The catastrophic and traumatic Humboldt Broncos truck-bus accident that gripped Canada in 2018 and still continues to resonate is a stark reminder of the terrifying consequences of truck driver error. In Canada, unqualified truck drivers endanger every driver, motorcyclist, bicyclist, passenger, and pedestrian on shared roads. Accidents caused by unqualified drivers in Canada are negligence-based and entirely preventable.
If someone you love has been injured in a vehicle versus truck accident caused by a negligent, inadequately trained, or otherwise unqualified driver, then you could be entitled to financial compensation from the at-fault party.
A truck accident legal team can guide you through the complex system of:
- Identifying the at-fault party
- Proving their negligence
- Complying with the Limitations Act
- Fighting for the monetary recovery you and your family are entitled to receive.
Truck Drivers in Canada Should Drive Safely
According to Transport Canada’s National Collision Database (NCDB), truck drivers have a responsibility to:
- Drive safely
- Maintain ongoing awareness of smaller vehicles and their drivers
- Have patience and maintain professional composure when sharing roads and highways
The sheer size and weight of large trucks make them particularly dangerous when compared to passenger cars. Passenger car drivers often feel intimidated and vulnerable next to larger vehicles. These feelings can be intensified when inexperienced or unqualified drivers operate these massive vehicles.
The Benefits of Qualified and Experienced Truck Drivers
Just as passenger car drivers must pass written and road tests before being licensed to drive, commercial drivers must also do the same. Regulations in Alberta lists the qualifications truck drivers must meet to gain a license.
Unqualified truck operators can cause dangerous situations because they lack the knowledge that comes from appropriate training. They also don’t have the information that comes from experience. Experienced drivers take precautions and make vehicle maneuvers that promote road safety.
Unqualified truck drivers may not be aware of their responsibility to:
- Understand and safely maneuver blind spots
- Safely follow smaller vehicles
- Appropriate spacing and braking distances
- Avoid the dangerous practice of tailgating
- Use their truck signals safely in all weather
Other benefits of appropriate qualifications and training include passing cars safely, ensuring they can pass other vehicles safely, and navigating wide turns.
The Dangers of Unqualified Truck Drivers
Canada puts training, training manuals, and training courses for truck drivers in place for a reason. Without the proper training and qualifications, the province of Alberta cannot ensure the safety of its citizens and travellers on the road. When unqualified truck drivers pull big rigs onto the road, dangerous—even deadly—accidents can occur.
Potential hazards include:
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Unsafe turns and passes
- Unsafe and improper lane changes
- Following a passenger car too closely
- Driver distraction, inattention, or fatigue
Without the proper training, unqualified drivers might also be unaware of safe cargo loading practices. Because improperly loaded cargo can result in vehicle imbalance, inadequate training can lead to accidents. In addition, improperly loaded hazardous cargo can lead to catastrophic injuries when trucks collide with other vehicles.
How Unqualified Drivers End Up on the Road
If you or someone you love is injured in an accident with a large commercial truck, learning that the at-fault driver was not qualified to be behind the wheel of his rig can add to your stress and dismay. You will also want to know how an unqualified person was driving such a huge and potentially dangerous vehicle.
Unqualified drivers work outside the mandated Canadian driver training system and are employed by companies of all sizes. While the companies in question may or may not be aware of the driver’s status, they must vet their employees and protect public safety.
Of course, greed, dishonesty, and desperation typically play a part in putting dangerous truck drivers on the road.
This can happen because of:
- Falsified licenses and documents on the part of the truck driver
- Unscrupulous employers
- Misleading truck driver training schools and programs
Seeking Compensation After a Truck Accident
After a collision with a truck accident, you could sustain serious physical and psychological injuries. The shock and surprise of such a collision can result in ongoing physical and emotional trauma. Such conditions can require significant time to overcome. When your personal injury lawyer handles your claim, they are careful to document your recoverable damages.
These can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Immediate, ongoing and future lost wages and income
- Cost of future care
- Loss of housekeeping capacity
- Special damages
- Vehicle repair costs or replacement value
- Compensation for your car’s diminished value
- Wrongful death damages for the loss of a loved one
You or someone you love could have been involved in an accident with a driver who did not have the required license, training, and qualifications. A truck accident lawyer can help you build a strong compensation case. Your accident injury legal team can provide guidance and direction in listing and documenting your financial expenses and losses.
Get Compensation for Your Pain and Suffering
A lawyer can help you recover damages for pain and suffering using the following information, among others, to determine a financial value:
- Your injuries
- Your medical prognosis
- The extent of your injuries
- The toll your injuries have taken (and will take) on your physical and emotional health
On your own, it can be hard to do an accurate valuation.
When calculating pain and suffering, your lawyer will take into account various factors including your current and future:
- Physical pain
- Emotional trauma
- Post-traumatic stress
- Loss of the enjoyment of life
If your family lost one of its members in an accident caused by an unqualified truck driver, you could be entitled to additional financial damages.
These could include:
- Your ongoing grief
- The loss of your loved one’s financial and other contributions to your family (guidance, support, and companionship)
- Statutory damages
The Life-Changing Impact of Commonly Reported Truck Accident Injuries
The injuries you sustain in a truck accident can temporarily or permanently change your physical appearance and abilities. While the universal health care system might cover the monetary cost of catastrophic injuries, you are entitled to compensation for the impact they make on your life and health.
Some commonly reported catastrophic truck accident injuries include:
- Brain injuries, which can require lengthy rehabilitation or lead to lifelong care
- Spinal cord injuries, which can create a temporary or permanent change in your mobility
- Soft tissue injuries, which can severely strain muscles, tendons, and ligaments
- Electrical burns, which can result from the impact and severity of the accident
- Chemical burns, which can result from the substances carried by large trucks
Your personal injury legal team can request and compile your physical and mental health care records to prove the scope and range of your injuries. They make sure these include any relevant physical therapy and rehabilitation records and costs.
How a Personal Injury Law Firm Supports Your Case
A personal injury law firm is committed to helping truck accident victims injured by unqualified drivers. A legal team could seek compensation from the driver, their employer, or their insurance provider.
To simplify the process for you, this team can take care of the following details:
- Thoroughly investigate the accident
- Request records and information related to the driver
- Carefully evaluate the value of your compensation case
- Handle all related communication and correspondence
A truck accident lawyer can also represent you throughout the negotiation process by evaluating each offer you receive and guiding you through the decision process. This lawyer can also represent you in court if needs be. They can make sure you are in compliance with the Limitations Act and file your potential lawsuit on time to protect your right to compensation.
The Truck Accident Case Review Process
With most law firms, you can receive a consultation with a personal injury team member at no cost or obligation. A lawyer can listen to your version of events during your initial case review and gather as many details as possible.
They can let you know, among other things:
- Whether your case is eligible for compensation
- The next steps you should take in the process
- The potential value of your compensation
- The actions they take on your behalf
A personal injury lawyer will fight for clients who are injured in the accident including those with long-term or permanent injuries. They are committed to helping injured clients whose cases result in a loss of income or lead to a battle with private long-term disability insurance companies.
Identify the Right Party to Pursue for Damages
In an accident with another passenger car, you typically know who to pursue for damages. Truck accident cases can be much more difficult to know where to turn for compensation.
When a legal team handles your representation, they work hard to define the right at-fault party.
- The truck driver might be at fault if his negligence or inexperience caused the accident.
- The truck driver’s employer or the cargo company might be at fault if improperly loaded cargo or a similar reason caused the accident.
- The truck driver’s employer might also be at fault if they were aware of the driver’s unqualified status.
Your lawyers can use various means of evidence including your recollections, witness observations, and statements to prove the cause of the collision. They also use your truck accident report and their investigative tools to further substantiate your case. Where possible, they obtain the driver’s training records and license—or the lack thereof—to prove the driver’s unqualified status.
In addition, your collision report and the complete police investigation file will tell the lawyer the cause of the accident, its underlying causes, and contact information for the driver, his employer, and their insurance company. It also indicates points of impact, readily apparent vehicle damage, and notes and diagrams from the investigating officer.
How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Handle the At-Fault Party’s Insurance Company
Dealing with the insurance company after your accident can be intimidating and stressful on your own. When your injuries are severe, they can limit your ability to participate in your case as fully as you would like.
This is where a legal team comes in. They work by your side to deal with the insurance company, so you do not have the added stress of constant communication.
Among other things, your legal team:
- Handles all paperwork and documentation related to your case (demand letters, claim forms, and information requests)
- Helps you focus on your physical recovery
- Helps your family cope with the loss of a loved one
- Organizes and submits your collected evidence
- Makes your initial compensation request
- Where necessary, shares your accident report in its entirety and any photos, videos, or other attachments that support your case
The at-fault party’s insurer is on their side
When a personal injury law firm represents you, a favourable resolution of your case is their primary goal. They fight hard against the insurance company to resolve your case in your favour.
The at-fault party’s insurance company may offer you a lower settlement offer than what covers your losses. Conversely, a legal team works hard to determine a fair and accurate settlement value for you.
In addition, Canada’s comparative negligence laws could put your financial award at risk. To minimize this potential decrease in your verdict or settlement, an accident lawyer can combat assertions that you contributed to the accident in any way.
Get Your Case Review from a Truck Accident Legal Team
If an unqualified truck driver injured you or someone you love, a lawyer can help you prove the impact of your physical injuries and the costs of your financial damages. Get your free case evaluation today and see how a truck accident lawyer can help you seek the compensation you deserve.