What to Know if You Have Been Involved in a Truck Accident

October 6, 2023 | David Abels
What to Know if You Have Been Involved in a Truck Accident

If you have suffered injuries in a recent truck accident, you should know general facts regarding insurance companies and the claim process.

One of the most important things to note is that insurance companies, particularly a negligent truck driver's insurance company, are never on your side. They are your direct adversary and will do everything they can to undermine your claim.

One of the most important steps you can take to combat the insurance company's tactics is to retain a skilled attorney who can represent you throughout your truck accident claim or lawsuit.

An experienced truck accident lawyer will know what to anticipate in your case and prepare you for legal proceedings, including a discovery deposition or civil jury trial. Your attorney can also answer all your legal questions and make intelligent and informed decisions throughout your case, including whether to accept a particular settlement offer from the insurance company.

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Finally, if your case goes to a civil jury trial or binding arbitration proceeding, your lawyer can aggressively represent you and fight to maximize the monetary compensation you recover for your truck accident.

Truck Accidents Usually Happen Because of Negligent Truck Drivers

Most truck accidents happen because of driver error or negligence.

A truck driver may behave in a negligent, reckless, or careless manner by violating standard traffic laws, including right-of-way laws, speed limits, and turn signal laws. When truck drivers disregard these rules, they significantly increase their likelihood of causing a traffic accident.

What to Know if You Have Been Involved in a Truck Accident

Truck drivers may intentionally or negligently violate state and federal motor carrier regulations. These regulations prescribe load limits for large trucks and instructions for loading and unloading cargo onto the truck bed.

Motor carrier regulations also establish instructions for overhead and undercarriage lighting on tractors and trailers so they are visible to other drivers. Finally, these regulations inform truck drivers and trucking companies how to properly secure cargo to the trailer bed.

When truck drivers fail to follow motor carrier regulations, cargo may fall from a truck and into the road, bringing about a severe accident. In addition, if the truck driver does not load the cargo onto the truck properly, the vehicle may become top-heavy and overturn in the middle of the road, causing a massive vehicle pileup.

In addition to motor carrier violations, some truck accidents happen when drivers become fatigued. Trucking companies frequently incentivize their drivers to drive for long hours and pay them hefty bonuses if they deliver their cargo to its final destination ahead of schedule.

As a result, many truck drivers will go for long periods without sleep to earn more money. However, when the truck driver becomes fatigued, they may become dazed or confused, preventing them from operating their large vehicle carefully and safely. Additionally, if a truck driver falls asleep while behind the wheel, they may lose control of their vehicle and crash into someone else.

Truck accidents may also happen when a truck driver exhibits various types of road rage. For example, to get ahead of slower traffic, the truck driver might tailgate other vehicles, aggressively weaving in and out of busy traffic without using their turn signals, flashing their lights, or honking their horn. As a result of these aggressive driving maneuvers, they may hit another vehicle, causing serious injuries.

A truck accident may also occur when drivers carelessly or distractedly drive. For example, instead of watching the road, a truck driver might be programming a GPS navigation device, looking at their cellular phone or tablet, or listening to loud music in the cab of their vehicle.

However, if they turn their head away from the road, even for a short time, they might crash into another vehicle.

Finally, some truck accidents result from intoxicated or drugged driving. When a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they frequently lose their ability to concentrate, or they may swerve in and out of their traffic lane, causing their truck to hit another vehicle.

An intoxicated truck driver might also suffer from dizziness, blurred vision, delayed reflexes, and delayed reaction time. As a result, the truck driver may not stop in time to avoid hitting another vehicle.

If you sustained injuries in a truck accident resulting from one of these driver errors, you need a skilled personal injury attorney in your case as soon as possible.

Your lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your accident by reviewing police reports, photographs of the accident scene, and property damage photographs.

They might also retain an accident reconstructionist to investigate the cause of the accident and draft a report stating their opinions. That accident reconstructionist can also testify to support your case at a discovery deposition or civil jury trial.

Trucking Companies and Others May Share in the Liability for Your Truck Accident 

Other individuals and entities besides truck drivers may share responsibility for the accident. Most commonly, you can hold a trucking company that employs a negligent truck driver liable for all of the truck driver's negligent actions and inactions while the driver works within the scope of their employment.

Trucking companies also have a duty to hire and retain only drivers who have good records and who do not have a history of prior moving violations or DUIs. Additionally, trucking companies have a duty to supervise their drivers at all times properly and ensure that they comply with all state licensing and continuing education requirements.

If a trucking company negligently hires or retains a problem driver or fails to supervise a driver and ensure that the driver complies with all requirements, they can share some or all blame for a resulting truck accident.

In addition to trucking companies, you can blame a truck repair facility for a truck accident — especially if a repair facility recently worked on the truck. In addition, if the truck or trailer contained defective parts, an injured truck accident victim can pursue a product liability claim against the manufacturer, distributor, or some other entity within the product distribution chain.

A skilled truck accident lawyer in your area can identify potentially responsible parties for your accident and file the appropriate claim or lawsuit to recover the monetary damages you need in your case.

Truck Accident Injuries Are Usually Serious

It is also important to note that the driver or passengers in the smaller vehicle usually suffer the most severe injuries in a truck accident scenario. When a large truck hits a much smaller vehicle, an accident victim's body might move abruptly backward and forward, or part of their body may strike something in the vehicle, leading to debilitating injuries.

Factors that may affect the nature and extent of an accident victim's injuries include the speed of the vehicles, the accident location, and the type of truck accident. Common injuries may include any of the following: Mouth and teeth injuries, soft tissue whiplash injuries, spinal cord damage, full or partial paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, rib fractures, eye injuries, bruises, open cuts and lacerations, and death.

If you suffered any of these injuries in your recent truck accident, you must complete all your medical treatment and undergo recommended procedures, such as surgeries. Attend physical therapy sessions if your doctor recommends them. By completing your medical treatment regimen, you increase your chances of making a full medical recovery and the likelihood of recovering favorable monetary damages for your injuries.

While you attend medical appointments, your lawyer can begin to assemble a settlement demand package in your case and gather the necessary documents to satisfy your legal burden of proof.

Insurance Companies Are Not on Your Side

Following a truck accident, it is crucial to understand that insurance companies are never on your side. Despite what insurance companies say in their advertisements, they are not interested in ensuring you recover favorable monetary damages for all your accident-related losses.

Rather, insurance companies are big businesses that try to save themselves as much money as possible. They attempt to do this by undermining truck accident claims and lawsuits and offering as little compensation as possible to settle.

Your truck accident lawyer will understand the tricks and tactics that insurance companies regularly use to undervalue claims and lawsuits. Your lawyer can aggressively advocate on your behalf, highlight the strengths of your medical records, downplay any weaknesses in your case, and pursue litigation if the insurance company adjuster will not increase their offer significantly.

Your attorney can also differentiate between a reasonable and a bad settlement offer and advise whether litigation is right for you.

You May Be Eligible to Recover Various Types of Monetary Damages in Your Case

In a truck accident claim or lawsuit, it is essential to note that you may be eligible to recover various types of monetary damages, depending upon several factors.

Those factors may include the specific circumstances of your truck accident, whether you suffered a permanent injury in your accident, the nature and extent of your medical treatment (including the cost of that treatment), and whether you had to miss time from work or switch jobs because of your injuries.

Monetary damages in a truck accident case may include compensation for:

  • Related past and future medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Loss of earning capacity from having to switch jobs and take a pay cut
  • Inconvenience
  • Long-term care costs
  • Loss of spousal consortium
  • Past and anticipated pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Lost quality of life
  • Loss of the ability to use an injured body part

Your attorney can determine your truck accident claim's likely settlement or verdict value and estimate the ballpark monetary range for your case. Your lawyer can also advise whether to accept a pending settlement offer from the insurance company or litigate your case in court.

Either way, your attorney will aggressively advocate for your rights and maximize the total monetary damages you recover.

Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Near You Today

If you recently sustained injuries in a truck accident, time is of the essence. This is because truck accident victims have only a limited amount of time in which to file a personal injury lawsuit for damages. This deadline stems from the state statute of limitations.

Specifically, truck accident victims have only two years, starting on the date of their accident, to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking monetary recovery. Absent several limited circumstances, if they fail to file a lawsuit within that time frame, they forever waive their right and ability to recover monetary damages for their injuries.

Given the relatively short time frame at issue, you need to involve a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your case as quickly as possible. Your attorney can handle every step of the legal proceedings to recover the fair monetary damages you need and deserve.

Truck Accident Lawyers Work on a Contingency Basis

Truck accident lawyers typically operate on a contingency fee basis, which means you don't pay upfront fees. Instead, the attorney's fees are contingent on winning the case or securing a settlement. After a successful outcome, the lawyer receives a predetermined percentage of the final compensation awarded. If the case doesn't succeed, the client owes no legal fees.

This arrangement ensures that anyone, regardless of financial resources, can access skilled legal representation. It aligns the lawyer's interests with yours, emphasizing a shared goal of winning the case. This system incentivizes attorneys to work diligently on behalf of their clients, as their compensation is directly tied to the outcome.

It also provides a low-risk option for individuals seeking justice after a truck accident, offering peace of mind and a level playing field in the pursuit of rightful compensation. Seek your free case evaluation today with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer.

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David Abels

Partner

David Abels has carved a niche for himself in the personal injury law sector, dedicating a substantial part of his career since 1997 to representing victims of various accidents. With a law practice that spans over two decades, his expertise has been consistently recognized within the legal community.

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