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​What Is My Truck Accident Case Worth?

The damages that a truck accident victim may recover depend upon various factors, including the type of truck accident that occurs, the number of vehicles involved, the medical treatment that the accident victim undergoes, the nature and extent of their injuries, and the cost of their medical treatment. While some truck accident victims sustain relatively minor injuries, others wind up in wheelchairs and suffer permanent complications for the rest of their life.

When a truck accident victim can prove the legal elements of their claim or lawsuit, they may be eligible to recover monetary damages for their related medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, emotional distress, inconvenience, loss of life enjoyment, loss of use of a body part, and loss of spousal companionship.

If you suffered injuries in a recent truck accident that someone else caused, a knowledgeable truck accident attorney in your area can assist. First, your truck accident lawyer can meet with you to discuss the facts surrounding your accident and determine if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit for damages. If you are eligible, your lawyer can take the necessary legal actions on your behalf and pursue the total monetary damages you deserve to recover.

Single-vehicle Accidents That Indirectly Involve a Large Truck

A large truck, tractor-trailer, or big rig does not always need to make physical contact with a smaller vehicle to cause serious accidents and injuries. In some circumstances, negligent truck drivers may cause a single-vehicle collision when they make a mistake while driving.

For example, the truck driver may carelessly cut another vehicle off in traffic, causing that vehicle to strike another car or a stationary object on the side of the road. At other times, the truck driver may switch lanes without using the proper turn signal, causing another vehicle to swerve out of the way and hit another vehicle or object.

Finally, if a truck driver operates their vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, they may proceed the wrong way down a one-way street, causing another driver to swerve out of the way and hit another vehicle or stationaryobject.

These single-vehicle accidents can cause just as much—if not more—damage than accidents involving two or more vehicles. Therefore, if you suffered injuries in a single-vehicle crash in which a negligent truck driver played a part, you should immediately talk with a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area. You can hold the negligent truck driver and their insurance company responsible for your injuries and other losses, even if the truck driver was not directly involved in the crash.

The difficulty with these types of phantom vehicle accident cases is that some truck drivers are unaware that an accident even occurred. Even if the at-fault truck driver is aware of the accident, they may continue driving away to avoid legal liability. Therefore, you need a lawyer with experience handling phantom vehicle accident cases and investigating the accident circumstances.

In some instances, your lawyer can also retain an expert accident reconstructionist to talk with eyewitnesses, review police reports, and visit the road where the accident occurred. The accident reconstructionist can then piece together exactly how the accident occurred—and who likely caused it.

Roadway Defects and Truck Accidents

In some truck accident scenarios, truck drivers operate their vehicles safely and carefully. However, a roadway defect causes or contributes to an accident that causes other drivers and their passengers to suffer serious injuries.

road_hazardCommon roadway defects that may dislodge cargo from a truck include:

  • Large cracks and deep potholes.
  • Dangerous turns where speed restrictions and road warnings are inadequate.
  • Uneven lanes in construction zones.
  • Objects and obstacles in the middle of the road.

When cargo falls off the back of a moving truck due to a roadway defect, an oncoming vehicle may strike the shipment, causing severe accidents and injuries.

Government entities and municipalities, including cities and counties, have a duty to maintain their roadways in a reasonably safe condition at all times. They must also ensure that roadways are free of severe defects, including deep potholes, uneven lanes, and faded lane markings. If they become aware of a defect, they must remedy it within a reasonable period or, at the very least, warn drivers about the dangerous condition. They may be legally liable if they fail to do so and a severe accident occurs.

Since many of these types of claims involve governmental entities, special rules and considerations apply—including early notice requirements. A knowledgeable truck accident attorney in your area can ensure that you comply with the necessary notices and identify all potentially responsible parties in your accident case.

Multi-vehicle Truck Accidents

The most common types of truck accidents involve multiple vehicles, one of which is a large truck, tractor-trailer, big rig, semi-truck, or 18-wheeler. All of these vehicles are extremely large and heavy, and when they collide with a much smaller passenger vehicle, severe accidents and injuries may occur.

Multi-vehicle accidents involving large trucks usually result from truck driver negligence and error. Some of the most common types of negligence that cause these accidents include intoxicated driving, road rule violations, motor carrier violations, driver fatigue, distracted driving, and road rage.

Passenger vehicle drivers are legally intoxicated if a Breathalyzer device determines their blood alcohol concentration to be 0.08 percent or higher. However, commercial vehicle drivers, including tractor-trailer and big rig operators, must follow stricter legal standards. These drivers are legally intoxicated if they have a BAC of at least 0.04 percent.

Drunk Driving

Drivers who sustain a conviction for DUI or some other drunk driving offense may face severe criminal penalties. Moreover, if they cause a traffic accident that leads to injuries, they and their insurance companies may also have to pay civil damages.

In the context of truck accidents, drunk driving is hazardous because it frequently limits a driver’s concentration, delays their reaction time, blurs their vision, and causes other significant consequences which may prevent them from operating their vehicle safely. As a result, intoxicated truck drivers may be unable to stop their vehicles in time to avoid a severe crash.

Negligent Behavior

At other times, serious truck accidents happen when drivers fail to follow posted speed limits, stop signs, yield signs, and other rules of the road. Like passenger vehicle drivers, tractor-trailer drivers are responsible for following all posted signs and other regulations. When these drivers speed, fail to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles at the proper times, and fail to use their turn signals, they significantly increase their chances of causing a traffic accident.

Truck crashes can also occur when drivers violate state or federal motor carrier regulations. These regulations pertain to truck weight limits, cargo loading and unloading procedures, and methods of safely securing cargo to a trailer bed. When truck drivers and the trucking companies that employ them violate these motor carrier regulations, the load may shift while the truck is in motion. This can offset the truck’s center of balance, causing it to overturn while on the road and creating a massive, multi-vehicle pile-up. At other times, cargo may slide off the back of a trailer and into the middle of the road, causing a violent chain-reaction collision.

Drowsy Driving

Serious truck accidents also occur when drivers become fatigued. Many trucking companies incentivize their drivers to deliver their cargo to its final destination before the deadline. Consequently, drivers often resort to drugs and other controlled substances to keep themselves awake for long hours on the road. However, these substances sometimes have the opposite effect and make a driver sleepy. This can limit a driver’s concentration, delay their reaction time, and cause a severe accident with another vehicle or pedestrian.

Distracted Driving

Avoid Distractions- Abels and Annes Chicago Waukegan Illinois Personal Injury AttorneyDistracted driving is another all-too-common cause of large truck and tractor-trailer accidents. All drivers have a duty to pay attention to the road while they are behind the wheel. However, a distracted driver is one who fails to observe the road. Instead of watching the road, a truck driver might listen to loud music, fiddle with a GPS navigation system, or send a text message or email on a cellular device.

These activities can divert a driver’s attention away from the road and onto something else. If a driver looks down or turns their head to the side, even for a second or two, they might not see an approaching vehicle or a pedestrian walking in the vicinity and cause a severe accident.

If you suffered injuries in one of these truck accidents that resulted from driver negligence, you have legal options available to you. A skilled truck accident attorney in your area can review your accident circumstances, look at your options, and develop a plan for moving your case forward.

If you can file a claim with the at-fault truck driver’s insurance company, your lawyer can help you promptly. Finally, your lawyer can assist you during settlement negotiations and work to maximize the monetary recovery you receive for your injuries.

Potential Trucking Company Negligence

In addition to negligent truck drivers, the trucking companies that employ these drivers may also be negligent. If they are, they may share in some or all of the liability for any truck accident that occurs.

Negligent may arise when trucking companies fail to:

  • Hire capable, responsible, and safe truck drivers
  • Terminate a truck driver who incurs moving violations or DUI convictions
  • Supervise employee truck drivers and ensure that they comply with all safety regulations
  • Ensure that truck drivers complete all continuing education requirements

A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area can determine if you can assert a legal claim against the employer trucking company, given the circumstances of your accident.

Truck Accident Injuries

When a big truck hits a much smaller passenger vehicle, it is usually the occupants of the smaller vehicle who sustain more severe injuries. The injuries that truck accident victims suffer depend mainly upon the type of accident that happens, the circumstances surrounding the accident, how their body moves in the vehicle, and whether or not a part of their body strikes something in the vehicle during the crash.

Common injuries in truck accidents include:

If you suffered any of these injuries in your truck accident, you should go to a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility right away. You should seek this treatment even if you are not experiencing any current symptoms. This is because untreated truck-accident injuries often worsen the longer they remain untreated.

A medical provider on duty at the hospital can order the necessary MRIs, X-rays, and CAT scans to make an accurate medical diagnosis. The provider can also thoroughly examine you and render emergency medical treatment if necessary. Moreover, the provider can recommend follow-up treatment if your symptoms worsen.

While you focus your attention on making a full recovery from your injuries, your truck accident lawyer can start to gather your medical records, medical bills, lost wage documents, photographs of your injuries, property damage photographs, and other potential evidence to use in your case. Your attorney can then submit a settlement demand package and a formal settlement demand letter to the insurance company adjuster after you finish treatment for your injuries.

Call an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney in Your Area Today

Suppose you or a person you love recently suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident involving a large truck. In that case, you should retain an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you throughout your case.

Your lawyer will be your advocate during every stage of the claims-filing and litigation processes. Moreover, if your case needs to go to a civil jury trial or binding arbitration proceeding, your lawyer can represent you in court and zealously advocate for your legal interests. Your lawyer will do everything they can to maximize your monetary recovery and highlight the strengths of your truck accident case while downplaying any weaknesses.

​What to Do After a Truck Accident?

When truck drivers and trucking companies commit negligent actions and inactions, serious collisions may result. Moreover, when drivers and passengers sustain injuries in truck accidents, they may need to go to the hospital, undergo continuous medical treatment, and attend physical therapy sessions. They may also need to miss time from work and endure pain, suffering, and other symptoms that affect their lives.

If you suffered injuries in a truck crash resulting from a truck driver or trucking company’s negligence, you have legal options. In addition to calling 9-1-1 from the accident scene, speaking with a police officer, and obtaining same-day medical treatment, you should talk with a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area as soon as possible.

Your lawyer can discuss the accident circumstances with you, along with your legal options, and help you develop a plan for recovering fair monetary compensation in your case. Your lawyer will be by your side every step and help you pursue the highest compensation available for your lost earnings, pain, suffering, inconvenience, and mental distress.

Truck Accident Injuries

When a sizable big rig, tractor-trailer, or 18-wheeler strikes a much smaller vehicle, the driver and passengers in the smaller vehicle usually suffer more severe injuries. The injuries that a truck accident victim suffers depend upon the force of the collision and how their body moves in the vehicle at the time of the crash. Sometimes, the wreck is so forceful that it causes a part of the accident victim’s body to hit something in their vehicle, like the steering wheel, headrest, door frame, or dashboard, resulting in serious injuries.

Some of the most common injuries that truck crash victims suffer include cuts, abrasions, bruises, soft tissue contusions, fractures, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, internal organ damage, spinal cord injuries, and full or partial paralysis. Correcting these injuries often requires extensive medical treatment and procedures including surgeries.

Types of Truck Crashes

If a truck driver or trucking company is negligent, they may cause several types of accidents, depending upon the circumstances involved.

Some of the most common truck accidents include:

  • Rear-end truck collisions, where the front of a large truck or tractor-trailer hits the back of another vehicle
  • Sideswipe accidents, where the side of a large truck and another vehicle collide.
  • Head-on collisions, where the front of a large truck strikes the front of another vehicle moving in the opposite direction
  • T-bone accidents, or broadside collisions, where the front of a large truck strikes the side of an adjacent vehicle

In any of these accidents, an individual may suffer serious injuries that require prompt medical treatment. Moreover, accident victims may be eligible to file a personal injury claim or a lawsuit with the insurer for the at-fault truck driver or trucking company.

A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area can meet with you to discuss the accident and your injuries. Your lawyer can then determine your eligibility for filing a truck accident claim or lawsuit. If you are eligible, your lawyer can promptly help you file the claim with the appropriate insurance company. Your lawyer can then negotiate settlement compensation on your behalf or file a lawsuit and litigate your case in court.

How Truck Accidents Happen

Large truck accidents sometimes result from improper maintenance, negligent

repair work, and defective truck parts including braking components and steering mechanisms. However, in most truck accident cases, negligent drivers and trucking companies are to blame.

Truck drivers are negligent when they deviate from the standard of care and act unreasonably under the circumstances. Some of the most common types of truck driver negligence that cause serious accidents include road rage, road rule violations, motor carrier violations, intoxicated driving, distracted driving, and fatigued driving.

Road rage occurs when a truck driver reacts inappropriately to a roadway situation that arises. Many truck drivers are in a big hurry to arrive at their final destination. This is because trucking companies frequently offer their drivers financial incentives for delivering their cargo to its final destination ahead of schedule. Therefore, truck drivers may resort to virtually any driving maneuver to try and get ahead of other traffic.

They may speed, aggressively weave in and out of traffic, and tailgate other vehicles. When other drivers drive too slowly, truck operators may become upset and drive aggressively. Unfortunately, these drivers may inadvertently cause an accident with another vehicle when they operate their large truck or tractor-trailer recklessly or carelessly.

At other times, truck accidents happen when drivers violate the rules of the road. Just like passenger vehicle drivers, truck drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and follow all road rules, including speed limits. They must also yield the right-of-way to other vehicles and pedestrians at the appropriate times and refrain from aggressive driving maneuvers. When truck drivers violate road rules, they significantly increase their chances of causing an accident.

Truck drivers and the companies that employ them are also responsible for following all applicable state and federal motor carrier regulations. These regulations set load limits for large trucks and tractor-trailers and regulate how drivers load and unload their cargo. They also prescribe methods for safely securing cargo to the truck bed.

When truck drivers and trucking companies violate these regulations, the truck’s center of balance may become offset, especially when traveling at high speed. As a result, the truck may overturn while on the roadway, causing a severe accident. Moreover, if the truck driver fails to properly secure their cargo to the truck bed, the shipment may slide off the truck while it is in motion. As a result, a severe chain-reaction collision and multi-vehicle pile-up may result.

Intoxicated driving is another common cause of truck accidents. Passenger vehicle drivers are legally intoxicated if they operate their vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent. However, commercial vehicle drivers, including truck operators, must follow stricter legal standards. These drivers are legally intoxicated with a BAC of at least 0.04 percent.

Truck drivers who operate their vehicles while intoxicated may face severe criminal penalties upon conviction. Moreover, if they caused a traffic accident that led to injuries, they and their insurance companies may be liable for paying civil damages.

Alcohol significantly impairs a truck driver’s ability to operate their vehicle safely. Since alcohol is a depressant, it may slow down their reaction time, preventing them from stopping their vehicle in time to avoid a crash. Moreover, intoxicated truck drivers may experience blurred vision and limited concentration, preventing them from seeing another vehicle or a pedestrian in the vicinity.

Another common cause of truck accidents is distracted driving. Electronic devices in a truck cab, including cellular phones, tablets, and GPS navigation devices, sometimes distract drivers. Moreover, when truck drivers fail to observe the road, look down, or turn their heads to the side, they may fail to see an approaching vehicle, causing a severe accident.

Finally, some truck drivers cause crashes when they become fatigued while driving. Many truck drivers attempt to drive for long hours and may resort to drugs to try and keep themselves awake. However, these drugs sometimes have the opposite effect and make a driver feel tired while behind the wheel. If a driver falls utterly asleep at the wheel, they will lose control of their vehicle, likely causing a severe crash. Even if they do not fall completely asleep, they may experience delayed reaction time or limited concentration, preventing them from operating their truck safely.

In addition to negligent truck drivers, trucking companies may also be fully or partially responsible for an accident that occurs. Sometimes, trucking companies are vicariously liable for the negligent actions and inactions that truck drivers commit while on the job.

At other times, trucking companies are negligent in hiring or retaining a known problem driver with prior traffic citations, moving violations, or drunk driving convictions. Finally, trucking companies who fail to properly supervise their drivers and ensure they complete all continuing education requirements may be liable if an accident occurs.

If you suffered injuries in a truck collision that resulted from a truck driver or trucking company’s negligence, your lawyer can review your legal options with you and help you decide on the best course of action for your personal injury case. Your lawyer can then file the necessary claim or lawsuit on your behalf and begin advocating for your legal interests during settlement negotiations with the insurance company.

Essential Steps to Take after an Accident

Following a serious truck crash, accident victims are sometimes unsure of what to do or where to turn. Some of the most important steps you should take immediately after a truck accident include calling 911, obtaining driver contact information, taking pictures at the accident scene, speaking to the responding police officer, and obtaining follow-up medical care at a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility.

You should also talk with a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area as soon as possible.

Call 9-1-1

If you can do so, you should contact 911 immediately after your truck accident. This will immediately dispatch a police officer and ambulance service to the accident scene. Regardless of whether or not you have symptoms, it is a good idea to go to the hospital in an ambulance or have someone drive you there so that a medical provider can thoroughly examine and diagnose you.

Obtain Driver’s Contact Information

In addition to calling a police officer and ambulance to the accident scene, you should obtain contact information from all other involved drivers, including the negligent truck driver. You should get their name, address, contact information, and insurance information. If the at-fault driver’s insurance company contacts you for a recorded statement, you should never agree to provide one. This is because insurance companies only request recorded statements if there is a liability concern or to see if they can catch you off guard and get you to say something damaging to your personal injury claim.

Take Pictures

If possible, you should also take photographs at the accident scene, including pictures of the scene itself, the vehicles involved, vehicle positions, property damage, and injuries. These photographs may become substantial evidence if your case ultimately goes to trial.

Speak to the Responding Police Officer

If you or someone else calls 911 immediately after your accident, a police officer will come to the scene. You should clearly describe your version of events to the police officer and your pain and other symptoms. You should also request a copy of the police report that the officer prepares. This report may become necessary evidence should your case proceed to a civil jury trial.

Seek Follow-up Medical Care

As soon as possible after your truck accident, and preferably on the same day, you should seek follow-up medical care at a local emergency facility. The medical provider on duty can take the necessary imaging studies, including X-rays, MRIs, and CAT scans, to diagnose your condition. The provider can also render emergency assistance, if necessary, and make recommendations for follow-up treatment in case your symptoms get worse.

Call a Truck Accident Lawyer in Your Area

Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Gary Annes
Truck Accident Attorney, Gary Annes

Trucking companies must have insurance, and it likely has insurance through a large insurance provider. These providers are often large companies with vast resources. It’s a certainty that the insurance company has a qualified lawyer representing its interests; you should have one too.

A truck accident lawyer in your area can represent you from the beginning of your claim until the very end. First, your lawyer can assist you with gathering the necessary claim documents, filing your claim, and negotiating with the insurance company adjuster.

During settlement negotiations, your lawyer can highlight the strengths of your case while downplaying any weaknesses. Finally, if the insurance company adjuster refuses to offer you the fair monetary damages you deserve, your lawyer can litigate your case in the court system and, if necessary, take it to a civil jury trial or binding arbitration hearing.


Abels & Annes

714 E Rose Ln #200
Phoenix, AZ 85014
(602) 819-5191

​When to Hire a Truck Accident Attorney

When Should I Call A Truck Accident Lawyer

Large trucks weigh about 20 times more than the average car. Due to this, truck accidents can result in devastating injuries and exorbitant medical bills. In the direct aftermath of the accident, it can be hard to figure out where to start. Should your first call be to your insurance company? Should the first call be to the police? How about an attorney?

These are all excellent questions. However, if your first call is to an attorney specializing in large truck accidents, you don’t need to worry about who to call next. It costs you nothing to speak to a lawyer that specializes in trucking accidents, but it will potentially cost you thousands not to hire a truck accident attorney. Contact a truck accident attorney as soon as possible after a crash. Your chance at recovering compensation depends on it.

Medical Treatment

Directly after the accident, the adrenaline in your body may mask severe injuries, causing them to go unnoticed for a few hours or days. However, seeking medical treatment for your injuries is never too late. Additionally, attorneys that focus on large truck accidents have years of experience working with people with similar injuries to yourself and can help you locate the right physician for your situation. They can assist you with getting an appointment sooner than if you attempted to schedule care on your own, especially with a physician that practices in a specialized area.

Some injuries require extensive, ongoing treatment, such as physical therapy, to ensure a full recovery. Your insurance company may question the necessity of these ongoing treatments, as the less treatment you receive, the less they have to pay. Additionally, if the documentation provided to your insurance company leaves any room for interpretation, they may deny your claim.

When you hire truck accident attorneys familiar with this process, you can rest easy knowing that they have your best interest in mind and will not allow the insurance company to bully them. Your attorney and their team will walk you and your family through the proper ways to document all your medical treatment to ensure your claim is ironclad. A truck accident attorney will handle the insurance company directly so you can focus on healing.

Handling the Other Driver’s Insurance Company

After the driver of a large truck files a claim with their insurance, their adjusters are likely to reach out to you and attempt to mitigate the situation. Since most large trucks serve a commercial purpose, you are likely not going against just the driver’s insurance but that of the larger corporation. This can be highly stressful as they may call while you are still in the hospital or at work and try to probe you for details of the accident.

The insurance company may even offer you a minimal settlement simply to resolve your claim quickly. Remember, their only concern is that your case settles in a way that does them the least monetary harm, regardless of the amount of actual harm you have suffered. When you have a lawyer dealing with large truck insurance companies representing you, you don’t need to worry about answering their questions or determining if you should accept the settlement on your own.

You can simply instruct them to speak with your attorney instead, and they will ensure you and your claim are justly taken care of. These insurance companies have vast resources and multiple people handling the claim; why should you have to handle it alone?

Knowing Your Rights In A Truck Accident Claim

​Do Personal Injury Lawyers Go to CourtThe adage that knowledge is power is rarely more true than after a truck accident. Third parties may contact you, such as the truck’s insurance or legal representation, who try to tell you what you “have to do.” The fact is that they are most likely trying to exploit your situation and make you feel as though you have to comply simply because of who they say they are and the apparent authority they hold.

Even your insurance company may tell you that you are required to provide information or fees to them that you have no obligation to provide. These third parties prey on victims of trucking accidents, hoping that they can use the stress of the accident and your injuries to manipulate you into giving them some form of economic gain from you while you are already in a vulnerable state.

The best way to prevent yourself from being exploited by these third parties is to have someone by your side who knows your legal rights, and no one knows your legal rights better than an attorney specializing in large truck accident cases like your own. When a large truck accident attorney contacts the opposing party, they know that you mean business and are not intimidated by them.

Your attorney will help guide you and empower you against these third parties to ensure you are not taken advantage of. You will never have to second guess what you have to do, as your attorney will ensure you know your legal rights. You will not have to face anyone alone as your attorney and their experienced team will be by your side from the moment you make the call.

Recovering More Than Just Economic Damages

The most commonly sought-after damages help you recoup lost wages for any time you were out of work and medical expenses incurred because of the accident. However, you may be entitled to more compensation than that. If you are permanently out of work, your attorney can help you recover future lost income that you have lost due to the accident.

Additionally, your attorney knows what they need to show the emotional damages caused by the large truck accident and help return some of your peace of mind after the pain and suffering you have experienced. Your attorney can show you how to properly journal your daily experiences, including those experiences you are unable to partake in following the accident, so it will be clear how deeply this accident has affected your life.

Courts sometimes reward punitive damages as well. Punitive damages serve as a deterrent to the large trucking company to ensure that what happened to you doesn’t happen again to anyone else. A specialized attorney can comb through all of the evidence of your case and search for pertinent information, such as mechanical errors with the truck that struck you, and ensure that they include these damages in your case.

Regardless of your particular situation, you deserve to be made whole again after your large truck accident, which is exactly what our attorneys do for our clients daily.

Gathering All the Evidence Fast

When to call a truck accident law firmSince companies typically own large trucks, there likely is extensive data on the truck and its driver, including black box data, maintenance records, and driver records. This information is vital to your claim for a multitude of reasons. A black box is a data recording device found in most large trucks that record crucial information, including the truck’s speed and when the driver applied the brakes.

Maintenance records will show if the company knew there were issues with the truck but allowed it on the road anyway. Additionally, the records the company keeps on the driver will show if they have been in previous accidents and all previous drug tests.

The trucking companies know how vital this information is in your case, so they will be reluctant to grant you access to this. Federal regulations require them to preserve this information in case litigation does arise from the accident. Due to this, they may take steps to bury it and make it harder for you to find.

While they may place a roadblock in your way, an experienced trucking attorney can issue a subpoena. This mandatory court order compels them to turn the information to the attorney or face legal repercussions.

Due to the severity of the consequences, if the company fails to comply with the subpoena, your attorney will have access to this information almost immediately. Even if you are unsure how you want your case to proceed, once your attorney has possession of this evidence, it will be safely preserved in their care, giving you the freedom to take action when you’re ready.

Additionally, your attorney’s team has experience in gathering and preserving all evidence that may be available following your large trucking accident. They can contact all healthcare providers that have interacted with you regarding the accident and gather all documentation they have, showcasing just how severe your injuries are, whether physical or mental.

They also can perform extensive research and locate potential external evidence, such as eyewitness accounts, dash camera footage from other drivers, or even surveillance footage from nearby buildings. Once they have located this additional evidence, your attorney and their team can gain access to this evidence and preserve it in a way that makes it indisputable by the other side’s attorneys and bolsters your claim. There is no such thing as too much good evidence, and your attorney and their team will ensure every piece is accounted for and presented on your behalf.

Naming the Proper Parties the First Time

In the best-case scenario, you might get the driver’s name and their auto insurance information directly after an accident involving a large truck. You may even receive the name of the company to which the truck is registered or owned. This is a great first step in pursuing your case. However, there might be another company responsible for the truck and the damages the accident caused.

Someone who wasn’t supposed to drive the truck may have caused the crash. All responsible parties must be listed when filing an initial complaint with the courts. If you do not do this properly, it can delay your case and bar you from recovering the full amount you deserve.

The large corporations potentially responsible for the truck know this and might go to great lengths to make it challenging to trace them to the particular truck that caused your accident. They understand that the larger the corporation, the deeper the pockets, and they will do everything possible to escape financial liability. Luckily, truck accident attorneys and their teams are well-versed in locating all parties involved and following the proper channels to ensure they are held responsible.

Your attorney can even file your documents in a way that makes it possible to add another responsible defendant to your case down the road when their identity becomes available, with no delay to your case. By naming all responsible parties on all court documents the first time, your truck accident attorney ensures that your case moves as swiftly and smoothly through the court system as possible while ensuring you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to recover.

Should I Hire A Truck Accident Lawyer Now?

Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Gary Annes
Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer, Gary Annes

Yes, Whether your accident happened today or a few weeks ago, it is never too late to contact a large truck accident attorney. The moment you contact our team is a moment you can take a sigh of relief. We will do everything possible to ensure that you receive fair compensation for the harm done to you by the large truck accident.

The difference between handling your case on your own versus with a qualified and advanced team by your side can be thousands. Remember, the insurance company that the trucking company hired will do everything it can to pay as little as possible on as few claims as possible. They certainly will have the help of an experienced lawyer working for them. So should you.

Don’t place the additional stress of navigating insurance companies, doctors’ offices, and the court system on your own when you should be focusing on healing. Contact a large truck accident attorney immediately, and rest easy knowing that your case and everything that comes with it is being expertly taken care of so you can focus on recovery.

​What to Do on Your First Offer From the Insurance Company Truck Accident

After suffering from the horrors of an accident with a commercial truck driver, you may want everything to return to normal as soon as possible. However, speed may be the enemy of full recovery. Commercial truck accident victims’ injuries may be acute or may not appear for months or years after the initial impact. You need time to learn more about the extent of your injuries.

Never accept an insurance company’s first offer without talking to a truck accident lawyer. If you suffered an injury in an accident with a commercial truck driver and want to learn more about what to do after receiving the first offer from the insurance company, continue reading. ​

Dos After Receiving a Settlement Offer From an Insurance Company

To increase your chances of maximum compensation after an accident:

  • Hire an attorney immediately. Accident attorneys work hard to protect the rights of accident victims. If you have not hired one yet, you want the protection of an experienced accident attorney right away after an initial offer. This will increase your odds of a fair settlement offer. Without an attorney, you face the risks all unrepresented accident victims face: ending up with less than you deserve.
  • Collect more evidence (which your lawyer can handle). Some offers are lower because you did not provide enough supporting evidence of your damages to the insurer. Receive medical treatment and compile a complete set of medical records and bills related to the accident. Your medical records and statements are essential to prove your injuries to the insurance company, and more proof can mean higher offers. Your attorney can review your claim file and determine what additional evidence you need.​

Don’ts After Receiving an Offer From an Insurance Company

  • Do not settle for the first offer. The first offer from the insurance company is not their best offer. Insurance companies rely on the impulsivity of inexperienced and injured accident victims who just want the whole situation finished. Therefore, the first offer is usually a lowball offer.
  • Do not sign anything. The insurance company may present you with paperwork or agreements but do not sign them. These documents may contain language stating that you agree to the settlement terms. Always have an attorney review any paperwork that an insurance company sends you.
  • Do not give a recorded statement. Insurance companies often ask accident victims to provide their side of the story in a recorded statement. However, the request for a recorded statement can seem innocent, but your words will be available against you as settlement negotiations continue or in a lawsuit if one gets filed.
  • Do not settle out of desperation. A reality of the aftermath of an accident is that you are in pain, you have multiple doctor’s appointments, you may need physical therapy, you lose time at work, and you struggle with your bills all because of another person’s negligence. Considering all the other problems that arise after an accident, it is tempting to finalize the whole thing, and getting it over with means settling with the insurance company. Insurance companies know this and may send a lowball offer expecting an accident victim to accept the offer out of desperation.

Do Not Accept the Offer Without Speaking to an Attorney

car accident lawyer in phoenixTo ensure you receive the maximum amount of money available to help fully compensate you, talk to an attorney before settling with the insurance company. Accident attorneys work hard to protect the legal rights of their clients. Having a qualified accident attorney can help you avoid common pitfalls created by the insurance company and more accurately determine the value of your claim.

They can also ensure that you receive the medical care you need, negotiate with the insurance company for a larger settlement amount, and tell you what to say, do, and sign when interacting with the insurance company. To learn more, continue reading.

Risks of Talking to the Insurance Company Without an Attorney

Insurance companies often send a settlement offer quickly to resolve an accident claim. Attempting to settle quickly before an accident victim has a chance to fully realize all their injuries is a tactic of insurance companies to keep their costs low. The initial offer from an insurance company is typically not satisfactory to compensate for your injuries.

An attorney can help you know what can help you understand what a reasonable offer is and can keep pushy insurance adjusters at bay while you continue getting medical attention.

Insurance companies want to lock your story down. To do that, they will ask you for a recorded statement. Insurance companies asking for a recorded statement is typical. Insurance companies use these statements to attempt to limit the amount of recovery that an accident victim receives.

In addition to recorded statements, insurance companies may try to get you to admit fault to avoid payment of your claim. An attorney will protect you by telling you what to say and how to interact with an insurance company during negotiations. If you receive an offer before hiring an attorney, you will not have the benefit of an experienced accident attorney, and you may settle for an offer that is less than your damages.

The most significant risk of an unrepresented accident victim dealing with an insurance company is settling too soon. Remember, acceptance is binding. If you accept the first offer, you are bound to it. You cannot go back to the insurance company and negotiate for more money if it turns out that you need more money to pay for future medical treatment. ​

What Is My Claim Worth?

You may not know what your claim is worth when you are first injured. There are various factors to consider as you determine the value of your claim. The insurance company may use these factors and your attorney to help argue the worth of your claim. ​

Inability to Work

Lost income is recoverable in a personal injury lawsuit. If you lost income because of an injury or lost the capacity to earn in the same way you did before your accident, you are entitled to those damages. Because you are entitled to those damages, the more proof you have of lost income or earning capacity, the more the value of your case increases.

Severity of Injuries

Injuries may be physical or intangible. Both types of injuries are compensable. The severity of your injuries may not be known when the insurance company makes its first offer. Physical and mental or emotional injuries may not fully develop for many months or years after the accident. Do not accept a settlement offer until you have a chance to estimate your damages. If your injuries are permanent, the value of your case increases. Showing evidence of scarring or physical disfigurement can prove the permanence of an injury.

Medical Bills

Your damages will not be known until you reach maximum medical improvement. Maximum medical improvement occurs when your medical provider reports that there are no further medical treatments available that will improve your condition. Once you achieve maximum medical improvement, you will have an estimate of the value of your case and how much money will give you a satisfactory settlement. ​

Property Damages

You may also receive compensation for your property damage. The higher the value of your property damage, the higher your settlement value. Your attorney may want you to get several estimates from a few body shops to determine the value of the repairs your car requires. ​

Insurance Policy Limits

The reality of most personal injury lawsuits is that the amount of money you can recover reflects the parties’ insurance policy limits. There may not be any more money available than the insurance policy limits. The value of your case may reflect on the insurance policy limits. ​

What Happens If I Reject an Insurance Company’s Offer?

You can reject a settlement offer if you conclude it is too low to compensate you for your injuries. Remember that you cannot just flatly reject an offer without any reason. When you counteroffer an insurance company, you must provide facts and evidence to prove your injuries. An accident attorney knows how to help you present the evidence required to prove your damages. In a demand letter, an accident attorney will describe your injuries and attempt to persuade an insurance company to increase their settlement offer. ​

Send a Demand Letter

A demand letter sent by an accident attorney may include:

  • A description of your injuries. The accident attorney will send copies of your medical records and medical bills to the insurance company. When an accident attorney sends a demand letter to the insurance company, your attorney may have hired a medical expert witness to analyze your medical records. Depending on the state, your attorney may detail your injuries and their severity.
  • Evidence of your property damage. Your attorney may itemize your property damages in the demand letter they send. Your attorney may also send the estimates you received from various body shops with your demand letter.
  • Your attorney may calculate your lost income or loss of earning capacity.
  • Your attorney may also include some witness statements in your demand letter.

The above facts are included in your demand letter to bolster your claim and persuade the insurance company to increase its settlement offer. If you do not have the assistance of an attorney as you begin negotiating with an attorney, you likely will not know to present this as evidence. As a result, you will initially receive a lowball settlement offer from the insurance company. If you have not presented these facts to the insurance company, do not accept the initial offer. ​

File a Lawsuit

If the insurance company is unwilling to send a fair settlement offer, you and your attorney may begin a lawsuit. A personal injury claim has two major phases- negotiations with the insurance company and a lawsuit. If negotiations break down, your lawyer may file a lawsuit to help you get full compensation. ​

How Can an Attorney Help Me?

After an accident, hiring an accident attorney can help you narrow your focus to recovering from your injuries. You will need several things to start moving forward in the days and months after an accident. Necessities after an accident include time off work for doctor’s appointments, short-term and long-term medical care, and legal advice. Hiring an attorney takes much of these concerns off your plate and allows you to take action to recover physically. ​

No Way to Predict What Help You Will Need After an Accident

You must know the care you will need after an accident before accepting a settlement offer from an insurance company. An attorney can help you get access to the care that you need, including medical care, that will give you an estimate of the money you will need to recover after an accident fully. ​

Your Lawyer Will Communicate on Your Behalf

Gary Annes Injury Accident Lawyer
Gary Annes, Truck Accident Injury Lawyer

If you hire an attorney, they will communicate on your behalf with medical providers ensuring that you get the care required to recover. Most attorneys will work closely with an accident victim’s doctors and other medical providers, like physical therapists, during the life of a lawsuit. In some situations, doctors and other medical providers will defer the cost of your treatment until after a personal injury lawsuit ends if an attorney represents you.

In addition to speaking with your medical providers, your attorney will communicate with your insurance company. Your accident attorney will help file a claim with your insurance company to pay your medical bills faster.

Having a lawyer work on your behalf increases your chances of getting the care you need to recover fully. If you fail to get these services, you may not know how much money you need to pay for the services you require. Taking a lowball settlement offer limits your potential for monetary recovery.

​What to Ask a Truck Accident Lawyer

Truck accidents happen frequently. In recent years, the National Safety Council reports that 100,000 to 150,000 victims suffer injuries in commercial truck accidents yearly.

After a truck accident, it is not uncommon to feel stressed and anxious. These feelings often bring about many questions. A truck accident lawyer can ease your mind and address your concerns.

During your consultation with a truck accident lawyer, you should go into the meeting prepared with various questions. While your lawyer may not have a perfect answer to every question, you should leave the meeting feeling better about your claim.

Before determining what questions you should ask your truck accident lawyer, it’s helpful to understand what truck accidents are, what they entail, and what you can expect.

What to Look for in a Truck Accident Attorney

When looking for a truck accident lawyer, you’ll encounter more options than you might ever imagine. While you have many options, not all attorneys are the same.

If you’re looking for the best truck accident attorney, keep these details and qualities in mind.

Knowledge and Experience

You wouldn’t go to your primary care physician for a root canal—not every lawyer can handle your type of case.

First and foremost, when looking for a lawyer to handle your case, be sure to consult with an attorney with experience handling truck accident cases. Because these cases present their own challenges, you must hire a lawyer with the knowledge, skills, and resources to represent you.

A Favorable Success Rate

When looking for a lawyer to handle your truck accident case, try to find one that not only has the right experience but also has success with these cases.

Along the same lines, happy clients speak volumes. It’s always helpful to have an attorney whose past clients have nothing but good things to say.

Lawyers regularly post some of their successful cases on their websites. Otherwise, do not be shy about asking your attorney about their track record and experiences during your consultation.

Available and Communicative

It happens all too often: A potential client consults a lawyer, likes what they see, and hires them. After the initial meeting, they rarely speak to their lawyer because the lawyer is too busy or has their support staff communicate directly with their clients.

A good truck accident lawyer should be available to speak with you and have no problems communicating with you. While attorneys are understandably very busy, if you leave a message for your lawyer or send them an email, they should get back to you within a reasonable time.

While an attorney is only made stronger by their staff, sometimes you need to speak to your attorney directly. Your lawyer should have no problem answering your questions and regularly keeping you abreast of the status of your case.

Contingency Fee

A truck accident lawyer should work on a contingency fee basis.

When you hire an attorney under a contingency fee arrangement, your lawyer agrees to pay all of the upfront costs. This removes any financial stress you may have about hiring an attorney to handle your case. In exchange, you agree to let your lawyer have a percentage of your settlement to cover all costs and fees.

Do not pay a large sum of money to an attorney to take your truck accident case.

Feeling Comfortable with Your Lawyer

Truck accident cases often take quite some time, meaning you’ll have to work with your lawyer from start to finish until your case concludes.

Therefore, you should easily establish rapport with your attorney and feel comfortable working with them. Feeling peace and ease when communicating with your lawyer is always a good sign.

Questions to Ask Your Truck Accident Lawyer

When you first consult with a truck accident attorney, you’ll undoubtedly have many questions. After your initial meeting, you should walk away feeling like you know the lawyer and how they work. Additionally, the lawyer should answer most of your case-related questions.

Some of the most common questions you may consider asking your attorney include the following.

Questions on Legal Background

Similar to a job interview, you’ll want to know more about your lawyer and their skills in handling truck accident cases.

These questions can include:

  • What’s your educational background?
  • How many years have you practiced?
  • How long have you handled truck accident cases?
  • What is your success record with these cases?
  • How do you handle truck accident claims?

Questions Regarding What You Can Expect

Your first meeting should ease some of your worries.

It may help to ask:

  • Who will I primarily be communicating with from your office?
  • Do I have access to you directly?
  • Will you update me regularly throughout the life of my case?
  • What is the best way to reach you?
  • How long can I expect it to take to receive a response to my messages or emails?
  • How long does a truck accident case typically take to resolve?
  • How involved should I be in handling my case?
  • What are the chances my case will go to trial?

Questions on Fees and Settlements

​What Is a Good Settlement Offer for a Car AccidentFinances are a big part of a legal claim.

If you want to know how this all works, you can ask:

  • What type of payment arrangement does your office use?
  • Am I expected to pay anything upfront for your services?
  • What happens if we don’t successfully secure a settlement?

While your truck accident lawyer may need to further investigate your claim before providing answers to some of your questions, they should address many of your basic concerns. Always attend your initial consultation prepared with a list of questions for your lawyer.

Truck Accidents Explained

If you were in a truck accident and don’t know these special cases, a brief explanation can answer some of your questions.

Truck Accidents are Different than Car Accidents

While many believe truck accidents are similar to car accidents, this is usually far from the truth. Truck accidents are particularly unique and come with their own set of challenges.

Trucks Cause More Injury and Damage

Simply looking at a massive commercial truck, it’s easy to imagine how destructive a collision with one can be. Only individuals that have experienced a truck accident understand the serious extent of injuries and property damage.

Because trucks cause massive injuries and destruction, this complicates truck accident claims. Victims often require more compensation for their losses, bringing about various challenges.

Trucks Often Have More Insurance Coverage

Semi-trucks require more insurance in case of accidents. Their policy limits are significantly higher than those on a regular vehicle.

Insurance companies are typically not easy to deal with, and truck insurers are no different. These companies employ various tactics to limit their liability and pay victims as little as possible. You can almost always expect an insurer to put up a fight—especially when so much money is on the line.

The Trucking Industry Has Strict Regulations

Many state and federal regulations govern the commercial trucking industry. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has many rules regarding trucking, including hours truck drivers may drive without stopping to rest and logbooks truckers must keep.

Most individuals are unfamiliar with these regulations, making handling a claim much tougher. This is one of many reasons a truck accident attorney helps, because they know these rules and understand how they affect your case.

Semi-Truck Accident Lawsuits

Truck Rollover Accidents in PhoenixAfter a truck accident, you may receive compensation for your injuries. Usually, you can obtain financial recovery from the liable party’s insurer. However, this is not always simple.

In many cases, you can settle with the insurance company for a fair amount that accurately represents your losses. But dealing with insurance companies is often not so straightforward. If the insurer is unwilling to settle or their settlement offers are low, you may need to file a formal lawsuit.

If you seek compensation after sustaining injuries in a truck accident, you might need to file a lawsuit. Personal injury law protects individuals after they’ve suffered harm due to another’s actions or lack thereof. These cases are frequently based on the defendant’s negligent action or inaction but can also include intentional or malicious wrongdoing.

In the most unfortunate circumstances, victims of truck accidents succumb to their injuries and pass away. After a death, the victim’s family can seek financial recovery through a wrongful death claim.

Lawsuits for commercial truck accidents are difficult to handle alone. Therefore, a qualified truck accident lawyer can provide invaluable help.

Causes of Truck Accidents

Determining the cause of a truck accident is often one of the first and most important steps to take.

The most common causes of truck accidents include:

Establishing what caused your accident can take some investigating. Several pieces of evidence can provide answers, including a truck’s black box, police reports, or witness statements.

Figuring out what caused your accident usually leads to the second most important answer: Who’s responsible for your truck accident.

Liability for Semi-Truck Collisions

After determining what caused your accident, you can find answers regarding who can be responsible for your injuries.

Liability for semi-truck accidents is not regularly as simple as that for car accidents.

Many parties can play a role in a collision, including:

  • Truck drivers
  • Trucking companies
  • Owners of semi-trucks
  • Individuals responsible for loading trucks
  • Parties handling truck maintenance
  • Truck and truck part manufacturers

In many cases, several parties are simultaneously liable for an accident. You must determine who to blame for your truck accident, as this is who owes you compensation.

Damages After a Truck Accident

Damages compensate victims for their injuries and losses after a truck accident. The damages you deserve depend on the details of your case.

Damages are either economic or non-economic.

Economic damages are often easy to prove, including:

  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning potential
  • Property damage

Non-economic damages are not as simple to prove because they represent intangible losses.

These can include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional distress
  • Permanent disfigurement or scarring
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium

When you file a wrongful death action, this allows the victim’s family to receive financial recovery for the losses experienced after the death of a loved one.

These damages can include:

  • Funeral costs
  • Burial expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • The victim’s lost earnings and benefits
  • Loss of care, protection, or guidance
  • Loss of consortium

In special cases, you may qualify to receive punitive damages. These damages are only available in cases where the defendant’s actions go beyond just negligence and include intentional, malicious, or grossly negligent actions. When the court agrees to grant punitive damages, it does so because it’s just and necessary to punish the defendant for their wrongdoing.

Determining how much you deserve is one of the toughest parts of a truck accident case. To help ensure you’re getting maximum compensation, allow a truck accident attorney to handle your case.

How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help

Plaintiffs that hire legal counsel often fare better in the end.

A lawyer will handle all of the critical parts of your case, including:

  • Thoroughly investigating your accident
  • Creating a legal plan of action
  • Gathering relevant evidence
  • Calculating damages
  • Communicating with insurance companies
  • Representing you in court, if necessary
  • Addressing your questions and concerns whenever needed

Having a truck accident attorney handle your case will give you invaluable peace of mind, allowing you to focus on your physical recovery fully while your lawyer works hard to obtain fair compensation on your behalf.

Consult With a Truck Accident Attorney Today

Gary Annes Injury Accident Lawyer
Gary Annes, Truck Accident Injury Lawyer

After sustaining injuries in a truck accident, you’re not alone. A truck accident lawyer can handle your claim and work toward getting you the fairest possible outcome.

Speak to an attorney near you as soon as possible to begin working on your case.

​Who Can Be Responsible for a Truck Accident With a Defective Tire?

Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations § 393.75 establishes that no one can operate a motor vehicle on a flat or leaking tire, with any tread or sidewall separation, body ply or belt material exposed through the tread or sidewall, or a cut that exposes ply or belt material. A tire on a bus, truck, or truck tractor must have a tread groove pattern depth of at least 4⁄32 of an inch when measured at any point on a major tread groove, and the measurements must not take place in an area where tie bars or humps exist.

Tire maintenance is a constant area of concern for most trucking companies, but many companies still send vehicles on the road with worn or defective tires that, in turn, endanger all other road users. If a commercial truck crash caused by a defective tire injured you, contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Contact a Lawyer for Truck Accidents With Defective Tires

Who Can Be Responsible for a Truck Accident With a Defective Tire?If you suffered severe injuries or a loved one lost their life in a commercial truck accident caused by a defective tire, do not wait another moment to seek legal representation. You will want to find an experienced personal attorney who knows how to investigate what occurred leading up, during, and after your crash, so they can preserve critical evidence, and you will have the best shot at recovering as much financial compensation as possible.

You need to be aware that many trucking companies are not likely to admit that their vehicles had defective tires, so the burden will be on you to prove your claim, and most insurance companies will find reasons to deny you compensation in any way.

Call a lawyer or contact them online right away so you can schedule a free consultation that will let you sit down with the attorney and thoroughly review all of the circumstances surrounding your crash while also providing you with complete knowledge about what rights you have and what action you can take.

Possible Liable Parties in Truck Accidents With Defective Tires

In most cases involving truck accidents caused by defective tires, victims may seek damages from:

  • Truck Drivers – In some instances, the drivers themselves will bear responsibility for truck accidents caused by defective tires. A driver can be liable when they were made aware of defects but failed to take the necessary action to remedy the problem.
  • Trucking Companies – A trucking company can bear responsibility for a truck crash caused by a defective tire if it was aware of a tire defect but did not take the appropriate corrective action. Many companies keep these trucks on the road when someone notifies them of an issue, but a truck is already on the road, and there are concerns about delays that tire repairs might cause for delivery times.

Other parties can bear some liability in a truck accident caused by a defective tire, including other drivers. The confusion about liability is one of the primary reasons you want to hire a skilled attorney because they can determine with certainty who was responsible and then work to hold the proper party accountable.

Maintenance Regulations for Commercial Trucks

In addition to the regulations previously noted, federal law also requires every motor carrier and intermodal equipment provider to systematically inspect, repair, and maintain all motor vehicles and intermodal equipment subject to its control. They also have to keep records for each motor vehicle they control for 30 consecutive days, which includes a history of inspection, repairs, and maintenance indicating their date and nature.

Carriers must retain records for one year and six months after the motor vehicle leaves a motor carrier’s control.

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) further recommends that truck drivers:

  • Only use approved rim and tire combinations
  • Examine tires daily for irregular tread, cracking, bulges, cuts, foreign objects, and inadequate tread depth
  • Avoid exceeding the speed rating of tires
  • Gauge tire pressure before each trip
  • Avoid overloading cargo on underinflated tires

General truck maintenance requirements under Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations § 396.3(a) state that every motor carrier must inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be inspected, repaired, and maintained, all motor vehicles subject to its control. They must keep all parts and accessories in safe and proper condition, and the carrier must inspect pushout windows, emergency doors, and emergency door marking lights at least every 90 days.

Required records under Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations § 396.3(b) establish that for all vehicles under control for 30 consecutive days or more, a motor carrier must maintain a record of identifying the vehicle by company number, make, serial number, year, and tire size. When the motor carrier of passengers does not own a vehicle, the record must identify the party providing or leasing the vehicle.

This section also requires a means to demonstrate the nature and due date of the inspection and maintenance operations that they will perform, a record of the inspection, repairs, and maintenance showing their date and type, and a record of tests conducted on pushout windows, emergency doors, and emergency door marking lights on buses. Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations § 396.7 states that carriers cannot operate commercial motor vehicles in such a condition as it is likely to cause an accident or a vehicle breakdown.

Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations § 396.11 relates to driver inspection reports and stipulates that drivers are required to complete written post-trip inspection reports at the end of every driving day, with inspection reports identifying the vehicles and listing any defects or deficiencies discovered by or reported to the driver that can affect the safety of operation of the vehicle or result in a mechanical breakdown.

Furthermore, a motor carrier or its agent must certify that they have repaired any listed defect or deficiency or that immediate repair is unnecessary. A motor carrier must maintain the original copy for three months before requiring or permitting a driver to operate a vehicle. Every motor carrier or its agent must repair any defect or deficiency listed on a driver’s vehicle inspection report that can likely affect the vehicle’s safe operation.

Injuries in Truck Accidents With Defective Tires

Commercial trucks typically weigh several tons, so accidents involving these vehicles can cause positively devastating injuries. The simple size of large trucks increases the likelihood of a fatal commercial truck accident.

Some of the most common kinds of truck accident injuries include, but are not limited to:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Fractures or broken bones
  • Severe head injuries such as concussions
  • Sprained muscles, tendons, or ligaments
  • Back injuries
  • Nerve damage
  • Paralysis
  • Muscle strains
  • Bulging discs
  • Knee injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Joint damage
  • Pinched nerves
  • Cuts and lacerations

Again, commercial truck accidents can also be fatal in many cases, and families that are suddenly left behind can struggle to figure out how to get help covering the bills their lost family member can no longer assist in paying.

The family of any person killed in a commercial truck accident can file a wrongful death action, and such lawsuits are different from personal injury lawsuits in that the statute of limitations (or time limit) for filing such a claim begins on the date of a person’s death rather than the date of an accident, which can be important because a person can die many days or weeks after initially suffering an injury in a truck accident.

The statute of limitations for any truck accident is a significant concern that emphasizes the need for legal representation. A court can deny a person who waits too long to file their case an opportunity to recover anything. For this reason, speak to an attorney as soon as possible so they can file your case in time.

Tire Recall Process

The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA), which represents approximately 80 percent of all tire shipments in the United States, has an online search tool that lets you search its member companies’ tire recalls since 2000. Once a tire recall is issued, it may still take weeks or months before the information gets into the hands of the tire owner.

While automakers work with states to locate the addresses of registered vehicle owners when they recall vehicles, tire makers often have to rely on warranty registration cards that their purchasers do not necessarily complete. Most manufacturers only initiate voluntary recalls after a government agency like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) contacts and pressures them.

Defects in design or production may result in:

  • Tire belt separation
  • Sudden air loss
  • Loss of vehicle control from tire belt separation
  • The missing load rate information on the sidewall
  • Missing date code TIN information on the sidewall
  • Visible cords visible through the inner liner
  • Tire sidewall separation
  • Incompletely cured vulcanizing compound
  • Failure to meet strength test requirements

Some of the most recent tire recalls include companies like Falken, Sumitomo, Michelin, Continental, Tri-Ace, Sailun, Hercules, Cooper, Bridgestone, and Firestone.

Resources for Truck Accidents With Defective Tires

Tire Anomaly and Classification System (TACS™) – TACS is a system designed by International Road Dynamics Inc. (IRD) that screens commercial vehicles at weigh stations to identify vehicles deemed unsafe due to missing or underinflated tires.

TACS consists of:

  • In-road sensors for tire detection and measurement
  • Roadside electronics to capture information from the in-road sensors and pass the information to weigh stations for use by weigh station operations
  • Software, and graphical user interface (GUI) to present information to weigh station operators and support their setting of commercial vehicle screening criteria based on data provided by TACS

TACS can integrate weigh station screening systems, including weigh-in-motion, electronic screening, vehicle dimensioning systems, and vehicle tracking systems.

Safety defects and long hours contribute to large truck crashes – Vehicle defects that are serious in nature triple the risk of being involved in a crash. The research said almost 75 percent of crash-involved trucks had vehicle defects identified during post-crash inspections, and trucks with out-of-service violations for any defect were over four times as likely to crash as trucks without such violations.

The Large Truck Crash Causation Study – Analysis Brief – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) examined the reasons for serious crashes involving large trucks, defined as trucks with gross vehicle weight ratings of more than 10,000 pounds. The LTCCS sample of 963 crashes involved 1,123 large trucks and 959 motor vehicles not defined as large trucks, with 963 crashes resulting in 249 fatalities and 1,654 injuries.

They collected samples at 24 sites in 17 states, with data collected on as many as 1,000 elements that included the condition of a truck driver and other drivers involved before a crash; a driver’s behavior during a crash; the condition of trucks and other vehicles; roadway factors; and weather conditions.

Call a Truck Accident Attorney if Your Crash Involved Defective Tires

Dave Abels Lawyer
Truck Accident Attorney, Dave Abels

Did you suffer severe injuries, or was your loved one killed in a commercial truck accident you believe to be caused by a defective tire? Do not try to handle your claim on your own because an insurance company will not help you, no matter how friendly and helpful an agent may sound.

With the help of a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer, you will give yourself the most substantial chance of making sure you can recover every dollar you need to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Call an attorney or contact one online to set up a free consultation that will let you explain what happened to you and the issues you deal with, so you can have the best chance at possibly recovering and getting back to your original condition.

​What Is the Truck Accident Claim Process?

There are two phases of a truck accident claim process – insurance claims and potential litigation. Each phase can present an uphill battle as you try to get the money you deserve to care for the injuries you sustained in an accident with a commercial truck driver. Attempting to go after your compensation without representation can keep you from maximizing your settlement or judgment amount.

To learn more about how two opposing parties resolve a truck accident claim, continue reading. To discuss your legal options, reach out to a truck accident lawyer right away.

Meet With a Truck Accident Lawyer

​What Is the Truck Accident Claim Process?There are many benefits to hiring a truck accident lawyer if you get into an accident and suffer injuries. The overall benefit of having an experienced lawyer on your side is that they have the training to protect your legal rights after an accident. The first step to having the protection of an accident attorney is to meet with and hire one.

Research the Attorneys You Want to Hire

First, schedule an initial consultation with an accident lawyer. To narrow down which lawyers to meet with, use all possible available resources. Nowadays, most businesses have websites that detail their services.

Law firms usually have attorney bios and success records. You can also use internet reviews from the attorney’s former clients to learn about their experiences with the attorney you want to hire. All this information helps you be a more informed consumer. If you find attorneys you like and want to meet, contact their office, and schedule an appointment.

What Should I Do During an Initial Consultation?

To maximize your time during initial meetings with accident lawyers, ensure that you have your questions prepared. Your initial consultation is your time to ask questions about the claim process. The attorney you meet with will discuss your chances of success, their payment structure, and the next steps you must complete to pursue your claim. If you decide to hire an attorney, you will sign a contract, and the legal work begins.

Remember the Statute of Limitations

Do not delay meeting with and hiring a truck accident attorney. Each state has a statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit. A statute of limitations is a deadline set by law to either negotiate a settlement for an injury or file a lawsuit. Noncompliance with the statute of limitations and other procedural rules can cause a court to dismiss your claim. Your accident attorney will ensure that you comply with the statute of limitations and protect your legal rights.

Negotiations With the Insurance Company

A truck accident lawyer can help you negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. During the beginning of a truck accident claim, you will start with attempting to negotiate a settlement with an insurance adjuster. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and because they are focused on their profit, insurance companies work hard to protect their bottom line. To protect the insurance company’s money, the adjuster may use some common tactics to disprove an accident victim’s allegations.

Tactics From the Insurance Company

Insurance companies use tactics to disprove an accident victim’s allegations, including finding anything that will discredit the injury victim. An insurance company may deny that your injuries were caused by their insured. The insurance company may also try to cast doubt on the severity of the injuries.

In addition to trying to disprove the claim, an insurance company will try to exhaust an unrepresented accident victim. The insurance company may start with lowball settlement offers that do not cover medical bills, future medical expenses, property damage, or lost wages. Unrepresented accident victims may not know how to negotiate a better settlement on their own. A truck accident attorney will help an accident victim get the money that they deserve after being hurt in an accident.

Discovery Phase

Discovery is the investigatory phase of a lawsuit. During discovery, both parties send each other a set of questions called interrogatories. Interrogatories elicit facts about the case and the party to help prove a party’s case. Interrogatories may include personal and invasive questions that you may be comfortable answering. However, there are procedural rules that require each party to answer questions. However, there are limits on the information you can seek in interrogatories. Having a truck accident lawyer with experience drafting and answering interrogatories will help ensure that you only answer what you have to without divulging any unnecessary information and will help you ask the proper questions to the defendant.

Depositions are another part of discovery. Depositions are witness interviews that happen outside of a courtroom but are formal, and the witnesses give testimony under oath. Many states require witnesses to be deposed even if the witness testifies live in court. However, witnesses may testify by deposition if they are unavailable for trial.

Negotiations and Demand Letter

Negotiations continue throughout the lawsuit. Your truck accident lawyer will work with the insurance company’s defense lawyers to negotiate a satisfactory settlement for their client. Negotiations may be successful, and both parties can avoid a trial. Your attorney will send a demand letter to the insurance company’s lawyers.

A demand letter asks that the opposing party settle the case for the amount stated in the letter. A demand letter will discuss your injuries, medical expert opinions, your economic and non-economic damages suffered, and your proposal for a fair settlement.

Trial Prep and Trial

The case will proceed to trial if the parties cannot reach a fair settlement. Trials are a lot of hard work, and if you do not have trial experience, you may be vulnerable to losing your case. During your initial consultation, ask the attorney if they have trial experience. Ask how many cases they have tried in their career and if those trials were with truck drivers and trucking companies. Ask if the attorney has taken any cases to trial in the last year.

Trial prep can take a while, depending on the case’s complexity. Attorneys can help you prepare the witnesses to help you build your case at trial. Your attorney can help you prepare to lay witnesses and expert witnesses. If you do not have a trial attorney to help you prepare for trial, you may not know how to prepare your witnesses to answer questions during direct and cross-examination.

Trials can be long and grueling. You may still have a long road to recovery to travel while the case goes to trial. You do not have to focus on the law and your health simultaneously. Get an accident attorney to help you take care of the legal side.

Collect a Judgment

The final step to resolve a civil lawsuit is either settlement or trial. If you go to trial and win, that is not the final hurdle to getting the money you need to pay for your damages. Sometimes even after a court renders a judgment, the defendant fails to pay the judgment. The law provides avenues to collect your judgment if the defendant refuses to pay.

One legal avenue you can take if you do not receive the money from your judgment is garnishment. Garnishment is a legal action where a plaintiff can take a portion of the defendant’s wages until they satisfy the judgment. Garnishment is a separate case apart from the truck accident lawsuit. If you have questions about how to file a garnishment with your local court, contact an attorney in your area.

What If I Can’t Afford an Attorney?

The thought of legal fees is overwhelming. Many accident victims choose not to pursue legal action because they cannot pay a lawyer to represent them. Fortunately, in most civil actions, accident attorneys work on a contingency basis. A contingency agreement allows the client to defer payment for legal services until after the case resolves.

What Is a Contingency Fee Agreement, and What Are Their Terms?

The American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Responsibility require placing the contingency agreement in writing. The attorney and client must both sign the payment agreement.

Terms of the agreement include the percentage of the settlement money the attorney will charge for their work. Typically, an attorney collects around one-third of the total settlement amount as their fee, and your agreement should clearly state the fees your lawyer can take.

The attorney and client should also agree on how they will pay litigation costs. Litigation costs are expenses that arise during a pending lawsuit. Litigation costs can include filing fees, costs of expert witness testimony, and postage costs, along with other expenses. The truck accident law firm often pays the litigation costs up front and gets reimbursed when both parties settle the case, or you may choose to pay the litigation costs as they come along (this is rarer).

If you have any questions about the payment structure, ask your attorney to clarify the terms before signing a contract for a contingency fee arrangement.

How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help Me?

Truck accident attorneys help protect the legal rights of injury victims. Accident attorneys work hard to protect their clients from opposing parties that may do anything to keep their money in their pocket.

An accident attorney can help in the following ways:

  • An accident attorney can negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. If you can settle with the insurance company, the claim process will be much shorter because you will not have to prepare for trial. If you do not have an attorney as you try to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, their adjusters may try to string you along.
  • An attorney can sue all responsible parties. In many cases, multiple people are potentially liable for your harm. You must identify all parties responsible for satisfying your judgment. If one defendant cannot pay, another defendant can satisfy the judgment. Despite being unable to collect the entire judgment from each defendant, all defendants are liable for the entire settlement. Each defendant must contribute to the settlement amount. They may divide the total judgment equally, or in some cases, when a defendant cannot pay their share of the judgment, the defendant must repay the other defendants for their contribution to the judgment. Joint and several liability is a legal doctrine. Joint and several liability is a common law doctrine in civil cases that ensures an injury victim gets the money a court awards to them.
  • Attorneys know state and local procedural rules for civil cases. Some procedural rules will cause a court to dismiss your case if you do not comply with them. There are various rules to be followed, and your attorney will have experience with complying with each procedural rule.
  • A truck accident attorney can help you avoid dealing with debt collectors and hospital billing departments. Debt collectors and hospitals are unsympathetic to your injuries and will not give you a chance to heal before they start collecting money from you. If you have an attorney working for you, all the communication from the hospitals and other debt collectors will go to the attorney’s office. That way, you can focus on your recovery.

Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer to Learn About Your Rights

Dave Abels Lawyer
Truck Accident Attorney, Dave Abels

An experienced truck accident attorney is the best teammate – and leader – you can have while pursuing a truck accident claim. Experienced injury attorneys know how to handle complex cases and get the best compensation for their clients. Accident attorneys should be zealous advocates for their clients and work hard to maximize settlements for accident victims.

To get the most out of your case, contact an experienced truck accident attorney today.

​What Is Considered Pain and Suffering in an Accident When a Semi-Truck Driver Is at Fault?

In the aftermath of an accident with a semi-truck driver, it is often difficult to know what you are entitled to as you recover. Accidents between cars and semi-trucks can end in tragedy because of the size difference between the vehicles. An accident victim may be entitled to various types of damages, including compensatory damages, punitive damages, and pain and suffering damages. To learn more about pain and suffering damages, continue reading and contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.

What Is Pain and Suffering?

​What Is Considered Pain and Suffering in an Accident When a Semi-Truck Driver Is at Fault?Pain and suffering refer to damages related to physical pain and mental anguish from an accident. Pain and suffering damages are available to address the physical and emotional pain caused by a truck accident. Pain and suffering damages are different from compensatory damages. The law intends compensatory damages to restore specific losses that an accident victim sustained because of their injuries.

Examples of compensatory damages include lost wages, loss of future wages or earning capacity, and medical bills. Pain and suffering damages do not restore an injured party to their position before the accident but award an injured victim with money because they suffered after an accident.

What Is Physical Pain and Suffering?

There are two significant categories of pain and suffering. We can divide Pain and suffering damages between physical pain and suffering and emotional pain and suffering. These damages reimburse an accident victim if they suffer physical pain after an accident. Physical pain and suffering damages are different from compensatory damages, which are also available in most personal injury lawsuits.

Compensatory damages restore an accident victim by giving the victim the money to pay for the losses that they sustained because of an accident. Compensatory damages include loss of income, loss of earning capacity, repayment of medical bills, and payment for future medical treatment.

In contrast, the physical pain and suffering damages available to accident victims refer to giving accident victims money for the inconvenience of suffering from the pain related to their injuries.

What Is Mental Pain and Suffering?

Mental pain and suffering damages are non-economic damages that reimburse an accident victim for the emotional trauma they suffered after an accident. Mental pain and suffering damages are intangible damages, and these damages may be difficult to prove to an insurance company, judge, or jury. If you believe you deserve mental pain and suffering damages, speak to a semi-truck accident lawyer in your area.

Examples of mental pain and suffering damages include:

  • Emotional distress
  • Stress-induced insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Shock
  • Grief
  • Humiliation
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional trauma
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Decreased quality of life

Pain and Suffering Calculator

The pain and suffering calculator refers to the multiplier used to calculate the amount of money that a court should award to an accident victim for their pain and suffering.

A multiplier is a number (ranging from one to five) that is assigned to measure the level of pain and suffering that a person endured. Attorneys use the multiplier in an equation where the physical damages that a person sustained are added together and multiplied by the multiplier. To determine which multiplier is appropriate, the court will weigh various factors.

Those factors can include:

  • The length of the accident victim’s recovery
  • An analysis of the victim’s medical records and expert medical testimony about their condition
  • Whether the injuries are permanent and severe or minor and temporary
  • The extent of negligence by the at-fault driver

As the court calculates pain and suffering damages and decides how much money to award the plaintiff, the court may use the following equation to decide the final judgment amount. The typical pain and suffering equation is the total of all the compensatory damages the plaintiff suffered and multiplied the total damages by the multiplier. The multiplier will range from one to five.

The multiplier is decided by considering some of the facts listed above and by considering the seriousness of the physical and mental pain the victim suffered.

Understanding what you deserve in the way of pain and suffering damages can be challenging to prove. If you believe you are entitled to pain and suffering damages after an accident with a semi-truck driver, contact a semi-truck accident lawyer in your area.

Pain and Suffering Damages versus Punitive Damages

Pain and suffering damages differ from punitive damages. Punitive damages punish the defendant to discourage future bad behavior. Courts award them only if the defendant committed wildly outrageous conduct.

Most states cap punitive damages by statute or only award them in an amount commiserate with the defendant’s assets. The goal of punitive damages is not to bankrupt a client but require payment of an amount of money that will get the defendant’s attention and ensure that they will alter their behavior in the future.

In contrast, statutes do not limit pain and suffering damages in most states. Pain and suffering damages are also not limited to compensating for wildly outrageous conduct. If you think you deserve punitive damages or pain and suffering damages, contact a local semi-truck accident lawyer in your area.

How Can I Prove Pain and Suffering Damages?

To receive a damages award, the accident victim must prove their injuries. Each category of damages requires proof. To get a damages award for pain and suffering, the victim must present evidence of their harm to the insurance company, judge, or jury.

To prove physical pain and suffering damages or mental pain and suffering damages, the victim must prove that they suffered an injury in the accident. To prove that the accident victim suffered, they must present evidence of the harm. An accident victim can prove pain and suffering by submitting evidence to the court.

Providing testimony about your injuries helps prove pain and suffering. You can prove how an injury affected your life through witness testimony. An attorney can use an expert witness’s testimony to prove the damage that an injury caused to the accident victim.

You can also call your friends and family as witnesses to describe any changes you have been through because of your injuries. Your circle of friends and family may discuss their knowledge about what you have been through. Both expert witness testimony and layperson testimony can help prove both physical and mental pain and suffering.

The information found in various documents also helps accident victims prove their pain and suffering damages. Presenting medical bills and records helps prove the physical pain you suffered in a semi-truck accident.

Other documents that prove an accident victim’s damages include:

  • The report that police completed at the scene.
  • Witness statements.
  • Repair estimates from body shops.

The more proof you present, the higher the likelihood of a multiplier closer to five. If the multiplier in your case is high, the amount of your judgment is higher. A semi-truck accident lawyer helps accident victims prove their case for pain and suffering damages. If you have been in an accident with a semi-truck driver, call a local attorney.

How Can an Attorney Help Prove Pain and Suffering Damages?

Having a semi-truck accident lawyer working for you is the best way to position yourself for success after an accident with a semi-truck driver. There are various benefits to having a lawyer on your side. Accident attorneys work to protect their client’s legal rights after traffic accidents. To learn more about how accident attorneys assist their clients, continue reading.

A semi-truck accident lawyer protects their client’s interests against an insurance company. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and the company wants to protect its bottom line. The profit margin of an insurance company has a negative effect if it pays out accident claims. Therefore, insurance companies fight injury victims when they make claims for damages. Insurance companies may target unrepresented accident victims. Insurance adjusters rely on your inexperience with filing an accident claim with an insurance company.

An insurance company may employ tactics to scare you into settling quickly or disprove your injuries. Tactics that the insurance company may use include drawing out the negotiation process. An insurance adjuster may slow-go a claim to exhaust a claimant. An exhausted claimant is more likely to accept a low settlement offer. An experienced semi-truck accident lawyer knows this insurance company trick. They have experience in avoiding this tactic and can help you avoid this pitfall, too.

Accident attorneys are trained in procedural rules and discovery and know how to prepare a witness for trial. A mistake at any stage of a lawsuit may mean that a court may dismiss the entire claim. An inexperienced accident victim may not know what to expect. For many injury victims, the current lawsuit is their first experience with the legal system. There is no need to pursue compensation alone. Your focus should be on recovery from your injuries. An accident lawyer can take care of the legal side of things.

What if I Cannot Afford a Lawyer?

If the cost of legal services hinders you from pursuing compensation for your damages, attorneys use many payment structures for different legal work.

Many attorneys across the country use a contingency fee structure when representing truck accident clients. A contingency fee allows clients to defer payment for legal work until after the case settles. You may have seen an advertisement from a personal injury lawyer that says something like, “We Don’t Get Paid Unless You Do,” which indicates that the attorney works on a contingency fee arrangement.

A percentage of the final settlement is paid to the attorney to cover their legal fees. The percentage of the settlement the attorney will collect must be agreed upon before any legal work begins. A typical percentage split is one-third of the total settlement amount, though you want to confirm a lawyer’s fees before you begin your case.

The attorney and their firm may pay litigation costs, but the client must repay them out of the settlement amount the client receives. However, if you want to pay the litigation expenses as the case proceeds, you can do that and not have to reimburse the attorney or their firm.

Examples of litigation costs include:

  • Costs of copies and postage
  • Filing fees
  • Costs of expert witness testimony
  • Mediation costs

Attorneys and clients must reduce all the terms of the contingency agreement to writing. The American Bar Association Rules of Professional Conduct require that contingency fees be in writing and signed by both the attorney and the client. If you have any questions about the terms of the contingency agreement, ask your attorney before signing the agreement.

Your attorney will happily explain the terms of the agreement and ensure you understand everything you have agreed to in the contract for a contingency fee arrangement.

Contact a Semi-Truck Accident Attorney Today

Dave Abels Lawyer
Truck Accident Attorney, Dave Abels

If you have suffered an injury in an accident, call an experienced accident lawyer in your area. Having an accident attorney on your side as you attempt to receive compensation for an accident that left you injured is the best way to put you in a good position to recover financially for your injuries.

An attorney has the knowledge and skill to ensure they protect your legal rights from insurance companies that do not have your best interests at heart. Relying on an attorney’s knowledge of and experience with the legal system will let you focus on your health and family and get your life back to normal as soon as possible. Contact a lawyer to take care of the legal side of your situation.

​What Happens if an Accident Occurs With an Uninsured Truck Driver?

We must share the roads and highways with commercial trucks. These intimidating large trucks have the potential to cause significant damage, especially if they hit a small vehicle. Getting hit by a commercial truck can feel like being hit by a freight train, and the injuries accident victims suffer after an accident with a big truck can be life-threatening, permanent, or the accident can end in death.

When an accident with a commercial truck happens, the aftermath is overwhelming. However, we may take comfort in knowing that the accident is with a truck driver working for a commercial trucking company. However, our comfort may be misplaced because some truck drivers are uninsured. Despite the lack of insurance, you should receive compensation for your injuries.

To learn more about what happens if an accident occurs with an uninsured truck driver, continue reading and contact a truck accident attorney as soon as possible.

What Insurance Does Federal Law Require a Commercial Truck Driver and Trucking Company Carry?

​What Happens if an Accident Occurs With an Uninsured Truck DriverThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) governs the trucking industry in the United States. The FMCSA is an agency of the United States Department of Transportation. The FMCSA sets the requirements for commercial trucking insurance minimums.

Per the FMCSA, every commercial trucking company must carry commercial auto liability insurance. The minimum limits differ based on the type of products the trucks carry across the country. Typically, the policy minimums that commercial trucks must have can be from $750,000 to $5,000,000 per accident.

Although the federal government requires minimum liability insurance from every trucking company in the United States, some companies fail to abide by the requirements. When a commercial truck driver uses a commercial truck without insurance, that is negligence. What are an accident victim’s options when the commercial truck driver or the commercial trucking company fails to carry the required auto insurance?

An Accident Victim Must Rely on Uninsured and Underinsured Insurance?

If a truck driver and the trucking company fail to carry the required commercial truck insurance, you may need to rely on your own uninsured and underinsured motorist policy.

What Is Uninsured Motorist Insurance?

Uninsured motorist insurance coverage is coverage added to your insurance policy. Most states require some uninsured motorist coverage, but for states that do not require uninsured motorist insurance, you may need to sign an agreement that you refused to add uninsured motorist coverage to your policy.

What Is Underinsured Motorist Insurance?

Underinsured motorist insurance is coverage that you add to your policy that you can use to cover your injuries and property damage if you get into an accident with a driver who does not have enough insurance to cover your damages. Underinsured drivers have insurance, but their policy limits are inadequate.

Suppose a truck driver or the trucking company is either uninsured or underinsured, the money you need to pay for your injuries and property damage. An accident attorney can help you pursue an uninsured/underinsured claim. Although it is your insurer, and it seems that it should promptly pay your claim, your insurance company is a business and will actively work to increase profit.

What to Know if You File an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Claim

  • If you file an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim and receive payments from the other party, you must repay your underinsured motorist policy.
  • Filing a claim against your uninsured/underinsured policy will not raise your rates.
  • Filing a claim against your uninsured/underinsured policy does not preclude you from filing a lawsuit against a negligent party.
  • An uninsured/underinsured policy can cover damages, including lost wages, medical care and rehabilitation, emergency medical services, and pain and suffering.

Pursue the Truck Driver’s Personal Assets

If the truck driver fails to obtain the insurance required by federal law, you can pursue the driver’s assets to satisfy a judgment from a commercial truck accident. Despite the driver’s insurance status, the negligent party is responsible for the harm caused in an accident.

The downside to pursuing the personal assets of an individual defendant is that they may not have enough money to pay the judgment. Depending on the amount of the judgment, even if the plaintiff seizes the defendant’s property, the judgment may not be satisfied.

To ensure that you receive total compensation for your injuries, you must name all potentially responsible parties in a complaint about injuries after a commercial truck accident.

Speak to an experienced commercial truck accident attorney in your area to get the best advice about what parties you should name as defendants. With these kinds of accidents, an injured person may have the right to pursue compensation for their damages from the trucking company that employs the driver. Keep reading to learn more.

Pursue the Trucking Company

The trucking company may be liable for the damages its employee caused. There is a legal principle called respondeat superior, which means that the employer is responsible for their employee’s negligence under certain circumstances. If the truck driver was operating a company vehicle negligently while performing their job duties, then the business is responsible for the harm that the driver caused. The doctrine respondeat superior gives accident victims the right to sue the truck driver and the trucking company if they suffer an injury in an accident with a commercial truck.

If a truck driver does not have the required insurance, the truck company may be responsible for paying all the damages you sustained in the accident. Although possible, a truck company is unlikely to operate without at least the minimum federally required insurance.

If the trucking company is uninsured or underinsured, then an accident victim may have the right to pursue the owner’s assets. Depending on the business structure the founder of the trucking company chose, you may have access to the owner’s assets if you cannot separate the owner’s assets from the company’s assets.

Truck Drivers as Independent Contractors

The doctrine of respondeat superior does not apply to independent contractors, who are different from employees, and independent contractors are generally not covered by the employer’s insurance.

While many truck drivers are independent contractors, the good news is that the law protects truck accident victims in this situation. You can often seek compensation from a trucking company that allows an independent truck owner-operator to use its vehicle, resulting in an accident.

Is Another Party at Fault?

Commercial truck accidents are chaotic. An extensive investigation will likely be required to gather the facts of the case. A vital part of the investigation is determining every party that may potentially be at fault for the accident. A driver may not have made contact with your vehicle, but they may have acted negligently in another way that contributed to the accident.

For example, if another driver slammed on their brakes too hard, the truck may react by quickly stepping on the brakes to avoid an impact, but inadvertently causing you to rear-end the truck. In that instance, the other driver may be responsible for your injuries, and you can pursue a claim with their insurance company.

If an accident involves multiple defendants, the law allows the plaintiff to receive compensation from each defendant. That means that each defendant is responsible for the entire amount of the judgment. However, that does not mean you will receive full payment of the judgment from each defendant, but rather that all defendants will contribute to the settlement.

Perhaps one defendant cannot pay their share of the award. The other defendant or defendants must pay the insolvent defendant’s portion of the judgment to the plaintiff. However, the defendant or defendants that contributed to the total settlement may pursue the non-paying defendant separately for the money owed.

How Can a Truck Accident Attorney Help Me?

Truck accident attorneys work to protect truck accident victims’ rights. Attorneys are zealous advocates for their clients and represent their clients’ interests during settlement negotiations and at trial. Unrepresented commercial truck accident victims face unnecessary challenges and may succumb to avoidable pitfalls. A truck accident lawyer can help protect you from these complications.

Working With the Insurance Company

An experienced commercial truck accident lawyer knows how to approach negotiations with the insurance company.

Remember, the at-fault party’s insurance company is not on your side. Insurance companies are businesses; thus, their goal is to protect the bottom line. The adjuster will employ specific tactics to protect the insurance company’s profit margin. The tactics include giving lowball offers, saying that your injuries are not real, not as severe as you claim, or that the accident did not cause them. Insurance companies know that they cannot pull the same tricks when an accident victim has an attorney on their side.

Taking Care of a Client Throughout the Lawsuit

There are many steps an injured person must take before a lawsuit reaches its resolution. It is hard for someone with little litigation experience to know what to do during each phase to maximize their chance of getting compensation after the case is over. An attorney can guide you through the process. Continue reading to learn more about what attorneys do to ensure they set their clients up for success.

Following Procedural Rules

A commercial truck accident lawyer has the experience, knowledge, and skill to increase your chances of success in a truck accident lawsuit. Many accident victims may not think of the procedural issues that affect their case. For example, if you don’t file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations passes, the court will dismiss it. A statute of limitations is a deadline that limits the time an injury victim has to file a lawsuit.

Other procedural rules will affect your case. Attorneys are trained on those procedural rules and can help you avoid failing to abide by a rule and ruin your case.

Discovery

As the case continues, your lawyer will help you through each phase. Discovery is the investigation phase of the case. Discovery includes gathering information via questions sent to the opposing party. These questions are called interrogatories. Another part of the discovery process is depositions. Depositions happen outside of a courtroom, but they bind witnesses to tell the truth as if they were in a courtroom.

During the discovery phase of a lawsuit, a lawyer must protect the client’s legal rights, and that includes asking the right questions to the defendant and their witnesses to elicit testimony to prove your case. An unrepresented client may not know what information to ask for from the opposing side that will put their case in the best position for success.

Trial

The idea of a trial is intimidating to most people. The most knowledge many people have of what occurs during a trial comes from television. However, the fictionalized version of courts and trials does not properly represent what happens during a trial.

A civil trial is a technical process. Attorneys do pretrial work that may affect what happens during the trial. The jury selection process may take many days or weeks. Attorneys object to the admittance of evidence, and responding to objections on your feet is vital to protect your case.

An attorney can only increase your chances of success for your commercial truck accident claim.

How Do I Collect My Judgment?

Dave Abels Lawyer
Truck Accident Attorney, Dave Abels

Collecting a judgment is the final step of receiving your compensation for your injuries caused by a commercial truck accident. After a judge or jury gives a money award to the injury victim, the original case is complete.

If a defendant fails to pay the judgment, a plaintiff may choose to pursue another case to collect the money owed to them. If you want to pursue money that a court awarded you in a commercial truck accident lawsuit, contact an attorney in your area.

​When Do You Need a Truck Accident Attorney?

The answer is simple: you need a truck accident attorney after any accident with a truck that results in injuries. However, many accident victims do not obtain legal guidance right away because they believe the accident was minor or that the insurance company will handle the entire process. Many individuals feel that hiring an attorney will postpone their compensation and be extremely costly.

A truck accident attorney can obtain a higher settlement offer and often settle your case faster than expected. Insurance companies are notorious for delaying payment. We will discuss several other reasons you need a truck accident attorney here. Do not hesitate to contact a local truck accident attorney when you have been injured or are unsure of how the legal process works.

There Are Serious Injuries or Death

​When Do You Need a Truck Accident Attorney?While you should contact an attorney immediately after an accident, a clear sign that you need an attorney is that a loved one passed or you sustained a severe injury. The loss of a loved one is traumatic, and a negligent truck driver should not get away with killing your loved one. A catastrophic injury will alter the rest of your life.

Catastrophic injuries can require loved ones to become caregivers and leave you unable to participate in daily activities. A truck accident attorney can review your case and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Remember, every accident is different, and you might be under the impression your injuries are minor when underlying issues can make it worse. Recognizing all of your injuries will help you know to contact a truck accident attorney to seek compensation for you.

Some truck accident injuries include:

  • Broken bones: This injury is almost certain to happen in commercial accidents. You may have suffered a broken bone when you were younger. However, it is nothing compared to suffering a broken bone in adulthood. There are extensive medical bills that can accumulate. You will also need to take time off work or accept restrictions in the work you do from wearing a cast or splint.
  • Spine and neck injuries: The worst-case scenario is to suffer a spine or neck injury. When your spine sustains damage, this can lead to an impairment in the area. You can also become paralyzed.
  • Head and brain injuries: Concussions are a common head injury victims face. Many injury victims do not think these injuries are serious, but they can lead to severe cognitive deficits. Concussions are not the only head trauma you can sustain. There are cases where severe brain trauma is present, altering the rest of your life.
  • Burns: There are times when a truck is carrying flammable items. The crash can trigger these items to catch fire leading to severe burns. In other cases, your vehicle can catch fire and cause you injury. Burns can lead to long-lasting scars and even disfigurement.

There are many other injuries you can sustain from a truck accident. Due to the truck’s size, you will likely carry these injuries with you. There are also psychological injuries to contend with. Many truck accident victims will suffer from anxiety and PTSD. They find it difficult to get behind the wheel. If they can drive again, they will avoid large trucks on the road and may even need to pull over due to an anxiety attack. Some victims will need a service animal to help them get through the day.

Exhaustive Medical Bills

Accident victims think their health insurance and car insurance policies will pay for most of their medical expenses. Then, the medical bills begin coming in, and there are no funds to pay them. You have been out of work, and your insurance policies completely max out. How will you ever pay for the remaining bills?

Additionally, you will have ongoing medical care that you must also consider. When there are no other options for medical expenses, a truck accident attorney will file a claim and obtain compensation. You will likely reach policy limits reasonably quickly after a truck accident due to the severity of injuries and damage.

The Insurance Company Does Not Want to Pay

The first issue we addressed was the inability of insurance companies to offer fair settlements, even when warranted. Many injury victims are shocked when this happens. After all, you have been paying your premium on time and keeping your policy current. The insurance company does not want to pay when you need to tap into those benefits. There are other times when the insurance company will delay a claim to the point the injured person has resolved the issues on their own.The truth is that insurance companies always put their profits over people. They delay the settlement offer because they want the total payment to be lower. They assume accident victims will begin to cover their costs, and therefore the insurance company is off the hook.

They also delay payment to the point where a person has become so frustrated and burdened with bills they are willing to take any amount even if it does not cover all of their bills. However, you do not need to stress about these issues when you have a truck accident attorney on your side. An attorney will fight to avoid unnecessary delays and ensure you get compensated for the damages you incurred and will incur from the accident.

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The Police Report is Inaccurate

The police report is what will heavily affect your case. The insurance company, court, and attorney will refer to the original police report. If there are inaccuracies in the police report, this can complicate your claim. You will need to provide evidence to your attorney that the information on the police report is inaccurate so they can fight the contents of the police report.

Fighting or correcting the information on a police report is crucial to your case, and you need an experienced truck accident attorney to help you. An accurate police report is vital as this is the basis of your claim or lawsuit.

The Truck Company Was Negligent

The main reason you need to contact a truck accident attorney is that the truck driver acted negligently, which caused the accident to happen in the first place. They will deny they acted recklessly, but negligence will be crucial to your claim. Truck accidents are very complex, and even if the truck driver was not negligent, maybe another party was.

Trucking companies, maintenance companies, and parts manufacturers might have contributed to your truck accident.

You do not need to determine liability. Leave this task to your truck accident attorney.

Depending on specific factors, you may still collect compensation even if you are partially at fault. However, you need to discuss the possibility of settlement with a local truck accident attorney.

Proving a Truck Accident Crash

Let a truck accident attorney prove each

of the four elements of your case:

  • Duty of care: Each driver on the road owes those around them a duty of care to operate their vehicle safely. Drivers need to follow all rules of the road along with state and federal guidelines if applicable. Truck drivers have additional duties to those around them since they have higher responsibilities. Trucking companies need to provide adequate training for their drivers. They must also have accurate scheduling, loading, and maintenance practices. When a truck company does not follow these guidelines, it can be held liable for a truck accident.
  • Breach of duty of care: Now that duty of care has been established, you must show that the truck driver breached this duty. Whether the truck driver or the trucking company acted recklessly, it constitutes a breach of their commitment to other drivers on the road. The truck driver is often simply trying to do their job, but their employer is pressuring them to break the rules in the name of profits. A truck accident attorney will need to prove these practices were present and led to the accident.
  • Causation: You must show that the breach caused injuries or property damage. Causation is where a lot of legal battles stem. Truck drivers and their employers will deny they caused the accident while you are trying to prove that they did. This skill is where a truck accident attorney is essential.
  • Damages: Once you show causation, you must then show that the injuries that stemmed from the accident caused you financial loss. These financial losses must be a direct result of the truck accident and not another reason.

A truck accident attorney must prove these four key issues for a successful claim. You might be wondering what you need to prove these elements. The following section will detail the evidence you will need for a successful claim.

Truck Accident Evidence

The last four elements need to be proven so that the insurance company cannot deny your claim. If your case goes to trial, an attorney will present evidence to a judge, who will then determine the outcome. The more evidence you have, the better.

Some crucial evidence you will need for a successful claim include:

  • Medical documents detailing your injuries and treatment plan
  • Eyewitness statements, preferably people not in your vehicle
  • Photos and videos of the aftermath of the accident
  • The truck cab camera footage
  • Black box data from the truck
  • Driver logs
  • Expert witness testimony
  • Employment records for the truck driver
  • Inspection reports
  • Maintenance reports

You probably won’t obtain these records independently. Many of the parties involved will be unwilling to provide these records, especially to a person who a truck accident attorney does not represent. An attorney will have a better chance of obtaining these records and the knowledge to use these records to build a solid case in your favor.

Compensation For a Truck Accident

A truck accident claim aims to obtain compensation for your losses. There are different forms of compensation you are entitled to depending on the facts of your case. You will need to consult with a truck accident attorney to determine what compensation you are entitled to.

Examples of compensation for truck accidents include:

  • Lost income: Any time you took off work for medical care is recoverable through a truck accident claim. The calculation also includes the time needed to recover physically.
  • Future loss of earning potential: If the accident leaves you with a permanent impairment, you cannot return to your original work capacity. Your lifestyle will need to change as a result. Some victims are unable to work at all. You can obtain compensation for these losses.
  • Medical expenses: A truck accident injury will require varying degrees of medical treatment. There will be the initial treatment such as the ambulance transport and emergency room care. Once someone has diagnosed your condition, you will undergo treatment for your ailments like surgery, medication, and imagining scans. You can recover monetary damages for all of these items.
  • Future medical expenses: When you have a severe injury, you will need treatment for the rest of your life. You may even need to move into a nursing care center. Your attorney will calculate these costs and include them in your compensation claim.
  • Non-economic damages: Receipts cannot document some damages. These are called non-economic damages. They include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of quality of life.

Again, work with your truck accident lawyer to determine what compensation you deserve. We have not listed other forms of compensation here. Each case is unique and your truck accident lawyer should handle it with care.

Contact a truck accident attorney immediately following a crash to secure the compensation and care you can recover.