With millions of vehicles on the road every day, it’s no surprise there is always a risk of collisions. In fact, an accident happens somewhere every minute of the day. Many of these crashes involve large commercial trucks.
Truck accidents can cause plenty of property damage and extensive injury. In the worst cases, a semi-truck crash can result in fatality.
If you or a loved one have experienced a commercial truck accident and suffered injuries, it is best to consult with a truck accident attorney for valuable advice and guidance.
What Is a Commercial Truck?
When referring to a commercial truck, you are not discussing a simple pickup truck with a cab and a bed. Instead, commercial trucks are larger, heavier vehicles used to tow goods and products.
Every state has its definition of what is considered a commercial truck.
In general, states classify commercial trucks by their gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross combination weight rating (GCWR):
- Light duty trucks: 6,000 to 14,000 pounds
- Medium duty trucks: 14,001 to 26,000 pounds
- Heavy duty trucks: 26,001 to 33,000 pounds, and greater
Several types of commercial trucks exist, depending on what it is transporting.
Some of the most common kinds of commercial trucks you may recognize on the road include:
- Box trucks
- Day cab trucks
- Package delivery trucks
- Car haulers
- Concrete mixers
- Dump trucks
- Flatbed trucks
Federal rules exist to regulate the weight of commercial trucks on the road, and states also have relevant laws. This is why, on certain roadways, you’ll notice truck weigh stations. These ensure trucks on the road follow strict weight regulations.
How Do Commercial Truck Accidents Happen?
Countless semi-trucks are on the road every single day. Like regular car accidents, truck collisions frequently occur.
There are several reasons why truck accidents happen. It might be the fault of the driver due to:
- Fatigued driving
- Aggressive driving
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
- Driving under the influence
- Distracted driving
- Failure to adjust driving to inclement weather
- Improper turns
Sometimes, a commercial truck wreck occurs through no fault of the driver.
Some of these reasons may include:
- Brake failure
- Lack of truck maintenance
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Insufficient driver training
Depending on the cause of the accident, some of the common types of collisions include:
- Rear-end collisions
- Front-end collisions
- Rollover accidents
- Jackknife accidents
- T-bone collisions
- Sideswipe accidents
In some cases, a combination of reasons may cause a truck accident, which can result in a more severe collision. You need to determine the exact cause of a semi-truck collision to identify liability for your injuries.
Common Injuries from Truck Accidents
In one recent year, over 4,800 commercial trucks were in deadly collisions. Commercial truck accidents can result in some of the most serious collision injuries.
Some of the common kinds of injuries truck accident victims are at risk of sustaining include:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Fractures and broken bones
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Crush injuries
- Internal injuries
- Amputation injuries
Injuries typically depend on the severity of the collision. Traumatic and substantial accidents usually result in more serious injuries.
In the absolute worst cases, truck collisions result in the victim’s death. If your loved one has passed away due to a truck accident, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek compensation for your tragic loss.
Commercial Truck Collisions Often Result in More Challenging Cases
Though they are quite dissimilar, many are under the impression that truck accident claims are similar to car accident claims. Semi-truck crash claims are typically more complicated and challenging to navigate for multiple reasons, including the following.
Semi-Trucks Are Destructive
There is a reason many individuals are scared to drive alongside large commercial trucks. Simply looking at them, you can only imagine how destructive a huge truck might be in an accident. For truck wreck victims, the fear becomes a reality.
Commercial trucks, with their significant size and weight, are capable of causing extensive property damage as well as severe injury to victims. Trucks are 20 to 30 times heavier than vehicles. While car accidents can be disastrous, they often don’t compare to truck accidents.
The Trucking Industry has Strict Regulations
So how does this play into truck accidents? When a driver or company violates a federal regulation, the violation can play a part in the cause of your collision. Additionally, the liable party may face legal consequences for the violation.
Commercial Trucks Require More Extensive Insurance Coverage
Because semi-trucks are capable of causing so much damage and injury in a collision, they’re required to carry much more insurance than a regular vehicle.
While it is common for cars to have thousands of dollars in coverage for property damage and injuries, some insurance policies for trucks provide hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions of dollars in coverage.
Insurance companies are already notorious for being difficult, but with so much money at stake, they usually put up even more of a fight once you file a claim. They don’t want to pay out, so they will utilize every trick in the book to try to minimize your damages or deny your claim altogether.
Dealing with the insurance company in a truck collision claim is one of the primary reasons for hiring a qualified truck accident attorney.
Liability for Truck Accident Cases
Among the many difficulties truck accident claims present, liability is a major one. This is because, in a commercial truck wreck, several parties can share responsibility rather than just one liable party.
Some of the parties you can hold responsible for your a tractor-trailer accident include:
- The truck driver
- The truck driver’s employer
- The trucking company
- The owner of the truck
- The party in charge of loading the cargo onto the truck
- The owner of the cargo the truck was transporting
- The party responsible for truck maintenance
- The manufacturer or retailer of the truck and/or truck parts
You need a truck accident lawyer who can conduct a thorough investigation after a truck accident to not only get down to the root cause of the accident but also determine who can potentially be responsible.
When multiple at-fault parties cause a semi-truck accident, you can hold them all financially responsible for your injuries and losses based on the percentage of fault assigned to them.
Potential Compensation for a Commercial Truck Collision
Monetary damages are available to compensate you for your harm and losses, whether financial or otherwise. Damages can either be economic or non-economic.
Economic damages are quantifiable losses resulting from your collision.
They can include:
- Medical expenses for past and future medical bills
- Therapy and rehabilitation costs
- Lost compensation
- Loss of earning potential
- Property damage
Non-economic damages represent the intangible losses you suffer after an accident.
These damages may include:
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
In special cases, you may have the opportunity to pursue punitive damages. Punitive damages only apply in cases involving a defendant that went beyond negligence and instead acted maliciously, recklessly, or intentionally. Punitive damages serve to punish the defendant and deter future actors.
Understanding the full value of your case is critical to obtain maximum compensation.
Several factors play a role in figuring out how much your case is worth, including:
- The severity of your accident injuries
- The extent of the medical treatment you require
- Whether your injuries permanently affect your quality of life
- Whether your injuries require you to take time off work
- The total amount of your lost wages
- Whether your injuries leave you with a disability
- Whether you suffer mental and emotional trauma as a result of your accident
- Any other monetary or non-monetary losses directly stemming from your collision
To ensure you fully understand the extent of your damages, a truck accident attorney can thoroughly examine the details of your case to assign a dollar amount to your case. After figuring out the value of your case, your lawyer can then aggressively pursue full and fair compensation on your behalf.
How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Benefit Your Case?
If you’re deciding whether hiring a lawyer to help with your accident case is the right move for you, the answer is yes. While no law dictates you must have legal representation, it is truly in your best interest to have a knowledgeable and skilled lawyer on your side during the challenging times following a truck collision.
Below are only some of the benefits of hiring a truck accident attorney.
You Don’t Have to Handle Anything Case-Related On Your Own
There are many aspects of handling a truck accident case. It can be difficult to take on your case, especially if you have little to no experience with collision claims.
Some of the most critical parts of a case you can rely on your truck accident lawyer to handle include:
- Investigating your accident
- Gathering important evidence
- Determining the cause of your collision
- Figuring out liability
- Calculating your damages
- Representing your best interests at all times
When you have an attorney handling your case, you can solely focus on your physical recovery while you let them handle the monetary recovery.
You Don’t Have to Deal With the Insurance Process
Anyone that has dealt with insurance companies will usually tell you it is tough and frustrating. Insurance companies are not known to be the easiest to communicate and negotiate with.
When you don’t have a lawyer on your side, you’ll be responsible for communicating with the insurance company on your own, which only adds to your stress.
You’ll Protect Your Rights and Interests
After a collision, you have certain rights. You may not be aware, but an attorney can fully inform you and help you understand these rights.
Having a lawyer on your side helps ensure you don’t get taken advantage of, as insurance companies tend to do when they know a party is unrepresented.
You’ll Have a Better Chance of Obtaining Compensation
Aside from pursuing the justice you deserve, the point of taking action after a truck accident is to obtain fair compensation for your harm and resulting losses.
While you can seek damages on your own, you may not know how much you’re entitled to receive, or you may accept a settlement offer that doesn’t even begin to cover what you deserve. In the worst-case scenario, you may not receive any money at all.
When you have an attorney working on your claim, they will fight aggressively for full and fair financial recovery. A lawyer will do everything in their power to get you what you deserve.
You’ll Have Peace of Mind Throughout the Process
Truck accident injuries are difficult not only on the body but also on the mind. The last thing most people want to do after a crash is to worry about handling an accident claim and getting into a battle with the insurance company.
When you hire a truck accident lawyer, you can focus on what matters most: your health and well-being and your family.
After a Commercial Truck Accident, Do Not Hesitate to Seek Legal Guidance
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a truck collision, make it a priority to consult with an experienced truck accident attorney. Scheduling a consultation as soon as possible is particularly important, as time is of the essence.
Time restrictions exist for civil cases. If your case requires filing a lawsuit, you have limited time to do so. Therefore, the sooner you speak to an experienced personal injury attorney in Chicago and start working on your case, the better. A collision lawyer can handle your claim promptly to avoid any complications.
After a truck accident, you deserve justice and compensation. Allow a truck