When a commercial truck, such as an 18-wheeler, tractor-trailer, or big rig, hits a much smaller vehicle, the occupants of that smaller vehicle typically suffer serious injuries.

In some cases, depending upon the accident circumstances, accident victims may suffer permanent or even fatal injuries in a truck collision. However, if you or a person you love recently suffered injuries in a truck crash, you cannot depend on the insurance company (even your own) to compensate you fairly for your accident-related injuries and losses.

Rather, the exact opposite is more likely true. Given that the insurance company is not advocating for your legal interests, always involve a Gainesville truck accident attorney in your jurisdiction as soon as possible.

A skilled truck accident lawyer can advocate for you during every step of the legal proceedings by investigating your accident circumstances, obtaining documents necessary to pursue your claim, and aggressively negotiating with insurance company representatives in your best interests.

Additionally, if the insurance company does not make you a fair settlement offer, your lawyer can pursue potential third-party litigation options, including taking your case to a civil jury trial, mediation session, or binding arbitration hearing.

Unlike the insurance company, which is not concerned about you or your interests, a truck accident lawyer will be on your side, advocating for you every step of the way.

Your attorney can also answer any legal questions you may have, represent you at litigation proceedings, and fight for your right to recover the monetary damages you deserve for your truck accident injuries.

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Truck Accident Injuries Are Often Serious and Permanent

In many truck accidents, especially those that occur at high speeds, drivers and passengers may suffer significant injuries, some of which are permanent.

Unlike most injuries that recover at some point in time, a permanent injury may stay with the accident victim for the rest of their life and present ongoing pain and symptoms.

Additionally, a truck accident victim who suffers a permanent injury in their crash may undergo continuous medical treatment, often at a significant cost.

The injuries that an accident victim may suffer in a truck accident usually depend on the specific accident circumstances, including the type of truck accident that occurs and the victim’s bodily movements at the time of their crash.

Common injuries a truck accident victim may suffer include: 

  • Traumatic brain and head injuries
  • Face and dental injuries
  • Eye injuries
  • Open lacerations and cuts
  • Deep bruising
  • Rib fractures or other broken bones
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Spinal cord damage and complete and incomplete paralysis
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Death

If you or a person that you care about suffered any of these injuries in a recent truck accident, seeking the medical care that you need should be your single highest priority.

Specifically, follow through on all recommendations from medical providers, including consulting medical specialists, undergoing recommended medical procedures, and attending physical or occupational therapy sessions to regain your lost range of motion.

By undergoing continuous treatment for your injuries, you show the insurance company that you deserve to receive fair compensation and that your injuries are truly serious. In the meantime, your truck accident attorney can begin working on your case and pursue the financial damages you need for your injuries.

Both Truck Drivers and Trucking Companies Can Be Negligent

Both truck drivers and trucking companies may cause or contribute to a serious accident that leads to permanent or disabling injuries.

Common types of truck accidents include:

  • Rollover accidents, where a tractor or trailer overturns in the middle of the road
  • Jackknife accidents, where a tractor and trailer swerve inward, resembling the shape of a jackknife, and strike other vehicles
  • Tailgate accidents, where the front of a large truck hits the back of another vehicle
  • Sideswipe accidents, where the side of a large truck strikes the side of a vehicle that is nearby
  • Broadside accidents, where the front of a large truck hits the side of another vehicle, typically at a traffic intersection
  • Head-on collisions are where the front of a large truck hits the front of another vehicle while in opposing travel lanes.

Any of these accidents may result from negligence by the truck driver or trucking company.

First, truck drivers can be negligent if they drive while fatigued. Some truck drivers will drive for long hours to reap the financial benefits that their trucking company promises.

However, when a truck driver becomes sleepy and fails to stop their vehicle and take a break, they put other motorists at risk. Fatigued truck drivers frequently become inattentive to their surroundings and may inadvertently cause a serious crash. Alternatively, if fatigued, a truck driver may fall asleep at the wheel and lose complete control over their vehicle.

Another common type of truck driver negligence involves rage or reckless driving. Many truck drivers are trying to beat the clock and will resort to almost anything to move ahead of slower-moving traffic.

As a result, truck drivers may tailgate other vehicles, attempt to weave around vehicles, or cut off other vehicles in busy traffic. As a result, the reckless driver may cause a collision that involves a single vehicle or multiple vehicles.

Truck drivers may also cause accidents when they drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While all drivers have a duty to drive sober, the law holds commercial truck drivers who operate large vehicles for a living to an especially high standard of care.

Specifically, a truck driver who has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or higher is legally intoxicated and may be subject to arrest for driving under the influence (DUI).

Intoxicated truck driving presents very serious hazards, including the potential for impaired judgment, limited concentration, delayed reflexes and reaction time, poor vision, dizziness, and lack of muscular control. As a result, an intoxicated truck driver may not see other vehicles or drive carefully and safely while on the road.

Commercial truck accidents can also occur when drivers become distracted while behind the wheel. Truck drivers can become distracted, especially on long road trips that include monotonous stretches of flat roadway.

Smartphones can distract some truck drivers when they talk or text without hands-free assistance. Many non-electronic distractions may affect a driver. Any distractions increase the chances of a collision.

Additionally, some truck drivers cause accidents when they violate standard traffic laws that apply to all vehicles, including right-of-way laws and speed limits.

A truck driver may also cause an accident if they fail to use their turn signal at the proper time or if they fail to look into their mirrors when switching lanes or backing out of parking spaces.

In addition to common road-rule violations, a truck accident may happen when a driver or trucking company employee fails to follow all applicable state and federal motor carrier regulations, especially when inspecting their truck, loading cargo onto the truck, and securing cargo onto the trailer bed.

When truck drivers and trucking companies violate these standards, the truck may become top-heavy, or its center of balance may become offset.

Consequently, the truck may roll over in the middle of the road, or cargo may fall off the truck and into the path of an oncoming vehicle, causing serious accidents and injuries.

Besides truck driver negligence, some truck accidents occur when trucking companies and their employees are negligent. For example, a trucking company employee may fail to inspect or load the truck properly, leading to a serious accident.

Additionally, a trucking company may fail to supervise its drivers properly and ensure that they comply with all continuing education and CDL requirements.

Finally, a trucking company may negligently entrust one of their vehicles to a problem truck driver, including a driver with a poor driving record or a history of DUIs while on the road.

If the problem truck driver subsequently causes an accident, the trucking company may be fully or partially to blame for the consequences.

After suffering injuries in a truck accident, consult a truck accident attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights and interests.

Your attorney will then do everything possible to maximize your total compensation by aggressively negotiating with insurance company representatives and providing you with the information necessary to make important decisions throughout your case.

In a third-party truck accident claim or lawsuit for personal injuries, the accident victim, rather than the truck driver or trucking company, has the sole legal burden of proof.

Specifically, to prevail in a truck accident claim or lawsuit, the injured accident victim must establish that:

  • The truck driver and/or the trucking company owed them a legal duty of reasonable care
  • The truck driver and/or the trucking company violated that legal duty of care in some manner
  • As a result of the violation, the truck accident happened
  • The accident victim suffered one or more personal injuries as a direct and unforeseeable result of the truck accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence.

Your truck accident lawyer can gather evidence to satisfy your legal burden of proof in the case, making you eligible to recover various types and amounts of monetary damages.

The Truck Driver or Trucking Company’s Insurer Is Never on Your Side

In a third-party truck accident claim or lawsuit, your attorney will typically deal directly with the insurance company on your behalf. However, that insurance company is not on your side and never advocates for your legal interests.

Rather, as a big business, the insurance company will do everything possible to undervalue your claim. Sometimes, the insurance company may even deny liability for the accident or argue that the accident victim is overstating or exaggerating their injuries.

In those circumstances, your truck accident lawyer can advocate aggressively for you. For example, your attorney can point to favorable medical treatment records or expert reports that show that the truck driver or trucking company was responsible and that you suffered physical injuries due to the accident.

If the insurance company still refuses to make you a fair settlement offer, your lawyer may threaten the insurance company with in-court litigation and take the steps necessary to file a lawsuit in the state court system.

Truck Accident Victims May Recover Several Different Types of Financial Compensation

Depending upon the jurisdiction where a truck accident happens, some truck accident victims can file a claim for compensation under their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance policy.

As part of a PIP claim, they may receive compensation for lost earnings, medical expenses, and other out-of-pocket costs.

When a truck accident victim can satisfy their legal burden of proof in a third-party personal injury claim, they may receive monetary damages, depending on their injuries, their medical treatment, and the total costs they incur due to their accident-related losses.

Specifically, victims of truck accidents can receive financial recovery for all of the following, depending upon their circumstances: mental distress, lost quality of life, physical pain and suffering, loss of spousal consortium, lost earnings, loss of earning capacity, past and future medical expenses, permanent disability or disfigurement, and long-term or lifetime care costs.

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

Upon sustaining injuries in a truck accident that a negligent truck driver or trucking company caused, you cannot depend on the insurance company to act in your best interests. Rather, you must retain a truck accident lawyer who can aggressively advocate on your behalf as quickly as possible.

Victims of truck accidents must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of their accident date according to the state statute of limitations. Otherwise, the court will prevent an accident victim from recovering any damages for their injuries.

A personal injury attorney in Gainesville can act on your behalf immediately after a truck accident, securing your right to full compensation for your injuries. Throughout the legal process, your lawyer will advocate for you, working to maximize your overall monetary award.