Tractor-Trailers: The Heavyweights of the Highway

Recently, in Illinois, a three-vehicle collision resulted in two individuals being transported to a nearby hospital. This accident occurred on United States Highway 20 near Illinois Route 73. It, unfortunately, involved a massive tractor-tractor crashing into two smaller vans. One of the individuals involved, was airlifted to a nearby Rockford hospital and a second individual was transported in an ambulance. Tractor-trailers, such as this one, are powerful, extremely heavy, and run rampant on United States highways posing the risk of severe injury at every turn.

As a matter of fact, there are nearly 5.6 million registered tractor-trailers in the United States. These tractor-trailers drive an average of 45,000 miles annually. However, the trucking industry and the Federal Highway Administration estimate this average to be around 100,000 miles for the long-distance trucks. The maximum weight for a United States tractor-trailer, including its full trailer spread of about 53 feet in length, is 80,000 pounds. This weight is spread across 18 wheels.

Weight Standards for Tractor-Trailers

For tractor-trailers traveling on United States highways, national weight standards apply. To list a few, the federal commercial vehicle maximum weight standards on United States Interstate Highway Systems include:

  •      For single axle trucks, there is a 20,000 pound weight standard;
  •      For tandem axle trucks, there is a 34 000 pound weight standard; and
  •      For gross vehicles, there is a 80,000 point weight standard.

Again, these are nationally imposed standards that each individual state must strictly enforce. If it is found that a state is not enforcing these standards, that state may then be subject to a loss of its entire National Highway System apportionment.

Serious Injuries at Stake

Due to the massive size of these tractor-trailers, if you are involved in an accident with one, there is a chance you may suffer a serious injury or even death! These injuries, of course, can drastically alter your life. Victims of these accidents often suffer catastrophic injuries. These catastrophic injuries include, but are not limited to, the loss of an arm or leg; severe burns; brain injury; and spinal cord injury. The serious injuries may also include a host of minor injuries such as bruising, whiplash, cuts and sprains.

Not only will these injures drastically alter your life, they will alter the lives of your family and loved ones as well. The stress involved may also harm your marriage and even affect your employment.

Negligence and your Case

Please note that if you are injured in an accident with a tractor-trailer, and the accident was not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation. Said compensation includes, but is not limited to, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and emotional distress.

In working towards compensation, you will have to prove that the at-fault driver was at least negligent in causing the accident. You will have to either prove this to the insurance adjuster or the court (if you file a lawsuit with the clerk of court). An experienced personal injury attorney can help you establish the key elements of negligence and will ensure the case is timely filed per Illinois’ statute of limitations rules.

Hire an Attorney for your Case

If you were involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer and now suffer injuries, it is imperative that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney. The Illinois personal injury lawyers at Levin & Perconti have the experience needed to aggressively take on your case. Call us today at (312) 332-2872 or toll free (877) 374-1417 to schedule a FREE consultation.


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