Whether you have been in an accident with a mobile crane truck, cement mixer, tank truck, tractor-trailer, flatbed truck, or garbage truck, you need an accident lawyer to help you understand what to do after an accident.
Table of Contents
- Common Causes of Truck Accidents
- Problems With The Vehicle
- What Are Typical Injuries in Truck Accidents
- What Happens After a Truck Accident
Truck accident lawyers help victims identify the person or company responsible for their injury and then represent their interests against defense lawyers and insurance companies so they can heal in peace.
When you work with a truck accident lawyer, you know that you have a team with the skill, knowledge, and experience to help you succeed. To learn more about the causes of truck accidents and how truck accident lawyers can help you, continue reading.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Traffic and highway accidents between motor vehicles and big trucks are unfortunately common. Big trucks are massive machines that can wreak havoc on property and cause devastating injuries, even death. There are some common conditions and actions that cause accidents with big trucks. Human error is typically the cause of truck accidents. While other times the cause may be problems with the vehicle and other uncontrollable causes.
Speeding is a common cause of accidents, and the devastation of the accident is much more severe when a truck is involved. Speeding is reckless. Commercial drivers must be careful while operating the company vehicle. If a trucker drove recklessly, a truck accident lawyer can hold the right defendants accountable.
Distracted driving happens when a driver stops focusing on driving and causes an accident. Losing focus while driving is a major cause of accidents, and a distracted commercial truck driver is wielding a deadly weapon. Distracted driving takes one of three forms, including the driver taking their mind off the task, taking their hand off the wheel, and taking their eyes off the road.
Examples of distracted driving include:
- Texting while driving
- Talking on the phone (even when using a hands-free option)
- Talking to passengers
- Changing your music station
- Adjusting the temperature of the air conditioner or heater
Fatigue is prolonged tiredness that causes you to lose some functional ability, including activities of daily living. Truck drivers have hours of service limitations to prevent fatigue, but drivers might still be drowsy behind the wheel.
Many factors cause fatigued driving.
Factors that cause fatigued driving include:
- Lack of sleep or lack of quality sleep
- Long periods of repeated activity. Truck drivers sometimes make incredibly long trips in one sitting.
- Use of new medications or a change in the dose of medications
- Underlying disease
You can spot fatigued drivers because they exhibit some common signs. If a truck driver exhibits any of these signs, the truck driver may soon cause a tragic accident.
Signs of fatigued driving include:
- Mood changes and irritability
- Lack of motivation
- Lost ability to concentrate
- Reduced reaction time
- Jerkiness while driving
Aggressive driving leads to nasty accidents when commercial trucks are involved. Aggressive driving occurs when a driver gets angry at some stimuli and begins driving erratically. Aggressive driving can cause incredibly devastating damage and lead to fatal injury. Knowing the signs of aggressive driving gives you the skills to recognize and deescalate tense situations in traffic.
Signs of aggressive driving include:
- Speeding in congested traffic
- Running a red light or a stop sign
- Failing to signal a lane change
- Brake checking
- Flashing high beams
- Cutting someone off
If a person is in an accident caused by an aggressive driver, they are responsible for the accident victim’s damages. If a commercial driver is responsible for the accident, then the driver and the company they work for can be responsible for paying damages that result from the accident.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is one of the biggest causes of traffic and highway accidents across the country. Impaired driving has dangerous effects. Commercial truck drivers are not permitted to consume alcohol while on duty and may not have an alcoholic drink within four hours of operating their company vehicle. Commercial drivers also may not be under the influence of illicit drugs and some prescriptions. Using these drugs may decrease a driver’s cognitive ability and cause an accident.
If you were in a traffic or highway accident with a commercial driver who displayed signs of driving under the influence, you need a local truck accident lawyer. Your accident lawyers will know what steps to take to fully protect your rights after an accident.
Problems With the Vehicle
Unfortunately, commercial truck companies sometimes negligently maintain their fleet. Negligent maintenance means that the driver or company failed to ensure that the vehicle operated properly before putting it on the road. Typically, a driver has a maintenance checklist they must complete before starting work. Failure to complete the checklist and report any vehicle issues is negligent and reckless. The driver and the company are both responsible for negligent maintenance.
If you have been in an accident with a negligently maintained vehicle, contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Experienced truck accident lawyers know how to protect their clients’ rights and ensure that they are not taken advantage of by commercial trucking companies and their large team of insurance defense lawyers.
Badly Maintained Roads
Sometimes accidents are caused by roads that show a history of improper maintenance. Cracks in the road, potholes, missing road signs, and broken traffic lights can lead to tragic and possibly deadly accidents.
Other Causes of Accidents That Human Error Does not Cause
Poor weather conditions contribute to traffic accidents. Commercial truck drivers work no matter the weather conditions. They deliver goods to businesses and families in the rain, sleet, and snow. Unfortunately, sometimes severe weather can make an accident worse. If they drive through inclement weather, commercial truckers should pay careful attention to their speed, vehicle maintenance, and other conditions to make their trip safe for themselves and other drivers.
What Are Typical Injuries in Truck Accidents
Each accident case is unique. There is no way to fully predict what harm a truck accident victim will suffer. However, there are some typical injuries that truck accident victims suffer. Examples of injuries that many accident victims incur include:
Examples of physical injuries that can occur because of a truck accident include:
- Back injuries
- Knee injuries
- Strains and sprains
- Concussion and other head injuries
- Broken bones
- Short-term disability
- Long-term disability
- Internal injuries
These injuries may be temporary or lifelong. Compensation for these injuries usually depends on the severity of the injury. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help you craft a case that shows every aspect of how your life has changed since the accident occurred. If you have suffered an injury in a traffic accident, call an experienced truck accident lawyer to start putting your life back together.
Recoverable accident damages include more than physical injuries. Economic damages also include property damages. If a traffic accident has damaged your car, then a truck accident lawyer can help you get the recovery you need.
There may be non-economic damages available in your case as well. Non-economic damages are damages that are hard to quantify.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Anxiety and depression
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Lost income and wages are also recoverable after a traffic accident. The lost income consists of lost work hours due to the injury and the loss of earning capacity.
A person loses their earning capacity if they can no longer make money the way they did before the accident. The injured person can earn a living, but they may have to take a lower-paying job. The affected person is entitled to compensation for the loss. Speak with a truck accident lawyer to learn all your options.
What Happens After a Truck Accident?
In a truck accident, the parties involved should call the police. The police will come to the scene and speak to the drivers, passengers, and any other witnesses. They will take statements. Also, the officer will observe the scene and try to figure out what happened based on any physical evidence they see, including tire marks, street signs, streetlights, and vegetation.
Once the officer has collected all the information, they will complete the accident report. The officer will then determine who is responsible for the accident. However, the police officer’s determination will not be the final word on responsibility. Still, the parties’ insurance companies will consider the officer’s findings in making their final determination on fault for the accident.
Regardless of fault, a driver must notify their insurance company after an accident. After the drivers file a report, the insurance companies will independently investigate the accident. Once the investigation is complete, the insurance company will make a final decision regarding the fault. Insurance premiums may increase accordingly.
Upon determining fault, the driver is responsible for paying damages to the injured party. Depending on the injuries and property damage severity, the negotiations may take months or years. If you do not cooperate with your insurance company’s investigation, you may see your premiums increase or your policy canceled.
The at-fault driver’s insurance company may refuse to pay the money that the injured driver requires to recover fully in some cases. Accident lawyers use their experience and knowledge to help accident victims obtain the compensation they deserve.
What Kinds of Payment Arrangements Do Accident Lawyers Have Available?
A car accident lawyer is aware of victims’ concerns about the cost of legal representation. For this reason, accident lawyers often offer a contingency fee structure so car accident victims can obtain justice without breaking the bank.
Under a contingency fee agreement, lawyers and clients agree that the client will pay no lawyers fees unless the client receives a monetary settlement. During each stage of a case, the contingency fee agreement should specify which party should pay litigation expenses. The client and lawyer can decide whether to pay the litigation expenses upfront or wait until the case has reached its conclusion.
An accident lawyer usually charges a contingency fee to save the client from any upfront legal expenses. Contingent fees are different from traditional retainer agreements or hourly fees lawyers in other situations charge.
Generally, a lawyer who accepts a contingency fee agreement begins representing a client on the condition that they will receive a percentage of the settlement amount they win. Clients benefit from contingent fees because legal fees are kept low. Regardless of the length of the case, the contingency fee stands.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer Today
A truck accident lawyer can help an accident victim recover damages after an accident. Enlisting the help of a lawyer is the first step in creating a team that fights as hard for the victims as the insurance companies do against them.
A qualified and experienced truck accident lawyer gives accident victims the best chance when negotiating a settlement claim. A truck accident lawyer will ensure the victim’s rights. After suffering an injury in an accident, an accident victim should contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.