A truck collision can occur at any time, and the injuries are usually severe. Smaller vehicles are vulnerable to the size and weight of a semi-truck.
An accident can have life-long effects on a person in multiple ways. If you suffered from a collision, you should not face the aftermath alone.
The damage could have been the result of the truck driver. Even if you think you do not have a case, you should reach out to a lawyer. Truck accident attorneys may discover that you can sue the liable party for damages.
Examples of Truck Accidents
Many incidents with trucks occur on major roads and interstates across the country. Every year, accidents lead to an estimated 5,005 fatalities, and most of them are occupants of other vehicles. Motorists experience head-on and rear-end collisions.
Other common types of semi-truck collisions are:
- Jackknife. When a truck driver brakes hard and quickly, the trailer might swing to the side. The truck could fold at a 90-degree angle, and the weight can damage nearby cars. Adverse road conditions can put trucks at risk of jackknifing as well.
- Rollover. A rollover usually happens when a truck operator loses control of the large vehicle. Trucks can lean heavily and fall to the side if drivers do not slow down when they are on a curve. The tractor-trailer then lands on an adjacent passenger vehicle.
- Fallen cargo. When a person does not secure cargo properly, other motorists become vulnerable to accidents. Someone behind a truck might swerve to avoid the objects and collide with a tree. A larger load can cause severe property damage or injuries if it lands on the front of a car.
- Underride. If a truck stops quickly, the vehicle behind it has the chance to hit its bumper. However, smaller cars might slip underneath the trailer instead. Underride accidents can have extreme consequences for the vehicle.
Pedestrians, motorists, and passengers typically experience significant losses after a truck crash.
Contributing Factors in Truck Collisions
Changes in the road can become unpredictable. However, they can be the result of negligence. When your lawyer reviews your case, they figure out what made the accident happen. A variety of factors might have contributed.
The reasons truck collisions occur are:
- Fatigue. Early mornings and late nights increase the risk of drowsiness. Around 48 percent of incidents occur between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. Hours of Service regulates how often a trucker works to reduce fatigue. The ELD mandate has reduced the frequency of violations, but the issue can still occur.
- Blind spots. Semi-trucks have larger blind spots compared to passenger vehicles. Drivers need to be more cautious of surrounding cars if they need to change lanes. They could hit another motorist and knock them off the road.
- Lack of training. Trucks operate differently than regular cars. The increased weight and size call for training from an employer. An untrained worker does not know how to maneuver the trailer around traffic. Inadequate training can lead to incorrectly secured cargo.
- Speeding. Trucks need more space to brake safely. Higher speeds require more distance from the vehicle in front. When the car ahead suddenly slows down or stops, the truck driver might not brake in time. Speeding can lead to a loss of control of the trailer.
Other causes could be the reason for an accident. Negligence plays a role in many cases, and you could have the ability to recover from your losses.
What Can You Sue for in a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
You can sue for several damages. Victims of truck accidents generally need to pay a repair shop to fix their cars, and they might need to spend money for an entirely new car if the damage is extensive enough. Property damage includes other personal items besides the vehicle.
A settlement can include the cost to repair or replace phones, laptops, and other devices. Keep the bills to calculate the compensation you deserve.
You can sue for all the healthcare costs you obtain during recovery. Visits to the emergency room and hospitalization mean an expensive bill. In the United States, the average price to stay at a hospital is $2,607 a day, and some places charge more.
Specific procedures and medication add to the list of a person’s expenses. Additionally, someone needs to pay for physical therapy and other future medical costs. You claim past and ongoing medical bills if you show the other party was negligent.
Lost Days of Work
Your injury could leave you out of work for days or weeks. The lack of earnings makes life difficult when you need to pay for groceries and bills. If the accident was not your fault, you could sue for lost income. Pay stubs help show how much money the potential settlement should include.
Additionally, you can claim a loss of future earnings if you cannot work in the same capacity. The court may award a child victim money if they cannot earn wages due to the accident.
Lowered Quality of Life
Debilitating injuries can take a toll on someone physically and mentally. An individual might be unable to perform daily tasks they could do before the accident. Another effect is the change in someone’s emotional health.
Victims might experience less joy in their favorite activities, and depression can develop. The court generally compensates for the diminished quality of life.
Fatal Accident Damages
If a loved one passed away because of a truck accident, you could claim specific expenses. A settlement includes the costs of a funeral and burial. Some people die from their injuries days after a collision. Therefore, you can sue for the medical bills your family accumulated during the period.
Lawyers calculate the noneconomic damages of wrongful death as well. Examples include loss of consortium and loss of services. You should speak to your lawyer about who can collect compensation. Discussions can cover what else you can sue the other party for in an accident.
Who Can You Sue for Your Injuries?
The Truck Driver
People tend to look at the truck driver first after a collision. Many causes occur because of a driver’s error: they became distracted or did not exercise reasonable caution during harsh weather. However, other parties could be liable for your injuries.
A truck company is responsible for the trucks it puts on the road. Carriers need to conduct regular inspections and maintenance. A mechanical problem during the delivery could be a sign that the company neglected the upkeep of its trucks. Furthermore, employers must hire competent workers.
Proper hiring practices stop carriers from signing on drivers with a history of traffic violations. Additionally, you can hold an employer accountable for untrained drivers. Companies gain profits from deliveries and have to spend money on training programs.
A carrier could have shortened the learning time and put a worker on the road when they were not yet ready.
Truck and truck parts manufacturers have the potential to be negligent for a crash. Some entities cut corners when they design or produce a component. The brakes or engine can malfunction while the truck is in use.
The Local Government
Roadway hazards like broken pavement result in the loss of control of a truck in a few cases. Local and state governments have to keep the roads safe for travel, and you can sue them for damages. However, the process is different compared to a lawsuit against an individual.
If another party is at fault, your truck accident attorney can collect compensation from them.
Can You Start a Lawsuit Without a Lawyer?
Many victims face financial issues due to obstacles like medical bills. Lawyer fees might deter them away from legal assistance. Someone might become curious about whether they can navigate the lawsuit process by themselves.
In general, the law allows individuals to pursue a case without the aid of an attorney. You would become a pro se litigant. Therefore, you must adhere to the same rules and procedures a lawyer must follow. One of the first steps is to file your truck accident claim to the correct clerk’s office.
You would need to gather evidence and build an argument to prove the other side was negligent. A lawsuit without a lawyer presents an uphill battle. Preparing for a case takes weeks, and people become preoccupied with their lives.
A layperson is usually not professionally familiar with the legal system. They are more likely to make mistakes, and errors can cause them to lose their case. Additionally, a pro se litigant is vulnerable to the predatory tactics of the liable party’s insurance company.
Attorneys increase the chances of a successful claim. You do not need to worry about a mistake while healing from your injuries. Most truck accident firms use a contingency fee. You do not need to pay them unless they secure a settlement. You and your lawyer typically agree on legal costs before you hire them.
Evidence in a Truck Collision Case
During an investigation, your lawyer looks at pieces of evidence unique to a truck accident case. Semi-trucks usually have a GPS device to track the movement of goods during deliveries. The data shows what happened before and during the accident.
The vehicles contain black boxes to record data electronically. You can find out how fast the truck traveled and when the driver pressed the brakes. Black boxes host information about the liable party’s steering habits as well. Your attorney can find other data to help your case.
Truck accident cases may use the dispatch records for details of the delivery. The records describe the job and the route a driver took. The documents list how long the driver was behind the wheel. Your attorney could find fatigue as the cause of the traumatic event.
Video footage can prove the plaintiff’s claims of negligence. Many semi-trailers come with cameras, and your lawyer obtains a copy of the recording. The footage displays any erratic behavior of the truck driver.
You can show if the defendant followed closely behind you right before the collision. You can get footage from street cameras and another vehicle’s dash-cam.
How Long Does a Truck Collision Claim Last?
When an injured person begins a lawsuit, they want it to proceed as quickly as possible. However, complicated cases can take time to resolve. You might have to wait several months to a year or two to get a settlement.
Different factors can influence how long your lawsuit takes. The other side may attempt to delay or have the court dismiss your claim. Usually, your lawyer waits until you recover enough to calculate a compensation demand.
The money you receive should be equivalent to the value of your damages. Investigations and negotiations can affect the lawsuit timeline as well.
No matter how long a claim takes, you should not accept an early offer from the insurance company. The money might not be enough to cover your accident-related expenses. Make sure to consult your attorney before you sign anything.