When a large truck, such as a big rig, tractor-trailer, or semi, hits a smaller vehicle in an accident, it is usually the occupants of the smaller vehicle who sustain severe injuries. Serious accidents and injuries are widespread when truck accidents happen at high speeds. The force of a collision may knock the accident victim’s body around their vehicle, causing them to sustain various injuries.
Truck accidents and their aftermaths can be extremely confusing and disorienting situations. Many accident victims are unsure what to do, where to turn, or who to trust. You can be sure that insurance companies and their representatives do not have your best interests at heart following a serious accident.
Touch base with a truck accident lawyer in your area as quickly as possible. Your lawyer can answer all your legal questions and address your concerns.
Your lawyer can also explain all of your legal options to you so that you can make intelligent and informed decisions throughout your case. Finally, if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit arising from your truck accident, your lawyer can assist you during every step of the process.
Truck Drivers Often Directly Cause Accidents and Injuries
The first thing you should know about truck accidents is that these crashes typically result from truck driver error and negligence. When truck drivers make mistakes, such as speeding or failing to watch the road attentively, they may inadvertently cause a crash, leaving other drivers and passengers with serious injuries.
First, some truck accidents happen when drivers violate traffic laws, such as by speeding or failing to yield the right-of-way at intersections. When truck drivers significantly exceed the speed limit, they are less likely to have the ability to control their vehicles and react to emergencies that arise on the road. Also, when truck drivers speed, they are more likely to cause rear-end accidents, especially when tailgating slower-moving vehicles.
Other truck accidents happen when people drive while fatigued. To drive longer hours, some truck drivers will resort to stimulants and other drugs to stay awake. However, these so-called stimulants sometimes make drivers drowsy, preventing them from operating their vehicles safely.
When drivers pull cargo weighing several tons, they cannot afford to become tired while behind the wheel. Otherwise, there is a significant chance that they may lose control over their vehicle and potentially cause a multi-vehicle crash.
Truck accidents also occur because of driving under the influence or DUI. Truck drivers have a duty to refrain from operating their vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While a passenger vehicle operator is legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent, the standard for truck drivers is higher. In addition to receiving criminal penalties for a DUI conviction, an intoxicated truck driver and their insurance company may have to pay civil damages if the driver causes a traffic accident that leads to injuries.
Alcohol intoxication is particularly dangerous for truck drivers because of the size, weight, and speed of their vehicles. An intoxicated truck driver may experience dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, and other physical symptoms inhibiting them from safely operating their vehicle. They may also experience mental deficiencies, including limited concentration, delayed reaction time, and impaired reflexes. As a result, they may be unable to react to an adverse roadway situation in time to avoid an accident.
In addition to DUI, other truck accidents occur when drivers drive while distracted. Instead of paying attention to the road sufficiently, a truck driver might be adjusting the volume on their radio, programming a GPS navigation device, listening to loud music in the cab of their vehicle, or texting on a cellular device. These activities may prevent a truck driver from watching the road attentively and seeing other vehicles or pedestrians.
Finally, some truck accidents occur when drivers violate national motor carrier regulations. The primary purpose of these regulations is to ensure safe truck operation on Alberta roadways. These regulations prescribe guidelines for properly loading and unloading truck cargo, securing cargo to the bed of a trailer, and performing a quality pre-trip inspection.
When truck drivers fail to follow weight limits and loading procedures, they may unintentionally offset their truck’s center of gravity, causing an overturn accident. Alternatively, when truck drivers fail to properly secure cargo to the truck bed, the load may slide off while the truck is in motion, causing a series of collisions.
If you suffered injuries in a truck accident because of a driver’s negligence, you should contact an experienced truck accident lawyer in your area for ongoing legal representation in your case. Your lawyer can retain an accident reconstructionist, if necessary, to visit the accident scene and determine how your truck accident happened. Your lawyer can help you file a personal injury claim with the at-fault truck driver or trucking company’s insurer.
Not All Truck Accidents are the Same
When truck drivers are reckless, several types of crashes may occur, depending upon the circumstances.
Some of the most common truck accidents that happen on Alberta roadways include:
- Tailgate accidents, where the front of a large truck hits the back of another vehicle, usually because the truck driver is speeding or following too closely
- Head-on accidents, where the front of a large truck and the front of another vehicle collide, usually at a high rate of speed, causing severe injuries or fatalities
- Jackknife accidents, where a large tractor-trailer folds in on itself to resemble the shape of a jackknife, causing it to skid forward and strike anything in its path
- Rollover accidents, where the tractor, trailer, or both overturn in the middle of the road, causing other vehicles to collide with it
- Explosions, where a truck or its cargo catches on fire, causing accidents and severe burn injuries
- Broadside accidents, where the front of a large truck hits the side of another vehicle, usually at a traffic intersection where the truck driver fails to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle
Truck accidents may also occur when drivers fail to properly adjust their side view mirrors, preventing them from seeing other vehicles and causing severe collisions.
If you or a person you care about suffered injuries in one of these types of truck accidents, you can hold the responsible truck driver or trucking company accountable. Your lawyer can help you file the appropriate claim or lawsuit and pursue the monetary recovery you deserve.
Permanent Truck Accident Injuries
Due to the size, scope, and severity of many truck accidents, accident victims may suffer permanent or fatal injuries. An accident victim’s injuries will depend on the force of the collision and the accident victim’s bodily movements in their vehicle during the crash. For example, if an accident victim’s head strikes the window, steering wheel, or headrest in a truck accident, the accident victim may suffer a concussion or other traumatic brain injury.
In addition, if the force of a collision moves the accident victim’s body abruptly forward and backward, the accident victim may suffer a soft tissue whiplash injury.
Forceful collisions may also cause accident victims to suffer spinal cord damage, internal organ injuries, full or partial paralysis, bruises, abrasions, rib fractures, and broken bones.
After some truck accidents, victims are unaware of the full extent of their injuries. Therefore, an accident victim must seek medical treatment immediately after their truck accident. Seeking prompt medical attention helps to ensure that the accident victim’s injuries do not get any worse. A medical professional can fully diagnose your condition in the hospital emergency room after taking the necessary MRIs and X-rays. The provider can also recommend future treatment for your injuries.
While you prioritize recovering from your injuries, a skilled truck accident lawyer in your area can start advocating for you. Specifically, your lawyer can begin to gather police reports, witness statements, injury photographs, and other documents to use as potential evidence in your personal injury case.
Insurance Companies Won’t Do You Any Favours
Despite what insurance companies and their representatives state in their advertisements, insurance companies will not do you any favors in a truck accident claim or lawsuit. In fact, the at-fault truck driver or trucking company’s insurer is your direct adversary in this case.
The primary concern of an insurance company in a truck accident claim is to limit its exposure and liability. As a result, insurance companies will do everything they possibly can to offer accident victims as little monetary compensation as possible to resolve their claims. They may point to pre-existing injuries or medical conditions to suggest that an accident victim’s current symptoms are not all that serious. They may even go so far as to accuse the accident victim of causing or contributing to their own injuries.
Since insurance companies are not going to do you any favors in your truck accident claim or lawsuit, you should have skilled legal representation in your corner during every stage of your case.
A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer can negotiate with insurance company representatives on your behalf and threaten them with litigation if they fail to offer you sufficient monetary compensation. If your case requires you to file a lawsuit, your lawyer can assist you throughout the litigation process and fight for your right to a favorable monetary recovery.
Most Truck Accident Cases Settle out of Court
The majority of personal injury claims and lawsuits that arise from truck accidents settle at some point out of court. In fact, if every truck accident case went to trial, it would place an unnecessary and unreasonable burden on potential jurors and the court system as a whole.
However, most initial settlement offers from insurance companies are low. A truck accident lawyer may need to negotiate with the insurance company several times before an adjuster places a favorable offer on the table.
Your lawyer can help you decide whether a particular offer is a reasonable offer, given your circumstances. They can also help you determine whether it is a good idea to accept a specific settlement offer or file a lawsuit and litigate your truck accident case in the court system.
Speak With a Truck Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today
Truck accidents have the potential to leave accident victims severely injured and in constant pain for the rest of their life. If you sustained injuries in a recent truck accident, you should have a qualified truck accident lawyer representing you throughout the entire proceedings.
In a truck accident claim or lawsuit, time is of the essence. Urgent legal action is necessary because truck accident victims only have two years from their accident date to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking monetary damages. Absent exceptional circumstances, if the accident victim fails to file their lawsuit on time, they forever waive their right to recover financial compensation and damages.
An experienced truck accident lawyer can ascertain the statutory deadline in your case and take prompt legal action in your case. Your truck accident lawyer can also assist you throughout the litigation process, continue settlement negotiations on your behalf, and represent you in all legal proceedings.
Contacting your personal injury lawyer in Edmonton can help ensure that your total monetary recovery is maximized and fully compensates you for lost earnings, inconvenience, pain, suffering, and mental distress.