Types of Truck Accidents
When drivers of large commercial trucks, including big rigs and tractor-trailers, speed excessively and violate other road rules, the chances are that they will cause a traffic accident leading to multiple injuries. In addition to truck driver negligence, trucking companies sometimes negligently hire and retain problem truck drivers over an extended time.
If you suffered injuries in a truck accident resulting from a truck driver or trucking company’s negligent behavior, you have legal options. In addition to seeking the prompt medical treatment you need, contact a skilled truck accident lawyer in your area who can assist you with your legal claim.
Your attorney can obtain the necessary paperwork, file a claim with the insurance company for you, and, if necessary, pursue litigation in court for a favorable trial or binding arbitration result.
Throughout your truck accident claim or lawsuit, your truck accident lawyer can help you make intelligent decisions, answer your questions, and work to recover the monetary compensation you deserve for your injuries and other related losses.
Never wait to start protecting your rights and seeking justice for your injuries and losses. Case evaluations with truck accident lawyers are free, so reach out to a law firm near you that handles truck accident claims.
Truck Driver Negligence that Causes Accidents
Many truck accidents happen when commercial truck drivers behave negligently on the road. Truck drivers have a duty to follow all traffic safety laws and state and federal motor carrier regulations. When truck drivers deviate from the standard of care, they may cause an accident that involves multiple vehicles and debilitating injuries.
First, truck drivers are negligent when they speed excessively, fail to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles at the appropriate times, and fail to use their turn signals – especially when switching lanes on a busy highway.
Truck drivers are also negligent when they engage in reckless driving maneuvers, such as road rage. An enraged truck driver, for example, might cut other vehicles off at highway merge lanes, fail to use their turn signals, aggressively weave around traffic, or tailgate other cars, causing a rear-end accident or multi-vehicle pile-up.
Truck accidents can also happen when drivers fail to follow state and federal motor carrier regulations.
These regulations often set:
- Loading and unloading procedures for tractor-trailers
- Methods of adequately securing cargo to a trailer bed
- Weight limits for tractor-trailers and big rigs
- Undercarriage and overhead lighting requirements for tractor-trailers
Truck drivers violating these motor carrier regulations may cause serious accidents. For example, improperly secured cargo may roll off a truck onto the road, resulting in collisions involving other vehicles. Moreover, if a tractor-trailer’s exterior lighting is not working, the truck may not be visible to other drivers, causing a severe accident.
Next, some truck drivers are negligent when they drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While a passenger vehicle driver is legally intoxicated if their blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, meets or exceeds 0.08 percent, the legal limit for commercial truck drivers is much lower.
Alcohol can significantly impair truck drivers’ mindsets and cause them to make poor decisions. In addition, alcohol may limit a truck driver’s reflexes, delay their reaction time, or cause them to experience blurred vision, preventing them from seeing other vehicles.
In addition to alcohol intoxication, some truck drivers cause accidents while under the influence of drugs, including stimulants. Many truck drivers consume these drugs to stay awake for long hours to reach their final destination and deliver their cargo ahead of schedule.
However, these stimulants sometimes have the opposite effect and tire a driver. If a driver becomes fatigued and falls asleep at the wheel, they may lose control of their truck, speed excessively, and cause multiple collisions that injure other drivers and passengers.
A truck accident may also happen when drivers fail to watch their side view mirrors attentively. When drivers fail to regularly utilize these mirrors, especially on a busy highway, they may not see an oncoming vehicle approaching and cause a sideswipe accident or other collision.
Finally, some truck accidents happen when drivers are not paying attention to the road. Instead of observing the road, a truck driver might be fiddling with a stereo system in the cab of their vehicle, programming a GPS navigation system, listening to loud music, or texting on a cellular phone or tablet. These activities may cause truck drivers to turn their heads away from the road and miss seeing other nearby vehicles and pedestrians.
If you sustained injuries that a negligent truck driver caused in a truck accident, you should consult a knowledgeable truck accident attorney soon. Your lawyer can evaluate your circumstances and file a claim with a truck driver or trucking company’s insurer. Your lawyer can then submit a settlement demand package and begin negotiating favorable settlement compensation in your case.
Types of Truck Collisions
When truck drivers and trucking companies behave negligently, the consequences can be devastating and deadly.
Negligence can cause many types of truck accidents, including:
- Rear-end truck accidents, where the front of a large truck hits the back of another vehicle, usually because the truck driver is speeding, tailgating, or engaging in road rage
- T-bone or broadside accidents, where the front of a truck hits the side of another vehicle traveling on an intersecting road or near a highway merge lane
- Sideswipe accidents, where the side of a large truck brushes up against the side of another vehicle traveling in an adjacent lane, usually because the truck driver is not paying attention or fails to watch their mirrors attentively
- Head-on collisions, where the front of a large truck collides with the front of an oncoming vehicle traveling in the opposite direction, usually because the truck driver is speeding or is under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Truck jackknife accidents, where the tractor and trailer portions of a large truck fold in on one another, causing the vehicle to skid forward or down a hill, and usually resulting from excessive speeding
- Truck rollover accidents, where the truck’s center of gravity becomes offset, usually because of improper loading procedures, causing the truck to roll over in the middle of the road and causing multiple collisions with other vehicles
If you suffered injuries in one of these types of truck accidents that resulted from a truck driver or trucking company’s negligent behavior, there are important legal steps that you must follow.
Most importantly, retain skilled legal counsel to represent you as quickly in the process as possible. Your attorney can immediately begin work on your case to identify and file claims with the negligent truck driver or trucking company’s insurer. Your lawyer can then assist you throughout settlement negotiations and litigation.
Injuries in Truck Accidents
When a large commercial truck hits a smaller vehicle, such as a passenger vehicle, the occupants of the smaller vehicle are likely to suffer serious injuries. The severity of an accident victim’s injuries will typically depend upon the truck accident circumstances, along with the force of the collision, the number of collisions, and the accident victim’s bodily movements at the time of the collision.
For example, the abrupt forward and backward motion of a rear-end truck accident may cause the accident victim to sustain a soft tissue neck and back injury, such as whiplash. The accident victim’s head might also strike the window, headrest, or steering wheel, resulting in a concussion or another traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Other common injuries that truck accident victims may suffer include broken bones, rib fractures, internal organ damage and bleeding, bruises, open lacerations, spinal cord damage, shoulder injuries, full or partial paralysis, and death.
Following a truck accident, you should receive all the medical treatment you need. By following through with a prescribed medical treatment regimen, you increase your chances of making a full recovery from your injuries and show the truck driver’s insurance company that your injuries are serious.
While you complete your medical treatment regimen, your lawyer can start gathering your medical records and other documents and begin preparing your case for settlement negotiations with the insurance company.
Successfully Proving a Truck Accident Claim
To successfully prove a truck accident claim or lawsuit, the accident victim must establish their legal burden of proof.
Specifically, they must show that:
- The truck driver or trucking company deviated from the standard of care, such as by violating a motor carrier regulation or traffic law on the books
- As a result of the truck driver or trucking company’s negligent behavior, the subject accident occurred
- They suffered one or more physical injuries as a direct result of the truck accident
Recovering the Monetary Compensation You Deserve for Your Truck Accident Injuries
Accident victims who can satisfy their legal burden of proof may be eligible to recover various monetary damages. Since every commercial truck accident case is different, accident victims may recover various types of monetary damages, depending upon the nature and extent of their injuries, the medical treatment they underwent, and whether they may need medical treatment in the future.
First, accident victims can recover the cost of their past and anticipated medical expenses. If a medical provider determines that the accident victim suffered a permanent injury in their truck accident, they may recover compensation for anticipated medical costs, such as future surgeries or physical therapy.
Accident victims who missed time from work or had to switch jobs and take a pay cut can claim lost earnings or loss of earning capacity.
Truck accident victims may also collect monetary compensation for their intangible losses, including their related:
- Mental distress
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
- Loss of use of a body part
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Permanent disfigurement
- Loss of spousal companionship and consortium
A truck accident attorney can help you determine which damages you can recover as part of your truck accident claim or lawsuit. That way, you will have realistic expectations as to the true value of your case. Your attorney can then assist you with every step of the claims-filing and litigation processes and work to secure the monetary compensation you need for your injuries.
Speak With a Truck Accident Attorney in Your Area Today
If you recently sustained injuries in a truck accident, time is of the essence. Accident victims only have two years from the date of their truck accident to file a lawsuit in the court system seeking financial recovery.
Absent several very limited circumstances, accident victims who file a lawsuit after the deadline expires will not recover any monetary damages for their injuries. Therefore, act right away to safeguard your right to monetary compensation.
A skilled truck accident attorney near you can file a lawsuit right away, especially if the statute of limitations is about to run out in your case. A personal injury attorney in Orange County can then take all of the necessary legal steps for you, represent you at all legal proceedings in your case, and work to secure a favorable monetary result on your behalf.