The number of semi truck and tractor trailer accidents throughout Illinois are on the rise. Drivers are constantly tired, and spurred on by trucking companies unconcerned with safety. Still, there are ways to stay safe on the road. --Ryan Bradley
How to share the road with Trucks
With 10 gears, 500 horsepower, hauling 80,000 pounds and an average cruising speed of 65-70 miles per hour, today's commercial vehicles were built with the long-haul in mind. But if you've ever gotten stuck behind an 18-wheeler in the city, you are all too aware of how slow and clumsy these big rigs can be off the highway. In Central Illinois in particular the prevalence of semi trucks is even higher with Illinois Interstate 57, 74, and 72 all intersecting along with smaller roads frequently used by semis. The Champaign trucking accident team at Koester & Bradley has studied the causes of trucking accidents for decades and has come up with the following tips Illinois drivers can use to protect themselves from the destructive power of semi trucks and big rigs.
Getting Up To Speed
Never pass or maneuver around a commercial vehicle - truck or bus - illegally, even if it means taking a few more minutes on your commute. Although you may think you can zip around and in front of that trucker, keep in mind that most passenger car/tractor trailer accidents are much more than fender benders.
Safe in the Zone
Most professional truck and bus drivers try to leave a safe distance between themselves and the vehicle in front of them. This cushion of space is known as the "safety zone". Yet, the safety zone is often invaded by risky drivers trying to better their position on the road.
Never zoom around a truck or bus only to pull directly in front of them. Stay out of the safety zone! As a rule when you pass a commercial truck or bus, allow 50 feet (five car lengths) between you and the big guy before merging back in front of him. If you enter the zone in front of a big rig and need to apply your brakes, the 18-wheeler on your tail may not be able to stop in time.
Is He Making a Pass? Remember, trucks are bigger than you are.
When you make the decision to pass, always be sure you can complete your pass quickly. As you're approaching a big rig from the rear, anticipate what your passing speed needs to be and be sure you can get by without getting stuck behind another passing vehicle - you might be in one of the truck's blind spots. Better to wait to start your pass after the one ahead of you has completed its maneuver and is clear of the safety zone.
If you can't see a truck's mirrors, you're in the truck's blind spot and the trucker can't see you. Keep this in mind as you select your road position behind or alongside a truck or bus. Always make sure you can be seen. When passing, keep in mind that the truck driver has a big blind spot to his left just behind his cab. If you get caught in that blind spot the truck might start a passing maneuver of its own and squeeze you off the road or into oncoming traffic, or worse yet, collide with you.
Truck Accidents Will Still Happen
Koester & Bradley dedicates a significant amount of our practice to helping drivers injured in semi-truck accidents. Remember, trucks have one goal in mind, deliver the load as quickly as possible and pick up another load. That is how trucking companies make money--and they make lots of it. Trucking companies almost always have large insurance policies as well. This means that if you or a loved one are injured in a trucking accident, you should absolutely call a local Champaign and Illinois trucking accident lawyer so that you are paid the compensation that you deserve.
By: Ryan Bradley, Koester & Bradley, LLP
Illinois receives a wide range of winter weather from snow to freezing rain, to sheets of ice. How can you protect yourself in the event of an accident? Follow these tips.
-Tom Koester, Partner, Koester & Bradley LLP
Winter is here, and Illinois is seeing its share of snow, sleet, and ice. When driving in that type of weather, it’s crucial to be prepared. Here are some tips on safe driving and how to avoid auto accidents while driving in the snow. You may have heard these before, but they bear repeating. When we counsel clients about auto accidents that take place in the winter, and especially in inclement weather, we hear the same types of stories repeatedly.
If you’ve been the victim of a car accident, you’re probably entitled to more compensation than you think. Make sure to contact a law firm that has your best interests in mind, so that you’ll get the highest compensation possible.
By: Tom Koester, Partner, Koester & Bradley, LLP
One of the keys to receiving fair compensation for your injuries in an Illinois auto accident or personal injury case is to prove that your injuries are permanent.
-Ryan Bradley, Partner, Koester & Bradley LLP
In Illinois like almost every other state, if you were hurt in an accident and if you can win your personal injury case, you will receive compensation for your injuries. However, if you had to endure very serious injuries, there may come a time where you reach what is referred to as the maximum medical improvement. Typically, this determination is most often made in workers compensation situations, but it is relevant in automobile wrecks and trucking accidents as well. A determination of maximum medical improvement means that you will not heal anymore than you have already healed, and this determination usually comes from a doctor.
Does maximum medical improvement mean that I have no permanent injuries?
The answer is no. For example, assume that you fractured your back in an automobile accident. You undergo surgery and physical therapy. Finally, after months of treatment your spine surgeon establishes that you have reached your maximum level of improvement. This determination does not mean that you will not suffer the repercussions of you injury for the rest of your life, but only that you not get any better.
For some, this point of maximum medical improvement comes when they are fully healed. Their compensation stops and they return back to work and normal activities. Unfortunately, for serious accidents, this moment of maximum medical improvement doesn't mean they are fully healed. If you will no longer improve in condition, you will then be considered to have permanent impairment. In some cases, this means that person will never regain full range of motion in their shoulders, or it can be even more serious like a person no longer regaining the use of a limb. If this is the case, a doctor will examine your impairment to see if it will be considered partial disability or full disability. This percentage of disability will affect how much you can receive for the impairment.
If you have reached maximum medical improvement, but still are not fully healed, having your injury labeled as permanent will mean you can continue to collect a certain amount of compensation for that impairment. However, you can't ask for this during your personal injury case. It is something that must be accessed after the healing is done. If you suspect you may have permanent impairment, this means you need to communicate that with your lawyer so the settlement has provisions to provide for permanent compensation just in case permanent impairment does manifest. Koester & Bradley is an Illinois leader in receiving compensation for permanent injuries and building a case for such injuries.
If you have been hurt in an accident, you hope you won't have long-term injuries, but if you do, you want a settlement that can cover it. If you have been hurt and need help with your personal injury case, contact us today.
By: Ryan Bradley, Partner, Koester & Bradley, LLP