Going to Court after a Trucking Accident

Going to Court after a Trucking Accident

When truck drivers and trucking companies violate traffic laws and motor carrier regulations, they can cause accidents that bring about serious injuries.

In some cases, depending upon the jurisdiction, accident victims can file a claim under their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance policy for compensation.

However, at other times, they may be eligible to pursue compensation from the at-fault truck driver or trucking company’s insurer. If the insurance company denies fault for the accident or refuses to offer significant monetary compensation, the accident victim may file a personal injury lawsuit in the court system.

Litigating a truck accident case and taking it to court can be extremely complicated. Therefore, you need to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Brandon as quickly as possible about your legal matter.

Your attorney can handle all of the legal steps in your case and pursue the litigation result you need to become whole again after your accident.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Trucking Accidents?

Trucking accidents are often complex events that result from a combination of factors, ranging from human errors to systemic issues within the trucking industry.

Some of the most prevalent causes of local trucking accidents include:

Causes of Trucking Accidents

  • Improper cargo loading or securement – Incorrectly loaded or unsecured cargo can lead to serious and sometimes deadly truck accidents. Shifting cargo loads may affect the truck’s stability, causing it to become top-heavy and potentially leading to rollovers or spills. Ensuring proper loading and securement is crucial for safe cargo transportation.
  • Distracted driving – Like any other driver, truck operators can be prone to distractions, such as using mobile phones, adjusting in-cab devices, programming GPS navigation systems, or eating and drinking while driving. Distracted driving can lead to reduced attention on the road and may contribute to serious accidents.
  • Excessive speeding – Truck drivers may exceed speed limits or fail to adjust their speed to roadway and weather conditions. The size and weight of trucks make speeding particularly hazardous, increasing the severity of accidents.
  • Truck driver fatigue – Long hours on the road and tight schedules can lead to driver fatigue, affecting a truck driver’s alertness and reaction time. Federal motor carrier regulations prescribe maximum driving hours, but non-compliance or pressure from employers may contribute to fatigue-related truck accidents that leave other drivers and passengers severely injured.
  • Truck driver intoxication – Operating a large commercial truck while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can lead to impaired judgment, delayed reflexes, and slowed reaction times, which in turn may cause severe accidents with other vehicles.
  • Inadequate truck driver training or supervision – Insufficient training for truck drivers, especially those new to the profession, may contribute to accidents. Proper training in handling large vehicles, understanding regulations, and practicing defensive driving is crucial for accident prevention. Trucking companies are ultimately responsible for properly training and supervising their employee drivers.
  • Pressure to meet tight deadlines – Pressure to meet tight delivery deadlines and reap huge financial benefits from trucking companies may encourage truck drivers to take risks, such as speeding or driving for extended periods without rest breaks. This pressure, often resulting from tight schedules and demanding employers, may compromise safety for other roadway drivers and passengers.
  • Lack of advanced safety technologies – Some large commercial trucks lack advanced safety technologies, like collision avoidance systems or lane departure warnings. The absence of these features can increase the likelihood of accidents, especially in situations where quick responses by truck drivers are critical to preventing an accident.
  • Tractor and trailer maintenance issues – Neglecting regular maintenance or using faulty equipment on large trucks and tractor-trailers can result in mechanical failures, such as brake malfunctions or tire blowouts. These issues significantly increase the risk of accidents on the road. Trucking companies are frequently responsible for properly maintaining their equipment.
  • Size disparity between vehicles – The significant weight and size disparity between large commercial trucks and smaller vehicles can lead to more severe consequences in truck accidents. Collisions between trucks and smaller cars often result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities.

If you suffered injuries in a truck accident that resulted from truck driver or trucking company negligence, a skilled personal injury attorney can file a claim on your behalf and, if necessary, litigate your case in court.

Who Can Be Legally Liable for a Trucking Accident?

Injured accident victims can file a legal claim with the responsible truck driver or trucking company’s insurer in a fault-based jurisdiction. Determining fault for a trucking accident involves considering various factors and entities that may contribute to or directly cause the incident.

Multiple parties may ultimately be responsible for a trucking accident, including:

  • Truck drivers – The primary responsibility for a truck accident usually lies with the truck driver. Factors such as distracted driving, fatigue, speeding, or intoxicated driving can contribute to accidents. Violations of traffic laws or negligence on the driver’s part may result in their liability.
  • Employer trucking companies – The company that employs a negligent or reckless truck driver may also be responsible for a truck accident. If the company fails to properly vet drivers, enforce safety regulations, or adequately maintain its fleet, it may be responsible under a legal theory of negligent entrustment or supervision.
  • Cargo loading companies – Entities responsible for loading and securing cargo to the bed of a truck may be liable if improper loading contributes to the accident. Shifting or unsecured cargo can affect the truck’s stability and lead to accidents – especially if improperly secured cargo lands in the middle of the roadway.
  • Third-party contractors – Sometimes, trucking companies subcontract various tasks, such as maintenance or cargo loading, to third-party contractors. If the contractor’s negligence contributes to the accident, they may share the liability.
  • Truck part manufacturers – If a defective part or component in the truck contributes to the accident, the manufacturer may be responsible. This can include mechanical issues involving tires, braking systems, and other critical systems.
  • Vehicle maintenance providers – Companies responsible for maintaining the truck, including those handling inspections, repairs, or part replacements, may be held responsible if mechanical failures contribute to an accident. Inadequate maintenance can lead to tire blowouts, brake malfunctions, and other serious issues.
  • Government entities – Poorly designed or maintained roads – inadequate signage in a particular location – may contribute to truck accidents. Government entities responsible for road maintenance and safety may be accountable. However, in these types of cases, notice provisions typically apply.

Determining responsibility often involves a thorough investigation into the truck accident’s circumstances, and legal proceedings may involve multiple parties. A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area can identify all potentially responsible parties for your truck accident and take the necessary legal steps on your behalf.

Taking a Truck Accident Case to Court

An accident victim may need to take a truck accident case to court if the insurance company denies liability for their accident or if the insurance company adjuster will not offer a fair monetary settlement.

The litigation process involves several key stages, including:

Truck Accident Case

  • Consultation with an attorney promptly – After a trucking accident, individuals involved or their families should consult with an experienced local truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can assess the details of the accident, gather evidence, and advise on the potential for a successful legal claim.
  • Investigating the accident circumstances and gathering evidence – A truck accident attorney can begin an extensive investigation to gather evidence supporting the accident victim’s claim. This investigation may include obtaining accident reports, written witness statements, photographs of the accident scene, truck maintenance records, and black box data from the truck (if available).
  • Filing a Complaint in the state court system – If the parties cannot reach a settlement through negotiation with the responsible parties or their insurance companies, the accident victim’s attorney may file a formal lawsuit by submitting a Complaint to the court. This legal document outlines the claims, allegations, and compensation sought.
  • Discovery – The discovery phase of litigation involves both parties exchanging relevant information and evidence. Depositions, interrogatories, and document requests are common during this phase. The litigation process helps each side understand the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing party’s case.
  • Mediation and settlement negotiations – Before proceeding to trial, parties often engage in mediation or settlement negotiations that a neutral third party facilitates. These measures attempt to resolve the case without going through a full trial. If the parties can reach an acceptable settlement amount, the case may conclude at this stage.
  • Trial – The case usually proceeds to trial if the parties do not reach a settlement. Both parties present their evidence, witness testimonies, and legal arguments during the trial. The judge or jury then determines fault and assesses damages based on the presented evidence.
  • Verdict – After considering all evidence, the judge or jury delivers a verdict. If either party is dissatisfied with the outcome, they may file an appeal to challenge specific legal decisions made during the trial.

Throughout these stages, effective legal representation is crucial. A skilled truck accident attorney can guide you through the complexities of truck accident litigation, ensuring that your rights remain protected and that you have the best chance of obtaining fair monetary compensation for your accident-related injuries and losses.

Common Injuries in a Truck Accident

Truck accidents often result in severe injuries due to the size and weight disparity between trucks and other vehicles. These forceful accidents may also cause a wide range of physical and emotional injuries, varying in severity.

Some of the most common injuries that truck accident victims suffer include:

  • Traumatic head and brain injuries – or TBIs
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Full and partial paralysis injuries
  • Neck and back injuries (including whiplash)
  • Fractures and broken bones
  • Internal bleeding and organ damage
  • Burn injuries
  • Facial contusions
  • Amputations
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

These injuries often necessitate extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and ongoing care. Truck accident victims may also face long recovery periods, permanent disabilities, and substantial financial burdens.

Seeking immediate medical attention after a truck accident is crucial, not only for the accident victim’s health but also for documenting injuries supporting any potential legal claims for compensation.

While you recover from your injuries and focus on getting better, your truck accident lawyer can handle the legal aspects of your claim for you.

What Monetary Damages Can I Recover for Truck Accident Injuries?

Trucking accidents can result in significant financial burdens for victims, encompassing various damages that are legally recoverable. These monetary damages aim to compensate accident victims for the full extent of their economic and non-economic losses.

Some key types trucking accident financial damages that accident victims may recover include compensation for:

  • Past and future related medical expenses
  • Lost earnings
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Loss of use of a body part (such as from an accident-related paralysis injury)
  • Property damage
  • Past and future pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish and mental distress
  • Loss of consortium
  • Permanent disfigurement or disability

Also, if a trucking accident results in a fatality, surviving family members may pursue wrongful death damages. These damages include funeral and burial expenses and compensation for the financial contributions the decedent would have made to the family.

Moreover, in cases where the at-fault party’s conduct is deemed especially reckless or intentional, the injured truck accident victim may be eligible for punitive damages, depending upon the jurisdiction where the accident happened. The primary purpose of these damages is to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar future conduct.

Tatiana Boohoff
Tatiana Boohoff, Car Accident Lawyer.

Contact a Truck Accident Attorney in Your Area Right Away

If you recently sustained injuries in a truck collision, an experienced truck accident lawyer can handle every step of the settlement negotiation and litigation processes.

If the insurance company adjuster handling your claim will not make you a favorable settlement offer, your attorney can aggressively litigate your case in the court system, represent you during all litigation proceedings, and fight for the full monetary recovery you deserve.

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