Trucking is often described as the “backbone of America”, and the nation’s roads see millions of truck journeys take place every day. Issues related to truck accidents and the resulting truck accident law, however, can be complicated.
For a start, there is a blurring of the lines of what actually constitutes a truck. In some states, an SUV is (legally) classified as a truck, whereas in other locales, it might be classified as a car. In addition, there is the fact that a truck is likely to be a commercial vehicle, and that means the driver might not be legally responsible for a crash.
In short, the issues surrounding a truck accident can be complex, and there is, therefore, good cause that should you be involved in any type of truck accident, you should contact an expert truck accident lawyer to review your case.
It won’t surprise anyone to learn that accidents involving trucks can be much more destructive than accidents involving passenger cars only. It’s logical, as a truck is a heavier, more powerful vehicle, so the impact is more likely to cause death or serious injury.
However, just like passenger car accidents, many truck accident injuries can remain unseen for long periods. That’s why it’s important to get medical treatment directly after an accident.
Common truck injuries can include:
Have questions or concerns about what to do after a Truck Accident? Below are some frequently asked questions that many people have with helpful answers to them.
As with all road traffic accidents, you should follow these steps:
The short answer is: As soon as possible. Some states, like Texas and California, have a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury and property damage after a truck accident. While that might seem like a long time, there is more chance of the loss of documentation - potentially weakening your claim - as time goes by.
It can depend on a number of factors. The area of law termed vicarious liability basically means an employer is responsible for an employee’s actions. However, there are always legal grey areas.
For example, if the driver knowingly broke the law by driving when drunk. It is best to talk to an experienced attorney to understand the specifics of your case.
As with all types of auto accidents, you can receive compensation for a variety of reasons when involved in a truck collision. Damages could cover past and future medical bills, therapy, loss of income, destruction of property and many other areas. The level of compensation you receive will depend on the severity of the accident and whether another party was at fault.
Truck drivers are no more prone to making mistakes than the average driver of a family car. However, due to the potential for destruction in a powerful and heavy vehicle, any negligence on the part of the driver can have serious consequences. The majority of America’s truck drivers, both commercial and non-commercial, are highly trained, responsible and diligent, but there will always be a minority who break the law.
Negligence by truck drivers and other drivers contributes to death and serious injury to 1000s of Americans each month. Negligence can come in many forms. It could involve alcohol, use of a smartphone, speed, running red lights, or a combination of those factors. Determining whether a truck driver has been negligent or not can be difficult, however, and it’s one of the reasons we recommend seeking expert legal advice when involved in an accident with a truck
The best truck accident lawyers will be adept at dealing with the often complicated issues surrounding securing a fair level of compensation if you have been involved in an incident with a semi truck. As pointed out below, there may be several guilty parties and insurance companies involved when an accident occurs involving a semi truck.
As such, an expert truck accident lawyer might be needed to secure your compensation. While an insurance company might offer you a sum that seems adequate, it is very possible that your injuries and any damage to your property warrant a higher payout.
Speaking with a truck accident lawyer who specializes in cases involving semis can help you decide whether legal action is worth pursuing.
If you are involved in an accident with a commercial truck, there can be a little more to think about compared with a standard vehicle crash.
For instance, consider who might be the party liable to pay your compensation for the accident: It could be the driver of the truck, of course, but it could also be the company who employs that driver. In addition, the truck or manufacturers of its parts could be to blame, or a shipping or cargo company; in some states, there could even be a scenario where a bartender is held, at least partly, responsible, if they have knowingly overserved alcohol to a truck diver (this is called dram shop liability).
Because a combination of commercial parties could be involved in a dispute, each with their own insurance companies behind them, it’s recommended that you seek trucking accident legal advice if you have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck.
The best truck accident lawyer will be able to cut through all the complicated insurance procedures and inform you of your legal rights in terms of personal injury or property damage claims.
In essence, truck accidents are like all other auto accidents in that they are a harrowing experience for all parties involved. But there are some facts particular to truck accidents that bear thinking about.
For example, the truck driver is far less likely to die than those in a passenger vehicle when a truck crash occurs. Moreover, trucks are more likely to be involved in multi-vehicle crashes than passenger cars. And, for obvious reasons, truck accidents are often going to have employers involved in insurance claims and legal cases
Below are some of the top truck accident causes.
Due to the higher percentage of serious injury or death caused by a collision involving a truck than in car accidents, more truck crashes are handled by attorneys expert in the field and in pursuing damages.
A truck accident is usually much more complex in terms of identifying at-fault parties, and thus it can be more difficult to gauge the level of compensation you are due. There is no industry standard for insurance payments after an accident involving a truck, and there is a high chance that the amount you are offered from an insurance company is much lower than what your claim is worth should it be tried as a personal injury case.
As we demonstrated earlier, the liability with truck accidents can lie with various parties, and not necessarily just the driver or their employer. Also, it’s worth noting that the settlements for truck accidents can be much higher compared to regular vehicle accidents as commercial companies are typically involved.
However, the insurance companies behind liable parties will also fight hard to limit truck accident payouts. It is sensible, then, to seek expert legal advice on truck accidents before going ahead with any compensation claim.
We mentioned above that there can be some difficulty with the classification of trucks, and, as you might expect, that filters through to the compiling of truck accident statistics. For instance, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) tends to lump together large trucks and buses when publishing accident statistics. Below, however, we will list some important truck accident figures (2018 figures; involving vehicles classified as large trucks):
If you have been involved in a truck accident, even one where injuries may be apparent, it is worth getting legal advice on a potential personal injury or property damage claim. Select Justice can help get you started with a free case review. We will help connect you with the most experienced truck accident injury lawyers to get you the compensation you deserve.
We are here to help you and loved ones advocate for justice. Feel free to send us any questions you might have, either about an injury or the process for pursuing justice so we can help you exercise your rights.