Because of their size, commercial truck accidents can be disastrous, often resulting in injuries and fatalities. Just here in Tarrant County last year, there were 2,174 crashes involving commercial vehicles that caused 852 injuries and 18 deaths.
Because traffic laws are different for truckers than for other drivers, you need representation by an experienced attorney familiar with these differences and the laws as they apply to your accident. You deserve to be fairly compensated for your truck accident injury, so working with a lawyer specializing in truck accidents is essential.
What Causes Trucking Accidents?
The reasons for truck accident injuries can be very different from the causes of other motor vehicle accidents. This can be due to the different laws that govern commercial trucking, the size of the trucks, and driver experience. Some causes include:
- Size: While the average weight of a car, SUV, or pickup truck will run up to 6,000 pounds, loaded tractor-trailers can weigh 80,000 pounds. Trailers alone can be up to 53 feet in length. Stopping and turning vehicles of this size takes precision and experience. The driver must be fully aware of their surroundings, signal properly, and follow applicable traffic laws.
- Distracted Driving: Working long hours, multi-tasking, and inattention result in truck drivers being distracted. Drivers are using technology to make their jobs easier, but this often results in the driver putting his attention on the technology and not the road. Talking or texting on cell phones, checking social media, watching videos, and even eating while driving can take the driver’s mind and eyes off the road and could lead to hazardous mistakes. That is why cell phone use is illegal for commercial drivers.
- Driving While Impaired: Drivers working long hours may drive while drowsy, which leads to inattention and slow response. The use of drugs or alcohol will also impair the driver. Since many drivers live in their trucks, it is common to become impaired while driving.
- Speeding or Reckless Driving: Drivers who are running late, have road rage, or are trying to complete additional deliveries may drive too fast above the posted speed limit or disobey other traffic laws. They may make sudden lane changes and reckless turns. Some trucking companies offer incentives for fast deliveries or pay premiums for taking less stops, so drivers may hurry to be able to get paid the additional money.
- Inexperience: Driver shortages have prompted companies to hire drivers with little to no experience. This can lead to poor decision-making and result in accidents. An inexperienced driver may not understand braking distances, gear ratios, mechanical difficulties, overweight loads, etc.
- Faulty or Improperly Maintained Equipment: Drivers and the companies that employ them are responsible for maintaining safe and properly maintained vehicles. Worn tires, faulty brakes, or other mechanical issues could be the cause of a truck accident.
What to Do if You Are Involved in a Truck Accident
If you are involved in a truck accident and suffer injuries, call 9-1-1 to receive emergency medical treatment. If you are able, gather information. This includes information on the driver and any passengers in the truck, a description of the truck, the license number, and the trucking company that owns the vehicle.
Use your phone to take photos of the truck driver’s license and insurance policy, your injuries, vehicle damage, road conditions, and other information. If you find witnesses, get their contact information and ask them what they saw.
The next step may be the most important: call an attorney that specializes in truck accident injuries. With this expertise, your attorney will be able to start working on your case immediately.
Your attorney will get to work on gathering information to prove liability in your case, including witness statements, police reports, and any evidence that you have given to them. Your attorney may have to subpoena phone records, dashcams, surveillance cameras, and vehicle downloads, hire experts in reconstruction or investigation, and examine driver logs and historical data.
Never accept an offer from the trucking company’s insurance representative until you have conferred with an attorney who is board-certified in personal injury law. lawyer. This truck accident injury lawyer is experienced in determining the amount of a fair compensation package as it applies to your unique case.
Types of Truck Accident Injury Damages
If you are the victim of a truck accident and have been injured, you should be compensated for both your economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include
- Medical expenses
- Hospital, physician, prescription, testing, lab work, imaging, and surgery
- Projected medical expenses for future treatment to include the above, plus physical therapy, prostheses, medications, and at-home or nursing care
- Transportation to receive medical treatment
- Loss of income
- If you are unable to work, the loss of income for that period of time
- If your capacity to do your job has changed, your loss of income for that reduction in capacity
- Future loss of income if unable to continue working
Non-economic damages include
- Pain and suffering
- Physical impairment
What Happens After I File My Suit?
Once your attorney has put together a demand for payment for your injuries, it will be sent to the liable party. If they agree to the settlement, your case will be finalized. If they refuse payment, your attorney will file a lawsuit. Both parties will gather information and take their evidence to mediation. Both parties have an opportunity to come to an agreement on a final compensation amount.
If no agreement is reached, the case will proceed to trial and a court will determine your recovery of money.
Call a Fort Worth Truck Accident Injury Attorney
You need an attorney who is familiar with traffic laws that govern commercial vehicles, the types of compensation your injury requires, and is an expert in proving truck accident liability.
Bill Berenson has handled 18-wheeler and commercial truck crashes for the past 42 years and has been board-certified since 1994. Call our office for a free consultation.