If you’ve been injured by the wrongdoing of someone else, you may be entitled to payment for your medical expenses, the pain you had to go through, and the time you missed from work.
Trucking accidents can be devastating. The sheer size and weight of commercial trucks can cause catastrophic damage and injuries to those involved in a collision. If you or a loved one has been involved in a trucking accident, it is important to seek the help of an experienced attorney who can guide you through the legal process and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes of Trucking Accidents
Trucking accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which are unique to commercial trucks. Here are some of the most common causes of trucking accidents:
- Driver Error: Driver error is a leading cause of trucking accidents. This can include fatigue, distraction, speeding, and other forms of reckless driving. Truck drivers are often under pressure to meet tight delivery deadlines, which can lead to driver fatigue and aggressive driving behaviors.
- Mechanical Failure: Commercial trucks are subject to rigorous maintenance standards, but if a trucking company or driver fails to properly maintain a vehicle, it can result in a serious accident. Common mechanical failures that can lead to accidents include faulty brakes, tire blowouts, and steering problems.
- Overloaded or Improperly Loaded Trucks: When a truck is overloaded or improperly loaded, it can cause the truck to become unstable, making it more difficult to maneuver. This can result in a rollover or other type of accident.
- Inclement Weather: Rain, snow, and other adverse weather conditions can make driving more difficult and increase the likelihood of an accident. Commercial trucks are particularly vulnerable to high winds, which can cause the trailer to sway and become difficult to control.
- Other Drivers: While truck drivers are often blamed for accidents, other drivers on the road can also contribute to an accident. For example, a driver who cuts off a truck or fails to yield can cause a serious accident.
Common Trucking Accident Injuries
Trucking accidents can result in serious injuries, and victims may require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. Here are some of the most common injuries that can result from a trucking accident:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries: Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are common in trucking accidents, particularly in accidents where the victim’s head strikes the dashboard, steering wheel, or other objects in the vehicle. TBIs can result in long-term or permanent cognitive impairment and may require ongoing medical care.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Spinal cord injuries can be catastrophic, resulting in paralysis or partial paralysis. These injuries often require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation.
- Broken Bones: Trucking accidents can result in broken bones, particularly in the arms, legs, and ribs. These injuries can be painful and may require surgery to correct.
- Whiplash: Whiplash is a common injury in rear-end collisions, which are also common in trucking accidents. Whiplash can cause neck pain, headaches, and other symptoms that can persist for weeks or months.
- Internal Injuries: Internal injuries, such as organ damage or internal bleeding, can be difficult to diagnose and may not be immediately apparent after an accident. These injuries can be life-threatening if left untreated.
It is important to seek medical attention immediately after a trucking accident, even if you do not think you have been seriously injured. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and prompt medical treatment can help prevent further complications.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other damages. Damages in a trucking accident case can include:
- Medical Expenses: This includes the cost of medical treatment for your injuries, such as hospitalization, surgery, doctor’s visits, and medication.
- Lost Wages: If you are unable to work due to your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages and lost earning capacity.
- Property Damage: If your vehicle or other property was damaged in the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the cost of repairs or replacement.
- Pain and Suffering: You may be entitled to compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress you have suffered as a result of the accident.
- Punitive Damages: In some cases, you may be entitled to punitive damages, which are intended to punish the at-fault party for their reckless or intentional conduct.
The amount of damages you may be entitled to will depend on the specific details of your case, including the severity of your injuries and the degree of fault of each party involved in the accident. An experienced trucking accident attorney can help you evaluate your case and determine the appropriate amount of damages to seek.
What to Do After a Trucking Accident
If you are involved in a trucking accident, it is important to take certain steps to protect your rights and ensure that you receive proper medical care. Here are some things to do after a trucking accident:
- Seek Medical Attention: Your health and safety should be your top priority after a trucking accident. Even if you do not think you have been seriously injured, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and prompt medical treatment can help prevent further complications.
- Call the Police: Call the police to report the accident. The police will create an accident report, which can be useful in determining fault and documenting the details of the accident.
- Exchange Information: Exchange information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident, including their name, contact information, insurance information, and the make and model of their vehicle.
- Document the Accident: Take photos of the accident scene, including the damage to the vehicles involved, any skid marks on the road, and any other relevant details. Write down the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
- Contact an Attorney: It is important to contact an experienced trucking accident attorney as soon as possible after an accident. An attorney can help you protect your rights, investigate the accident, and help you seek compensation for your injuries and other damages.
Federal and State Regulation
Trucking companies and drivers are subject to a variety of federal and state regulations designed to promote safety on the roadways. Some of the key regulations that may apply to trucking accidents include:
- Hours of Service Regulations: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established hours of service regulations that limit the amount of time truck drivers can spend behind the wheel without taking a break. These regulations are intended to prevent driver fatigue and improve safety on the roadways.
- Commercial Driver’s License Requirements: Commercial truck drivers are required to have a special type of driver’s license that requires additional training and testing.
- Vehicle Maintenance and Inspection: Trucking companies are required to maintain their vehicles in good condition and perform regular inspections to ensure that they are safe to operate on the roadways.
- Weight and Size Restrictions: Federal and state laws impose restrictions on the weight and size of commercial trucks, in order to prevent accidents caused by overloaded or oversized vehicles.
- Drug and Alcohol Testing: Federal law requires commercial truck drivers to undergo drug and alcohol testing as a condition of employment and after certain types of accidents.
Violations of these regulations can be used as evidence of negligence in a trucking accident case. An experienced trucking accident attorney can help you investigate whether any regulations were violated in your case and use that evidence to build a strong case on your behalf.
Possible Defendants in a Truck Accident Claim
Trucking accidents can be complex cases with multiple parties potentially at fault. It’s important to understand who may be held liable for a truck accident and the damages that may be recoverable. Here are some of the possible defendants in a truck accident claim:
- Truck Driver: In many cases, the truck driver may be held liable for the accident if they were driving recklessly, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or not properly trained.
- Trucking Company: The trucking company may be held liable for the accident if they were negligent in hiring or training the driver, failed to properly maintain the vehicle, or otherwise violated federal and state regulations.
- Owner of the Truck: If the truck involved in the accident was owned by someone other than the trucking company, such as an individual owner-operator, they may also be held liable for the accident if they failed to properly maintain the vehicle or otherwise acted negligently.
- Manufacturer or Distributor of the Truck or Parts: If the accident was caused by a defective part or system in the truck, the manufacturer or distributor of the part may be held liable.
- Cargo Owner: If the accident was caused by improper loading or securing of the cargo, the owner of the cargo may be held liable.
- Government Agencies: In some cases, a government agency responsible for road maintenance or design may be held liable if the accident was caused by a hazardous roadway condition.
Determining who may be liable for a truck accident requires a thorough investigation of the accident and an analysis of the applicable regulations and laws. An experienced truck accident attorney can help you identify the potential defendants in your case and build a strong case to maximize your recovery.
Why You Need an Attorney
Trucking accident cases can be complex, involving multiple parties such as the truck driver, trucking company, and insurance companies. It is important to have an attorney who understands the legal issues involved and can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. A trucking accident attorney can:
- Investigate the Accident: Your attorney can conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the accident and identify all liable parties.
- Gather Evidence: Your attorney can gather important evidence such as police reports, witness statements, and medical records.
- Negotiate with Insurance Companies: Your attorney can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
- Represent You in Court: If necessary, your attorney can represent you in court and fight for your rights.
Contact a Trucking Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been involved in a trucking accident, it is important to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney. At Roebuck Law Firm, we have the experience and knowledge necessary to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.