Individuals who are involved in truck accidents frequently suffer debilitating injuries and ongoing medical complications. They may also undergo various medical procedures and miss significant time from work to heal from their injuries.

To recover monetary compensation for their losses, a truck accident victim can file a personal injury claim with their own insurance company – or with the responsible truck driver’s or trucking company’s insurer, depending on the jurisdiction where their accident happened.

However, these insurance companies are never on your side. Their primary goal is to pay you as little as possible. Consequently, always have a skilled truck accident lawyer in your area advocating for you as early in the process as possible.

Once a Gainesville truck accident lawyer becomes involved in your case, they can handle all the necessary steps for you and begin pursuing the full monetary recovery you deserve.

First, your lawyer can investigate your accident circumstances and file an insurance claim on your behalf, submit a settlement demand package to the insurance company, and aggressively negotiate for favorable settlement compensation.

Finally, if the insurance company does not make you a reasonable settlement offer, your attorney can file a third-party personal injury lawsuit in the court system and bring your case to an efficient resolution.

Unlike insurance companies, which are only out for themselves, your truck accident lawyer will be your advocate throughout the entire process. Your attorney can address all your legal concerns, handle the necessary steps for you, and work to maximize the total compensation you receive for your truck accident injuries.

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Who Is Responsible for a Truck Accident?

First, negligent truck drivers and trucking companies can be responsible for accidents and injuries. Truck drivers typically cause accidents when they drive carelessly and irresponsibly under the circumstances.

One common cause of truck accidents is distracted and inattentive driving. When a truck driver takes their eyes off the road, even for a relatively short time, they might fail to notice a pedestrian in the vicinity and bring about a serious accident. 

Truck drivers may become distracted by smartphones, using a GPS, engaging with passengers, eating and drinking, or several other activities.

In addition to distracted driving, some truck accidents happen when drivers commit various traffic law violations.

Some of the most common traffic law violations that lead to truck accidents include:

  • Failing to use side view mirrors when switching lanes or backing out of parking spaces
  • Excessive speeding
  • Failing to follow right-of-way laws
  • Disobeying turn signal laws

A truck accident may also occur when a driver exhibits various types of road rage. 

Road rage is another term for reckless driving, and it may happen when a truck driver aggressively tailgates other vehicles, attempts to pass other vehicles in a no-passing zone, or weaves around other vehicles without using the proper turn signals.

When truck drivers exhibit these reckless driving behaviors, they may inadvertently bring about a serious crash with another vehicle or with multiple vehicles, depending on the traffic conditions.

Another common cause of truck accidents is when drivers and trucking company employees violate standard federal and state motor carrier regulations.

Some of the most common violations that lead to traffic accidents include:

  • Failing to obey truck weight limits
  • Failing to properly load and unload cargo onto the trailer so that the truck does not become top-heavy and its center of balance does not become offset
  • Failing to properly secure cargo to the trailer bed to prevent the shipment from falling off the trailer while it is in motion
  • Failing to properly maintain and repair tractor and trailer parts, including lighting components

Failing to follow state and federal motor carrier regulations can lead to severe truck accidents. For example, when a truck driver or trucking company fails to maintain their vehicle properly, it may malfunction.

Similarly, if a trucking company fails to maintain the lighting mechanisms on a tractor or trailer, other drivers may not see it, causing a severe accident.

Additionally, if a truck driver or trucking company employee fails to properly secure cargo to the trailer bed, the cargo base might fall off the vehicle while it is in motion and into the middle of the road, bringing about a severe accident.

A truck accident can also occur when drivers are fatigued. Trucking companies often encourage their drivers to drive for long hours, and the driver may receive a significant bonus from the trucking company if they deliver their cargo to its final destination ahead of the scheduled time.

However, when people drive for long hours, they may not get enough sleep, causing them to lose their ability to concentrate on the road.

Similarly, a fatigued truck driver may fall asleep at the wheel, resulting in the driver losing control of their vehicle and bringing about a single accident or series of collisions.

Finally, some truck accidents occur when people drive while they are impaired

While passenger vehicle operators are normally intoxicated and subject to arrest for DUI if their blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent or greater, a truck driver is legally intoxicated if their BAC reaches 0.04 percent. The law holds truck drivers to higher legal standards because they operate large vehicles professionally.

When a truck driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they may bring about a severe accident because alcohol can slow down their reflexes and reaction time.

An intoxicated truck driver may also experience blurred vision, dizziness, lack of concentration, lack of muscular coordination, and other physical and mental symptoms.

Truck accidents can also occur when trucking companies employ negligent drivers who behave carelessly. For example, if a trucking company knows about a particular driver’s poor driving record or history of DUIs, you can hold the trucking company responsible for any accident the driver later causes. In other words, the trucking company must refrain from negligently entrusting their vehicles to known problem drivers.

If you recently suffered injuries in a truck accident that a negligent truck driver or trucking company caused, seek legal counsel who can represent you throughout your case.

Your lawyer can file the appropriate claim on your behalf and begin negotiating for the fair settlement compensation necessary to become whole again after your accident.

Proving a Third-party Truck Accident Claim

To recover monetary compensation in a truck accident claim or lawsuit, an accident victim is responsible for establishing the legal burden of proof in their case:

  1. They must demonstrate that the negligent truck driver or trucking company owed them a legal duty of care. For example, a truck driver has a duty to always drive carefully, obey all traffic laws, and follow all state and federal motor carrier regulations.
  2. They must show that the truck driver or trucking company violated this legal duty of care under the circumstances. For example, a truck driver might have disobeyed a traffic law by engaging in distracted driving, speeding, or operating their vehicle while intoxicated. In addition, the accident victim must show that their accident was a direct result of the truck driver’s or trucking company’s negligent or reckless actions.
  3. They need to demonstrate that because of the accident, they suffered at least one physical injury.

Satisfying the legal elements of a truck accident claim is sometimes an uphill battle, and the insurance company will never be on your side.

A skilled truck accident attorney can retain one or more experts who can testify in your case and help satisfy the required legal burden of proof.

For example, a treating medical provider or other medical expert can physically examine you, review the medical evidence in your case, and establish the necessary causal connection between your physical injuries and the truck accident.

Additionally, the medical provider can verify, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, that one or more of your injuries are permanent.

Common Truck Accident Injuries

In a motor vehicle accident between a large commercial truck and a smaller passenger vehicle, it is usually the smaller vehicle’s occupants who will suffer the more severe injuries.

The specific injuries that a truck accident victim suffers will depend on the overall accident circumstances, including the accident location, the number of vehicles involved, the force of the collision, and the accident victim’s bodily movements during the crash.

Common truck accident injuries can include: 

  • Open cuts and lacerations
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Complete and incomplete paralysis
  • Traumatic head and brain injuries
  • Permanent cognitive impairments
  • Bruises
  • Internal bleeding
  • Internal organ damage
  • Soft tissue neck and back injuries
  • Mouth and teeth injuries
  • Permanent scarring
  • Facial contusions
  • Rib fractures
  • Broken bones.

You should immediately consult a medical provider if you sustained any of these injuries in a recent truck accident. That provider can refer you to additional specialists or recommend that you undergo a medical procedure, such as surgery. In addition, you follow through with and complete all recommended medical treatment, such as physical or occupational therapy.

While you receive treatment for your injuries, your truck accident attorney can begin preparing for settlement negotiations in your case. Specifically, your lawyer may gather copies of important documents, including police reports, witness statements, medical bills, and medical treatment records, and assemble those documents into a settlement demand package.

Once your medical treatment is complete or you know what future treatment you need, your lawyer can forward the demand package to the insurance company, and the handling settlement adjuster will review it. At that point, your lawyer may begin negotiating with the adjuster for a favorable settlement offer in your case.

Ways That an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help

After suffering injuries in a truck accident, retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney who can handle every aspect of your case for you.

First, your lawyer can investigate the accident circumstances and gather the necessary claim documents for your case. If your accident happened in a no-fault jurisdiction, your lawyer may file a claim under your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance policy.

However, you can involve the at-fault driver’s insurer if you suffered a severe or disabling injury in a no-fault jurisdiction.

Once the insurance company adjuster receives and reviews the claim documents, your lawyer may begin the settlement negotiation process.

Settlement negotiations typically begin when a truck accident lawyer makes a monetary demand for a settlement offer. The insurance company adjuster handling the claim typically responds with a much lower monetary offer.

Negotiations then continue back and forth between the parties until they settle. However, settlements do not always happen at this early stage of the case.

Throughout the process, insurance companies and their adjusters will do everything they can to undervalue a truck accident claim. In some situations, the adjuster may dispute fault for the accident, or they may argue that the accident victim’s claimed injuries are not all that serious.

Insurance companies take this approach to try to pay out as little monetary compensation as possible to resolve the claim.

In response, your attorney can highlight important evidence in your case, including police reports, medical treatment records, and reports from experts. If the insurance company still refuses to compensate you fairly, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in the court system and begin litigating your case to a resolution.

During litigation, the parties will typically engage in oral and written discovery (including discovery depositions), attend one or more mediation or settlement conferences with the court, and resolve the case at a civil jury trial or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding, such as binding arbitration or mediation.

Throughout this process, your lawyer can represent you during all legal proceedings, introduce evidence on your behalf, and aggressively fight for your legal rights and interests.

Recovering Monetary Damages for Truck Crash Injuries

The injuries that truck accident victims frequently suffer can be debilitating and require ongoing medical care. Accident victims may suffer permanent injuries that affect every aspect of their life and well-being.

If an accident victim files a PIP claim in a no-fault jurisdiction, they may be eligible to recover compensation for their medical expenses, lost income, and loss of household services.

Steven A. Bagen Attorney for Truck Accident Accident Cases near Gainesville, Florida area
Steven A. Bagen, Truck Accident Lawyer in Gainesville, Florida area

Common monetary damages that truck accident victims may recover in a third-party claim or lawsuit include compensation for loss of earnings, loss of earning capacity, related past and future medical expenses, mental distress, loss of spousal consortium, pain and suffering, loss of use of a body part, lost quality of life, inconvenience, and permanent disability or disfigurement.

Speak to an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today

If you recently suffered injuries in a local truck accident, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney in Gainesville can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit on your behalf well within the statute of limitations time frame.

Your lawyer can then handle every aspect of the case and work to secure the fair monetary recovery you need and deserve.