What You Need to Know About Commercial Truck Accidents

Wisconsin Personal Injury Lawyers » What You Need to Know About Commercial Truck Accidents Personal Injury

If you or someone you know has been in an accident with a commercial truck, it’s essential to understand your rights and the steps you should take to protect yourself legally and financially. Commercial truck accidents can be devastating, often resulting in severe injuries, property damage, and even fatalities.

Let’s go over some important information about commercial truck accidents and explain why consulting with an experienced Baraboo truck accident attorney is the best option for securing the compensation you deserve.

The Dangers of Commercial Truck Accidents

Commercial trucks, such as semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, and tractor-trailers, are significantly larger and heavier than passenger vehicles. Due to their size and weight, accidents involving these vehicles often result in catastrophic consequences for occupants of smaller vehicles.

Some common causes of commercial truck accidents include:

  • Driver exhaustion: Truck drivers often deal with urgent schedules and long drives on the highway, leading to fatigue and drowsiness behind the wheel.
  • Distracted driving: Distractions such as texting, eating, or adjusting navigation systems can take a driver’s attention away from the road, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Improper maintenance: Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring their vehicles are properly maintained and operate safely. Failure to do so can lead to equipment failures and accidents.
  • Inadequate training: Truck drivers must receive proper training to drive safely. Inadequate training can result in driver errors and accidents.
  • Overloaded or improperly loaded cargo: Overloading a truck or failing to secure cargo properly can cause the vehicle to become unstable, increasing the risk of rollovers and other accidents.

Seeking Medical Attention

If you’ve been in a commercial truck accident, your top priority should be seeking medical attention, even if you don’t believe you’ve suffered a severe injury. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent. Promptly receiving a medical evaluation ensures your well-being and creates a record of your injuries, which can be beneficial for pursuing a legal claim.

Be sure to follow your doctor’s recommendations for treatment and attend all follow-up appointments. Keep detailed records of your medical bills, prescriptions, and any other expenses related to your injuries.

Dealing with Insurance Companies

After a commercial truck accident, the trucking company’s insurance provider may contact you. It’s important to remember that insurance companies are primarily interested in protecting their own financial interests, not in ensuring you receive fair compensation for your injuries and losses.

Avoid providing a recorded statement or signing any insurance company documents without consulting a truck accident attorney. Insurance adjusters may try to use your statements against you or offer a low settlement that doesn’t fully account for your damages.

The Value of Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer

The Value of Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer

Going through the legal process after a commercial truck accident can be complicated and overwhelming, especially if you’re also dealing with injuries and financial losses. Partnering with a skilled truck accident attorney can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case.

A skilled truck accident attorney will:

  • Investigate the accident: Your lawyer will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and consult with accident reconstruction experts to determine the cause of the accident and identify all liable parties.
  • Assess your damages: A truck accident attorney will calculate the full extent of your damages, including medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering.
  • Negotiate with insurance companies: Your attorney will communicate with the insurance companies and negotiate on your behalf to secure a fair settlement.
  • Represent you in court: If you cannot achieve a fair settlement agreement, your truck accident attorney will be prepared to take your case to trial.

Trucking Company Liability

In many commercial truck accident cases, the trucking company may be held liable for the actions of its drivers. This is known as vicarious liability. Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring their drivers are properly trained and licensed and follow all federal and state regulations.

Additionally, trucking companies must maintain their vehicles in safe operating conditions and ensure cargo is loaded and secured properly. Failure to meet these obligations can result in the trucking company being held liable for accidents caused by their drivers or equipment.

Your truck accident attorney will thoroughly investigate the trucking company’s practices and identify any violations or negligence that may have contributed to your accident.

Damages in Commercial Truck Accident Cases

Damages in Commercial Truck Accident Cases

Victims of commercial truck accidents may be entitled to various types of damages, depending on the circumstances of their case.

These damages can include:

Medical Expenses

When you’re involved in a commercial truck accident, one of the most significant consequences you may face is the cost of medical treatment. Injuries sustained in these accidents can be severe and may require extensive care, such as hospitalization, surgery, medication, and ongoing rehabilitation. It’s important to seek compensation for all medical expenses related to your injuries to ensure you can receive the care you need without facing financial hardship.

Your truck accident attorney will work closely with medical professionals to document your injuries and treatment, ensuring all costs are accounted for in your claim. This includes your current medical bills and any anticipated future expenses related to your injuries, such as follow-up appointments, physical therapy, or long-term care.

Lost Income

In addition to medical expenses, you may experience financial losses due to time away from work while recovering from your injuries. This can include not only the income you’ve lost but also any benefits, such as health insurance or retirement contributions, that you would have received had you been working.

Your truck accident attorney will calculate the full extent of your lost income and work to secure compensation for these losses. This may involve gathering documentation such as pay stubs, tax returns, and employer statements to demonstrate your earning capacity and the impact of your injuries on your ability to work.

Property Damage

Commercial truck accidents often result in significant damage to vehicles and other personal property. If your car or other belongings were damaged in the accident, you might be entitled to compensation for repairing or replacing these items.

Your attorney can work with experts to assess the extent of the damage and determine the fair market value of your property. They will then negotiate with the insurance company or other liable parties to secure compensation for these losses, ensuring you can get back on the road and move forward with your life.

Pain and Suffering

Beyond the financial losses you may experience after a commercial truck accident, you may also face significant physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish as a result of your injuries. These non-economic damages, often referred to as “pain and suffering,” can be more challenging to quantify than medical expenses or lost income and are no less important when seeking fair compensation.

Your truck accident lawyer will work with you to document the impact of your injuries on your daily life, including any physical pain, limitations on your activities, or emotional trauma you’ve experienced. They will then use this information to negotiate with the insurance company or present a compelling case to a jury, seeking compensation for the full extent of your pain and suffering.

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

In some cases, the injuries sustained in a commercial truck accident may be so severe that they permanently impact your ability to participate in activities and hobbies you enjoyed before the accident. This loss of enjoyment of life can be a significant factor in your overall damages.

For example, if you were an avid runner or enjoyed playing sports before the accident but can no longer engage in these activities due to your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for this loss. Your attorney will work with you to document the impact of your injuries on your quality of life and seek compensation for these damages.

Punitive Damages

In rare cases involving particularly egregious conduct or gross negligence on the part of the truck driver or trucking company, the court may award punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages for your injuries and losses. Punitive damages punish the responsible party and deter similar behavior in the future.

For example, if the trucking company knowingly allowed a driver with a history of safety violations to operate a vehicle or if the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, punitive damages might be appropriate. Your truck accident attorney will review the circumstances of your case and advise you on whether pursuing punitive damages is a viable option.

Your truck accident lawyer will work diligently to ensure you receive full and fair compensation for your damages.

The Importance of Acting Quickly

Act quickly after a Commercial Truck Accident

It’s important to act quickly after a commercial truck accident to protect your legal rights and increase your chances of securing fair compensation.

There are several reasons for this:

  • Statute of limitations: Each state has a statute that sets a deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit. If you fail to file your claim within this time frame, you may be barred from seeking compensation.
  • Evidence preservation: Over time, crucial evidence related to your accident may be lost or destroyed. By promptly hiring a truck accident attorney, they can gather and preserve evidence while it’s still available.
  • Witness testimony: As time passes, witnesses to your accident may forget important details or become difficult to locate. Your lawyer will work to interview witnesses and secure their statements while their memories are still fresh.
  • Early settlement negotiations: By beginning the legal process soon after your accident, your attorney can start settlement negotiations with the insurance company, potentially leading to a faster resolution of your case.

Don’t wait to seek legal representation after a commercial truck accident. The sooner you consult with a truck accident lawyer, the better positioned you’ll be to protect your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve.

The Role of Federal Regulations

The commercial trucking industry is heavily regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These regulations are designed to promote safety and reduce the risk of accidents.

Some key federal regulations that may come into play in a commercial truck accident case include:

  • Hours of Service (HOS) rules: These regulations limit the number of hours truck drivers can drive to prevent fatigue-related accidents.
  • Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs): Most commercial trucks are required to be equipped with ELDs, which automatically record driving time and help enforce HOS rules.
  • Driver qualifications: Truck drivers must meet specific requirements, such as holding a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) and passing medical examinations.
  • Vehicle maintenance: Trucking companies are required to regularly inspect and maintain their vehicles to ensure they are safe to operate.
  • Cargo securement: Regulations specify how cargo must be loaded and secured to prevent shifts and spills that can cause accidents.

Your truck accident lawyer will thoroughly investigate the trucking company’s compliance with these and other relevant regulations to determine if any violations contributed to your accident.

Handling Wrongful Death Cases

In the tragic event that a commercial truck accident results in the death of a loved one, surviving family members may be entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim. These claims seek compensation for losses such as:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost income and benefits the deceased would have provided
  • Loss of companionship, guidance, and support
  • Mental anguish and emotional suffering

Wrongful death cases involving commercial truck accidents can be particularly complex, as they often involve multiple liable parties and substantial damages. An experienced truck accident attorney can guide you through the legal process, helping you seek justice for your loved one and secure the financial support your family needs during this difficult time.

Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer to Schedule a Free Consultation

Commercial truck accidents can have devastating consequences for victims and their families. If you or someone you know has been in an accident with a large truck, it’s time to understand your rights and take action to protect your interests. Seeking prompt medical attention, being cautious when dealing with insurance companies, and consulting with an experienced truck accident lawyer are crucial steps in the process.

A skilled truck accident attorney can investigate your accident, identify liable parties, and fight tirelessly to secure the compensation you deserve for your injuries, financial losses, and pain and suffering. Don’t hesitate to seek legal representation through a reputable Wisconsin personal injury law firm– the sooner you have an advocate on your side, the better positioned you’ll be to move forward with your life.

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