TRUCK ACCIDENT MAY LEAD TO DISASTROUS INJURIES, DEATH
Large commercial trucks – so-called “big-rigs” or “tractor-trailers” – are a common sight on America’s highways and are crucial to moving large quantities of goods from one location to another. Whether a truck’s cargo is traveling across the country or across town, a commercial vehicle on the roadway can be a dangerous – even deadly – instrument that can cause you and your family significant physical and financial harm.
Parker Waichman LLP Represents Truck Accident Injury Victims Nationwide
The dedicated and compassionate advocates at Parker Waichman LLP understand and appreciate the devastating consequences that follow when a truck driver does not take care when behind the wheel of a commercial truck. The physical, mental, and emotional pain can be truly devastating when one considers that these injuries and losses are usually accompanied by astronomical medical bills, a decrease in earnings and earning potential, rehabilitation and therapy costs, funeral expenses, and other financial burdens.
Why Choose Parker Waichman LLP?
We promise to use our firm’s resources and years of experience to assist you in obtaining compensation from an at-fault truck driver and owner. Our law firm has collected over $2 billion in monetary damages for our clients through zealous advocacy in and out of the courtroom. Our firm’s successes and commitment to our clients have also earned us numerous accolades from our peers and clients alike.
Let us assist you in your recovery: contact Parker Waichman LLP by phone at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) or through our web contact form today.
National Truck Accident Statistics
Agencies under the supervisory umbrella of the U.S. Department of Transportation – including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration all work toward the goal of increasing truck safety through research and policy recommendations, enacting and enforcing regulations governing commercial drivers, and educating members of the general public on how they might remain safe while sharing the road with a truck or other commercial vehicle.
These efforts, however, cannot prevent all truck crashes: consider the following statistics from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) from 2015:
- In total, 4,311 commercial vehicles (including large trucks) were involved in crashes in which at minimum one person lost his or her life;
- Between 2009 and 2015, the total number of injury truck crashes increased by over sixty percent;
- Between 2014 and 2015, the number of truck fatality crashes increased by nearly ten percent.
What these statistics and records mean is that truck crashes are on the rise, and with this increase in the number of truck crashes comes an increased risk that you or your loved ones will be hurt or killed.
Truck Accidents Usually Cause Catastrophic Damage, Injuries, and Death
While many of the same factors, circumstances, and bad decisions that lead to car accidents also cause truck accidents to occur, a car wreck and a truck crash are different in many important regards. Most notably, the sheer size and mass of a truck as compared to the typical passenger car are significantly greater. This alone means that when a truck collides with a passenger car, it is transferring an exponentially-greater amount of injurious energy to the occupants of the passenger car. When greater energy is transferred as part of a crash, the risk of serious and fatal injuries also increases. For this reason, while it is always important to seek medical attention after any motor vehicle crash, this becomes even more important after a collision with a commercial truck.
Monetary Damages, Awards, and Settlements in Truck Accident Cases
Additionally, obtaining compensation for your losses and injuries after a truck crash may be more complex than simply filing an accident claim with an insurance company or bringing a personal injury lawsuit against the driver. This is because many commercial trucks and the drivers who operate them may be considered to be “on the job” when a collision occurs. This means that another potentially liable party – the employer and/or owner of the truck or trailer – is present in many truck accident cases. The employer and/or owner of the truck may be potentially liable in whole or in part for the crash, and this must be assessed along with the negligent or careless acts of the driver. Failing to do so can lead to a monetary damages award that is less than what is needed to address all of your losses and expenses fully.
For truck accident injury victims, it is essential to know that expenses and other losses can be attributed to a careless or reckless truck driver – that is, those fees and costs that you incurred or will incur because of the truck driver’s behavior – and can be compensated through a successful truck crash lawsuit. You would not have had to pay a bill or incur an expense if the truck driver had not acted in the manner in which he or she did.
Typical expenses that can be recovered include:
- The cost of medical procedures, surgeries, prescription drugs, assistive devices, and other similar costs;
- Home health care, if such care is necessary to your recovery and/or recommended by your doctor;
- Services to assist you in completing daily living activities, such as help with grocery shopping or transportation;
- Therapeutic and/or rehabilitative services to assist you in recovering functionality after your crash;
- Wages you were not able to earn because you were not able to work due to your injuries or complications therefrom;
- Burial costs and final medical expenses in the case of a loved one who was killed by a truck driver;
- Income that you will not be able to earn in the future because your injuries have created limitations that prevent you from taking advantage of work-related opportunities;
- Compensation for pain, suffering, and anguish you experienced and may likely experience in the future because of the truck accident and the resulting physical and mental injuries.
Your truck accident lawyer from Parker Waichman LLP will help ensure your truck accident lawsuit successfully and fully compensates you for your injuries so that you are not required to bear the burden that a truck driver’s careless decisions and reckless behavior created.
Time is Limited, By Law, To Collect Monetary Damages
You only have a short period of time in which to file your lawsuit, however. The laws of each state will only permit a truck crash lawsuit to be filed if it is filed shortly (within a few years) of the date of the crash. A truck accident injury case filed after this period is easily dismissed and defeated without you receiving any compensation whatsoever. It is imperative, therefore, that you take action swiftly after your truck accident in order to preserve your ability to receive compensation.
Securing Critical Evidence in Truck Accident Cases
One final, unique feature of truck accident cases is that important evidence relevant to your case – maintenance records of the truck, the driver’s personnel file, “dash cam” footage from the truck, etc. – can be irretrievably lost if prompt action is not taken requiring the custodian of these records and evidence to preserve this important information. Businesses who maintain records as part of their operations will typically have policies in place whereby records will be archived or destroyed after a certain time period. Preservation orders issued in connection with your truck crash lawsuit can stop these records from being destroyed and help ensure they are available when you need them, but these orders must be entered quickly.
Trust Parker Waichman LLP to handle your truck accident case with skill and expertise. From the moment we take your case, our firm will devote our resources to helping gather and preserve the testimony of witnesses and evidence you will need in order for your case to be successful. Our experienced legal team wants to help alleviate as many of the stresses associated with prosecuting a truck crash injury claim as possible so you can focus on what truly matters: your health, your family, and your future. Speak with your Parker Waichman LLP truck accident recovery team as soon as possible.
Do I Have Grounds for a Claim?
One of the most frequently-asked questions individuals have following a truck crash involving themselves, or a loved one is whether there is any legal recourse available. Truck crashes and accidents that come about because the truck driver made a careless or reckless decision may lead to a successful truck accident lawsuit. This is because the law permits injury victims (including those hurt in truck crashes) to file lawsuits and obtain compensation from individuals and/or businesses who injure or harm others through behavior that is considered to be careless, negligent, and/or reckless.
This means that truck drivers who engage in the following behaviors may be held responsible if such behavior is the cause of or contributes to your injuries and losses:
- Drowsy driving: Driving with too little sleep causes many of the same symptoms found in individuals who are under the influence of alcohol: delayed response time, inability to multitask or perform more than one task at a time, and poor judgment and decision-making abilities (just to name a few). When a drowsy person gets behind the wheel of any vehicle – but especially a multi-ton commercial truck transporting potentially-dangerous cargo – that vehicle can become a weapon inflicting serious injuries or death. Drivers of commercial trucks are limited in the number of hours they can be on the road at any one time before they must stop driving for the day. Some trucking companies pay their drivers bonuses for completing runs in a timely manner, thereby encouraging drivers to falsify logbooks and drive when they should not be behind the wheel. In these circumstances, both the driver and the trucking company may be held responsible for your losses.
- Driving under the influence of medication, alcohol and/or drugs: The dangers associated with drunk driving are well known, but driving under the influence of drugs can be just as dangerous – even if the drugs are “legal” prescription medications and/or over-the-counter medicines. Of course, it is illegal for truck drivers to consume too much alcohol and then get behind the wheel, but truck drivers must also remain aware of how things such as pain medications, cough syrups, and sleeping pills affect them. A truck driver who knows or who has reason to know that a certain brand of flu medication causes him or her to become drowsy can be held legally responsible for any crashes or injuries he or she causes just as if the driver had consumed alcohol or illegal drugs.
- Improperly-loaded cargo: The weight of any cargo the driver is hauling along with the manner in which the cargo is loaded can each have a significant impact on the handling of the truck. For example, cargo that is stacked too high or that is loaded too heavily on one side of the trailer or the other can increase the chances that the truck will overturn when making a turning maneuver. Similarly, an overloaded trailer can increase the likelihood of a jackknife accident or increase the amount of time and distance necessary to bring the truck to a stop. Both the driver as well as the loading company and its employees may have obligations to make sure that the cargo being transported is not too heavy and is loaded evenly on the trailer.
- Driving carelessly or in violation of the law: Like the drivers of passenger vehicles, truck drivers can be tempted to speed, to run yellow-red lights, or to fail to yield the right-of-way. And like drivers of passenger vehicles who engage in this type of behavior, truck drivers who commit one or more of these types of acts can be held legally responsible for the costs associated with the injuries they cause to others. Truck drivers can be liable even if they do not intend to break any traffic laws: traffic violations that come about because the truck driver is simply driving inattentively may support a lawsuit seeking compensation.
Process of a Truck Accident Injury Case
Truck accident lawsuits will generally proceed through four distinct phases or stages. The time that any given truck accident case requires in order to proceed from one stage to the next will depend on a host of factors, some of which may be beyond your ability or the ability of your attorney to control.
The four stages are:
The Investigation stage, where evidence regarding your crash is gathered, and witnesses are interviewed to determine if you have a viable claim for compensation. During this phase, your attorney may file motions with the court to prevent important evidence the truck driver and/or truck company may have from being inadvertently destroyed.
The Initial stage, in which your lawsuit is filed with the appropriate court and both you and the truck driver/trucking company are afforded an opportunity to lay out the facts and law(s) you each believe entitle you to a judgment in your favor.
The Discovery stage is where you and the other party or parties involved in your lawsuit will exchange evidence and depose witnesses the other party or parties intend to use to support their claims at trial. Discovery is designed to help each party prepare his or her case and to help encourage the parties to settle their disputes if the evidence and witness testimony suggests one side will likely prevail over the other at trial.
The Trial and post-trial stage is the stage in which your case is presented to a judge or jury, who will then return a verdict based upon the judge’s or jury’s evaluation of the facts and consideration of the applicable law. If you prevail at trial, the judge or jury will also return a finding as to how much compensation you are owed. A party that loses at trial may have the ability to appeal the findings and decision of the judge or jury to an appellate court and ask that court to review the record of the trial for mistakes and errors that may have impacted the outcome.
While retaining an attorney does not guarantee your case will be resolved quickly, legal counsel can help keep your case on track and moving at a reasonable pace. At Parker Waichman LLP, we want our clients to be compensated – and compensated appropriately. Our recovery team will work hard to move your case efficiently and expeditiously through the civil justice system without sacrificing your chances of success.
Truck Accident Injury Claim FAQs
Should I speak with the truck driver or trucking company (or their attorneys) if they call?
Be very careful about speaking with either the truck driver or company – or anyone working on their behalf – without having your own attorney present. Even seemingly-innocent requests such as a request to have you write or recite your memory of the crash can be used to limit or defeat your claim for compensation later (if, for example, your memory of the crash changes or if you leave out critical details). Your attorney can help protect you from these tactics and respond appropriately to legitimate requests from the other parties involved.
I’ve been offered a truck accident settlement – do I need an attorney?
In cases where the truck driver is clearly at fault, the driver (or his or her company or their representatives) may attempt to approach you and offer you immediate compensation if you promise not to file a truck crash lawsuit. Be wary of such offers, as the compensation offered may not be sufficient to make you whole and address all of the expenses you are likely to incur. It is generally advisable to speak with your attorney about settlement offers before you accept or reject them so that you fully understand the pros and cons of such an offer.
How long do I have to file a case?
Each state has a specific deadline (otherwise known as the statute of limitations) that establishes the timeframe within which a truck crash lawsuit needs to be filed in that particular state. Some states may only give injury victims only one or two years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit while other states may give four or more years. Speak with an attorney from Parker Waichman LLP right away to learn the statute of limitations that will apply in your case.
How Can a Truck Accident Injury Lawyer Help Me?
Filing and prosecuting a truck crash lawsuit takes a considerable amount of legal knowledge and persuasive abilities. Whether researching case law and statutes or clearly explaining how a truck driver’s decision led to your injuries and accidents, Parker Waichman LLP’s legal team provide you with a significant advantage in your truck crash lawsuit. Our truck accident lawyers are intimately familiar with the laws applicable in truck accident cases and are skilled in protecting your rights in and out of the courtroom. We file legal motions, locate and preserve evidence, comply with legitimate discovery requests, and present our clients’ cases with care and professionalism – all, so our clients do not need to worry themselves with completing such tasks themselves.
Talk with One of Our Truck Accident Injury Attorneys Today
A truck crash in any state and under any circumstances is a tragedy that may affect your life and the life of your loved ones for years to come. Even if you or your loved one survive this ordeal, you may face hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of costs and expenses as a result. Your ability to recover, to return to a “normal” life, and to enjoy life itself may all be contingent on whether or not you have adequate financial resources. Parker Waichman LLP is here to help ensure you do receive adequate and fair compensation for your truck crash injuries.
Time is limited by law so do not delay and call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) and speak with Parker Waichman LLP’s caring and dedicated legal team today about your truck crash case. We will review the facts and circumstances that led to your truck crash with you and help you comprehend all of your legal rights. We will consult with you and advise you how you can best protect these rights and will assist you in so doing through a truck injury lawsuit. Talk with Parker Waichman LLP about your truck crash case today.
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