After being in an accident with a commercial truck, you are probably lucky to be alive. A truck’s sheer weight and size are enough to crush you and any passengers inside your vehicle. As a result, truck accidents often result in extremely serious injuries, some of which can leave you with long-term medical problems. If you have suffered injuries in a truck accident, you should reach out to a truck accident lawyer who can help you receive the most compensation for your injuries.
An issue that makes truck accidents significantly more complicated than others is that it can be difficult to know who you can sue. Can you sue the truck driver? Their employer? The owner of the truck’s cargo? The answer is that it depends. All of these parties can be liable, as well as others. The best way to determine who you can sue after a truck crash is to speak with an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as you can after an accident.
How Do You Determine Who is Liable?
Determining who you can hold liable for a truck accident is a complex legal task. Under state law, a party can be liable when their negligence results in an injury-causing accident. Negligence occurs when a person fails to use the degree of care that a reasonable person should have used in similar situations.
To determine liability, you need to determine whose negligence caused your crash.
Some common examples of negligence that can lead to an accident include:
- Distracted driving
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Failure to properly maintain a truck
- Inadequate training
Once you determine what caused the accident, you can identify the party against whom you can bring a claim.
Importantly, as a general rule, when negligent truck drivers cause accidents, victims can sue their employers. This is beneficial to victims because trucking companies tend to have higher policy limits than individuals. In some cases, there may be multiple parties against whom you can make a claim. A lawyer can determine who you can sue and advise you on the best course of action.
Types of Truck Accidents
While any truck accident is frightening to be involved in, some accidents can cause even more devastating injuries than others. Some of the most dangerous types of truck accidents include:
An underride accident is one of the serious truck accidents in which a driver can be involved. They happen when a smaller vehicle continues to slide underneath a truck as the truck comes to an abrupt stop. As the car slides underneath, the top of the car gets completely cut off, often resulting in serious injuries to anyone in the smaller car.
When trucks slam into the back of smaller passenger cars, it can cause devastating damage and severe injuries. Fortunately for victims, the rear-ending driver is almost always at fault, entitling victims to compensation.
A rollover accident happens when a truck driver loses control of the vehicle, and the vehicle rolls over on its side. These types of accidents can cause widespread damage, as the truck is completely out of control and can end up rolling into oncoming traffic or off the road entirely.
A jackknife accident happens when a truck’s trailer folds against its cab. These accidents often occur when a truck driver unexpectedly brakes, causing the trailer to swing out from behind the trailer at an angle.
Injuries Caused by Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can result in significant physical and emotional injuries. Some of the injuries you can sustain from a car accident include permanent brain injuries, paralysis, permanent nerve damage, amputations, crushed limbs, and vision or hearing loss. Even if you think you walked away with only moderate back or neck pain, you can experience ongoing pain in those areas for the rest of your life. The injuries you endure can be so severe that you will have to become more comfortable with lifelong medical dependence.
The Elements of Negligence
As mentioned above, to hold a person or party responsible for your truck accident, you must prove that the other party was negligent.
To prove negligence in a personal injury lawsuit, you must meet the following elements:
- Duty of care. The defendant must owe you a specific duty of care.
- Violation of duty of care. The defendant’s actions must have violated that duty of care that they owed you.
- Causation. The defendant’s negligent actions must correlate with the harm they caused you.
- Damages. The plaintiff must show how the defendant’s actions caused them to experience a certain amount of damages.
What to Sue For in a Truck Accident Claim
As a truck accident victim, you can sue for the specific damages you suffered from your truck accident. Some of the damages that you can seek in your truck accident claim include:
Your Physical Injuries
Out of all the damages from a truck accident, medical expenses may cost you the most money. Medical treatment is expensive, and you may need ongoing care for years or even decades. If you have catastrophic injuries, you may suffer from lifelong impairments. Your injuries can become more painful over time. You will also need to rely on several medical services to assist with your daily routine. Some standard medical services you will need involve physical therapy, speech therapy, medical equipment like wheelchairs, and pain medications.
Missed Time From Work
Another damage you can list in your truck accident lawsuit is the time you have missed from work. Your injuries can be so catastrophic that they can affect your ability to work for the rest of your life. Any time that you have taken off from work to deal with the recovery of your injuries counts as damage. Your ability to work and financially support your household has been affected by missing time from work or having to retire early from your occupation.
Physical and Mental Pain
You can also seek compensation for the physical and emotional pain and suffering you experience as a result of your accident. Pain and suffering involve any physical or mental anguish you have endured due to your truck accident. Even after you have received medical attention for your injuries, you can still feel significant pain afterward. The mental anguish you experience following your accident can be just as detrimental as the physical pain you experience. After your accident, you can suffer from PTSD, anxiety, and other mental disorders.
Property damage is another damage that you can sue for in a truck accident. The impact of the truck accident can create substantial damage to your vehicle. The damage can be so destructive that your car may be totaled. If you need to purchase another car because of your truck accident, you can list the amount of money it will take to purchase a new car as damages in your lawsuit. Any vehicle repairs you had to pay out of pocket are also damages.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
Loss of enjoyment of life is another damage that you can sue for. This damage comes from your accident’s effect on every aspect of your life. In addition to your ability to earn income, your relationships with family and friends will suffer significantly from your injuries. Your ability to enjoy the essential things in life, such as quality time with your loved ones, will also suffer from the extent of your injuries. You can recover compensation for this type of damage through your lawsuit.
If you, unfortunately, lost your loved one in a truck accident, you can also list the funeral expenses as damage in your truck accident lawsuit. The expenses you paid out of pocket to bury your loved one qualify as damage in either a truck accident lawsuit or a wrongful death lawsuit. These damages include any expenses for funerals or cremations.
What a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Do For You
When you seek compensation for these damages in your truck accident lawsuit, you can expect opposition from the insurance companies. If you have catastrophic injuries that require significant compensation, insurance companies will fight even harder because the value of your case is high. Fortunately, by retaining a truck accident attorneyto represent you, you can protect your rights and ensure that you obtain the compensation you deserve under the law.
Identify the Liable Parties
Truck accident claims often involve a number of parties that can potentially be liable. Your lawyer will analyze your accident and determine who you can file a claim against.
Determine Your Losses
Your lawyer can also evaluate all of your losses and determine how much money you should expect to receive in your case. In addition, your attorney can file your claim and present evidence of your losses, maximizing the chances that you will obtain the compensation you deserve.
Fight for More Compensation
Your truck accident lawyer can also fight to obtain the largest settlement or verdict possible. Whether you are pursuing a settlement or a verdict, the insurance companies will try to lowball you or reduce the compensation you receive. If you seek a settlement, your truck accident lawyer will submit a demand letter setting out the compensation you seek and justifying why you deserve it.
If you need legal representation in court, your truck accident lawyer can provide it and prepare the most robust case on your behalf. Insurance companies feel less confident in trying to intimidate a claimant when they are represented by an experienced lawyer.
Represent You When Dealing With Insurance Companies
The sad fact of the matter is that insurance companies are in the business of making money, not handing it out to claimants. An insurance company will do everything possible to discredit your injuries, so you need to speak to a truck accident lawyer about your case. When you represent yourself, there is a chance that you can say or do something that will hurt your claim. For this reason, you should contact a lawyer as soon as you can after a truck accident.
Contact a Skilled Truck Accident Lawyer Today
You deserve full compensation for the damages caused by your truck accident. When a truck driver, trucking company, or other party is responsible for your accident, you have the right to pursue financial compensation for the many damages that your accident has caused you to experience.
Contact a skilled truck accident lawyer today to increase your chances of winning your truck accident lawsuit. You only have a limited window in which to file a claim. Do not lose out on the chance to recover compensation for your injuries.