If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a truck accident, it's normal to ask yourself questions such as:
An experienced truck accident attorney can answer these and any other questions you may have after being involved in a tractor-trailer, semi, or commercial truck accident. Even if you decide not to take legal action, you will have peace of mind knowing that you explored all of your options.
Contact us today so that we may connect you with truck accident victim lawyers who can analyze your case in a free legal consultation.
Of the many federal agencies that exist, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is one of the ones responsible for tracking truck accidents throughout the nation. Specifically, any automotive incident such as a semi-truck accident, tractor-trailer accident, large commercial vehicle crash, or other heavy truck wreck is included in their research. One of their most recent reports, corresponding to the year 2018, showed:
The above figure for the number of trucks involved in accidents, 112000, reflected a 5% increase from the previous year. More tragically, the number of truck accident deaths in 2018 (4,951) reflected a 50% increase from just 10 years before.
Additionally, of the nearly 5,000 truck accident deaths:
Of the 150,00 injured individuals:
While these statistics can be alarming, it's important to remember that the number of trucks on the road has increased substantially over the past decade. It is quite likely that more individuals become truck accident injury victims simply because there are more trucks on the road.
Yet, this does not mean that we should shrug off the trauma experienced by accident injury victims. Indeed, some of them may have been lucky enough to walk away from the truck crash unscathed. On the other hand, it's clear that thousands of others each year are not that lucky. Many lose their lives; their families are left to deal with the deep pain of personal loss, often added to financial pressures brought on by medical expenses, burial costs, and loss of income.
If you were injured in a truck or big rig accident, it's likely that you're unsure what the best next step is. Feeling this way is completely normal - most trucking accident injury victims find themselves in the same position at one point or another.
The most important step you can take if you've recently been involved in a trucking accident is to visit a doctor for a thorough physical examination. Even if you believe that you "are fine," even if you don't feel any pain right now, it is always recommended for persons who were in a truck crash to get checked out.
This is because injuries can often arise days if not weeks after the truck crash itself. These kinds of injuries, known as latent injuries, are particularly insidious. Even worse, if they are not diagnosed & recorded by a medical professional soon after the incident itself, it's possible that they may not be considered direct trucking accident injuries in a legal process down the line.
After you've received a clean bill of health from a doctor, or once you've begun treatment for any personal injury resulting from the crash, then you may more calmly consider your next move. Seeking the help of truck accident lawyers is often the most recommended next step, seeing as how a truck accident law firm will be able to analyze your case and determine the potential for compensation.
Even if your first instinct is to not take legal action, it's important to consider this avenue because truck accidents can bring on substantial expenses that injury victims often don't have the money to pay for.
Tractor-trailer, semi-truck, 18-wheeler, and commercial vehicle wrecks can cause a lot of damage, both to other vehicles as well as to the occupants of the same. It's unfair to expect victims to be able to handle all of the expenses that come with the damage, especially when the accident occurred by no fault of their own.
Personal insurance policies are a lot less lenient than most individuals think. However, an independent truck driver or trucking company likely already pays for an insurance policy intended to cover damages caused by accidents. These benefits are hardly ever granted without resistance, so victims will likely need a truck accident attorney to help them access the compensation they need and deserve.
The causes of truck accidents are likely as varied and different as the makes and models of trucks on the road themselves. However, there are some overarching factors that have been found to be involved in many truck accidents each year. They include:
These are only some of the most common causes found across the hundreds of thousands of truck accidents that occur each year. As you can gather, truck driver negligence seems to be a common theme in the above list.
Black box data can serve as a critical piece of evidence helping the plaintiff in a truck accident case. This is because black box data can help paint a picture of the accident before it happened as well as while it transpired.
Black box devices, such as those found on an 18-wheeler, collect data points including speed, location, direction, weight, radio communications, in-cabin recordings, and more. All of these can prove vital when it comes time to argue negligence on behalf of a driver, regardless of whether that same driver is the one on the hook for paying out the lawsuit's financial award.
While a truck accident injury lawsuit can hinge on whether the driver themselves was responsible for the accident, it is a rare occasion when they have to pay for damages and injuries caused out of their own pockets.
Most of these drivers, especially when employed by a truck company, are covered by lofty insurance policies that kick in when an accident happens. But just because a policy is triggered does not mean that it will pay out the maximum benefits. As a result, injury lawyers often see it as their job to get their clients as much of an insurance policy's allotted compensation as possible.
It should be clear not that it is not necessarily the truck driver who is always held responsible for damages, even if they were at fault. Depending on the circumstances of your accident and the truck accident lawyer you chose to fight for your rights, there are a number of parties who may be found guilty of negligence and ordered to pay restitution.
Determining who is liable and who may be sued after truck accidents occur is no easy task. However, there is a common element tying together all those who may be deemed responsible. This factor is the legal concept of negligence, which is the foundation for many a truck accident case.
To find a trucker, trucking company, truck manufacturer, or other entity guilty of negligence (and therefore responsible for damages and the related compensation), it must be proven in a court of law that they did not uphold their duty or otherwise took actions that were careless.
If you are not familiar with the concept of negligence, do not be intimidated. Most people have never heard of negligence or how it may play a part in a personal injury case. Alternatively, experienced truck accident attorneys are intimately familiar not only with negligence but with what negligence looks like in a truck accident case. As a result, a truck accident injury attorney is often able to promptly determine if negligence was involved in your case.
Perhaps most importantly, after establishing that negligence was indeed a factor in a case, truck accident lawyers are then tasked with finding out whose negligence played a part. There may be one or more negligent parties in a truck accident lawsuit; they can include:
The possibility of one or more of these entities being held responsible certainly increases the chances that the victim of a truck crash such as a tractor-trailer accident receives compensation. At the same time, it also expands the scope of truck accident cases to an overwhelming extent. This is the reason why a truck accident law firm has an entire team of legal professionals (if not more) working together on a single case.
Truck accident injury cases are quite complex; there are a lot of moving parts that must all be juggled skillfully in order to achieve success. Along the road to compensation, the truck accident lawyers defending your rights will have to process a lot of information while also negotiating with the attorneys defending the interests of trucking companies and other responsible parties.
It may seem like an oversimplification, but the chances are that if you're asking yourself whether you could benefit from hiring a truck accident lawyer, then it is likely that you could. Even better is the fact that you can receive a free case evaluation from a truck accident lawyer and relieve yourself of any doubt.
Most individuals are not nearly familiar enough with state and federal laws to be able to negotiate with insurance companies by themselves. Even when they are, insurance providers of trucking companies are used to dealing with such claims.
A trucking insurance company will remember the strategies that have helped them win claims and not pay out benefits in the past. You can count on the fact that they will attempt to use the same tactics in the future. And if the accident attorney on your case isn't familiar with the legal maneuvers that insurance companies often employ, they may not be able to combat them.
This wouldn't necessarily mean that you don't win any compensation, but it may entail that you receive much less in benefits than you could have if your personal injury or wrongful death claim was better prepared.
Due to their very nature, large truck wrecks and trucking accidents, in general, can result in a wide range of injuries. Some of the most common injuries include:
These are only some examples of injuries that manifest in victims injured in a truck accident. Unfortunately, the substantial size and weight of a truck mean that even small mistakes can cause severe damage - both to property and to persons.
Fortunately, the civil justice system offers avenues for victims, often with the help of a personal injury law firm, to seek compensation.
Truck accident lawyers can help file a lawsuit seeking compensation after a:
Seeking a legal professional who is experienced in car accident law to represent you in a semi-truck accident (for example) is likely to be ineffective. While cars and large trucks mostly share the same roads, it does not mean they are bound by the same set of laws.
Non-commercial vehicle drivers have very different standards to uphold to be able to stay on the road when compared to large truck drivers. Namely, the fact that a big rig is just that - a very large vehicle that requires an experienced individual behind the wheel. If an unprepared person gets behind the wheel of some sort of commercial truck and they cause an accident, then the legal repercussions are very different than if that same person had caused a crash in their personal car.
When individuals injured in semi-truck or tractor-trailer accidents file a lawsuit against a truck company seeking compensation, they will be required to prove that the damages they suffered were caused by the accident. Some of the most common types of damages considered by a truck crash injury case include:
These are only some of the damages that such a case can take into account. The specific damages that could earn you compensation after you suffer a personal injury are incredibly unique.
Hiring a truck accident law firm is often considered a wise choice because it affords the person involved in a truck accident all of the potential rewards with little downside. This is due to the fact that injury lawyers, including those experienced in truck accident lawsuits, work on contingency.
A contingency-fee basis entails that the attorney is not paid a cent unless they are able to secure compensation for their client. Colloquially, this fee structure is known as no-win, no-fee.
It bears mention that such an agreement is also valuable because it aligns the interests of the injury lawyers with their client. Both are fighting for the best result for the other because it means the best result for themselves.
The length of a particular truck accident case will depend entirely on the circumstance of that specific accident.
In some instances, insurance companies are advised by their attorneys to settle a claim quickly because they have a low probability of winning in court. In such a case, they are likely to come to the table with a formidable offer "right off the bat."
In other instances, if the insurance company lawyers believe that they have legal grounds to fight against a particular claim, or if they think that they can get away with paying less than the full policy amount, they may cause the process to drag on for months if not longer.
In many cases, the longer an insurance company is able to delay paying out a claim, the less the total compensation amount is in the end. Moreover, they also understand that a plaintiff's lawyers could run out of resources to continue fighting a case so they may try to use this to their advantage.
As the victim in a case, you deserve a law firm with the financial resources to keep fighting for as long as is necessary to win. Make sure your attorneys will not bow out of the fight early, as this will almost certainly mean that your compensation will be decreased.
Trying to determine the value of a truck accident claim before it is litigated in court is often seen as a fruitless endeavor.
Many persons will research other cases, perhaps even reach out to other individuals previously involved in a truck accident, to see if they can estimate how much their case is worth. Yet, the factors which vary from case to case, including:
Are often the ones that have the greatest effect on the final compensation amount in a case. As a result, since it's essentially impossible to assign a dollar value to each of these variables, it is ultimately impossible to determine how much a case is worth before it is ever brought before a court.
Perhaps the closest you will get to learning how much compensation you have the potential of receiving without actually going through the legal process is by discussing your case with an experienced team of lawyers. Outside of this, any number assigned to your case is probably an inaccurate guess.
To get in touch now with truck accident attorneys, contact our team as soon as possible and we will help connect you with legal professionals who can share their insight via a free consultation. You've got only your time to lose, though we believe it is a time investment that can pay off many times over.