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Truck AccidentsDo I Qualify for a Truck Accident Lawsuit?

Do I Qualify for a Truck Accident Lawsuit?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration notes that there has been an increase in large truck and bus accidents in recent years. In the most recent study, the number of injury crashes involving large trucks or buses was 87,000 with 3,432 ending in a fatality. Property damage arising in large trucks or bus crashes occurred in 346,000 accidents.

The circumstances surrounding truck accident lawsuits can be much different than auto accidents. Commercial trucking accidents also often result in more serious injury and damages. If you have suffered from a commercial-trucking related accident, you should consider seeking counsel from an experienced truck accident lawyer.

How Are Truck Accidents Different than Car Accidents?

Commercial vehicles are much larger and can lead to a much higher level of destruction and injury. A “fender-bender” between two normal cars usually results in minimal damages and minor injuries. However, an accident of the same magnitude involving a commercial truck can be disastrous and result in severe injury.

Truck drivers are generally professionals and remain alert and careful on the road. But, the higher risks involved in commercial trucking accidents equate to a large amount of fatalities because of the sheer mass of the vehicle. Cargo on board a commercial truck also contributes to the extent of the injuries. Unfortunately, there have been many truck accidents involving commercial trucks that contain flammable or hazardous materials creating an increased risk for the truck driver and all other parties involved in the crash.

Common Truck Crash Circumstances

There are certain types of incidents that are more common in commercial trucking accidents. Because they are more common, the courts sometimes give more leeway for truck drivers in these situations. Therefore, it is important to recognize these situations.

1. Wide-Angle Turning Accidents: Large commercial trucks do not have the same turning capacity as normal vehicles. Especially on more narrow roads, it is common for commercial trucks to use multiple lanes when turning. In some situations, courts may not find truck drivers liable for turning accidents because they believe other drivers should recognize the difficulty for trucks to make turns and accommodate for the trucks.

2. Jackknifing: Large commercial trucks are prone to “jackknifing”, a situation where the cab and detached trailer move into a bent, double-up position. Jackknifing is especially common when a commercial truck is forced to break unexpectedly or when the driver faces undesirable road conditions.

3. Braking: Trucks are much heavier than other vehicles, so it takes them more time to come to a complete stop. If a driver does not give a truck driver the appropriate amount of space to brake, the truck driver may not be liable for a resulting accident.

Like other auto accident lawsuits, to hold the driver accountable you must prove liability due to negligence in truck accident lawsuits. In order to establish liability, you must prove that:

  • The defendant had a duty of care to avoid injury for other drivers on the road
  • The defendant failed to fulfill that duty of care, breaching his/her obligation to other drivers
  • This breach of duty of care was the cause of any damages that other drivers suffered
  • There is tangible evidence showing that damages did occur, and linking these damages to the defendant’s breach of duty

A more detailed explanation of liability can be found here.

Who do You Sue in a Truck Driving Lawsuit?

In the case of trucking accidents, liability is not always limited to the driver. It is important to involve an experienced truck driving accident lawyer in your determination of who to sue in your truck driving lawsuit before you make a legal error. The trucking company, employers, and insurance providers can be held liable for damages as well.

Truck drivers can operate as either independent contractors, full-time employees operating for multiple companies, or full-time employees operating for a single company.

If the driver is operating independently: liability can be tricky. Depending on the truck driver’s insurance coverage and outstanding contracts with employers, compensation for damages can fall on the driver, his insurance provider, or the company that he is driving for.

If the driver is operating for a trucking company: compensation for damages likely falls on that company or their insurance provider. There are certain circumstances in which the company may dispute their liability and may try to blame the manufacturer of the goods that the truck is carrying.

If the driver operates for a single corporation: compensation for damages likely falls on the company or their insurance provider.  To hold the corporation liable, your accident injury attorney will need to prove that the driver was operating within the confines of the corporation’s rules and expectations for drivers.

Damages Awarded in a Truck Accident Lawsuit

The injuries that you suffer and the loss that you incur are referred to as damages. These damages include monetary costs for injuries, property damages, lost wages, future costs, pain and suffering, and punitive costs.  After establishing liability, your truck accident injury attorney can help you draft a list of these damages.

You may also be entitled to compensation for mental anguish, inconvenience, loss of life, or emotional suffering.

A full explanation of damages can be found here.

You will need to gather tangible evidence in order to receive compensation for damages. Follow our guide for gathering evidence to ensure that you handle the situation properly and collect the necessary evidence to support your claim.

The amount of compensation that an injured party is eligible to receive varies by case. In general, an injured person can expect to receive no more compensation than the appropriate amount that puts them back in the same situation as they were in before the accident.

How Do I Choose a Truck Accident lawyer?

If you have been involved in a truck accident and want to ensure that you receive a fair settlement for your injuries, an experienced auto accident lawyer may be necessary.

A truck accident lawyer handles the legal responsibilities that ensure that you receive full compensation for damages so that you can focus on getting back to your normal life. The process of filing a claim in an auto accident case is detailed and time-consuming. The legal team at TorHoerman Law is well-equipped to handle truck accident lawsuits and can make this process much simpler for you. We work on contingency, so you do not pay a dime until you receive adequate compensation.

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Contact us by phone at (618) 656-4400 or email us below.

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