When a large commercial truck, like a big rig, 18-wheeler, or tractor-trailer, hits a much smaller vehicle, it is usually the driver and passengers in the smaller car who suffer very serious and sometimes permanent injuries.
To recover monetary compensation from a negligent truck driver or trucking company’s insurer, an experienced truck accident lawyer can file a personal injury claim and aggressively negotiate for you during settlement negotiations.
However, if the insurance company denies fault for your accident or refuses to offer you the fair monetary compensation you deserve, truck accident litigation may become necessary in your case.
In addition to aggressively negotiating for the monetary compensation you need, a skilled truck accident lawyer may file a lawsuit on your behalf in the state court system. Your lawyer can also represent you during all litigation proceedings, including a civil jury trial or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding.
Throughout every step of the process, your lawyer will answer your questions and work to maximize the total monetary recovery you receive through a favourable insurance company settlement offer or a favourable litigation result in the court system.
Common Types of Truck Accidents
When truck drivers and trucking companies commit negligent acts, the chances of a severe accident increase exponentially. The type of accident that will ultimately materialize depends upon the surrounding geographical area, the roadway specifics (including the number of lanes), and related circumstances.
A head-on collision is a common type of accident resulting from truck driver negligence. These accidents happen when the front of a large commercial truck hits the front of an oncoming vehicle travelling in the opposite direction.
When truck drivers attempt to pass slower-moving vehicles in no-passing zones, they may negligently cause their vehicle to strike the front of an oncoming car or truck, bringing about severe injuries and sometimes fatalities.
Another common truck accident is a rear-end accident, where the front of a truck strikes the back of another vehicle. When traffic slows down abruptly and truck drivers are driving too fast, these tailgate accidents are widespread.
On the other hand, a sideswipe accident happens when a truck driver negligently causes the side of their vehicle to strike the side of another car, usually on a multi-lane highway.
A T-bone or broadside truck accident occurs when the front of a large truck strikes the side of a vehicle travelling on an intersecting road. These accidents typically happen when a truck driver fails to yield the right-of-way to intersecting traffic by running a red traffic light or stop sign.
Jackknife accidents usually happen when a truck driver speeds around a sharp curve, and the tractor and trailer portions of the vehicle fold inward on themselves. As a result, the folded vehicle may move forward and strike other cars in its path.
Finally, a truck rollover accident may happen when a trucking company employee or truck driver fails to properly load cargo onto their truck. As a result, the vehicle may become top-heavy, causing it to tip over while on the road.
If a tractor-trailer fully or partially overturns in the middle of the road, other vehicles may collide with it, causing the drivers and occupants of those vehicles to suffer severe injuries.
If you suffered injuries in one of these truck accidents, you can take legal action against the responsible truck driver or trucking company’s insurer. Your truck accident lawyer can meet with you to discuss your accident circumstances, review the police report, and determine your legal options for moving forward.
Your lawyer may then file a personal injury claim with the appropriate insurance company on your behalf or go ahead and file a lawsuit in court seeking the monetary recovery you need.
Upon suffering injuries in a truck collision, you should immediately consult a medical professional and focus on completing your medical treatment regimen. As part of that regimen, you may need medical procedures, physical therapy sessions, or a medical specialist, such as an orthopedic doctor or neurologist, for all of your accident-related injuries.
In the meantime, your truck accident lawyer can start gathering the documents necessary to prove the legal elements of your personal injury case.
Once you complete your medical treatment or know your prognosis, your lawyer can submit a settlement demand package (and a settlement demand letter) to the insurance company adjuster handling your claim.
Your lawyer can then handle all settlement discussions and negotiations on your behalf and pursue the maximum compensation you deserve to recover for your injuries and losses.
How do Truck Accidents Occur?
Truck accidents are usually the result of truck driver or trucking company negligence. Negligence can take many forms, but it typically occurs when an individual or entity behaves unreasonably or irresponsibly under the circumstances at a given time.
Some of the most common types of truck driver negligence include:
- Failing to obey standard traffic laws, including speed limits, turn signal laws, and right-of-way laws
- Failing to follow state and federal motor carrier regulations, especially weight limits, overhead and undercarriage lighting, proper loading and unloading procedures for trailers, and methods for properly securing cargo to the bed of a trailer (i.e. to prevent it from rolling off the trailer while it is in motion)
- Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Exhibiting road rage and other careless or reckless driving maneuvers, such as tailgating other vehicles, speeding around other cars, attempting to pass other cars in a designated no-passing zone, failing to use a turn signal when switching lanes in traffic, or cutting other cars off in busy highway traffic
- Operating a vehicle while distracted, such as by texting and driving, adjusting the volume on a vehicle stereo system, or programming a GPS navigation system while driving
- Engaging in fatigued driving by failing to take frequent rest stops and failing to get enough sleep before operating a large truck
In addition to truck driver negligence, serious accidents may happen when trucking companies exhibit various types of negligence. For example, a trucking company may fail to hire or retain safe drivers.
Instead, they may hire a driver with a prior record of moving violations or DUIs. If that driver later causes an accident, the trucking company may be fully or partially responsible for the resulting damages.
A skilled truck accident lawyer in your area can identify all potentially responsible individuals and entities. Your lawyer may then file the appropriate claim or lawsuit, enabling you to recover the monetary compensation you deserve for your losses.
Litigating a Truck Accident Case in Court
Sometimes, a truck accident lawyer may need to pursue litigation in your case. Litigation is usually necessary if the trucking company or truck driver’s insurer denies liability (or fault) for the accident.
Your lawyer can also pursue litigation if the insurance company refuses to offer you fair settlement compensation for your injuries and other accident-related losses.
Before filing a lawsuit in your truck accident case, your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company adjuster and pursue favourable settlement compensation on your behalf.
Settlement negotiations may take several weeks or several months, depending upon the complexity of your case, the amount of time it takes to obtain pertinent documentation (including medical treatment records that lost income documents), and the willingness of the insurance company adjuster to resolve your case in a way that’s favourable to you.
If the insurance company refuses to compensate you fairly despite ongoing settlement negotiations, your lawyer may begin the litigation process by filing a lawsuit on your behalf.
At that point, the defence lawyer will enter an appearance on behalf of the negligent truck driver or trucking company. Then, the parties will engage in a process known as discovery.
During discovery, the parties will answer one another’s written Interrogatories. Additionally, the defence lawyer may request the discovery deposition of the truck accident victim. Your truck accident lawyer can prepare you for the questions a defense lawyer will likely ask at a deposition. That way, you will be fully prepared to testify clearly about your accident and the injuries you suffered.
Also, during litigation, your lawyer can attend all in-court proceedings with you, including settlement conferences. If your case does not resolve during litigation, it may go to a civil jury trial.
At trial, a jury will decide on the types and amounts of monetary compensation to award you for your injuries. Instead of taking your case to trial, you can pursue alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
During one type of ADR proceeding, called mediation, the parties will consult a neutral mediator who can help them narrow their settlement discussions and bring their case to a prompt conclusion.
Alternatively, the parties may submit to binding arbitration. They will present their case to a neutral arbitrator, and that individual will review the evidence and decide on the amount of monetary compensation to award the accident victim.
Recovering Truck Accident Monetary Damages
Whenever a truck accident victim can satisfy their legal burden of proof, they may be eligible to receive various types of monetary compensation. First, they may be eligible for lost income compensation if they had to miss time from work after their truck accident.
Additionally, if their physical injuries prevented them from continuing at the same job, and they had to switch to a lower-paying job, they may pursue monetary compensation for their lost ability to work – or loss of earning capacity.
Additionally, truck accident victims can make a claim for their intangible losses, including compensation for permanent disability or disfigurement, loss of spousal consortium, ongoing pain and suffering, inconvenience, mental distress, loss of use of a body part, and a decrease in quality of life.
Your truck accident lawyer can determine the likely value of your claim or lawsuit. Your lawyer can then pursue and recover the full monetary award you need for your injuries.
Speak with a Truck Accident Lawyer Near You Today
If you recently sustained injuries in a truck accident that a negligent truck driver or trucking company caused, you should consult an experienced truck accident lawyer in your area right away.
In addition to pursuing favourable settlement compensation in your case, your lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf and litigate your case to a resolution in the court system.
Your lawyer can also aggressively represent you at all courtroom litigation proceedings, introduce evidence on your behalf, call witnesses, and argue for the highest amount of monetary compensation available to you in your case.
Consultations with personal injury lawyers are crucial for understanding your legal options and building a strong case. Importantly, these consultations are typically free of charge. It will never add more financial stress to your life.
During this meeting, you can discuss the details of your truck accident, explore liability, and learn about the potential for compensation. A free consultation with a truck accident lawyer enables you to make informed decisions about pursuing legal action and ensures that you have the necessary information and guidance to navigate the complexities of your case.