Bagen Law Firm | February 6, 2023 | Truck Accidents
The most dangerous type of traffic collision possible is a head-on accident. The driver who gets struck head-on will be on the receiving end of a tremendous amount of physical force. When two vehicles collide head-on, the force of the accident doubles. In addition, their cars will also receive severe front-end damage. The car will collapse like an accordion, increasing the chances that the driver will slam into the steering wheel or get thrown through the windshield.
Most head-on truck crashes occur on highways in rural areas. These accidents often happen on two-lane roads where no median or guard rail separates the two lanes of traffic. Head-on crashes also occur mostly late at night, when a truck driver is tired and may have more difficulty seeing traffic signs and lines on the road. If you or a loved one has been involved in a head-on truck crash, contact a truck accident lawyer immediately to help protect your legal rights and seek compensation for damages.
Injuries in a Head-On Truck Accident
Here are some common injuries that drivers and passengers will suffer in a head-on collision:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal injuries
- Severe Lacerations
- Organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries
Head-on collisions are relatively rare, but they have the highest fatality rate of any type of motor vehicle accident. The fatality rate is even higher when a truck is involved in a crash. There is virtually no chance that someone will emerge unscathed in a head-on truck collision. The sheer force of the collision means that any injuries will be far more severe.
Reasons for Serious Head-On Truck Crashes
Truck crashes happen for many reasons, ranging from driver error to insufficient maintenance. Determining the cause of your accident is key to obtaining the compensation you deserve from the proper insurance companies.
Here are some potential causes of head-on truck accidents:
- Distracted driving – All it takes for a truck driver to veer out of their lane and into oncoming traffic is a quick second of taking their eyes off the road. The danger is even more pronounced on a two-lane highway. The truck driver may not see a sign telling them not to enter a highway.
- Driving in inclement weather – When the driver has limited visibility or is driving on slippery roads, they may lose control of the truck and drift into oncoming traffic.
- Driving while fatigued – Many truck drivers will be on the road at a time when their body is more likely fatigued to maximize the distance that they can travel. The truck driver may lose reflexes or nod off for a brief instant and leave their lane. The truck driver can also pass out or lose focus because they are taking prescription medications.
- Drunk driving – Although state laws are vigilant about truck drivers’ drunk driving (reducing the blood alcohol content that will be considered intoxicated), some operators still drink before driving and lose control of their trucks.
- Speeding – When a truck driver is traveling at an unsafe speed for the conditions, they may not anticipate a change in the road or lose control of their truck.
- Illegal passing – Truck drivers may try to pass another vehicle when they do not have the room to do so (they may even try illegal passes with a solid yellow line).
- Maintenance issues – In a hurry to get and keep the vehicle on the road, the trucking company or the truck driver may ignore a crucial maintenance issue that can cause the truck driver to lose control of the truck and veer out of their lane.
- Tire blowouts – One maintenance shortcut the trucking company may take is not changing a tire when they should. Tire blowouts present a dire emergency; even the most experienced driver has difficulty avoiding a calamity when a truck’s tire fails. Even the failure of one of the 18 wheels is enough to cause a significant accident.
Truck drivers are responsible for their negligence behind the wheel. A trucking company can also be legally accountable when its driver has caused a head-on car accident or when the company was negligent in its own right.
Another major cause of head-on truck accidents is truck driver inexperience. Trucking companies are increasingly pressing less experienced truck drivers into service because they need help finding enough operators to maintain their business. Truck drivers as young as 18 years old can now make cross-country truck trips.
It takes knowledge and experience to control a massive vehicle that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds fully loaded. One slight misstep can cause the truck driver to end up in the wrong place, including right in the face of oncoming traffic. Truck drivers with a few years of experience or less have much higher rates of accidents. They may not know how to control the truck at all times and may not have the skill to react quickly in the face of danger. Seconds matter when driving a truck.
You Must Prove Negligence to Win a Truck Accident Lawsuit
In any truck accident case, you will need to prove that someone else’s actions were the cause of your injuries. A head-on collision of any type should never happen. One of the two drivers is clearly at fault because they were outside their lane. The critical question in a truck accident case is determining which driver was to blame for the accident.
Head-on collisions do not happen without negligence or recklessness. One driver does something wrong that causes them to leave their lane. Usually, it will be the driver who left their lane who is legally responsible for the accident. However, the truck driver may claim that they were responding to something that a third driver did and trying to avoid an accident.
That the truck driver was out of their lane can go a long way toward proving fault, it is not always the end of the story. The insurance company may still try to deny the claim and shift blame onto someone else (possibly including even you).
Your lawyer will still need to investigate the cause of the head-on truck accident. The responsible party may not be clear-cut and apparent at first. Even if it is, you will still need evidence to back your claims up when you seek financial compensation.
Proving fault in a truck accident case is never a formality – it is the absolute minimum requirement for any type of financial compensation for your injuries. You should never take proving fault for granted in a truck accident case.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit for a Head-On Truck Accident Fatality
Given the severity of head-on truck collisions, chances are that you are reading this after your loved one suffered a severe injury or died in an accident.
Under Florida law, the family can file a wrongful death lawsuit for the damages they suffered when their loved one tragically died because of someone else’s actions. In Florida, the personal representative will file the wrongful death action on behalf of the deceased person’s estate.
These people can receive proceeds from a Florida wrongful death lawsuit:
- The surviving spouse
- Anyone else who was financially dependent on the deceased person
Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A wrongful death lawsuit will pay your family for what you lost when your loved one died, including:
- The lost wages that your loved one would have earned had they lived and continued earning money
- The grief and trauma that your family suffered from losing a loved one in a tragic and untimely manner
- The guidance and support that you received from the deceased person and the loss of your close, loving relationship with them
- The physical relationship that you had with a spouse
Your Compensation in a Truck Accident Verdict or Settlement
The costs and damages will be considered if the accident victim survives the crash. The injuries will likely be severe enough to require lifelong care and take away much of the accident victim’s quality of life.
A truck accident victim may receive compensation for:
- All costs related to medical care, including doctor’s visits, surgeries, hospital stays, prescription medication, and medical equipment
- Lost wages for the time that you are unable to work (many people who survive a head-on collision get injured so severely that they may never work again)
- Pain and suffering for the continuing physical and emotional discomfort resulting from the truck accident
- Loss of enjoyment of the life that you had before the accident
- Scarring and permanent disfigurement from your accident injuries
You recover damages for both past and future expenses. However, you must quantify and prove your future damages when you file a claim or lawsuit, which is not always easy. You should work with an experienced truck accident attorney who has the same knowledge that the insurance company has about what your claim is worth.
Getting Proper Compensation in a Truck Accident Case Is Always a Fight
While the facts and the law entitle you to damages, you still must fight for them to the fullest of your ability. If you have lost a loved one in a head-on truck accident, you do not have the knowledge or the will to engage in what can be a drawn-out legal fight. The insurance company does not care that a negligent truck driver severely injured or killed someone. What they do care about is that they will need to write a large check if their driver was responsible for the crash.
Even if the truck driver’s liability is apparent, the insurance company will still try to minimize the size of the check it writes.
- Drag negotiations out, taking advantage of the fact that a family may urgently need the money.
- Offer low settlements to add time to the negotiations or tempt you to take less money than what you need.
If the insurance company sees that you do not have an attorney, they will have even more power to harm your legal interests because nobody can hold them accountable. Lawsuits are your best way to act when insurance companies trample on your legal rights.
How a Truck Accident Attorney Can Help You
An experienced truck accident attorney knows these insurance company tricks and how to deal with them. Your attorney’s job is to get you the most money for your truck accident claim. They can do that by negotiating with the insurance company and knowing when to pressure them.
Your truck accident attorney will:
- Investigate the truck accident and gather evidence that shows who was responsible
- Estimate the value of the claim by reviewing your facts and speaking with experts
- Preparing the claim to present to the insurance company or the lawsuit to file in court
- Communicating with the insurance company throughout the claims process (and keeping the insurance company from speaking with you)
- Advising you whether to accept or reject settlement offers made to you by the insurance company
- Making counter offers to the insurance company in settlement negotiations
- Take your case to court and trial if you cannot reach a settlement agreement with the insurance company.
You cannot and should not attempt these tasks on your own. When millions of dollars are at stake (as there usually are in a truck accident case), any mistake can cost you serious money. The insurance company is waiting for you to do something wrong because it may cut the money they need to pay you.
You do not need to pay upfront to hire a truck accident attorney. No one will ask you for a retainer, nor will you receive hourly bills while your case is pending. Your truck accident attorney will work for you on a contingency basis, and they only get paid if you get paid. If you do not win your case, your truck accident attorney receives no pay for the time they spent on your matter.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by seeking a free case evaluation with a truck accident attorney today.