Truck Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, understanding the causes of truck accidents, immediate actions, and the pivotal role of a truck accident lawyer is crucial. Truck accidents, involving various types of commercial vehicles including semi trucks, delivery trucks (FedEx, UPS, Amazon, USPS), and construction vehicles, can result in severe injuries due to their size, weight, and stopping distance.
This comprehensive guide explores common causes of truck accidents, types of accidents and post-accident actions to provide insights on selecting the right truck accident attorney.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
The presence of commercial trucks is undeniable. While these large semi trucks play a vital role in transporting goods across the nation, their sheer size and weight make them potential hazards on the road. Understanding the common causes of truck accidents is crucial. Let’s delve into the factors that contribute to big truck accidents and commercial trucking safety, according to our truck accident attorneys.
One of the leading causes of truck accidents is driver inattentiveness. The use of devices within the tractor, such as cell phones and GPS devices, is a common source of distraction for truck drivers. Taking attention away from the road, even momentarily, can have severe consequences. In addition, long hours on the road can lead to fatigue, diminishing a driver’s ability to stay focused. Truck drivers, like all motorists, must remain vigilant, especially considering the extended hours they spend behind the wheel. Strategies to minimize distractions and promote focused driving are imperative for overall road safety.
Fatigue or Sleepiness
Fatigue is a pervasive issue in the trucking industry, exacerbated by stringent delivery schedules and demanding routes. Federal regulations govern the number of hours a driver can be on the road without taking a break, but adherence to these guidelines isn’t always guaranteed. Fatigued drivers are more prone to errors and delayed reactions, significantly increasing the likelihood of accidents.
Speed or Driving Too Fast for Conditions
The need for timely deliveries can sometimes push truck drivers to exceed speed limits or drive too fast for prevailing conditions. Given the substantial weight of commercial vehicles, braking distances are longer, and the impact of a collision is often more severe. Speeding poses a significant threat to road safety and is a key contributor to truck accidents.
Inexperience or Lack of Proper Training
Not all truck accidents are caused by seasoned professionals. Inexperienced drivers, inadequately trained or supervised, contribute to accidents on the road. Proper training in handling the unique challenges posed by commercial vehicles is essential to ensuring safe and competent truck drivers.
Not Leaving Enough Stopping Distance
Understanding the pneumatic braking systems on commercial trucks is critical for drivers. Failing to leave adequate stopping distance considering the weight and size of the vehicle can lead to rear-end collisions. This is particularly hazardous on highways, where sudden stops are more frequent.
The use of devices within the tractor, such as cell phones and GPS devices, is a common source of distraction for truck drivers. Taking attention away from the road, even momentarily, can have severe consequences. Strategies to minimize distractions and promote focused driving are imperative for overall road safety.
Failure of the Commercial Vehicle
Technical failures in commercial vehicles, such as detached wheels or tires, brake system failures, or tire wear leading to blowouts, can result in catastrophic accidents. Regular maintenance and adherence to safety standards are crucial for preventing these types of failures.
Required or Appropriate Clearances and Distances
Federal regulations mandate specific clearances and distances that truck drivers must maintain from other vehicles and objects. Ensuring proper adherence to these regulations is crucial for preventing accidents, particularly in situations where tight clearances may lead to collisions or sideswiping incidents.
Pre-trip inspections are a critical aspect of truck safety. They are designed to identify and address potential equipment failures before a truck hits the road. If not conducted or not conducted properly, equipment failure during transit can pose serious risks. Rigorous pre-trip inspections are essential for preventing accidents caused by mechanical failures.
Federal regulations require commercial truck drivers to undergo regular physical examinations to assess their fitness for the demanding nature of the job. Health issues, such as sleep apnea, can impact a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. Ensuring that drivers are reviewed and approved by a doctor is crucial for preventing accidents caused by health-related issues.
Federal Rules on Driving Hours
Federal rules regulate the number of hours a driver can spend on the road before taking a break. These regulations aim to address issues related to driver fatigue, attentiveness, and sleepiness. Adherence to these rules is critical for maintaining the physical and mental well-being of truck drivers, thereby reducing the risk of accidents.
Improper Parking of Commercial Vehicles or Tractor-Trailers
Improperly parked commercial vehicles or tractor-trailers, especially on roadways, can create hazardous situations. It can lead to traffic congestion, obstructed views, and increased chances of accidents. Understanding and adhering to rules/laws governing the parking of commercial vehicles off roadways is essential for preventing accidents caused by improper parking.
Improperly Placing and Securing Cargo
Cargo placement and securing play a pivotal role in truck safety. Improperly secured or unbalanced cargo can lead to accidents, including rollovers. Understanding the importance of securing cargo according to regulations and best practices is vital for preventing accidents caused by cargo-related issues.
Types of Truck Accident Injuries
Our semi-truck accident attorneys understand that truck accidents can result in a wide range of injuries due to the sheer size and weight of commercial vehicles like semi-trucks. The impact of these truck accidents is often more severe than typical car accidents, leading to catastrophic consequences for those involved.
Here are some common types of injuries that can occur in truck accidents.
Whiplash and Neck Injuries
Rapid acceleration or deceleration in a truck accident can lead to whiplash, causing strain on the neck muscles and ligaments. This can result in pain, stiffness, and long-term discomfort.
Head injuries are a serious concern in truck accidents, often caused by the force of impact. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can range from mild concussions to severe, life-altering conditions.
Back and Spinal Cord Injuries
The impact of a truck collision can cause damage to the spine, leading to injuries such as herniated discs, fractures, or even spinal cord injuries. Spinal injuries can have long-term consequences and may cause paralysis, depending on the severity.
Fractures and Broken Bones
The force involved in a truck accident can lead to fractures and broken bones in various parts of the body. Commonly affected areas include the limbs, ribs, and facial bones.
The blunt force trauma experienced in a truck accident can result in internal injuries. This may include damage to organs such as the liver, spleen, or kidneys, which can be life-threatening and may require immediate medical attention.
In the event of a fire or explosion, truck accidents can lead to severe burn injuries. These injuries may require extensive medical treatment, including surgeries and long-term rehabilitation.
Lacerations and Abrasions
Broken glass, twisted metal, and other debris from a truck accident can cause lacerations and abrasions. These injuries, while less severe than others, can still lead to scarring and long-lasting physical effects.
Truck accidents can have a profound impact on a person’s mental health. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression are common psychological effects that may follow a traumatic truck accident.
In severe cases, the force of a truck accident can lead to traumatic amputations, where limbs or extremities are severed or mangled. This type of injury can significantly impact a person’s quality of life.
When a person is trapped or pinned in a truck accident, crush injuries can occur. These injuries involve compression of muscles and tissues, potentially leading to severe complications.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
Experiencing a truck accident can be a traumatic and disorienting event. It’s crucial to take specific steps to ensure your safety, the safety of others, and to protect your legal rights.
Here’s a guide on what to do after a truck accident.
Ensure your safety and the safety of others by moving to a safe location if possible. Turn on hazard lights and use warning triangles or flares if you have them.
Check for Injuries
Check yourself, passengers, and others involved for injuries. Call for emergency medical assistance if anyone is injured. Even if injuries seem minor, it’s advisable to seek medical attention promptly.
Contact Law Enforcement
Call the police to report the accident. Having an official accident report can be crucial for insurance claims and legal proceedings. Provide accurate and detailed information to the responding officers.
Exchange information with the truck driver and any other parties involved. Obtain their names, contact information, insurance details, and the trucking company’s information. Additionally, gather information from witnesses, if any.
Document the Scene
Take photos of the accident scene, including the vehicles involved, their positions, and any visible damages. Capture license plate numbers, road signs, and relevant traffic conditions. This documentation can be valuable for insurance claims and legal purposes.
If it’s safe to do so, preserve evidence by not moving the vehicles until law enforcement arrives. If you need to move the vehicles for safety reasons, document their positions first. Preserve any physical evidence like skid marks, debris, or damage.
Obtain Witness Information
Collect names and contact information from any witnesses at the scene. Their statements may be crucial during insurance investigations or legal proceedings.
Do Not Admit Fault
Avoid admitting fault or making statements that could be interpreted as an admission of guilt. Stick to the facts when discussing the accident with the other parties involved, law enforcement, or insurance representatives.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you don’t believe your injuries are severe, seek medical attention promptly. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and having a medical record can strengthen your insurance claim.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Provide them with accurate information and details about the incident.
Consult with a Truck Accident Lawyer
Reach out to an experienced truck accident attorney, especially if injuries are involved. A lawyer can guide you on the legal aspects, help protect your rights, and assist in pursuing compensation if needed.
Avoid Speaking to Insurance Adjusters Without Legal Advice
Before providing statements to insurance adjusters, consult with your lawyer. Insurance companies may attempt to settle quickly, and having legal advice ensures you understand your rights and the full extent of your damages.
Remember that each truck accident case is unique, and the steps you take immediately after the incident can significantly impact the outcome. Prioritize your well-being, gather information diligently, and seek legal advice from the best truck accident lawyers to navigate the complexities of a truck accident effectively.
How to Choose a Truck Accident Lawyer
Our big rig accident lawyers at Team Green Law have experience handling crashes involving various commercial vehicles, such as tractor-trailers, buses, construction vehicles, and delivery vans. These truck accident lawyers navigate a unique landscape, requiring in-depth knowledge of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration standards, Commercial Driver’s License Manual and Training, and other specific regulations.
To build a robust case, commercial truck accident lawyers employ investigative teams, ensuring the swift gathering of crucial data from vehicles, including electronic data and dash camera footage. Preservation of key evidence is paramount, demanding collaboration with commercial entities and truck accident lawyers nationwide. Access to motor carrier databases is a critical tool for a thorough investigation.
Choosing the right truck accident lawyer is a crucial decision that can significantly impact the outcome of your case. We are here to help you navigate the process and select the best 18-wheeler accident attorney for your truck accident claim.
Here are a few factors to keep in mind as you choose your truck accident attorney.
Concentration in Truck Accident Cases
Look for a lawyer with a history of handling truck accident cases. Truck accidents involve unique complexities, including federal regulations and industry standards, which a big rig accident lawyer will be familiar with.
Experience and Track Record
Consider the lawyer’s overall experience and track record in handling personal injury cases, specifically those involving truck accidents. Look for successful case outcomes, client testimonials, and any relevant professional recognitions.
Knowledge of Trucking Regulations
A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer should be well-versed in federal and state regulations governing the trucking industry. This understanding is crucial for building a strong case and navigating the complexities of truck accident claims.
Resources and Investigative Team
Truck accidents often require a thorough investigation to collect crucial evidence. Ensure the lawyer has access to a skilled investigative team capable of gathering data from the vehicles, such as electronic data and video from dash cameras.
Preservation of Evidence
Ask about the lawyer’s approach to preserving key evidence. Timely preservation is crucial in truck accident cases, as evidence may be controlled by commercial entities. A proactive lawyer will take steps to ensure evidence is preserved.
Nationwide Network and Jurisdictional Familiarity
Since corporate entities involved in truck accidents may be located outside your state, it’s advantageous to choose a lawyer with a nationwide network. Additionally, familiarity with the jurisdictions in which the accident occurred is essential.
Access to Motor Carrier Databases
A reputable truck accident lawyer should have access to motor carrier databases, enabling them to thoroughly investigate the companies responsible for the commercial trucks on the road. This knowledge is valuable in building a strong case.
Choose a lawyer who communicates clearly and transparently. They should explain legal processes, potential outcomes, and any fees involved in a straightforward manner. Open communication fosters trust and ensures you stay informed throughout the legal proceedings.
Client Reviews and Testimonials
Look for client reviews and testimonials to gauge the truck accident lawyer’s reputation and the satisfaction of previous clients. Online reviews and testimonials can provide insights into the lawyer’s professionalism, responsiveness, and overall client experience.
While many cases are settled outside of court, having a lawyer with trial experience is valuable. Their willingness and ability to take a case to trial can add leverage during negotiations and ensure preparedness for any legal proceedings.
If you are wondering how much it will cost to hire a truck accident lawyer, discuss the lawyer’s fee structure upfront. Most lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you win your case. While this is true at Team Green Law, we will also never take more in fees than you receive from your recovery. Our Fair Fee Guarantee means we will reduce our fee if necessary.
Comfort and Compatibility
Trust your instincts. Choose a lawyer with whom you feel comfortable and who demonstrates genuine concern for your well-being. Our lawyers and their professional teams will be with you every step of the way. Building a strong attorney-client relationship is crucial for a successful outcome.
By carefully considering these factors and conducting thorough research, you can choose a truck accident lawyer who is well-equipped to handle your case and advocate for your rights effectively.
Truck Accident Settlements
Settling a truck accident case involves negotiating a compensation amount with the at-fault party’s insurance company or legal representation. While each case is unique, and the specifics can vary, here’s a general overview of what to expect during the settlement process for a truck accident.
Consultation with Your Truck Accident Lawyer
Before entering the truck settlement process, consult with your truck accident lawyer. They will review the evidence, assess the strength of your case, and determine a fair value for your damages.
Your lawyer will typically draft a demand letter outlining the details of the accident, liability, and the damages you are seeking. This letter is sent to the at-fault party’s insurance company or legal representation.
Insurance Company Response
The insurance company will review the demand letter and respond with an initial offer. This offer may be lower than the amount requested in the demand letter, and negotiations will likely ensue.
Your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company to reach a fair settlement. This process may involve back-and-forth communication to reach an agreement on the compensation amount.
Evaluation of Settlement Offers
Your lawyer will inform you of each settlement offer and guide whether it is fair and reasonable based on the circumstances of your case. They will discuss the pros and cons of accepting or rejecting offers.
Mediation or Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
If negotiations reach an impasse, mediation or alternative dispute resolution methods may be employed. A neutral third party will facilitate discussions to help both parties agree.
Acceptance of Settlement
If a satisfactory settlement is reached, you, with the advice of your lawyer, can accept the offer. Acceptance typically involves signing a release, releasing the at-fault party from further liability in exchange for the agreed-upon compensation.
Disbursement of Settlement Funds
Once the settlement is finalized, the insurance company will issue a settlement check. Your lawyer will handle the disbursement of funds, ensuring that any outstanding medical bills, legal fees, and other expenses are settled before you receive your portion.
Closing the Case
With the acceptance of the settlement and disbursement of funds, your truck accident case will be closed. It’s important to retain documentation related to the settlement for your records.
Considerations for Future Medical Costs
In some cases, settlement agreements may include provisions for future medical costs if the full extent of your injuries is not yet known. This can provide some financial protection for ongoing medical needs.
It’s crucial to have your truck accident lawyer involved throughout the settlement process to ensure that your rights are protected, and you receive fair compensation for your injuries, damages, and losses. Keep in mind that the settlement process may take time, and careful consideration of each offer is essential to securing a favorable outcome.
Talk to a Truck Accident Lawyer
Navigating the aftermath of a truck accident involves understanding the causes, taking immediate action, and selecting the right truck accident lawyer. With the guidance provided, you can make informed decisions to protect your rights and seek the compensation you deserve. Remember, time is of the essence, so act swiftly to ensure a thorough investigation and preserve crucial evidence.
If you find yourself grappling with uncertainty following a severe truck accident and are seeking clarity on the potential for compensation, reaching out to a truck accident attorney is your best course of action.
Our experience not only guides you through the process but also empowers you with insights on navigating discussions with your insurance company and other parties implicated in the collision. We are ready to skillfully negotiate a settlement on your behalf, ensuring your interests are diligently represented.
Contact us today and let’s discuss your truck accident.
Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents
It may surprise you to learn that most fatal accidents involving big rigs or commercial trucks happen on major roads rather than interstate highways. A fair number of trucking accidents in Indiana also happen on high-capacity city roads, country roads and state routes.
When it comes to insurance settlements, police reports do not always have the final say. Your best chance is to speak with a big rig accident attorney about your trucking accident to find out whether you might have a claim.
If you were partially at fault according to the report — 50% at fault or less — it’s possible that you could still be eligible for a settlement because of Indiana’s comparative negligence rules. We recommend contacting a lawyer right away.
Before you sign anything regarding your trucking or big rig accident claim, you should have it reviewed by a personal injury lawyer to help you decide whether it will be in the best interest of your case to sign. Trucking companies will often offer an initial settlement that only reflects a small portion of the claim’s fair value. If you put your signature on it, you may be giving away your rights to a larger or different claim.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the trucking industry at the national level, while the state of Indiana regulates it at the state level. If federal or state regulations are violated during the incident, that could increase the amount an accident victim or his/her family is eligible to receive. It can also help paint a picture of exactly who is liable. No matter what, it’s in your best interest to talk with an experienced commercial truck or big rig accident attorney about your specific case.
Team Green is a different kind of law firm. We’re not going to make you promises we can’t deliver on. This is our promise to you: we will guide you through the legal process, working with you through straight talk and personal attention, and we’ll work for you with smart, aggressive representation to get the settlement or judgment you deserve. Other lawyers show their case results on their websites, but not only does that imply results they can’t guarantee — it’s against the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct (Rule 7.1  (2)). But you should know that the results of one successful case does not tell us what will happen with you. We will work with you to set realistic expectations of the timeline and money that could be recovered for your unique case.