More than ever, our country relies on the trucking industry to keep commerce moving. But despite commercial trucks’ vital role in our economy and personal lives, they are also involved in some of the most deadly and catastrophic accidents on our road.
If a semi-truck accident injured you or a loved one, you are likely facing extensive medical treatments resulting in mounting medical bills. Your injuries may prevent you from working, which can further strain your finances. Your physical and emotional injuries could alter your life forever.
If a truck driver or trucking company’s negligence caused your injuries, you deserve compensation for all the damages you suffered. A truck accident lawyer can get you the compensation you need so you can focus on your recovery.
What Steps Should I Take After a Semi-Truck Accident?
You can improve your chances of recovering full compensation following a truck accident if you:
Seek medical attention
A doctor should examine you even if your injuries seem minor. Some injuries take time to develop. A medical professional will create a medical report that can link your injuries to the accident. Follow all the doctor’s recommendations and keep all medical bills and receipts for treatments, medications, and other injury-related expenses.
Gather evidence and witness information
If you are in a position to do so, collect as much evidence from the accident scene as possible. This evidence can include photos of the accident scene, damage to vehicles involved, injuries suffered, and any visible road hazards. If anyone witnessed the accident, ask for their names and contact information. Their statements could prove liability.
Do not accept a settlement offer before talking with an attorney
Insurance companies may offer a quick settlement, which may look like a godsend if you’re struggling to keep up with all your injury-related expenses. Never accept a settlement offer from an insurance company without first talking with a truck accident lawyer. Insurance companies often offer settlements that don’t fully cover all your damages.
Contact an experienced truck accident lawyer
If you want to get what you deserve in a semi-truck accident settlement, consult an attorney. Your truck accident lawyer can calculate your damages and handle all negotiations with insurers. And if negotiations fail, they can represent you in court and advocate for you.
What Can Truck Accident Victims Receive Compensation for?
The damages you may recover in a semi-truck accident may include.
- Medical expenses: You may receive compensation for medical bills resulting from injuries sustained in the accident, such as hospital stays, surgeries, medication, rehabilitation, and any ongoing treatment.
- Lost income: If the accident causes you to miss work, you may receive compensation for the income you would have earned during that time, including both past and future lost income.
- Pain and suffering: You may recover compensation for non-economic damages, such as physical pain, emotional distress, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Wrongful death: If a truck accident fatally injures a loved one, the surviving family members may seek compensation for funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support, and loss of companionship.
- Punitive damages: In some cases, a court may award punitive damages if it finds the actions of the truck driver or the trucking company particularly reckless or negligent. The court awards punitive damages to punish the responsible party and deter similar conduct.
The availability and amount of damages can vary depending on the specific facts of the case, local laws, and the effectiveness of legal representation. Consult a personal injury attorney with experience representing truck accident victims to understand your rights and options in seeking compensation.
How Much Is My Semi-Truck Accident Worth?
Several factors influence the potential settlement amount your lawyer can recover:
- The severity and significance of your injuries, including conditions like spinal damage or traumatic brain injuries
- Present and future expenses associated with treating these injuries
- The types of treatments required presently and in the future
- The income you have lost and will continue to lose due to the injuries
- The expenses incurred because of the semi-truck accident
- The level of pain and suffering experienced
- The impact of the injuries on your quality of life
- The permanence of your injuries
- The presence of disfigurement, limb loss, or significant scarring
- The strength of witness testimony
- Whether you sought medical attention after the accident and followed the recommended treatment plan
No lawyer can guarantee a specific amount of compensation after an accident. However, an experienced truck accident attorney can conduct a thorough analysis of your accident, gather essential documents and evidence, and determine the maximum compensation you should pursue.
Who May I Hold Liable for Injuries in a Trucking Accident?
Trucking accident cases differ from car crashes because they often involve multiple parties. Accidents involving multiple parties can make the settlement process more complex.
Potential parties that you may hold responsible for a trucking accident include:
- The truck driver who caused the accident
- The trucking company that employed the truck driver
- The owner of the truck involved in the accident
- The company responsible for the cargo the truck carried
- The individuals or company responsible for loading the cargo
- The manufacturer and maintenance team of the truck
An experienced truck accident attorney can investigate your accident and the accident scene and identify all potentially responsible parties, increasing your chances of securing the maximum compensation in your case.
Driver fatigue is one of the most common causes of trucking accidents. Long hours of driving can lead to exhaustion, which can cause a driver to lose focus and make mistakes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatigue contributes to about 30 percent of all truck accidents.
To combat fatigue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented Hours of Service regulations, limiting the number of hours a driver can be on the road in a 24-hour period. These regulations require drivers to take breaks and rest periods to ensure they are well-rested and alert while driving.
However, some trucking companies may still push their drivers to work beyond the allowed hours. Drivers may not get enough rest during their off-duty time. This can lead to fatigue-related accidents, which can endanger both the driver and other motorists.
Incorrectly loaded cargo can shift or fall off the truck, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle and resulting in serious accidents that can lead to injury or death.
Several factors can contribute to improper loading. For example, crews may overload, improperly secure, or unevenly load cargo in a way that makes the truck unstable.
Trucking companies must follow proper loading procedures, ensuring that crews evenly distribute and properly secure the cargo. They cannot overload it beyond the truck’s weight limits.
Inadequate Truck Maintenance
A trucking company that does not properly maintain its trucks can cause mechanical failures, leading to accidents.
Here are some problems that inadequate truck maintenance can cause:
- Tire blowouts
- Brake failure
- Steering system failure
Trucking companies should follow a regular maintenance schedule that includes regular inspections of the tires, brakes, steering system, and other critical truck components. The truck driver or trucking company should address any issues identified during the inspection immediately to prevent them from becoming more serious problems.
Truck Driver Inexperience
An inexperienced truck driver may lack the necessary skills and knowledge to operate a large commercial vehicle safely. Truck driver inexperience can lead to many accidents, including collisions, rollovers, and jackknifes.
Inexperienced truck drivers may not know with the regulations and safety guidelines that apply to commercial vehicles. They may not understand the importance of proper maintenance, inspection, and loading procedures. They may also lack the necessary training to handle difficult driving conditions, such as inclement weather, heavy traffic, or steep inclines.
Inexperienced truck drivers may make mistakes or poor decisions on the road. They may not know how to anticipate and avoid potential hazards or react quickly and appropriately in emergencies.
Trucking companies should prioritize hiring experienced and qualified drivers and provide ongoing support and training to help their drivers stay up-to-date with the latest safety regulations and best practices. By investing in driver education and training, trucking companies can prevent accidents, protect their drivers and other motorists, and ensure the safe and efficient operation of their fleets.
Trucker Driving Under the Influence
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial drivers cannot operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 percent or higher, which is lower than the 0.08 percent legal limit for non-commercial drivers in Florida. Commercial drivers must also comply with drug testing requirements, which include pre-employment, random, post-accident, and reasonable suspicion testing.
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts your attention from driving, which includes texting, talking on the phone, eating, drinking, and using navigation systems. Truck drivers must always focus on the road. Even a momentary distraction can have serious consequences.
In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that distracted driving was a factor in 8 percent of fatal crashes involving large trucks.
When truck drivers speed, they put themselves and others at risk.
What makes speeding so dangerous?
- Increased stopping distance: The faster a truck goes, the longer it takes to stop. A speeding truck is more likely to collide with another vehicle or object.
- Reduced reaction time: When a truck driver speeds, they have less time to react to unexpected situations.
- Greater impact force: A speeding truck hits with more force, resulting in serious injuries or fatalities.
Call a Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a semi-truck accident, you will likely face a long road to recovery and hefty medical expenses. You may face financial challenges, especially if your injury prevents you from working. You need and deserve full compensation for the damages you suffered.
An experienced lawyer can greatly improve your chances of getting maximum compensation. A lawyer experienced in representing truck accident victims can investigate your accident, determine the full extent of your damages, identify all liable parties, negotiate with insurance companies, and if necessary, represent you in court.
Look for a truck accident lawyer with the compassion, experience, and track record to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact a personal injury attorney in Miami today for your free consultation and case evaluation.