Steven A. Bagen | December 7, 2023 | Truck Accidents
Drivers and passengers can suffer serious injuries in a forceful truck accident that a negligent truck driver or trucking company causes.
To recover monetary compensation for the injuries you suffered, you might file a claim with your insurance company or the truck driver’s insurer, depending on the jurisdiction where your accident happened.
However, if the insurance company denies your claim or simply refuses to compensate you fairly for your injuries, you may file a lawsuit in the state court system.
In addition to obtaining medical treatment for your injuries, always consult a Gainesville truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after your truck accident. Your lawyer can review your legal options with you and represent you at all litigation proceedings throughout your case, including your discovery deposition, settlement conference, or civil jury trial.
During these proceedings, your lawyer will aggressively advocate for your legal interests and pursue the highest monetary compensation available to recover in your case.
Insurance companies are not on your side at any time. However, a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer will be in your corner every step of the way and ready to advocate for your legal rights and interests.
Your lawyer can also weigh the pros and cons of various decisions and answer all your questions throughout the legal proceedings.
How Truck Drivers Frequently Cause Accidents
Truck drivers who drive carelessly and irresponsibly may cause a serious accident. One common way that truck drivers cause accidents is by failing to watch the road and their mirrors attentively.
Some truck drivers may become distracted if they make a phone call without using a hands-free Bluetooth device. Other electronic devices, including smartwatches and GPS navigation systems, may also distract a truck driver from watching the road.
Additionally, a truck driver may become distracted if they listen to loud music, daydream, have meals, or take their eyes off the road for any other reason. When truck drivers become distracted, they may lose focus and turn their head away from the road, causing a serious accident.
Truck accidents can also occur when people drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A commercial truck driver may not have a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of 0.04 percent or higher. Otherwise, they may face arrest for DUI or some other drunk driving charge.
The law holds DUI offenders criminally and civilly liable. For example, if a truck driver incurs a criminal DUI conviction, they may have to pay monetary fines, lose their CDL, or serve jail time.
Moreover, a truck driver who negligently causes an accident may be responsible for paying the accident victim civil damages through their insurance coverage, especially if the accident victim’s injuries are permanent or disabling.
Alcohol and drug intoxication can seriously affect the way that a truck driver operates their vehicle. For example, a drunk truck driver may have difficulty focusing on the road and may experience various physical symptoms, including dizziness and blurred vision.
A truck driver may also experience poor muscular coordination, impaired judgment, delayed reflexes, and delayed reaction time. Consequently, the driver may not react quickly to an emergency situation to avoid an accident with another vehicle or pedestrian.
Truck accidents may also happen when truck drivers violate traffic laws and other rules of the road. For instance, a truck driver may negligently fail to yield the right-of-way to another driver at the proper time, such as at a traffic intersection.
A truck driver may also exceed the speed limit, fail to use their turn signal, or commit another traffic law violation leading to an accident.
Truck drivers, trucking companies, and employees are also responsible for following all applicable state and federal motor carrier regulations. For example, they must exercise the proper precautions when loading and unloading cargo onto the truck and securing cargo to the truck bed.
Otherwise, the truck’s center of balance may become offset, leading to a rollover accident, or unsecured loose cargo may fall off the truck and into the middle of the road.
Another common cause of truck accidents is fatigued driving. Truck drivers often try to complete their trip straight through without stopping to take naps or breaks.
Drivers often operate this way to receive bonuses and other financial incentives from their employers. However, when a truck driver does not get enough sleep, they may commit negligent or reckless driving maneuvers or fall completely asleep at the wheel, quickly losing control of their truck.
Finally, some truck accidents happen when drivers exhibit various types of road rage or reckless driving. An angry or overly aggressive truck driver may cut another vehicle off in traffic or pass other traffic without using the proper turn signal.
Additionally, an overly aggressive truck driver may tailgate other vehicles, speed, or attempt to pass slower-moving vehicles in a designated no-passing zone, causing a serious accident.
If you sustained injuries in a truck accident that occurred because of a negligent truck driver or trucking company, consult an experienced truck accident lawyer in your jurisdiction as soon as possible to go over your legal options. In addition, your lawyer can also handle negotiations with insurance company representatives to maximize your total settlement compensation.
How Trucking Companies May Cause Accidents
In addition to negligent truck drivers, trucking companies may also cause or contribute to serious accidents.
Some of the most common ways that trucking companies and their employees cause serious truck accidents include:
- Failing to follow state and federal motor carrier regulations, especially by failing to properly secure cargo or load cargo onto the truck
- Entrusting one of their vehicles to a negligent driver, such as a driver who has a poor driving record or history of prior DUIs or moving violations
- Failing to properly supervise their employee drivers and ensure that they comply with all licensing and continuing education requirements
A skilled truck accident lawyer in your area can determine whether a trucking company likely caused or contributed to your accident.
Injuries in a Truck Collision
Victims of truck collisions may suffer extremely debilitating injuries, some of which may be permanent and cause painful symptoms for the rest of the accident victim’s life.
Different truck accident victims will suffer different types of injuries, depending primarily on their accident circumstances, their bodily movements inside the vehicle during a crash, the type of truck accident that occurs, and the force of the collision.
Some of the most common examples of truck accident injuries include:
- Bone fractures
- Soft tissue neck and back injuries
- Traumatic head and brain injuries
- Open cuts and lacerations
- Bruising from airbag deployment
- Spinal cord injuries
- Full and partial paralysis injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
- Cognitive impairments
- Eye injuries
- Mouth and teeth injuries
If you suffered one of these injuries in a recent truck accident, your top priority should be obtaining the medical treatment necessary to make full medical recovery whenever possible.
Some of the most common steps you can take for your physical health and to increase your likelihood of favorable compensation include:
- Attending all medical appointments on time
- Treating continuously for your injuries
- Following up with all recommended treatments, including consultations with a specialist
- Refraining from discharging yourself from medical care but letting a medical provider or facility formally discharge you at the proper time
By keeping up with all your treatment, you show the insurance company that your injuries are serious and merit favorable monetary compensation. Upon completion of your medical treatment, your lawyer can start handling settlement negotiations with insurance company representatives in your case and pursuing the monetary recovery you need to become whole again.
Filing a Truck Accident Claim
If your truck accident occurred in a no-fault jurisdiction like Florida, you may first file a claim under your Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, insurance policy.
Benefits under a PIP policy compensate accident victims for various out-of-pocket losses and expenses, including related medical bills and lost earnings. However, if an accident victim suffers a serious injury, they may involve the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
As a prerequisite to filing a third-party personal injury lawsuit, your lawyer can file a claim with the responsible truck driver’s insurer on your behalf.
The settlement demand package that your lawyer submits to the insurance company will typically include various documents, including copies of the police report, expert reports, medical treatment records, medical bills, injury photographs, lost income documentation from your employer, and property damage pictures.
After reviewing the settlement demand package your attorney submits, the insurance company may decide to make a settlement offer. Your lawyer can estimate the likely settlement value of your case so that you will know whether to accept or reject the insurance company’s initial settlement offer.
In most situations, you should reject a first-time settlement offer and have your lawyer continue settlement negotiations with the adjuster.
During the negotiation process, your lawyer can highlight the strengths of your case and point to favorable expert reports and medical records. If the insurance company still refuses to make you a favorable settlement offer, your attorney can file a lawsuit in the court system.
Pursuing Litigation in a Truck Accident Case
A truck accident lawyer in your area can handle every step of the litigation process.
During litigation, the parties will:
- Answer one another’s written Interrogatories
- Submit to a deposition, when the defense attorney will ask the accident victim questions about the injuries they suffered, how the accident occurred, and their medical treatment
- Attend a settlement conference or mediation session with the court
- Attend a civil jury trial and present evidence, after which the jury will decide what, if any, monetary compensation to award the accident victim
Instead of taking your truck accident case to a jury trial, your lawyer may recommend alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as mediation or arbitration. During every step of the litigation process, your attorney can fully explore your options and give you sound legal advice.
Recovering Monetary Damages for Injuries in a Truck Accident Claim
After suffering injuries in a truck accident, you may be eligible to receive monetary damages. If your attorney files a third-party claim on your behalf, you may receive monetary damages if you can satisfy the legal elements of your case.
Specifically, you must show that the truck driver or trucking company violated their legal duty of care by acting unreasonably under the circumstances and that, as a result, your accident and injuries occurred.
The third-party damages that an accident victim may recover will usually depend on the seriousness of injuries and the extent of their medical treatment.
Common types of monetary damages that truck accident victims may receive include compensation for:
- Loss of earning capacity
- Lost income
- Medical expenses
- Loss of spousal consortium
- Lifetime or long-term care costs
- Pain and suffering
- Mental distress
- Loss of the ability to use a body part
- Lost quality of life
Your truck accident attorney will do everything possible to maximize the settlement offer you receive from the insurance company or the litigation result you obtain in court.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer in Your Area Right Away
If you recently sustained injuries in a truck accident, involve a knowledgeable attorney as quickly as possible.
Your truck accident lawyer can handle every aspect of your case from start to finish, including litigating your case in the court system to a favorable result. Your lawyer can also file a lawsuit well within the applicable statute of limitations for your case.
Upon filing a claim or lawsuit on your behalf, your attorney can handle every step of the legal process for you and focus all their attention on getting you the fair monetary compensation you deserve to recover.
You want a lawyer who knows how to prove liability and damages in truck accident cases. The first step is to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a personal injury attorney in Gainesville near you. The legal team can evaluate your options free of charge, so you have a better idea of what to expect from the process ahead.