If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or suffered a wrongful death due to a truck accident, an experienced attorney can help build your case, fight for your rights, and see that you are justly compensated.
In addition to the more common rear-end, T-bone accidents, side-swipe, head on and rollover accidents that occur between cars, we also have the expertise to handle cases that involve truck-specific elements such as:
- Tire Blowout Accidents
- Unsecured Load and Overload Accidents
- Wide-Turn Accidents
- Jackknife Accidents
- Brake Failures and Runaway Trucks
- Poor Road Condition Incidents
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How are truck accidents different from typical auto accidents?
Jackkniffing: Trucking accident cases are unique, and this is mainly because large semi-trucks differ from other vehicles in significant ways. For example, semi-trucks are prone to jackknifing, which usually occurs when the truck is forced to make a sudden brake or turn.
Sudden Stops: If a truck-driver brakes suddenly on a slippery road, or turns suddenly to avoid hitting another vehicle, the truck driver may not be at fault. In many cases, conditions that require sudden braking or turning are unforeseeable, meaning the truck driver cannot reasonably be held responsible for an accident that occurs as a result.
Wide Turns: Semi-trucks also tend to have trouble turning, and some truck drivers will use two lanes in order to make a right turn. Sometimes the truck driver will be held responsible for an accident if he or she was trying to turn from an inside lane or trying to make a wide turn while taking up two lanes.
The 3rd Party – The Trucking Company: Another difference between a truck accident and an accident between two cars is the presence of a third party—the trucking company itself. Because truck drivers often answer to a trucking or shipping company, the company may be held responsible for the accident rather than the individual driver.
In these cases, the driver often shares responsibility with the employer, contractor, trucking company, and insurance company—all of which may be separate entities. Trucking commercial policies are typically more robust.
If the truck driver or another party connected to the driver is found to be at fault, then that party may be legally required to compensate the plaintiff for damages caused by the accident. This may include compensating for medical bills related to injuries sustained in the accident, lost wages for any time taken off work for recovery, as well as pain and suffering damages. In a fatal accident, the victim’s family may be entitled to recover damages on behalf of the deceased.
Causes and Risks of Truck Accidents
An average semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, about 20 times heavier than an average car. This means semi-trucks generally take longer to stop.
Other factors—like road hazards and distracted driving—can also contribute to semi-truck accidents. When truck drivers are forced to work through the night, or work for long periods of time without breaks, they can become fatigued and less alert to dangers on the road.
Serious traffic may also cause a semi-truck to stop abruptly and crash into a car, or a car may attempt to pass a semi-truck unsafely or drive between trucks.
Common causes of traffic accidents include speeding, malfunctions, distracted or exhausted driving, weather conditions, unstable cargo, and poor roads.
Proving Negligence and Liability
Like other vehicle accident cases, truck accident cases usually hinge on the negligence of one or both parties, which translates to liability (who is at fault in the accident). An attorney can help you prove liability.
What to Do Following a Truck Accident
When an accident of any kind occurs, it is critical to take appropriate action as soon as possible. Never accept a settlement or give a statement without first consulting an experienced attorney and discussing your case to determine your claim. No matter who is at fault in an accident, it is important to know your rights and ensure that each negligent party is held accountable for their actions.
At Lehmbecker Law, we have over 35 years of experience in assessing and winning personal injury cases on behalf of our clients. Contact us today for a free initial consultation and to learn more about seeking compensation for your injuries from a truck accident.