Large commercial trucks, including tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, and big rigs, traverse area roads and highways daily. When drivers of these enormous vehicles speed, become distracted, and engage in other aggressive driving maneuvers, they may negligently cause serious accidents that lead to injuries and sometimes fatalities. In addition to truck drivers, trucking companies may share in the liability for an accident that occurs.
Following a truck accident, complete your medical treatment regimen and get the necessary care. Next, follow up with a truck accident attorney who can file a claim, negotiate with insurance company representatives, and pursue the compensation you deserve through settlement or litigation.
Your lawyer will accompany you every step of the way, aggressively fighting for your legal interests and pursuing the monetary recovery you deserve for your injuries. In addition, your attorney can represent you during all legal proceedings, introduce evidence on your behalf, and pursue the best possible result in your case.
How Truck Drivers Cause Accidents
Truck accidents usually happen because of careless or reckless truck drivers. who violate the law. Drivers who fail to follow area traffic laws significantly increase their likelihood of causing a dangerous truck accident.
Common traffic law violations that may lead to a truck accident include:
- Excessive speeding, especially when accounting for weather and roadway conditions
- Failing to use turn signals when turning onto a road or executing a lane change
- Failing to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles when it is appropriate to do so
In addition, some truck accidents result from a truck driver violating federal and state motor carrier regulations.
These regulations typically pertain to:
- Weight limits for large tractor-trailers
- Proper loading and unloading procedures
- Correct procedures for securing cargo to the bed of a trailer
- Overhead and undercarriage lighting on both the tractor and trailer
When truck drivers and trucking companies violate motor carrier regulations, cargo may slide off their trucks and onto the road. As a result, another vehicle may strike the shipment, causing the driver and passengers to suffer serious injuries.
In addition, when truck drivers and trucking companies fail to properly maintain their vehicles and ensure that all lighting components are in working order, the truck may not be visible to other drivers, bringing about a crash.
Truck accidents may also happen when drivers become fatigued while on the road. Trucking companies frequently incentivize truck drivers to drive for long hours. They may even provide the driver a financial bonus if they deliver their cargo to its final destination before its scheduled arrival.
However, tired truck drivers often experience physical symptoms, including limited reflexes and delayed reaction time. In addition, a drowsy driver may fall utterly asleep at the wheel, causing their vehicle to careen out of control and bring about multiple collisions with other vehicles.
Other trucking accidents happen when drivers are under the illegal influence of alcohol or drugs. When drivers get behind the wheel after drinking too much, they may not drive carefully. Alcohol slows down the central nervous system's ability to function correctly. Therefore, an intoxicated truck driver may experience delayed reflexes and reaction time, limited concentration, and blurred vision.
While passenger vehicle drivers are legally drunk if their blood alcohol concentration meets or exceeds 0.08 percent, the legal limit for commercial vehicle drivers, including truck drivers, is much lower.
If a truck driver incurs a conviction for DUI or some other drunk driving offense, they may receive criminal penalties, including jail time, monetary fines, probation, or a commercial driver's license suspension. Additionally, if the truck driver causes an accident due to their intoxication, they may have to pay civil damages to the accident victim through their available insurance coverage.
Truck accidents may also happen with drivers under the illegal influence of stimulants or other drugs. Many truck drivers abuse these drugs to keep themselves alert and awake for hours. However, these drugs sometimes make truck drivers sleepy and prevent them from driving safely.
Accidents may also happen when truck drivers fail to use their side view mirrors when backing out of a parking space or while driving on a highway and switching lanes. When drivers fail to use these safety features on their vehicles, they may not see an oncoming car and bring about an unexpected crash.
Finally, some truck accidents result from distracted driving on the commercial truck driver’s part. Drivers frequently use electronic devices behind the wheel. Programming a GPS, sending text messages, and similar activities may divert a truck driver's attention, preventing them from seeing another vehicle and causing an accident.
If you suffered injuries in one of these truck accidents that a negligent driver caused, get the legal help you need right away. A truck accident attorney can review your legal options with you, pursue a personal injury claim, and fight for your right to the total monetary recovery you deserve for your injuries
Potential Trucking Company Liability
In addition to negligent truck drivers, you can hold trucking companies liable for a serious accident. This is especially true when trucking companies fail to properly supervise their drivers or hire/retain drivers who have prior moving violations on their records. When a trucking company negligently entrusts one of its vehicles to a problem driver, and that driver later causes an accident, you can hold the trucking company responsible for that accident.
Who Else Can You Hold Responsible for a Truck Crash?
In addition to negligent truck drivers and trucking companies, you can hold other individuals or entities fully or partially to blame for a truck accident, including:
- Manufacturers of truck parts, including steering and braking mechanisms, that malfunction while the truck is in motion, causing or contributing to an accident
- Truck repair facilities that recently performed improper maintenance work on a truck that caused the truck to malfunction while it was out on the road
A skilled truck accident attorney in your area can review your circumstances with you and identify all potentially responsible parties for your truck accident injuries.
Types of Collisions Involving Large Trucks
Negligent truck drivers, trucking companies, and others may cause devastating injuries to other drivers and passengers.
Some of the most common types of truck accidents that result from others' negligence include:
- Tailgate accidents, where a truck driver speeds too fast for the traffic conditions or follows another vehicle too closely
- Jackknife accidents, where a truck driver speeds around a sharp curve, causing the tractor and trailer portions of their large truck to fold inward, hitting other vehicles in the process
- Rollover accidents, where a tractor, trailer, or both overturn in the middle of the roadway, causing a series of accidents
- Head-on collisions, where the front of a large commercial truck hits the front of an oncoming vehicle, potentially resulting in permanent injuries and fatalities
- Sideswipe accidents, where the side of a truck brushes up against the side of another vehicle in heavy traffic
- Broadside accidents, where the front of a large truck hits the side of another vehicle at a traffic intersection or near a highway merge lane because a truck driver negligently fails to yield the right-of-way to the other vehicle
If you suffered injuries in one of these truck accidents that someone else caused, a truck accident attorney can ascertain your legal options, review your options, and select the best choice for your case. Your attorney can then set about filing a claim with the appropriate insurance company and negotiating reasonable settlement compensation for your injuries and other losses.
Truck Accident Injuries
The injuries that truck accident victims suffer are very case-specific and typically depend on several factors, including the force of the collision, the number of vehicles involved, the type of truck involved, and the type of truck accident.
Sometimes, a truck collision causes the accident victim's body to slam against a part of their vehicle, like the window, headrest, or doorframe, leading to severe injuries.
Some of the most common injuries that victims of truck accidents suffer include:
- Soft tissue injuries to the neck and back
- Shoulder injuries
- Bone fractures
- Rib fractures
- Traumatic head and brain damage
- Complete and incomplete paralysis injuries
- Spinal cord damage, including vertebrae fractures
- Internal organ injuries
- Open lacerations
If you suffered any of these injuries in your accident, your lawyer can begin handling the legal aspects of your personal injury claim while you complete your medical treatment regimen.
Upon completion, your lawyer can submit a settlement demand package to the insurance company adjuster handling your claim. Your attorney can then help you negotiate a fair settlement offer from the insurance company that truly compensates you for your injuries.
Proving a Truck Accident Claim or Lawsuit
If you can file a third-party personal injury claim with the at-fault truck driver or trucking company's insurer, you must satisfy several legal elements to recover monetary compensation and damages for your injuries.
First, you must establish that the truck driver or some other individual or entity behaved unreasonably under the circumstances. In most scenarios, the truck driver violated a traffic law or motor carrier regulation.
Next, you must establish that your truck accident occurred as a direct result of this unreasonable activity. Finally, you must show that you suffered at least one physical injury due to your truck accident.
To establish the causal relationship between your injury and the accident, you must ordinarily have a qualified medical provider on board in your case. At a deposition or trial, an expert medical provider can state that your claimed injury or injuries directly resulted from the truck accident.
Your truck accident attorney can help you establish the various legal elements of your personal injury claim or lawsuit and work to secure the favorable monetary damages you need for all of your accident-related losses.
Monetary Compensation for Truck Accident Injuries
Victims of severe truck accidents may recover monetary damages in proportion to the severity of their injuries, the complexity of their medical treatment, the cost of their medical care, and other accident-specific factors.
Some of the most common categories of monetary damages that accident victims may receive compensation for can include:
- Related medical expenses, both past and future
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Mental distress
- Loss of spousal consortium
- Loss of the ability to use one or more body parts, such as from a paralysis injury
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Lifetime care costs
- Permanent disfigurement
Your truck accident attorney can help you develop realistic monetary expectations for your case and an estimated case value. Your lawyer may then maximize your economic damages through the settlement negotiation process or personal injury litigation in state court.
Speak With a Truck Accident Lawyer About Your Case as Soon as Possible
If you are the victim of a truck accident resulting from someone else's negligence or carelessness, act immediately.
Truck accident plaintiffs only have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit for damages, starting on the date of their truck accident. Failing to take prompt action may jeopardize your right to recover the monetary compensation you deserve. In fact, if you file your personal injury lawsuit even one day after the statute of limitations expires, you cannot recover any monetary damages for your injuries.
A skilled truck accident attorney can start representing you right away and file the necessary personal injury claim or lawsuit in your case. Your lawyer can then recover the fair monetary damages you deserve for your accident-related losses.