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