When truck drivers and trucking companies behave negligently, the chances are good that a severe truck accident may follow.
Unfortunately, when a large commercial truck, such as a big rig or 18-wheeler, strikes a much smaller vehicle, for instance, a passenger vehicle, motorcycle, or bicycle, it is usually the smaller vehicle’s occupants who will suffer the more severe injuries. In the worst truck accident scenarios, accident victims may suffer permanent or even fatal injuries.
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a recent truck accident that a negligent driver caused, consult an experienced truck accident lawyer as quickly as possible, preferably within a day or two of the accident at the latest.
A lawyer can begin investigating your accident circumstances by obtaining various documents, including a copy of the police report. After reviewing these documents, your lawyer may determine if you can file a personal injury claim seeking monetary compensation.
If you are, your lawyer may file the claim on your behalf or pursue litigation in the court system by filing a lawsuit in your case.
Throughout the settlement negotiation and litigation processes, your lawyer will aggressively advocate for your legal interests by negotiating with insurance company representatives and, if necessary, representing you in court at various legal proceedings.
Your legal counsel can also address any questions you may have so that you can make intelligent and informed decisions throughout the process.
You may also undergo surgery or other invasive medical procedures, especially if you broke one or more bones in your accident. Following a medical procedure, you might attend physical or occupational therapy sessions to fully recover and regain your lost range of motion.
During this time, while you complete your medical treatment, your lawyer can begin gathering police reports, medical records, and other documentation to support your claim.
After completing your medical treatment, your lawyer can submit these documents to the insurance company and pursue the compensation you deserve for your truck accident injuries.
How Do Truck Accidents Usually Happen?
Truck accidents are usually the result of truck driver or trucking company mistakes. Because truck drivers are the individuals operating these large vehicles, they are usually primarily at fault for an accident.
Truck drivers may cause accidents by failing to watch the road attentively. Instead of watching the road, a truck driver might text on a cellular phone or tablet, comb their hair, program a GPS navigation device, or turn their head for another reason. Unfortunately, these activities may cause a driver to lose focus on the road and prevent them from seeing a nearby vehicle, causing a collision.
A truck accident may also happen when a driver negligently fails to follow state and federal motor carrier regulations.
Common violations that truck drivers and trucking companies commit include:
- Failing to properly load cargo onto the trailer
- Failing to follow posted speed and weight limits for trucks
- Failing to properly secure cargo to the bed of a trailer
When trucking companies and truck drivers fail to follow these regulations, a large truck may become top-heavy, or its center of gravity may become offset. As a result, the truck may tip over while speeding around a sharp curve.
Alternatively, unsecured or improperly secured cargo may roll off the trailer bed and into the road, causing a single collision or series of accidents.
In addition to state and federal motor carrier regulations, truck accidents may happen when drivers fail to follow standard traffic laws. For example, they may fail to use their mirrors when making a lane change, not use their turn signals, fail to yield the right-of-way, or speed excessively.
A truck accident may also occur when a driver falls asleep or becomes extremely fatigued while driving. Truck driver fatigue is common because many drivers attempt to complete their trip without stopping for regular rest breaks.
Many drivers try this to reap financial benefits from their trucking company. However, if a driver falls asleep at the wheel, they will lose control of their vehicle and likely bring about multiple collisions with other vehicles. Even if the driver remains awake, they may lose concentration and focus on the road.
Finally, many truck accidents unfortunately result from drunk and intoxicated driving. When a truck driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they cannot drive carefully or safely. Drug and alcohol intoxication frequently comes with numerous physical and mental symptoms, including lack of concentration, lack of coordination, vision impairments, poor judgment, delayed reaction time, and delayed reflexes.
Therefore, a truck driver won’t see another vehicle in the vicinity or correctly determine the distance between their vehicle and the other vehicle, resulting in a crash. Alternatively, a driver’s delayed reflexes and reaction time may prevent them from stopping in time to avoid an accident.
If you recently sustained injuries in a truck accident that a negligent driver caused, you are not alone. A truck accident lawyer near you can review your legal options, file a claim with a truck driver or trucking company’s insurer, and negotiate aggressively with insurance company representatives handling your case.
Potentially Responsible Parties in a Truck Accident
In addition to negligent truck drivers who may cause an accident, the trucking company that employs a negligent driver may have entrusted their vehicle to an irresponsible driver.
For example, if the trucking company knew that the driver had a prior record of DUIs or moving violations yet hired them to operate one of their vehicles anyway, you can hold the trucking company responsible for any accident that subsequently occurs.
A skilled truck accident lawyer near you can name all potentially liable individuals and entities as parties in your case and pursue the maximum monetary compensation available to you from the insurance company.
Categories of Truck Accidents
When truck drivers and trucking companies commit negligent acts and make mistakes, truck accidents may result.
First, a rear-end truck accident occurs when the front of a large commercial truck hits the back of another vehicle, usually following an abrupt traffic backup where the at-fault driver is speeding or fails to leave enough stopping distance between the truck and the other vehicle.
On the other hand, a sideswipe accident occurs when a large truck strikes the side of another vehicle that is travelling in the same direction, usually on a multilane roadway.
In some situations, these accidents happen when a truck driver negligently fails to use their mirrors or turn signals when switching lanes in busy traffic.
Another common type of truck accident is a T-bone or broadside collision, where the front of a large truck hits the side of another vehicle travelling on an intersecting road. These accidents are common when truck drivers negligently fail to yield the right-of-way to other drivers.
A truck jackknife accident happens when a truck driver takes a curve too sharply, and the tractor and trailer fold in towards one another, resembling the shape of a jackknife. In this situation, the truck may skid forward down the hill and hit other vehicles with significant force.
A head-on collision happens when the front of a truck strikes the front of an oncoming vehicle. These types of accidents are the most likely to cause permanent injuries and fatalities, especially if they happen at high speeds.
Finally, a truck rollover accident may happen when a truck driver or trucking company employee fails to properly load or secure cargo onto the truck. As a result, the truck’s center of gravity may become offset, causing it to fully or partially tip over in the middle of the road.
If you suffered injuries in one of these truck accidents that resulted from someone else’s negligence, consult experienced legal counsel in your area immediately.
Your truck accident lawyer will know the proper steps to file a personal injury claim on your behalf, aggressively negotiate with insurance company adjusters, and pursue the maximum monetary compensation you need for your injuries.
What Can an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Do for You?
Following a truck accident, a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help.
First, your lawyer can meet with you to discuss the circumstances of your truck accident, including the direction you were travelling, the roadway you were travelling on, and specifically how your accident happened.
Your lawyer can also gather important documents which may become relevant evidence in your case, including copies of police reports, property damage photos, medical records, and video footage of the accident (if available).
Your lawyer can assemble all these documents into a settlement demand package and forward that package to the insurance company adjuster for their immediate review.
Next, your lawyer can represent you during settlement negotiations with the insurance company adjuster handling your claim. These negotiations may take several weeks or months, depending on the insurance company’s willingness to settle.
During settlement negotiations, your lawyer can provide favourable evidence in your case, including expert reports and medical evidence, to support your right to recover monetary damages. Furthermore, if the insurance company does not make you a fair settlement offer, your lawyer may continue negotiating on your behalf or pursue litigation in court.
If litigation becomes necessary in your case, your lawyer can file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations and handle every step of the litigation process for you.
First, your lawyer can answer written questions, called interrogatories, on your behalf. Once their answers satisfy you, you will sign off on them, and your lawyer will submit the answers to the defence lawyer handling your case.
Additionally, your lawyer can anticipate questions the defence lawyer may ask you at a discovery deposition. Your lawyer can also attend a deposition and other litigation proceedings with you, including settlement conferences in court.
Finally, your lawyer can resolve your truck accident claim in full. If the parties cannot agree upon a settlement number by the end of the litigation process, they will take their case to a civil jury trial and present evidence there.
After a trial, the jury will decide the amount of monetary compensation to award the truck accident victim. Instead of taking your case to trial, your lawyer may take it to one or more alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings.
For example, at a mediation session, a neutral mediator will meet with the parties separately, help them find common ground, and facilitate ongoing settlement discussions. However, at a binding arbitration hearing, a pre-selected, neutral arbitrator will listen to evidence of the case, review documentation, and decide on monetary compensation to award the accident victim.
Recovering Favorable Monetary Compensation in a Truck Accident Case
The monetary compensation that a truck accident victim recovers will depend upon various factors, including the severity of their injuries and whether they suffered a permanent injury in their accident.
Common types of monetary damages include lost income and loss of earning capacity compensation, compensation for loss of spousal consortium, permanent disability or disfigurement, mental distress, pain and suffering, inconvenience, loss of the ability to use a body part, and loss of life enjoyment.
Speak to an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Upon suffering injuries in a truck accident, contact a skilled personal injury lawyer in your area immediately.
Your lawyer can review your case circumstances with you and file a timely claim or lawsuit on your behalf well within the statute of limitations. Your lawyer can then handle every step of the claims filing, settlement negotiation, and litigation processes and bring your case to a timely resolution.