Commercial trucks, including 18-wheelers, dump trucks, box trucks, and other large trucks, are involved in some of the most serious accidents on the road. When a commercial truck is involved in a crash, the injuries sustained by passenger vehicles are often catastrophic. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, you need an experienced commercial truck accidents lawyer on your side.
Determining Liability in Truck Accident Cases
One of the first things an attorney will do is investigate the accident to determine liability. There are special rules and regulations that apply to commercial trucks and truck drivers. Examples of things that may make the truck driver or trucking company liable include:
- Truck driver fatigue or falling asleep at the wheel
- Drug or alcohol use while driving
- Distracted driving violations
- Unsafe operation of the vehicle
- Failure to properly maintain the truck and ensure safe operation
- Employer negligence in the hiring, training or supervision of the truck driver
Trucking companies can also be held liable under legal doctrines like vicarious liability, negligent hiring, or negligent maintenance. Working with an attorney experienced in truck litigation is key, as rules like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations come into play.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
While every truck crash is unique, some of the more common causes include:
- Speeding – Trucks going above the speed limit have longer stopping distances and more force at impact.
- Distracted Driving – Actions like texting, eating, talking can take the driver’s eyes off the road.
- Fatigued or Drowsy Driving – Lack of sleep is an endemic issue in the trucking industry.
- Impaired Driving – Prescription medications, alcohol or illegal drugs may impair the driver.
- Equipment Failures – Improperly maintained trucks break down and lose control.
- Jackknifing – Making too sharp of a turn can cause a rollover.
- Unsecured Cargo – Spillage in the roadway can be extremely hazardous.
Identifying the cause with the help of a lawyer can be invaluable in assigning fault.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
When a 80,000 pound truck slams into a vehicle at high speeds, the results are utterly devastating. Some most common personal injuries include:
- Head and Brain Trauma – Concussions, TBIs
- Spinal Cord Injuries – Paralysis
- Broken Bones – Severe fractures
- Internal Organ Damage
- Amputated Limbs
- Burn Injuries
- Psychological Trauma
The costs of these truck accident injuries add up rapidly when accounting for emergency care, hospitalization, surgeries, rehabilitation, prosthetics, and in home nursing care.
Why Do I Need a Truck Accident Lawyer?
The trucking companies and insurance agencies do not have your best interests in mind. They will work diligently to minimize the claim and pay as little compensation as possible. An aggressive lawyer levels the playing field and fights for the maximum recovery. Benefits of hiring legal counsel include:
- Determining fault and liability in the crash
- Investigation and preservation of evidence
- Assessment of total damages incurred
- Dealing with insurance companies on your behalf
- Calculation of long term prognosis and costs
- Experts like accident reconstructionists and doctors
- Strong litigators prepared to go to trial
With medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses piling up, you need someone in your corner battling the insurance company
How long do I have to file a truck accident lawsuit?
Every state has a “statute of limitations” dictating how long you have to file. This window is generally 2-3 years but can vary based on the state. Preserving evidence and consulting a lawyer shortly after the crash is vital.
What damages can I recover after a truck crash?
You are entitled to compensation for both economic and non-economic losses. This includes property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earnings, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium damages.
Who can be held liable?
Multiple parties can share liability. Defendants commonly named are the truck driver, trucking company that employed the driver, truck manufacturer or parts maker, cargo loader, maintenance company, insurance company and more. An experienced attorney will identify all responsible parties.
Can I afford legal representation?
Most truck accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning legal fees come out of any recovery made – not paid upfront. If no money is recovered, you owe nothing. This ensures accident victims get access to attorneys.
How are truck accident cases different from car crashes?
Investigations place scrutiny on the truck driver logs, hours driven, truck maintenance records, commercial licensing, and more. Specialized federal regulations also come into play. These complexities underscore the need for a seasoned truck crash attorney.
As evidenced above, experienced commercial truck accident lawyers can have an immense impact on the outcome of your case. Do not delay in enlisting the services of legal counsel after any collision involving a large truck. The lawyer will handle dealings with insurance agencies and protect your best interests throughout legal proceedings. With medical bills piling up and wages lost out on, it is essential truck crash victims get back on their feet financially. An accomplished attorney levels the playing field and works tirelessly towards securing the maximum compensation under the law.