There are many types of truck accidents. When people drive carelessly or recklessly, serious accidents and injuries can result. If you or someone you care about suffered injuries in a recent truck crash, you have legal options.
A knowledgeable Edmonton truck accident lawyer in your area can review the circumstances of your accident and help you develop a plan for moving forward. In some instances, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the insurance company refuses to offer you fair compensation for those injuries, you can file a lawsuit and litigate your case in court with the right legal help.
Four Categories of Truck Crashes that Result From Negligence
When drivers operate their vehicles carelessly, they may cause serious accidents. Truck crashes can occur just as easily on major highways as on rural country roads—or in parking lots and garages.
Some of the most common examples of truck accidents include head-on collisions, sideswipe accidents, rear-end crashes, and broadside collisions.
A head-on collision happens when the fronts of two vehicles collide. These accidents sometimes result from distracted or intoxicated driving, where a negligent driver causes their vehicle to cross the center median strip and strike an oncoming vehicle. When these accidents occur at high speeds, they are the most likely to cause permanent and sometimes fatal injuries.
On the other hand, a sideswipe accident happens when the sides of two vehicles collide. Usually, these vehicles travel in the same direction on a multi-lane highway. The force of the crash may push the vehicle on the receiving end entirely off the road, causing the occupants to suffer debilitating injuries.
Rear-end accidents happen when the front of one vehicle hits the back of another. These accidents may occur when drivers are inattentive near traffic intersections—or on highways where traffic backs up quickly. In some instances, the force of a rear-end crash causes a chain-reaction collision that involves multiple vehicles.
Finally, a broadside collision—or T-bone accident—happens when the front of a vehicle strikes the side of a vehicle on an adjacent roadway. The force of a T-bone accident may cause a vehicle to overturn or spin around rapidly in the middle of the traffic intersection.
In all of these situations, the larger vehicle—usually the truck—does far more damage and causes far worse injuries than the smaller one.
If you suffered injuries in one of these accidents that resulted from another driver’s negligence, your truck accident lawyer can help you file the necessary claim or lawsuit to recover the monetary damages you deserve.
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How Truck Accidents Occur
In most instances, truck accidents result from other drivers’ negligence. A driver is negligent when they do not operate their vehicle in a reasonable manner under the circumstances. In some instances, negligent drivers violate traffic laws and rules of the road, while at other times, they operate their vehicle while intoxicated, engage in distracted driving, or exhibit road rage.
Ttraffic laws prevent accidents from occurring in the first place. However, that does not stop many drivers from operating their vehicles recklessly. Some of the most common traffic violations that lead to severe accidents include speeding, failing to use turn signals appropriately, and failing to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles.
In other instances, truck accidents happen when individuals drink and drive. A passenger vehicle driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent is legally intoxicated. Alberta imposes administrative penalties when the BAC is 0.05 percent or higher. Commercial and minor drivers under 21 years of age must follow stricter laws. Alcohol impairment and intoxication can distort a driver’s vision and delay their reaction time. Consequently, an impaired driver cannot always stop in time to avoid a serious crash.
At other times, truck accidents happen when drivers become distracted while behind the wheel. Electronic devices in vehicles, including GPS navigation systems, cellular devices, and tablets, often distract drivers. Moreover, small children in the vehicle may distract drivers, or loud music may divert a driver’s attention away from the road. Even a one-or-two-second distraction may cause a driver to turn their head away from the road and miss seeing an oncoming vehicle or nearby pedestrian.
Truckers get paid by the mile, so they may speed or violate hours of service requirements and drive faster or longer than the law allows to make more money. A speeding truck presents obvious dangers. Long stretches on the road can lead to fatigue, which can mirror the effects of drunkenness on driving.
Finally, some truck crashes result from road rage. Road rage is a driver’s angry reaction to a situation that arises while on the road. In some instances, the circumstances are real, while at other times, they are imaginary. In many cases, drivers become enraged when other drivers operate their vehicles too slowly. As a result, the enraged driver might tailgate the other driver, aggressively weave in and out of traffic, or fail to use their turn signal, causing a serious crash.
If you suffered injuries in a truck crash that resulted from negligent driving, your truck accident lawyer can help you pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries. By filing a claim and negotiating with the insurance company adjuster—not just that of the trucker, but potentially the company that employed them—your lawyer can pursue the maximum amount of damages you deserve to recover for your injuries.
Truck Crash Injuries
Truck crash injuries are frequently serious and require accident victims to undergo lengthy medical treatment, including doctor visits, surgical procedures, and ongoing physical therapy. The injuries that a truck accident victim suffers will depend upon the collision force and the way their body moves in the vehicle during the crash.
In some instances, the collision may force the accident victim’s body abruptly forward and backward—or from side to side—causing them to strike something in the vehicle. For example, the accident victim’s head might strike the steering wheel or headrest, causing them to suffer a concussion or other severe head injury. At other times, the abrupt forward and backward motion might cause the accident victim to sustain a soft tissue contusion to their upper back or neck.
More forceful collisions may cause more severe injuries. For example, truck crash victims may sustain fractures, broken bones, internal organ damage, spinal cord injuries, and paralysis. These latter injuries are more common when the force of a crash physically ejects the accident victim from their vehicle.
If you are the victim of a recent truck crash, it is essential that you seek prompt medical treatment with your primary care doctor—or at a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility. You should seek this initial treatment even if you are unsure about whether you suffered severe injuries. This is because even minor injuries can become serious if untreated for a significant period.
At the emergency room facility, a medical provider can physically examine you and order the necessary imaging studies, including CAT scans, MRIs, and X-rays, to diagnose your medical condition. The provider can also render emergency treatment or recommend follow-up treatment if your symptoms worsen.
In addition to seeking prompt medical treatment after a truck crash, you should always talk to a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area as soon as possible. Your lawyer can begin gathering your medical records, loss wage statements, and other documents and prepare your settlement demand package. Your lawyer can then submit the demand package once you complete your medical care.
Filing an Insurance Claim
The first step to recovering monetary damages after a truck crash is to file a personal injury claim. In most instances, your lawyer can file this claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, in certain circumstances, you can involve your own insurer. This is especially true if the at-fault driver fled the accident scene or if the at-fault driver’s insurance was insufficient to compensate you for your injuries and other damages.
Regardless of which insurance company becomes involved, the claims-filing process is essentially the same. First, your lawyer will draft a settlement demand letter that makes a monetary demand within the available insurance policy coverage limits.
In addition, your lawyer will send the adjuster a complete settlement demand package which includes:
- Medical records
- Lost wage documents
- Photographs of injuries
- Photographs of property damage
- Victim personal statement
The insurance company adjuster will then review these documents and decide whether to accept fault for the accident. If the adjuster accepts fault, they might make an initial offer to settle your case. You should always be wary of initial settlement offers from insurance company adjusters since they are typically far less than the claim’s actual value.
Insurance companies and their adjusters want to see if the accident victim will accept a low offer in a hurry—and potentially save the insurance company significant money. After all, insurance companies make money when they collect—and keep—premium payments from their insured.
A truck accident lawyer in your area can negotiate with the insurance company adjuster on your behalf and work to ensure that you receive total and fair compensation for your injuries.
Moreover, if the insurance company will not offer you a fair settlement value for your claim, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court and litigate your case at a jury trial or binding arbitration proceeding. Your lawyer can also help you determine whether a particular settlement offer is good under the unique circumstances of your case.
Litigating a Truck Accident Claim
If the insurance company does not offer you the damages you need, your lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf. Once that happens, the litigation process begins. Even after filing a lawsuit, however, your lawyer may continue their settlement negotiations with the insurance company adjuster, and your case may still settle up until the trial date.
During the litigation in a truck accident case, the parties will usually answer one another’s written questions, called interrogatories, and engage in discovery depositions. Your lawyer can help you complete the discovery process and make the best possible presentation at your deposition.
After your deposition, the insurance company and defence lawyer may reevaluate your claim. At that point, the insurance company might offer you more money to settle. If that does not happen, you can take your case to a jury trial, where the jury will decide the amount of compensation to award you for your truck accident injuries.
The parties may consider mediation or binding arbitration as an alternative to a jury trial. At a mediation hearing, a third-party mediator helps the parties continue their settlement discussions and potentially close in on a deal. At arbitration, on the other hand, a neutral arbitrator will listen to the parties’ evidence and decide the amount of compensation to award the truck accident victim.
Your lawyer can represent you at all legal proceedings and help you decide whether you should accept a settlement offer, take your case to trial, or pursue alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or binding arbitration. Your lawyer can also explain the advantages and disadvantages of each option.
Recoverable Damages Following a Truck Crash
Truck accident victims who prove the legal elements of their claim may be eligible to recover various damages. All truck accident cases are different. Therefore, the damages that one accident victim recovers may differ from the damages another accident victim recovers. Factors that influence damage types and amounts include the accident circumstances—and the injuries the accident victim suffers.
Potential types of monetary compensation include:
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Mental suffering
- Loss of spousal consortium
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Loss of the ability to use a body part
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
- Pain and suffering
Your lawyer can determine which of these damages you are eligible to recover and help you pursue the total compensation you deserve in your case.
Call an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Near You Today
You are not alone if you suffered injuries in a recent truck crash. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can advocate for you every step of the way and work to maximize your monetary recovery.
In addition to investigating your accident circumstances and negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf, an Edmonton personal injury lawyer will be in your corner during all legal proceedings and will zealously advocate for your legal rights and interests at all times.