When a commercial truck, such as a tractor-trailer, big rig, or 18-wheeler, hits a much smaller vehicle, it is usually the occupants of the smaller vehicle who suffer the more serious injuries and damages. Moreover, recovering monetary compensation for your injuries in a truck accident can be an uphill battle, especially if the truck driver leaves the accident scene in a so-called “phantom-vehicle accident.”
If you suffered injuries in a phantom truck accident, speak with a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer right away. Your car accident lawyer can meet with you to discuss the circumstances leading up to your truck accident, as well as the injuries you suffered.
Your car accident lawyer can then begin an investigation into the accident and explore your options for recovering monetary compensation. Depending upon the circumstances, your lawyer can file a claim with the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program (MVAC) to pursue the monetary compensation you need.
Your lawyer will do everything possible to maximize your monetary recovery and help you obtain the best possible result in your injury claim or lawsuit.
Types of Truck Accidents that Lead to Injuries
When truck drivers operate their vehicles negligently, serious accidents can occur that lead to debilitating injuries. Some of the most common truck accidents are rear-ended crashes, sideswipe accidents, head-on collisions, and broadside accidents.
A rear-end truck crash happens when the front of a large truck hits the back of a vehicle traveling in the same direction and usually in the same travel lane. The force of a rear-end truck collision may cause the occupants of the front vehicle to suffer serious injuries.
Depending on the collision force, their bodies can move forward and backward or from side to side abruptly, causing soft tissue neck and back contusions. Moreover, the collision may cause a part of the accident victim’s body to strike something in their vehicle, like the headrest, steering wheel, dashboard, window, or door frame.
A sideswipe truck accident happens when the side of a large truck hits the side of another vehicle traveling in the same direction. These accidents are common on crowded, multi-lane highways. In some instances, the force of the collision is so great that it pushes the vehicle on the receiving end out of their travel lane or off the road altogether and onto the road shoulder.
On the other hand, head-on collisions happen when the front of a large truck and the front of a vehicle strike one another while traveling in opposite directions. These accidents may occur on dual highways with one travel lane in each direction. When these accidents happen at high speeds, they often result in permanent injuries and fatalities.
Finally, broadside accidents, or T-bone collisions, happen when the front of a large truck hits the side of a vehicle traveling on an adjacent road. The force of these collisions may cause the smaller vehicle to overturn completely or spin around rapidly, causing the occupants to sustain debilitating injuries.
If you or a person you love suffered injuries in one of these truck accidents that resulted from driver negligence, a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer can explore your legal options and help you file an injury insurance claim or lawsuit seeking monetary damages.
Common Injuries That Truck Accident Victims Suffer
When large trucks hit smaller vehicles, the occupants often sustain serious injuries that require medical treatment and prevent the victim from working for a while. The injuries that a truck accident victim sustains usually depend upon the force of the collision, the type of truck accident that occurs, and the way the accident victim’s body moves in their vehicle during the crash.
Common truck-accident injuries include open cuts, bruises, fractures, soft tissue contusions, traumatic head and brain injuries, internal organ damage, paralysis, and spinal cord injuries. All of these injuries require prompt medical treatment at a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility.
Even if you are unsure about the extent of your injuries, always seek medical treatment as soon as possible after your accident. This is because undiagnosed and untreated injuries can become significantly worse over time. A medical provider can physically examine you and order the necessary imaging studies, including X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, to diagnose your medical condition and provide you with the necessary treatment.
Moreover, the provider can make recommendations for future care in the event your symptoms get worse. For example, the provider might recommend that you follow up with a primary care doctor, physical therapist, orthopedist, or neurologist, for ongoing medical care.
While you complete all of your accident-related medical care, your lawyer can help you with the legal aspects of your case. Specifically, they can assemble your lost wage documents, medical treatment records, photographs of your injuries, property damage photographs, and other potential evidence. Once you finish your medical treatment, your lawyer can submit these documents as part of a settlement demand package to the insurance company adjuster handling your truck accident claim. Your lawyer can then help you negotiate a settlement that fairly compensates you for your truck-accident-related injuries.
How do Truck Accidents Typically Happen?
In most circumstances, truck accidents result from driver negligence. A driver is negligent when they fail to operate their vehicle reasonably under the circumstances. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include failing to follow traffic laws and regulations, violating motor carrier regulations, operating a vehicle while fatigued, engaging in distracted driving, and operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Commercial truck drivers, like all other drivers, must follow traffic laws and rules of the road. When they violate these laws, they significantly increase their chances of causing an accident, especially with a smaller vehicle. Common road rules that truckers often violate include speed limits, right-of-way laws, and turn signal laws. Truck drivers must also refrain from aggressive driving maneuvers and road rage, including tailgating other vehicles and zealously weaving in and out of busy highway traffic.
In addition to road rule violations, some truck accidents happen when truck drivers and trucking companies violate motor carrier regulations. Motor carrier regulations prescribe truck weight limits and load limits. They also determine how truck drivers must secure their cargo to the truck bed so that it does not fall off while the truck is moving. When truck drivers and trucking companies violate these regulations, a falling cargo accident or other serious accident can occur that leaves others injured.
In addition, some truck accidents happen when drivers operate their vehicles while fatigued. In fact, trucking companies often incentivize their drivers for delivering their cargo to its final destination ahead of schedule. To accomplish this goal, drivers will often operate their vehicles for hours on end without stopping to sleep or take breaks.
Fatigued truck drivers can experience limited concentration and delayed reaction time, preventing them from stopping their vehicle before a crash occurs. Moreover, a fatigued truck driver might fall completely asleep at the wheel, causing their vehicle to careen out of control or off the road.
In addition to fatigued driving, distracted driving is another common cause of truck accidents. Drivers often become distracted by electronic devices, including cellular phones, tablets, and GPS navigation systems. Loud music playing in the cab of a truck may also prove to distract many drivers. When truck driver diverts their attention away from the road, even for a brief period, they may fail to see an oncoming vehicle or pedestrian and cause a serious crash.
Finally, some truck accidents occur when drivers are under the illegal influence of alcohol or drugs. A passenger vehicle driver who has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent is legally intoxicated. However, commercial truck drivers must follow stricter standards.
Even when a driver’s BAC is below the legal limit, they may still experience the negative effects of alcohol impairment. Those negative effects often include physical symptoms, like nausea and blurred vision, along with limited concentration and delayed reaction time. Many drivers experience these effects because alcohol is a depressant that significantly slows down their reaction time.
If you suffered injuries in a truck crash that resulted from driver negligence, you should talk to a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can explore your legal options for moving forward and help you recover the favourable monetary damages you need.
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“Phantom” Truck Accidents
A “phantom” truck accident occurs when a driver negligently causes a collision but leaves the accident scene right away. In some scenarios, the truck driver speeds off so fast that the accident victim cannot obtain identifying information, such as a license plate number.
When this happens, you may pursue a claim under the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program (MVAC). This program provides victims of phantom vehicle accidents with a way to recover the monetary compensation they need for their injuries, lost wages, and other accident-related losses.
Victims of phantom vehicle truck accidents may be eligible for a maximum of $200,000 worth of compensation. However, a court will split the proceeds if the accident has more than one victim.
Participation in the MVAC program is a last resort for accident victims. Therefore, if an individual has insurance coverage available, such as through an uninsured motorist policy, they will not be eligible to recover MVAC benefits.
Individuals may pursue monetary compensation through the MVAC program if:
- They suffered bodily injuries in a motor vehicle crash, including one that a negligent truck driver caused
- They are an Alberta resident
- The motor vehicle crash occurred in Alberta
- An uninsured or unknown driver caused the subject accident
- Only the phantom driver or uninsured driver caused the accident—and no one else caused or contributed to it
A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer can help you determine if you’re eligible to participate in the MVAC program. If so, they can file the necessary claim or lawsuit on your behalf. Injury claims in phantom truck accident cases typically proceed in much the same way as any other personal injury claim. Therefore, your lawyer can file the claim on your behalf, pursue a fair settlement, and if necessary, file a lawsuit and litigate your case in the court system.
Recoverable Damages in a Phantom Truck Accident Claim or Lawsuit
If you suffered injuries in a phantom truck accident that resulted from the truck driver or trucking company negligence, you might be eligible to recover various monetary damages. The damages that truck accident victims may recover usually depend upon the severity of their accident, the injuries they suffered, and their pain and suffering.
Potential monetary damages include compensation for:
- Lost earnings from being unable to work while treating
- Loss of earning capacity if you needed to switch jobs and take a pay cut after your accident
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Mental distress and emotional anguish, such as from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Loss of the ability to use a body part, such as from full or partial paralysis
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Loss of spousal consortium
Call a Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you suffered injuries in a phantom truck crash, time is of the essence. This is because truck accident victims, no matter the circumstances, typically have only two years from their accident date to seek monetary compensation for their injuries. Therefore, they must file their injury lawsuit squarely within that time frame. If they file their lawsuit even one day after the deadline expires, they will not be eligible to recover monetary compensation.
Given the relatively short statute of limitations time frame, speak with a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area as soon as possible. Your lawyer will do everything possible to help you maximize your compensation and get you the damages you deserve through a settlement or jury trial.
Protect your rights as a truck accident victim today by seeking professional legal help.