Work With a Dedicated Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer
Large commercial trucks, also 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. But whether a truck’s cargo is traveling across the country or across town, a commercial vehicle on the roadway can be a dangerous or even deadly instrument that can cause you and your family significant physical and financial harm.
Each dedicated and compassionate truck accident attorney at Parker Waichman LLP understands and appreciates the devastating consequences that follow when a truck driver does not take care while behind the wheel of a commercial truck. The physical, mental, and emotional pain can be truly devastating, especially considering 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. While even the best semi-truck accident attorney can’t undo the damage that has been done, at our truck accident law firm, we fight hard to get our clients compensation that can help to make their lives a little bit easier during this trying time.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, call an experienced tractor-trailer accident lawyer at Parker Waichman today for a free consultation to learn about your legal rights and how we can assist you.
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 doing research and making 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. 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 least one person lost their life.
- Between 2009 and 2015, the total number of injury truck crashes increased by more than 60 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 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 of a truck is much greater than that of the typical passenger car. This alone means that when a truck collides with a passenger car, it’s transferring a much greater amount of energy to the occupants of the passenger car, resulting in more serious and fatal truck injuries. For that reason, while it’s always important to seek medical attention after a motor vehicle crash, it’s even more important after a collision with a commercial truck.
Monetary Damages, Awards, and Settlements in Truck Accident Cases
Getting 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 involved in many truck accident injury cases. The employer and/or owner of the truck may be 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 an award that is less than what’s needed to fully address all of your losses and expenses.
Typical expenses that can be recovered through a truck crash lawsuit include:
- The cost of medical procedures, surgeries, prescription drugs, assistive devices, and other similar needs
- Home health care if such care is necessary for your recovery or recommended by your doctor
- Services to assist you in completing daily activities, such as help with grocery shopping or transportation
- Therapeutic 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 resulting complications
- 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 will likely experience in the future because of the truck accident and the resulting physical and mental injuries
A skilled truck accident lawyer with Parker Waichman can help ensure that your truck accident lawsuit successfully and fully compensates you for your injuries so you are not required to bear the burden that a truck driver’s careless behavior created.
Act Promptly to Preserve Your Claim
You only have a short period of time in which to file a lawsuit with the help of a truck accident injury lawyer, as the laws of each state will only permit a truck crash lawsuit to be filed within a certain time period after the crash. A truck accident injury case filed after this period is likely to be dismissed, so it’s crucial to take action swiftly after your truck accident to preserve your ability to receive compensation.
In addition, moving quickly can ensure that important evidence can be found to back up your claim. In truck accident cases, evidence such as maintenance records of the truck, the driver’s personnel file or dashcam footage from the truck can be irretrievably lost if prompt action is not taken to preserve it. Businesses that maintain records as part of their operations will typically have policies under which they routinely archive or destroy records after a certain amount of time, but when you take legal action, preservation orders can be issued to stop these records from being destroyed and ensure that they are available to support your truck crash lawsuit.
Do I Have Grounds for a Claim?
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 to obtain compensation from individuals and/or businesses who harm others through behavior that is careless, negligent, and/or reckless.
Truck driver behaviors that may form the basis for a successful lawsuit include:
- Drowsy Driving: Driving with too little sleep causes many of the same symptoms found in individuals who are under the influence of alcohol, such as delayed response time, inability to multitask, and poor decision-making. When a drowsy person gets behind the wheel of any vehicle, 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 before they must stop driving for the day, but some trucking companies pay bonuses when runs are finished faster, which encourages drivers to falsify logbooks and drive when they should not be behind the wheel. In these situations, both the driver and the trucking company may be held responsible for your losses.
- Driving Under the Influence of Medication, Alcohol 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 prescription medications or over-the-counter medicines. Of course, it’s 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 product impairs their driving ability and uses it anyway can be held legally responsible for any crashes or injuries that result.
- Improperly Loading Cargo: The weight of the cargo a driver is hauling and the manner in which the cargo is loaded can 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 turning. 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. The driver as well as the loading company may be responsible for making 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, run yellow or red lights or fail to yield the right-of-way. And like drivers of passenger vehicles, truck drivers who commit these types of acts can be held legally responsible for the injuries they cause. Truck drivers can be liable whether or not they were intentionally violating traffic laws.
The Process of Pursuing a Truck Accident Injury Case
A semi-truck accident attorney will guide your case through up to four phases. How long each stage takes can vary widely due to a host of factors, some of which may be out of your attorney’s control.
The Investigation Stage
Evidence regarding your crash is gathered, and witnesses are interviewed to determine if you have a viable claim for compensation. During this phase, your truck accident attorney may file motions with the court to prevent important evidence the truck driver or trucking company may have from being destroyed.
The Initial Stage
Your lawsuit is filed with the appropriate court, and both you and the truck driver/trucking company have the opportunity to lay out the facts and law(s) you believe entitle you to a judgment in your favor.
The Discovery Stage
You and the other party or parties exchange evidence and depose witnesses the other side intends to use to support their claims at trial. Discovery is designed to help each party prepare their case and encourage the parties to settle their disputes if the evidence and witness testimony suggest that one side will likely prevail at trial.
The Trial and Post-Trial Stage
This is when your case is presented to a judge or jury, who will then return a verdict based upon their evaluation of the facts and consideration of the applicable law. If you prevail at trial, the judge or jury will also decide how much compensation you are owed. A party that loses at trial may have the ability to appeal the decision of the judge or jury to an appellate court if they believe there may have been errors in how the trial was carried out that impacted the outcome.
While retaining a truck crash attorney does not guarantee that your case will be resolved quickly, legal counsel can help keep your case on track and moving at a reasonable pace. At Parker Waichman, our 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
How Common Are Truck Accidents?
Each year, approximately 500,000 accidents involve at least one large semi-truck. Out of these, roughly 5,000 of them result in a fatality.
What Primary Factor Causes the Majority of Fatal Car-Truck Crashes?
The top three factors that can significantly increase the chances of a fatal truck accident are exhaustion, speeding, and alcohol consumption. Though these factors may not cause an accident every single time they are involved, the risk of a fatal accident occurring is made much higher because of them.
Can You Survive Being Hit by a Semi-Truck?
Yes, it’s possible to survive being hit by a semi-truck. It’s even possible to walk away without any injuries at all. However, it’s also possible to suffer an injury so severe that it forever alters your life or even leads to your death.
What Do You Do if You Get Hit by an 18-Wheeler?
If you are involved in an accident with a semi-truck, you should immediately call 911 for medical assistance. Even if you seem OK, you could have internal injuries or head trauma that lower your chances of survival. You should also be sure to get a copy of the truck driver’s license and registration information, insurance details, and information about the company they work for.
Should I Speak With the Truck Driver or Trucking Company 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 down or recite your memory of the crash, may be used to limit or defeat your claim for compensation later. Your attorney can help protect you from these tactics and respond appropriately to legitimate requests from the other parties involved.
Can I Sue for Being Hit by a Semi-Truck?
Yes. If you have been injured after being struck by an 18-wheeler due to the driver’s negligence or carelessness, you may have the opportunity for legal action. More than likely, the best route for you to take in pursuing legal action would be to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Can You Sue a Trucking Company?
Yes. If you’re involved in an accident with a semi-truck, you can potentially sue both the driver of the truck and the company that they work for. In certain circumstances, you may even be able to sue the company that hired the trucking company to deliver their product.
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. Some states may only give injury victims one or two years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit, while other states may allow more time. Speak with an attorney at Parker Waichman right away and one of our skilled attorneys can calculate the statute of limitations that will apply in your case.
Do Semi-Truck Accidents Go to Trial?
It’s possible for a case involving a semi-truck accident to proceed to trial, but more often than not, it doesn’t. Most semi-truck accident lawsuits are resolved with a settlement agreement and therefore have no need to proceed to the trial phase.
I’ve Been Offered a Truck Accident Settlement: Do I Need an Attorney?
Yes. In cases where the truck driver is clearly at fault, the driver (or their company or representatives) may attempt to approach you and offer you immediate compensation if you promise not to file a truck crash lawsuit. You should be wary of such offers, as the compensation offered may not be sufficient to address all of the expenses you are likely to incur and the maximum settlement you are entitled to. It’s 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.
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’s legal team can give you a significant advantage in your truck crash lawsuit. Our truck accident lawyers are intimately familiar with the laws applicable in these 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, taking on these burdens so our clients can focus on their recovery.
When you work with our nationwide firm, a commercial truck accident lawyer near you can handle your truck accident case with skill and persistence. From the moment we take your case, your semi-truck accident lawyer will devote extensive resources to gathering and preserving the testimony of witnesses and evidence you will need for your case to be successful. Parker Waichman attorneys have collected more than $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.
Talk With One of Our Truck
Accident Injury Attorneys Today
A truck crash in any state and under any circumstances is a tragedy that can affect your life and the lives of your loved ones for years to come. You may face hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of expenses as a result, not to mention the devastating effects on your mental health and quality of life. At Parker Waichman, our experienced legal team can help alleviate some of these stresses by prosecuting a truck crash injury claim on your behalf so you can focus on what truly matters: your health, your family, and your future.
The amount of time you have to file a legal claim is limited by law, so don’t delay: Act quickly to preserve your rights by getting in touch with a Parker Waichman truck accident attorney near you. When you get a free consultation with our caring and dedicated legal team, we will review the facts and circumstances of your truck crash case and help you understand the steps you can take next. We’ll advise you on the best course of action, and if we believe that you should pursue a truck injury lawsuit, we’ll help you move forward with your claim.
At Parker Waichman, we fight hard to ensure that accident victims get the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Call us today at 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529) or fill out our online form to get a free consultation on your truck crash case from experienced semi-truck accident lawyers near you.
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