Thousands of motor vehicle accidents occur on the road each year—leading to severe consequences that range from inconvenient repair costs to devastating personal injuries, property damage, and death. Unfortunately, the trucking industry is involved in thousands of related accident cases each year.
If you get into an accident with a large semi-truck big rig, or other commercial truck, experiencing these severe consequences may be even more likely. Large trucks weigh anywhere from 20 to 30 times more than the typical passenger vehicle on the road, creating an even more dangerous situation in the event of an accident.
Different types of vehicles—such as passenger cars, motorcycles, and trucks—can be influenced by varying factors when it comes to traffic crashes and accidents in the United States.
At Florin|Roebig, we have an experienced team of truck accident lawyers with decades of experience in personal injury law. our attorneys can offer you or a loved one a free case evaluation to explore your legal options in the aftermath of a truck accident.
Steps To Take After A Commercial Truck Accident
Accidents can be frightening and overwhelming, especially when there are large vehicles involved. Even so, time can be an important factor in gathering the types of evidence that will be useful later in the process of filing a personal injury claim.
For the sake of safety, it’s also important to contact the proper authorities following an accident to receive professional assistance.
If you’ve been injured or suffered property damage after getting into a truck accident, follow these steps:
1. Call 9-1-1
The number one priority in the event of an accident is the safety of all involved. If you or anyone else around you appears to be injured, call 9-1-1 to seek immediate medical care and report the accident to the police
Medical records and an official police report can serve as important evidence for supporting a personal injury or property damage claim following a truck accident.
Once police officers have arrived, they’ll have a duty to begin taking down notes of the accident, including the time and location of the accident and statements from other drivers or passengers involved.
Further, it’s important for any person who appears to be injured to receive medical help right away. Even injuries that appear minor—such as a bump to the head—have the potential to lead to more serious problems without prompt treatment. It’s best to have any injuries from an accident assessed by a medical professional.
2. Gather Information
Next, begin gathering information from other drivers, passengers, and witnesses of the accident. Take down names, phone numbers, insurance information, and license plate numbers. This information will be important to have in the process of recovering accident-related damages.
3. Get Photographic Evidence
Having photos of your injuries, the scene of the accident, and damage to property can be helpful to support a legal claim for accident-related damages.
Although police officers will often take their own photos to include within their accident report, you may also wish to take photos of the accident to keep as part of your records.
4. Contact A Truck Accident Attorney
After getting into an accident, it’s critical for you to feel confident in asserting your legal rights. However, it’s not likely that you’re going to be in a state of mind to do this on your own.
Your best course of action once you have contacted the appropriate authorities and started taking down notes of the accident is to contact a truck accident attorney, who can represent your legal interests and guide you through your next steps.
List Of Common Causes Of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents in the United States can be influenced by a variety of factors, including those within and outside your control as a driver.
Drivers of large trucks can be subject to many of the same issues faced by other motorists, such as poor road conditions, distracted driving, and other normal dangers.
However, truck drivers can also face issues more specific to their profession. One of these is a greater likelihood of fatigue, as professional drivers often face long hours transporting loads from one location to the next.
Excessive driver fatigue can make a commercial truck driver less aware of their surroundings on the road and can also affect judgment and driving skills.
Additional causes and factors that can contribute to truck accidents include:
- improperly loaded cargo
- poorly maintained vehicle
- equipment failure
- over-the-counter and prescription drug use
- alcohol use
- unfamiliarity with the roadway
- traffic law violations
- traffic flow interruptions (e.g. congestion)
- brake problems
- level of driver training
- weather conditions
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that, according to crash experts, accidents involving large trucks are rarely caused by just a single factor.
If you or someone you know has gotten into a truck accident, there may be more than one factor to consider as you’re attempting to identify the exact cause—or causes—of your accident.
Common Injuries Caused By Truck Accidents
According to the FMCSA, 2017 saw 450,000 police-reported large truck accidents in the United States. Approximately 344,000 of these were classified as “injury crashes” and about 1 percent classified as fatal.
The types of injuries sustained in a truck accident can depend on a variety of factors, including the size of the truck and the circumstances under which the accident occurs.
Common injuries caused by truck accidents include:
- bone fractures
- traumatic brain injuries
- head and neck injuries
- spinal cord damage
- neurological damage
- broken arms or legs
Types Of Truck Accident Lawsuits
When considering the option of pursuing legal recourse after a commercial truck accident, it is important to understand what legal options you have.
If you’ve sustained personal injuries as a result of a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation through filing a personal injury claim.
If your accident has resulted in significant property damage not paid by the insurance carrier of the party at-fault, you may also file a property damage claim to recover out-of-pocket expenses.
Personal Injury Claims
Truck accident claims occupy a very specific area of personal injury law, and can be subject to federal and state laws that differ from accidents involving standard vehicles. Personal injury claims are frequently filed on the basis of negligence, as demonstrated by one or more parties involved in the accident.
Parties that may be liable for injuries and other losses sustained from a commercial truck accident:
- driver of a truck
- truck company
- manufacturer of the truck or its parts
- company leasing the trailer
- party who ordered the truck’s load
Property Damage Claims
The sheer size and weight of large semi-trucks can result in significant property damage—even more so than the typical accident involving standard vehicles.
Filing a property damage claim may be an effective option for recovering financial losses from property damage sustained in a truck accident, such as vehicle repair and replacement costs.
Factors That Affect Truck Accident Claims
The success of a truck accident claim can be subject to a few factors, including: proof of negligence, who is deemed at-fault for the accident, the seriousness of the accident, and the extent of the resulting damages.
Whether Negligence Was Involved
If you’ve been injured in a commercial truck accident, proving the accident occurred as a result of negligence can be a key element in the process of recovering your losses.
In truck accidents, negligence can refer to any behavior or act that may be considered a breach of duty according to truck drivers’ duty of care—a legal duty to act reasonably and responsibly in order to avoid injuring others.
Under the regulatory process put in place by the FMCSA, truck drivers are responsible for adhering to certain regulations while on duty, some of which include:
- driving no more than 10 hours per workday
- maintaining a logbook of hours driven
- documenting rest and service breaks
- proper loading of cargo
- non-use of controlled substances or alcohol
- adhering to legally mandated service and maintenance requirements
Common examples of negligence in truck accidents include texting and driving, falling asleep at the wheel, or driving under the influence.
If you get into an accident with a truck driver who has failed to adhere to one or more of these regulations, you may be able to prove the accident occurred as a result of negligence with the right evidence.
Who Can Be Held Liable In A Trucking Accident?
Commercial trucking accidents may be viewed differently than individual car accidents. This is largely because truckers are typically employed by a trucking company. As the employer of the trucker who got into or caused the accident, the trucking company (carrier) may face legal responsibility.
Other parties who may be held legally liable for a trucking accident include:
- large commercial vehicle manufacturers
- vendors used by the trucking company
- cargo owners
- local government or contractors (in cases of poor road design, etc.)
Severity Of Injuries And Extent Of Damages
Evaluating a truck accident claim can also require examining the extent of the resulting damage and the severity of the plaintiff’s sustained injuries.
In moderate to severe accidents, injuries may lead to ambulance costs, hospital expenses, as well as ongoing care for serious or permanent injury. Building a claim with an attorney requires taking into account of all these resulting expenses, as well as other non-economic losses such as pain and suffering costs and loss of companionship in cases of wrongful death.
Why File A Truck Accident Claim?
Individuals or surviving family members of someone who died in a truck accident can choose to file a truck accident claim to seek compensation for losses suffered as a result of the accident.
These losses, also sometimes referred to as damages, can refer to financial losses, effects on physical health, resulting trauma, and other costs associated with the accident.
The primary reasons for filing a truck accident claim are to recover damages from personal injury, property damage, or wrongful death.
These damages can become very costly for the average person, not only economically but to individuals’ physical and psychological well-being. Filing an accident claim can be a way for individuals to lessen this burden and recover expenses that are not covered by your insurance company.
How Much Compensation Can You Win?
The amount of compensation you can win in a truck accident lawsuit will depend on the unique circumstances of the case.
Depending on the severity of the accident, resulting injuries, and some other factors, you may be looking at a settlement offer ranging anywhere from thousands to millions of dollars.
To receive the most accurate estimate for your settlement amount, you’ll need to share the details of your case with a truck accident attorney, who can then provide a range for your settlement offer after learning the relevant information.
Damages Awarded In Truck Accident Claims
The types of damages awarded in truck accident claims depend on the individual circumstances of the accident, but generally include compensatory and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages can be awarded as compensation to cover economic and non-economic losses that have accumulated as a result of the accident.
The intention in awarding compensatory damages is to restore the plaintiff’s physical, financial, and psychological states as close to where they were prior to the accident.
Types of compensatory damages commonly awarded include:
- medical bills
- ongoing care costs (projected expenses)
- lost wages
- loss of earning capacity (e.g. if you lose your job due to sustaining a permanent injury)
- funeral and burial costs
- pain and suffering
- mental anguish
- loss of enjoyment of life
- loss of consortium (compensation awarded to a spouse or child due to significant relationship strain)
Punitive damages refer to some form of punishment for the defendant and are meant to dissuade the defendant from engaging in harmful or reckless behavior in the future. Punitive damages are applicable if the cause of the accident can be traced back to fraudulent, reckless, or malicious behavior from the party at-fault.
List Of Truck Accident Attorneys Serving The U.S.
The attorney offices of Florin|Roebig possess a team of seasoned truck accident lawyers with the expertise and skills necessary to help you file a successful truck accident claim.
Our attorneys are able to provide effective legal representation for clients out of several locations across the U.S. with offices in Florida, Minnesota, Texas, and Colorado.
The truck accident attorneys of Florin|Roebig include:
- Wil H. Florin, B.C.S.
- Tommy D. Roebig, B.C.S.
- Michael L. Walker, B.C.S.
- Chase P. Florin, B.C.S.
- Neil P. O’Brien, M.B.A.
- Shaun M. Cummings
- Luca G. Esposito
- Chad K. Florin, M.B.A., LL.M.
- Nicholas S. Costantino
- Jordan A. Kolinski
- Parker Y. Florin, LL.M.
- Taylor D. Roebig
- Kavon P. Smith
- Matthew L. McMullen
- Michael A. Ossi, O.C.
- Lawrence J. Najem, O.C.
- Andrew M. Leone, O.C.
- Nollys R. Solarte, O.C.
- Brian R. Dettman, O.C.
Check our office locations to find the Florin|Roebig Trial Attorneys office nearest you.
Get Help With Filing A Claim Today
Getting in touch with the right attorney after suffering an injury in a truck accident is one of the most important steps to filing a successful lawsuit. The attorneys of Florin|Roebig have provided unmatchable legal representation for clients across the U.S. for decades, winning nearly $1 billion in personal injury cases nationwide.
By contacting our office, we can set you up with a free case evaluation with one of our experienced truck accident lawyers to help you determine your legal options and your eligibility for compensation.
Don’t wait to learn what your truck accident settlement may be worth. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury attorney and begin the process of filing your truck accident claim.