bensenville, Bloomingdale, Roselle, and Wood Dale.