If you are in a truck accident, you know the impact and trauma the crash can cause on your life. In what seems like an instant, your life is in jeopardy, and you could be facing life-threatening injuries when a truck barrels toward you on the roadways.
In many instances, a truck accident victim may not see the hazards developing around them before a truck accident occurs. Even a victim that sees the events leading up to the crash may not know what led to the truck crashing into them.
After a truck crash, you need a truck accident lawyer to determine why the accident happened. When their investigation reveals how the accident occurred, your truck accident lawyer can determine who you can hold liable for your damages.
Liability determines who will pay for your losses after a truck accident. A truck accident attorney can determine fault for the truck accident and who you may hold responsible for compensating you for your losses under the law.
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How Common Are Truck Accidents in the U.S.?
Commercial trucks are essential to the shipping industry in the U.S. Large trucks and semis are on roads across the country, moving cargo to various destinations. Trucks are part of most commutes. You can encounter one on busy highways, rural roads, and city streets.
Unfortunately, the more trucks there are on the roads, the higher the chance a truck accident can occur. Trucks are challenging vehicles to operate, and any misstep of a driver can lead to devastation for passenger vehicles driving near one. The National Safety Council estimates that each year there are approximately 107,000 truck accidents resulting in injuries to at least one victim and over 4,800 truck accidents that result in fatalities.
What Causes Most Truck Accidents?
Anything can go wrong with a large truck on the roadways, triggering events leading to a collision with other vehicles. Trucks are large, heavy, and often unstable. Any small obstacle on the road, a swerve, or a truck driver’s miscalculation can cause the truck to lose control and impact vehicles in their vicinity. Large trucks are a risk on roadways because there are factors unseen and unknown to others potentially in danger that can affect how a truck moves and how a truck driver may react, leading to a crash with other vehicles.
The cause of many truck accidents is a truck driver’s negligence or failures during the care and loading of a truck for transport. Ultimately, it is the responsibility and duty of truck drivers and the trucking company to ensure they are operating a commercial truck in a manner that does not endanger the safety of others. If you are a truck accident victim, there will be an investigation into the cause of the truck accident. During the investigation, facts that provide insight into how the truck accident happened and why you suffered injuries may come to light.
Liability in a Truck Accident
Figuring out who is liable for a truck accident is vital to your case when you are a victim because it can show who should pay for your damages. If an investigation into the accident reveals a truck driver is at fault, they can be at fault personally. However, because they drive a truck for commercial purposes, you may hold other parties liable for their actions and the damages they caused you.
Discovering liability for a truck accident allows victims to determine who can pay for their losses. Truck accident damages are often severe, and the medical bills and other losses you accumulate after a crash may exceed what you initially expected.
However, if multiple parties caused the accident, they may all share in the burden of covering your damages after a crash. This can maximize your damages because policy limits and other restrictions may interfere with your ability to get the money you need from a single party.
The Truck Driver
Truck drivers are responsible for the actions they take. Although they are driving a commercial vehicle, they owe a personal duty to you and others on the roads. If a truck driver’s negligence leads to a crash, they are responsible for your damages.
Going after a truck driver personally, however, may not be fruitful for a victim because they may not have the assets and money to pay the damages they cause. Most trucks carry liability vehicle insurance through the truck owner or the trucking company. Truck insurance can cover your damages when an accident occurs.
The Trucking Company
The majority of truck drivers work under the employment of a trucking company. There are some circumstances where a driver may own their own truck. However, most drivers work for a company that owns the truck and determines their routes and schedules.
When an accident occurs due to a truck driver’s negligence, a victim may be eligible to seek compensation through any insurance and against the truck company under vicarious liability.
Additionally, in other instances a trucking company’s actions may cause or contribute to a truck accident, including negligent hiring, failing to inspect or maintain the trucks, violating hours of service rules for their driver, etc.
The Shipping Company
When many think about fault for a truck accident, much focus is on the driver and the company that hired the driver. However, it is common for a significant factor leading up to a truck accident to relate to the cargo and weight distribution. It may come as a surprise to learn in most instances, it is not a truck driver that loads a truck or readies the cargo for shipment.
Shipping companies are often responsible for loading and securing the cargo to a truck bed or trucking container. This is not mindless work and a great deal of effort should apply to ensure a stable truck and prevent sudden and dangerous weight shifting during transport.
Incorrectly loaded cargo can cause a driver to lose control of the truck and collide with other vehicles causing injury or death. For example, if an investigation into a truck accident reveals that cargo issues caused the crash, you can hold the shipping company liable to you for your damages.
Maintenance or Repair Company
Trucks consist of various equipment and parts that endure significant wear and tear due to the nature of the industry and shipping demands. Routine inspections, maintenance, and repairs are necessary to keep the trucks in safe working conditions. Trucking companies often hire companies that manage this aspect of their truck fleet. They pay maintenance companies to handle the needs of their trucks, conduct inspections and maintain the truck as needed.
If a maintenance company fails to inspect or maintain a truck properly or identifies an issue and does not complete a repair, your truck accident lawyer can hold it liable if an accident occurs due to maintenance issues. Common examples of improper maintenance or failed repairs could include worn out brakes, tires that rupture, steering problems, and broken lights or light malfunctions.
A truck’s various components can malfunction or become defective due to manufacturing issues. Your truck accident lawyer can hold truck manufacturers liable for a truck accident if a defective or dangerous truck part causes an accident or causes more severe injuries to victims during a crash. However, only an investigation after a crash may reveal a defective truck part as the culprit or a factor in the truck accident.
In some instances, a truck may find itself in the middle of a crash in the same manner as you, and the trigger or cause of the impact may be due to a third party. If you are in a truck accident where another driver may be at fault, you may have the recourse under the law to pursue damages from the parties responsible.
Can You Sue for Compensation for Damages in a Truck Accident?
A truck accident can be one of the most terrifying experiences you may have in your life. You may suffer severe injuries that cause significant impairment and challenges that interrupt your daily life after a crash. The financial impact of a truck accident may not be something you are thinking about immediately following a collision.
However, as you begin your long road to recovery from your injuries and healing, you may start to realize the significant loss that this accident is causing you and may continue to cause you in the future.
The law allows you to fight for compensation when you are a victim. Sadly, getting compensation following a truck accident as a victim is not automatic. You do need to fight.
You may need to seek compensation through insurance against the trucking company or another party. You have a right to seek compensation, but you must prove your case. A truck accident attorney can help you by evaluating the accident and your injuries to determine what options are available to you and the best option in your case.
What Truck Accident Damages Can You Pursue in a Claim or Lawsuit?
Adding up all of your damage following a truck accident can quickly become an overwhelming problem. The reality is that for many victims, you may not have a clear picture of just how much money you lost in an accident and how much your personal losses and damages are worth.
Damage to your vehicle, lost work, and medical bills can all pile up rather quickly, and you may lose track of how much damage you have and may incur in the future. Additionally, damages such as pain and suffering are a very subjective and personal matter which can be difficult to ask for from an insurance company without the knowledge and experience of handling these types of claims and cases.
A truck accident lawyer can work with you to determine your truck accident damages. They can inform you as to what damages you can pursue in your case and the maximum amount of damages you may be eligible for under the law after a truck accident.
The following are examples of damages recoverable through a truck accident claim or lawsuit.
- Medical losses. The medical costs for the care of your truck accident injuries are often a large part of a claim. Current and future medical bills are recoverable in a claim.
- Loss of your earnings. Without income, you cannot meet your responsibilities, and if a truck accident leaves you unable to work, a lawyer can help you fight for the loss of your earnings now and in the future.
- Pain and suffering. Physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering are part of a claim for losses following a truck accident with injuries. A lawyer can help you determine how much compensation for your pain and suffering you may be eligible for.
- Property damage. If you are in a truck accident while driving in your own vehicle, the damage to your car is likely extensive. You can seek money for repairs or for the value of your car if a total loss after a crash involving a truck.
- Wrongful death. The family member of a loved one that lost their life tragically in a truck accident may be able to seek damages against the party responsible through a wrongful death action. Talk to a lawyer about your case and how you may be able to seek justice after the unexpected death of a family member in a truck collision.
Should You Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Truck accidents can have catastrophic injuries, damages, and consequences for the victims. It can be hard to navigate the aftermath of any motor vehicle accident, but when the accident is with a commercial truck, the issues you face can be challenging to understand.
Contacting a personal injury lawyer is the best way to ensure you protect your right to fight for damages. A truck accident attorney can help you build your case, file a claim and work to negotiate for a resolution of your truck accident case that meets the needs resulting after the truck crash. Contact a truck accident lawyer for a free case evaluation.