As common as truck accidents are in Chicago and all throughout Illinois, they are equally complex and difficult to put together. Many times, the incidents involve several cars and many different people. It can be hard for a witness with no attachment to the affair to figure out what is going on let alone someone thrust into the middle of the action especially if they are hurt. Therefore, when people come to us following a truck accident, they often wonder how to make heads or tails of the incident. To help them, we try and highlight two significant issues: 1) who can file lawsuit for an Illinois truck accident case and 2) who people can sue in a truck accident case. We will discuss each of those questions in turn.
1. Who can file a lawsuit in a Illinois truck accident case?
When thinking about any critical question related to truck accident cases, remember the elements of the case itself. This should guide most questions of law and fact. With these disputes, they will typically be governed by general negligence principles. This means that plaintiffs must allege that defendants breached a legal duty and that that negligent conduct caused them injury and damages. If you are involved in a truck accident and can make out all four elements (1. Breach. 2. Injury. 3. Causation 4. Damages.), then you can pursue a case. Here is a list of people that normally fit that profile.
- Drivers: If you were a driver involved in a truck accident then you can bring a lawsuit to court if the other driver was at fault and injured you or otherwise caused you damages.
- Passengers: If you were a passenger in any of the vehicles involved in the accident, then you can pursue a claim for damages.
- Bicyclists: Bicyclists are often involved in collisions with vehicles, especially trucks. They can definitely use legal action to obtain compensation if they were not at fault and obeyed all laws of the road prior to the crash.
- Pedestrians: Pedestrian and truck accidents are more common than you might think, unfortunately, and they often occur in the context of crosswalks or sideswipes. It is very hard to make out how the pedestrian was responsible for many incidents –unless they darted out at night-and therefore they very often file lawsuits against the irresponsible truck drivers.
- Bystanders: The sheer size, speed, and force of Illinois truck accidents leaves many people on the sidelines in the crosshairs. Bystanders are frequently injured in these scenarios and they can definitely seek justice and recovery against the driver at fault for starting the crash.
- Spouses and Family: If the trucking accident in focus resulted in someone’s death, then the spouse and family of the decedent can bring an action to recover for lost support, services, and companionship.
2. Who can be sued in a Illinois truck accident case?
Again, to understand who you can proceed against in an Illinois trucking accident case, consider the basic legal elements of your action and who committed the underlying conduct. Most plaintiffs set their sights on these targets.
- Truck Driver: Obviously, the truck driver who instigated the collision and subsequent harm is liable to you for all injuries that follow.
- Employer: Under certain circumstances, the employer of the truck driver can be liable to you. The test is generally if the employee was acting in the scope of employment (i.e. for the benefit of the employer and subject to the employer’s control) at the time of accident.
- Product Manufacturer: If the cause of the crash was a faulty product, then you could potentially pursue a case against the manufacturer of the deficiently designed or manufactured part.
- Parent/Truck Owner: Persons that give their truck to others could be liable if that user harms others under a theory of negligent entrustment. Illinois law defines that as the following: “Consists of entrusting a dangerous article to another whom the lender knows, or should know, is likely to use it in a manner involving an unreasonable risk of harm to others.” Norskog v. Pfiel, 197 Ill. 2d 60 (2001). Clearly, this involves proving a distinct set of elements but it is commonly used when the driver is a minor, drunk, or unskilled to handle it. Also, when the subject vehicle is a large truck, the issue of showing it was a “dangerous article” should not be hard to show.
Of course, there can always be other people whom you can sue but this is generally the place to start. With one of our qualified attorneys, you can discuss how to best bring your suit and whom to bring it against.
For more information on questions related to Truck Accidents please visit the following pages: