Semi Truck Accident Lawyer

“Fred and Eric were like, ‘We got this. We’ll take care of you. You’re all right.’ It’s a good thing, too, because I would have lost it. It was a very dismal situation, so it was an incredible help to have them in my corner. I could tell they weren’t just out for a check. They were real people.”
($5 Million won for this client by attorneys Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman)

Below are 10 frequently asked questions. Contact our law firm for a free consultation with a lawyer to get answers and find out if you can sue for compensation and justice.

1. How do I sue after being involved in a truck accident?

Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman

Attorneys Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman

When you hire a lawyer, you share your story and then follow up by sending your attorney documents, including medical and insurance estimates.  The lawyer then works at getting other evidence about the collision (official crash reports, log books, black box data) until they have a strong case. After this the law firm works to get their client compensated for their injury or loss by first sending a demand letter to the company and if necessary taking the case to court.

2. How much money can I get in a settlement?

When a lawsuit involves severe, permanent injuries or wrongful death, a settlement can be in the millions. Fred and Eric have won $10 million for a man who was burned, $5.1 million for a man who lost a leg, and $6 million for a family with a wrongful death claim.

Personal injury compensation can include amounts for the following:

  • medical expenses
  • lost earnings
  • pain and suffering
  • emotional suffering
  • other damages.

What your case is worth depends on a number of factors, some of which include:

  • the severity of your injuries
  • your occupation
  • your age
  • who can be sued
  • the amount of insurance money available
  • the state where a lawsuit is filed.

Our experience with trucking lawsuits guides us in helping families pick up the pieces, and our resolve as lawyers has resulted in numerous multi-million dollar settlements for our clients.

3. Can I sue on behalf of a member of my family who was injured?

Yes, under certain circumstances, you may be able to sue for a family member who was injured in an crash involving a tractor-trailer. These suits are often filed by families on behalf of clients who are not able to sue for themselves due to age (too young) or medical reasons.  Money obtained in a settlement or verdict could go into a trust for your family member. In addition, in some cases, a spouse, parent or child of an injured person can directly sue a driver or company. The emotional toll, loss of financial stability, and the cost of caring for an injured loved one are all just reasons for filing a lawsuit.

We have handled many, many cases like this, particularly cases where parents have sued on behalf of their young children.

4. What is a wrongful death lawsuit?

If your spouse, child, parent or other close family member tragically died in a crash caused by a commercial driver, your family will have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver and others. You will need to discuss your case with one of our lawyers to find out if you have a claim and what legal steps to take to get compensation.

5. Who do I sue if I or a loved one is hit by a truck?

Usually when you sue for a truck accident, you sue the negligent driver, and the company who owns the semi cab, trailer, and/or its cargo. Corporations like FedEx, Walmart and Target are also responsible for the safe transport of goods, and they need to be held accountable.

It is important for your lawyer to sort out who the responsible parties are that contributed to the accident, and to hold them all accountable.  The liable parties that are often sued in a commercial vehicle collision lawsuit may include one or more of the following:

  • The owners of the cab and trailer: Often the cab and trailer are owned by two different companies. Both of them may be liable for personal injury and wrongful death caused by a negligent operator. Your lawsuit may be against one or more of the following: a trucking company; delivery company; trash removal company; construction company; or retailer.
  • The owner of the cargo being hauled in the trailer: A lawsuit against this owner is possible, but your lawyer will need to determine if you have a claim.
  • The commercial driver:  These drivers are, by law, required to use extra care and caution when on the road. They are also required to follow strict federal and state regulations, including laws limiting the number of hours they can be behind the wheel. In addition, they can be charged with DUI or DWI with a blood alcohol level of .04%. Read about one of our cases involving a driver who was charged with using synthetic marijuana.
  • The driver’s employer: This may or may not be the same firm that owns the cab or trailer. Employers can be legally responsible for their employees actions.
  • Manufacturers: If the air brakes, steering system, tires, trailer hitch or other part fails and causes, even in part, a crash, the maker of that part and others may be legally responsible.
  • Companies that service vehicles and trailers: Companies that service tractors and trailers can be sued if a lawyer can prove that something was done wrong or that something that should have been done was not completed.

6. How are insurance companies involved?

In most cases, the insurance companies covering the driver of the big rig and businesses involved are involved in settlement negotiations and other aspects of litigation. Settlement money generally is paid by insurance companies.

7. What if the crash was caused by a defective part?

If a defective part caused the crash, the manufacturer of that part can generally be sued. For example, if a braking component on a semi-trailer known as a modulator valve fails, the truck is not able to stop and it crashes into a car, killing the driver, the maker of that modulator valve can be sued for the wrongful death. In this way, the manufacturer is held accountable and similar accidents may be prevented.

Accident Lawyers Truck Inspection

Attorneys Eric Hageman and Brendan Flaherty inspecting a big rig that was involved in a drunk driving accident.

8. What about negotiating a settlement with a trucking company like FedEx?

Settlement negotiations start with a “demand letter” and continue until a client gets an acceptable payout. In some cases, a good settlement can be reached before a lawsuit is filed. Many cases are settled just hours before a trial was set to begin. In most cases, there are specific times when the lawyers from each side get together, along with a mediator, to see if a settlement can be reached. What we have found is that there is an initial denial of fault and refusal to settle for adequate compensation. A lawsuit is then filed and additional evidence is gathered to build a winning case.

It is important to note that our clients have a say in this process.

9. How can a tractor-trailer driver be at fault?

The primary issue in an commercial vehicle collision case is generally determining who is at fault. Specific ways that a commercial tractor-trailer driver can be fault include the following:

  1. Driving distracted.  A distracted driver is usually reading, talking on a cell phone, eating,  or simply not paying attention. This can cause big rig drivers to veer into oncoming traffic, roll over, or push other cars off the road.
  2. Ignoring a stop sign, light or other traffic sign.  This is usually caused by carelessness, or distracted driving.  These lawsuits often cause serious injury as the driver often t-bones or loses control of their 18-wheeler. When this happens the tractor-trailer often broadsides another vehicle or hits a pedestrian. Eric Hageman recently won 2.4 million for a husband whose wife was killed by a 18-wheeler while on a bike.
  3. Merging improperly into traffic.  A semitrailer’s length can make it difficult to maneuver. When truckers are careless or merge aggressively, their vehicles can cause serious harm and death. We have represented families whose loved ones have been the victim of careless driving.
  4. Speeding.  Speeding is a contributory factor in many accidents. If an 18-wheeler crashes into a car while going over the speed limit, the results can be tragic. Cases where wife or mother or a husband or father die as a result of speeding are far too common.
  5. Tailgating .  When an 18 wheeler tailgates and has to stop fast, the results can be devastating. Our firm has seen extreme cases where the passengers inside sedans get run over while in their seats by tractor-trailers.
  6. Drunk Driving or Prescription Drug Abuse.  When an commercial vehicle crash is caused by a drunk driver, the bar or restaurant that served the driver is held responsible for the crash along with the driver and others.
  7. Parking illegally.  Commercial-18 wheelers need to be properly parked, and if their driver is negligent, in doing so, the result can be the death of a family member. We recently settled a case involving a trailer being parked in a snowmobile lane, which resulted in the death of a young man.

10. What should I look for in a law firm, and how do I know if I have the right attorney for my case?

The right attorney has to have a long history of successful truck litigation, but equally as important is the law firm’s mission.  The law firm’s mission has to evolve around going the extra mile to take care of not only their clients, but also their clients spouses and families. You need to know that the person representing you cares about and respects your needs.

It is also critically important that your lawyer works for a law firm that has the resources to handle your case. These are expensive cases, and it takes a lot of manpower to build a winning case. Lawyers, forensic engineers, reconstruction specialists and others need to work together to uncover and analyze evidence.

If you hire Fred, Eric or another attorney on our team, you will not have to pay us anything unless we win your case. This is called a contingency fee, and it is how most personal injury law firms do business.

Lawyer Helps Clients Win Millions and Get Justice

“In many of these cases the strategy of the trucking company is to deny that its driver was at fault,” said attorney Fred Pritzker. “Attorney Eric Hageman and I recently won a case that illustrates this point. Our client suffered traumatic brain injury and multiple fractured bones when his car was hit from behind by a semi-trailer.  As he lay in the hospital, the trucking company claimed that his wife, who had been driving the car, was at fault. We hired an accident reconstruction expert to produce a video showing what the evidence proved—that the semi driver was at fault. Once trucking company and insurance company representatives saw the video, we settled the case for $2.56 million.”

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2017 News

  • A semitrailer crashed into several vehicles that were stopped or preparing to stop for a red light on Michigan 53 in Macomb County. Three people suffered critical injuries.
  • Pinned by a Semi Truck in Hudson, WI: A 37-year-old man from Menomonie, Wisconsin, suffered life-threatening injuries in a frightful freeway crash reportedly caused by a semitrailer that moved abruptly into his lane and slammed his car against the cement median barrier on Interstate 94 in Hudson, Wisconsin.

  • Landon Peatross, 41, of Duchesne, was tragically killed and a woman critically injured after being rear ended by a semi-truck after midnight on U.S. 40 in Park City, Utah
  • Three people were killed in a head-on collision involving 3 big rigs on Highway 287 in Colorado, near Campo, at about 2:30 a.m. on May 24, 2017. The first semitractor was traveling southbound when it moved into the northbound lane and collided head-on with a tractor-flatbed combination. A third tractor-trailer that was traveling northbound went off of the road and hit a fence.
  • Two workers on an Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) mowing crew were injured when a semi truck crashed into an INDOT pickup that then hit an INDOT tractor. Injured in the crash were a 22-year-old man from Dillsboro who was driving the tractor and a 34-year-old man from Versailles who was driving the pickup. According to the state patrol, the driver of the big rig did not slow down or move to the other lane to take evasive action.
  • A man from Roseau, Minnesota died when his van crashed into a semi on Monday, May 22, 2017. He was driving a Dodge Caravan eastbound on Highway 11 when he crossed the centerline and collided with a westbound Kenworth semitrailer, injuring the driver.
  • On May 22, two semi-tractors and a passenger vehicle crashed on Interstate 10 west of Tucson. According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, a driver of a westbound commercial rig lost control when a tire failed. The semitrailer rolled as it hit the dirt median and slid into the eastbound lanes. It hit another a tanker head on, and a fire erupted. The driver of the tanker suffered severe head injuries and was transported to the hospital via medical helicopter. Two people in the passenger vehicle were also injured. They were transported by ambulance.
  • A semi driver involved in a crash on March 4 has been cited for driving too fast for the conditions. Four people were injured, including Angela Pearson, the driver of a Toyota Corolla, and four of her passengers, who were seriously injured, two with life-threatening injuries.  Ms. Pearson and the passengers were taken to the hospital, two of them to a regional trauma center. The crash happened on I-20 at mile marker 21, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
  • A collision involving a minivan and a tractor-trailer rig resulted in the death of Corrina Brown, a 16-year-old girl. She was a passenger in the minivan. The driver and another passenger in that vehicle were seriously injured. The crash happened March 3 in the evening.

Semi Truck Accident Topics

What is My Case Worth?

There are many factors that need to be considered to determine what your case is worth, including whether it is a personal injury or wrongful death claim, the injuries suffered and the physical pain associated with them, any loss of quality of life, your job and if you are able to keep it, the insurance limits of the driver and all companies legally responsible, your medical expenses, etc.

My Husband was Killed

Our deepest sympathies to you and your family. We are here to help you find out why the driver was driving illegally or carelessly and if the transportation company and others can also be held legally responsible.

Rear Ended?

Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman have won millions for clients whose cases involved a car or other vehicle being rear ended by a commercial vehicle. In one case, the husband had severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and multiple fractures. Fred and Eric won over $2 million for him and his wife.

Who Can You Sue if You are Hit by a Drunk Driver?

You may have claims against the driver, his employer, a bar or restaurant, and others. If the driver was served alcohol at a bar or restaurant while obviously intoxicated, the bar or restaurant can be sued. This is called a dram shop claim.

Hit by a Truck While Riding a Motorcycle

We recently settled 2 cases for clients who were hit by semitrailers while riding a motorcycle. In both of these cases, our client lost a limb, in one case a leg was amputated, in the other an arm.