What are the most common ways truck drivers cause accidents? Truck accidents frequently happen when drivers operate their vehicles negligently or carelessly. With a large truck, semi-truck, 18-wheeler, or big rig that strikes a much smaller vehicle, the resulting injuries can be catastrophic and sometimes deadly.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a recent truck accident, you must retain an experienced Edmonton truck accident lawyer to represent you throughout your personal injury claim or lawsuit. A lawyer can discuss the circumstances of your accident with you and help you decide on a plan for moving your case forward efficiently.
If you are eligible to file a personal injury claim, your lawyer can assist you throughout the claims-filing process with the at-fault truck driver’s insurer. Moreover, if the insurance company refuses to offer you the fair monetary damages you deserve, your lawyer can help you file a lawsuit in court and litigate your case to the most favourable conclusion possible under the circumstances.
Injuries that Truck Accident Victims Frequently Suffer
In most truck accident cases, it is the occupants of the smaller vehicle who suffer more severe injuries. The force of a crash may cause the accident victim’s body to move around violently inside their vehicle—or even strike something in the vehicle, like the console, dashboard, steering wheel, headrest, door frame, or window. As a result, the driver or passenger may sustain serious injuries that require medical treatment and rehabilitation.
Some of the most common injuries that truck crash victims suffer include:
- Traumatic head and brain damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Cuts and bruises
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
As soon as possible after a truck accident, you should follow up at a local urgent care facility or hospital emergency room. The medical provider there can physically examine you, order the necessary imaging studies, determine your medical condition, and provide the necessary treatment.
Seeking same-day medical care is extremely important because untreated injuries often worsen over time. Moreover, if you later need to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit, the insurance company handling your claim may become skeptical if you significantly delay follow-up medical treatment after your accident.
While you focus on getting better and making a full recovery, a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area can begin handling your claim’s legal components. Your lawyer can gather your medical treatment records, lost wage documents, police reports, eyewitness statements, injury photographs, and other potential evidence for your personal injury claim or lawsuit. Once your medical treatment is complete, your lawyer can file a claim with the appropriate insurance company on your behalf and begin handling your case.
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Ways that Truck Drivers Behave Negligently
Although some truck accidents happen because of defective repair work and part defects, most truck crashes result from driver error and negligence. A truck driver is negligent when they fail to act reasonably under the circumstances.
This usually means they do something that a hypothetical reasonable truck driver should not have done under the same circumstances. Alternatively, they may fail to do something that a hypothetical reasonable truck driver should have done in a similar situation.
Some of the most common types of truck driver negligence include:
- Violating road rules
- Violating motor carrier regulations
- Distracted driving
- Intoxicated driving
- Fatigued driving
- Road rage
Many roadways establish separate speed limits just for trucks. Truck drivers must also consider weather and traffic conditions and adjust their speeds when proceeding downhill and negotiating sharp turns. When truck drivers speed excessively, they may cause their large vehicle to overturn or jackknife, causing a severe accident or chain-reaction collision.
Truck crashes also happen when drivers violate other driving laws. Common road rule violations that lead to accidents include failing to use turn signals appropriately, failing to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles, and tailgating other vehicles.
Truck drivers and the trucking companies that employ them must also follow all motor carrier regulations. These regulations establish standards for loading and unloading truck cargo, as well as for properly securing cargo to a trailer. When truck drivers disregard load limits and fail to properly load or secure cargo to a trailer, the truck’s center of balance may become offset, causing it to overturn in the middle of the roadway. This is especially true when the truck moves at a high rate of speed. Moreover, improperly secured cargo may slide off the back of a truck, causing it to land on the roadway and causing a severe accident.
Distracted driving is another common cause of large truck accidents. Truck drivers become distracted when they divert their attention away from the road and onto something in their vehicle. Electronic devices, including tablets, cellular phones, and GPS navigation systems, may distract a truck driver from watching the road. When a driver turns their head or looks down—even if only for one or two seconds—they might fail to observe an approaching vehicle or a pedestrian in the vicinity, causing a crash.
Truck drivers may also cause an accident when they engage in intoxicated or drugged driving. When it comes to alcohol, passenger vehicle drivers are legally intoxicated if a breathalyzer device calculates their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at 0.08 percent or higher. However, commercial drivers must follow much stricter laws. Alberta imposes administrative penalties when the BAC is 0.05 percent and higher.
When truck drivers operate a vehicle carrying thousands of pounds of cargo, they cannot afford to become distracted or intoxicated. Alcohol, in particular, can significantly impair a driver’s reaction time and may prevent them from stopping in time to avoid a crash. Moreover, alcohol may cause their vision to become blurry, preventing them from seeing a nearby vehicle or pedestrian.
Fatigued driving, on the other hand, happens when a truck driver operates their vehicle without having enough sleep. Many trucking companies financially incentivize their drivers when they arrive at their final destination ahead of schedule.
To stay awake for long hours, however, many drivers forego sleep or resort to stimulants to try and keep themselves awake for long hours. However, these drugs often have the opposite effect and make a sleepy driver while behind the wheel. When truck drivers become fatigued, they may lose their ability to concentrate on the road, negligently causing an accident. Alternatively, they might fall asleep at the wheel, causing them to lose control of their vehicle and cause a crash.
Finally, some truck accidents result from driver road rage. When truck drivers are in a hurry to arrive at their final destination, they may become frustrated with other drivers who drive too slowly. As a result, some truck drivers may resort to aggressive driving maneuvers, including tailgating, zealously weaving in and out of traffic, and failing to use turn signals at the appropriate times. In those circumstances, they might negligently cut off another vehicle or otherwise cause a severe accident.
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a truck accident that resulted from driver negligence, you are not alone. Your truck accident lawyer can help you review your legal options and develop a plan for moving your case forward—and pursuing the maximum amount of compensation available.
Potential Trucking Company Negligence
In addition to truck drivers, employer trucking companies may also commit negligent acts which cause or contribute to truck accidents. Trucking companies, like their drivers, are responsible for following all motor carrier regulations. When they fail to follow these regulations—or when they fail to supervise their employee drivers—accidents may occur, which lead to severe injuries.
Moreover, trucking companies have a duty to hire and retain only skilled, competent truck drivers. They must also reprimand or fire drivers who commit frequent moving violations and incur civil or criminal penalties. When trucking companies hire or retain a known problem driver, and an accident occurs, they may be fully or partially responsible for the consequences.
A skilled truck accident lawyer in your area can help you identify all potentially responsible parties for your truck accident and pursue the necessary legal actions on your behalf.
Filing an Insurance Claim for Damages
A truck accident lawyer can help you file a personal injury claim for monetary damages with the at-fault truck driver’s insurance company. The process begins when your lawyer submits a settlement demand letter—and a complete demand package—to the insurance adjuster handling your claim.
Settlement negotiations may then continue between your lawyer and the adjuster until the case reaches a resolution through settlement or they reach an impasse. Your lawyer can help you decide whether you should accept a particular settlement offer or file a lawsuit and pursue litigation.
Deadline to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit
Truck accident victims have a limited time to file a claim or lawsuit seeking monetary damages. The time clock starts to run on the accident date and continues for two years. If the truck accident victim files their lawsuit even one day after the statute of limitations expires, they will no longer be eligible to recover monetary damages for their injuries.
Given this short statutory period, accident victims must retain experienced legal counsel to represent them in their case as soon as possible. Your lawyer can evaluate the strength of your claim and, if necessary, file a timely lawsuit in the court system on your behalf. Your lawyer may then continue negotiating a favourable settlement that fully and fairly compensates you for your truck accident injuries.
Collecting Damages in a Truck Accident Settlement or Lawsuit
When truck accident victims can prove the legal elements of their claim or lawsuit, they can recover various damages to make themselves whole again. Since all truck accident claims are different, not all accident victims will recover the same types and amounts of compensation. The ultimate damages that a truck accident victim may recover will depend upon the force of the collision, the extent of their injuries, and whether they lost time from work.
Common examples of monetary compensation that truck crash victims recover include damages for lost wages—if they miss work time—and loss of earning capacity if their injuries prevent them from working at their current job.
These accident victims may also receive monetary compensation for their past and future pain and suffering. They may be eligible for future pain and suffering damages if a healthcare provider determines, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, that they suffered a permanent injury in their accident. A permanent injury is unlikely to improve over time and will continue to cause the accident victim to experience pain and other symptoms.
Victims may also pursue monetary compensation for their inconvenience, mental anguish, permanent disfigurement or disability, lost quality of life, loss of the ability to use a body part, and loss of spousal companionship and consortium.
A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer can negotiate with insurance company adjusters on your behalf and work to pursue the highest available settlement offer for you. If necessary, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court and litigate your case at a civil jury trial, mediation hearing, or binding arbitration proceeding.
Call a Skilled Truck Accident Lawyer Near You Today
Truck accidents can lead to injuries, leaving many accident victims in permanent pain. These injuries may also negatively impact an accident victim’s quality of life and their ability to spend time with family members and friends.
Negotiating favourable settlement offers with insurance companies can also be an uphill battle. Your health and well-being are too important to try and take on the insurance company by yourself. The insurance company will have a lawyer working for them, and you should have one too.
Fortunately, a knowledgeable Edmonton personal injury lawyer in your area is here to help. Your lawyer can aggressively negotiate with insurance company adjusters on your behalf and work to recover the favourable damages that you deserve. If the insurance company will not take your case seriously and refuses to offer you the compensation you need, your lawyer can file a lawsuit, litigate your case to a conclusion, and pursue the maximum damages available in your case.