Commercial trucks, like big rigs, 18-wheelers, and semis, are huge and heavy. When these vehicles hit a smaller passenger vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian, they can cause debilitating injuries and even death, in some circumstances.
Accidents involving large trucks typically result from truck driver negligence. However, the trucking companies that employ negligent drivers may sometimes be fully or partially responsible.
If you or someone you care about sustained injuries in a recent truck accident, you should talk with a truck accident lawyer in your area as quickly as possible. Your lawyer can determine your eligibility for filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit for monetary compensation. Your lawyer can then assist you throughout the settlement process by negotiating with the truck driver or trucking company’s insurer on your behalf and pursuing favorable monetary compensation in your case.
If the insurer for the truck driver or trucking company will not take your case seriously, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court, seeking monetary compensation through litigation. Your lawyer can answer all of your legal questions while your case is pending and help you make informed and intelligent decisions.
Potential Truck Driver Liability
Truck drivers are liable for traffic accidents when they drive recklessly, negligently, or carelessly under the circumstances. Negligent truck driving can take several forms, usually involving violating one or more traffic laws. Alternatively, a truck driver or a trucking company might violate a state or federal motor carrier regulation.
Some of the most common causes of truck accidents that result from truck driver negligence include:
- Speeding. When truck drivers exceed posted speed limits, it is very easy for them to lose control of their truck, inadvertently causing a crash with another vehicle, cyclist, or pedestrian. Moreover, a truck driver who exceeds the speed limit and follows another vehicle too closely (tailgating) may be unable to stop their vehicle in time to avoid a collision, causing a severe rear-end accident.
- Road rage. Some truck drivers become frustrated with other drivers who drive too slowly. Trucking companies often offer their drivers financial incentives for arriving at their destination ahead of schedule. Therefore, some truck drivers resort to tailgating other vehicles, recklessly weaving in and out of traffic, and failing to use turn signals at the appropriate times. Unfortunately, these aggressive driving maneuvers may cause an accident, severely injuring others.
- Violating motor carrier regulations. National motor carrier regulations provide guidelines for overhead and undercarriage lighting on trucks, truck load limits, and methods of securing cargo to a truck safely and properly. When truck drivers fail to perform the necessary pre-trip inspections or otherwise violate motor carrier regulations, the truck may become top-heavy, leading to a rollover accident. Moreover, when truck drivers and trucking companies fail to properly secure cargo to the trailer bed, cargo may slide off the trailer into the road while the truck is in motion, causing a series of collisions.
- Driver fatigue. Many trucking companies encourage drivers to drive for hours on end. Consequently, some drivers may not take frequent enough breaks, causing them to suffer highway hypnosis and become tired while driving. Fatigued driving may alter a driver’s perception and concentration abilities. It may also limit their reflexes and prevent them from stopping their vehicle in an emergency. Moreover, if a truck driver falls asleep at the wheel, they may lose control of the vehicle, causing collisions or pileups.
- Inattentive driving. Truck drivers, like all other motor vehicle operators, have a duty to remain attentive while they are behind the wheel. However, some drivers become distracted on long road trips when they listen to loud music, fiddle with a stereo system or GPS navigation device, or read text messages while driving. These activities may cause a driver to lose focus, preventing them from seeing a nearby car or pedestrian and causing a collision.
- DUI and drugged driving. To stay awake for long hours, some commercial truck drivers resort to stimulants. However, stimulant drugs sometimes have the opposite effect and cause a driver to become drowsy while behind the wheel. Moreover, when truck drivers drive while under the influence of alcohol, they may experience physical symptoms, like blurred vision and dizziness, as well as mental symptoms, like limited concentration and delayed reaction time. All of these negative consequences raise the potential for a severe truck accident.
If you recently sustained injuries in a truck accident due to another driver’s negligence, you should immediately seek the legal help you need. A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area can help you hold a negligent truck driver accountable for their reckless conduct. Your lawyer can also help you file a claim with the truck driver’s insurance company and pursue the monetary compensation you deserve through settlement or litigation.
Potential Trucking Company Liability
In addition to negligent truck drivers, employer trucking companies are often responsible for accidents. Specifically, a trucking company may become automatically responsible for the negligent actions and inactions that their drivers commit while on the job and while working within the scope of their employment. This type of liability is called vicarious liability.
In addition, you can hold a trucking company responsible for an accident if they fail to follow the necessary motor carrier regulations. Finally, you can hold them responsible if they hire or retain a truck driver with a known record of moving violations or DUIs.
An experienced truck accident lawyer in your area can file the appropriate personal injury claim or lawsuit against all potentially responsible individuals or entities. Your lawyer can determine if the negligent truck driver’s employer may be a potential defendant in your case. If so, your lawyer can take the appropriate legal action.
Types of Truck Accidents
When truck drivers and the trucking companies that employ them behave negligently and carelessly, several types of truck accidents may happen. One common type of truck accident is a rear-end collision. These accidents occur when the front of a large truck or tractor-trailer hits the back of another vehicle. These accidents are common when truck drivers exceed the speed limit or fail to allow sufficient stopping distance between the front of their vehicle and the back of another vehicle.
On the other hand, head-on collisions happen when the front of a large truck hits the front of an oncoming vehicle that is traveling in the opposite direction. These accidents are the most likely to cause permanent injuries, including fatalities, due to their high speeds.
A truck jackknife accident happens when the tractor and trailer portions of a truck fold inward on one another, resembling the traditional shape of a jackknife. A truck that jackknives will often skid forward, especially when traveling down a hill. Moreover, the jackknifing truck may hit everything in its path, causing a multi-vehicle collision.
Next, a truck rollover accident happens when a tractor or trailer completely overturns in the middle of the road, often hitting other vehicles or causing other vehicles to hit the truck. These overturn accidents can happen when trucks speed around sharp curves or when truck drivers and trucking companies fail to load cargo onto the trailer properly, offsetting the truck’s center of gravity.
If you sustained injuries in any of these truck accidents, you should contact a truck accident lawyer in your area as quickly as possible. Your lawyer can take immediate legal action in your case and begin pursuing the settlement compensation you deserve to recover for your injuries.
Truck Accident Injuries in Alberta
Truck accidents in Alberta can lead to severe injuries, some of which may require long-term medical treatment. The injuries that a truck accident victim suffers will depend upon the force of the crash and the movements of the accident victim’s body in their vehicle.
For example, a forceful truck accident where a truck driver was exceeding the speed limit might cause the accident victim’s head to strike the headrest, causing a severe concussion or another traumatic head injury. Other injuries that truck accident victims sometimes suffer include internal organ injuries, whiplash, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, rib fractures, abrasions, bruises, broken bones, and death.
If you believe you suffered injuries in a truck accident, you should seek prompt medical treatment as quickly as possible. You should also contact a skilled truck accident lawyer in your area who can begin handling the legal components of your case while you recover from your injuries.
Why Should I Seek Early Medical Intervention for My Injuries?
Seeking initial medical treatment after a truck accident is critical for several reasons.
First, seek treatment, because untreated truck accident injuries, including head injuries, often worsen the longer they remain untreated. In addition, by seeking prompt medical treatment after your truck accident, you show the insurance company that your injuries are serious and that they deserve significant monetary compensation.
Economic Damages in a Truck Accident Case
When a large truck hits a smaller vehicle, it is usually the passenger vehicle driver and passengers who sustain the more severe injuries. The monetary damages that a truck accident victim can recover will vary from case to case, depending upon the circumstances. One of those circumstances is whether the accident victim had to miss time from work after the accident.
Some truck accident victims suffer such severe injuries that they are unable to work for a period of time after their accident. For example, their pain and other symptoms may prevent them from performing their job duties, or they may need time off work to attend medical appointments and physical therapy sessions.
To prove entitlement to lost income compensation, a truck accident victim will ordinarily need to produce documentation from their employer that shows the number of days/hours they missed from work and the total amount of money they lost.
In addition to lost income, some truck accident victims suffer permanent injuries that prevent them from returning to their former employment. For example, if they work in the building or construction industries, they may be unable to lift or push heavy objects due to their truck-accident injuries. If they have to switch jobs or careers as a result of their injuries and they lose income, they can pursue monetary damages for their loss of earning capacity.
Talk With a Truck Accident Lawyer About Your Legal Matter Right Away
If you or a person you care about recently suffered injuries in a truck accident, time is of the essence. Truck accident victims must file a lawsuit within two years of their accident date. Otherwise, they can no longer recover monetary compensation and damages for their injuries. Therefore, the sooner you take legal action in your case, the better off you may be.
The right truck accident lawyer in your area will have the knowledge and skills necessary to negotiate fair settlement compensation in your case. Your lawyer can also advise you as to whether you should accept a settlement offer or litigate your case in the court system.
If you must pursue litigation in your case, your lawyer can represent you at all court hearings and aggressively fight for your legal interests. Your lawyer can do all this for you while you focus on the most important thing, recovering from your injuries.
You can start the process today by seeking a no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation from a personal injury lawyer in Edmonton who handles complex truck accident claims.