Who is Liable for a Truck Accident?

In most situations, truck accidents result from negligent truck drivers and the trucking companies that employ them. When a large truck hits a smaller passenger vehicle, the driver and occupants of the smaller vehicle usually suffer the most severe injuries in the crash.

Depending upon your jurisdiction, you may be eligible to file a claim with your own insurance company for monetary damages after a truck accident (via a claim for Personal Injury Protection or PIP benefits) or bring a claim against the negligent truck driver or trucking company’s insurer.

In addition to seeking swift medical treatment after a truck accident, you should consult with experienced legal counsel as soon as possible about your options for recovering the monetary damages you deserve.

Your attorney can file a claim with the appropriate insurance company and pursue a fair settlement offer that compensates you for all of your injuries. If you can file a third-party claim or a lawsuit with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, your lawyer can assist you throughout the process and, if necessary, help you litigate your case in the court system.

Your truck accident lawyer will do everything possible to help you maximize your total monetary award, ensuring you become whole again and obtain the justice you deserve for your injuries.

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Causes of Truck Collisions

Serious truck accidents usually result from truck driver error and negligence. Truck drivers have a responsibility to drive carefully and safely at all times. When they fail to do so, their chances of causing an accident increase significantly.

One common cause of truck accidents is traffic law violations. Truck drivers must follow all posted speed limits, obey all right-of-way laws, use turn signals at the proper times, and comply with all federal and state motor carrier regulations, especially concerning weight limits and loading procedures. When truck drivers violate these rules, they increase their chances of causing a crash that leads to severe injuries.

Truck accidents may also happen when drivers become fatigued while behind the wheel. Truck drivers usually become fatigued when they drive for long hours without stopping to take frequent breaks. The trucking companies that employ these drivers might even offer incentives if drivers deliver their cargo to its final destination ahead of schedule.

Some drivers will even resort to controlled substances to try and keep themselves awake for long hours to drive to their final destination without stopping. However, these substances sometimes have mind-altering effects and may actually make the driver sleepy while behind the wheel.

Fatigued drivers may also fall asleep at the wheel, causing them to lose control of their trucks and cause serious accidents. Even if drowsy drivers do not fall completely asleep, they may experience delayed concentration and limited reaction time, ultimately leading to a motor vehicle crash.

Truck accidents can also result from road rage. When drivers become angry while behind the wheel, they may exhibit various aggressive driving maneuvers, including excessive speeding, tailgating other vehicles, failing to use turn signals, and cutting smaller vehicles off at highway merge lanes. When truck drivers drive overzealously, they may negligently cause a collision with one or more other vehicles, causing multiple crashes and injuries.

Next, some truck accidents result from distracted or inattentive driving. Truck drivers may become preoccupied with electronic devices in their vehicles, including stereo systems, tablets, GPS navigation systems, and cellular devices.

Loud music in the cab of a truck may also prove distracting for the driver. If a driver fails to observe the road or shifts their eyes off it, they may cause a severe accident.

Finally, some truck accidents happen because drivers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol while behind the wheel. While passenger vehicle drivers must not have a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, that is 0.08 percent or higher, truck drivers must follow stricter legal standards.

If a truck driver ultimately causes an accident because of their intoxication, they may have to pay criminal penalties, including monetary fines, or serve jail time. In addition, they may have to pay financial compensation to an accident victim through their insurance company.

Controlled substances can significantly alter a truck driver’s mindset, limit their concentration, and cause various physical symptoms, including blurred vision. As a result, the truck driver may not notice a pedestrian or another vehicle that is approaching. Similarly, alcohol and other controlled substances may affect a driver’s reaction time and reflexes. Consequently, the driver cannot stop their vehicle in time to avoid a severe accident.

In addition to truck driver negligence, some truck accidents happen because trucking companies behave recklessly and carelessly. Trucking companies have a duty to hire and retain only competent, safe drivers.

When a trucking company employs or retains a driver with a record of moving violations or other infractions, they may be responsible – along with the negligent truck driver – for any accident. Trucking companies may also be responsible for failing to properly train or supervise their drivers.

Finally, some truck accidents result from mechanical defects or negligent repair work on a truck or tractor-trailer.

If you suffered injuries in a truck accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence, your attorney can review the facts and circumstances of your case and determine your eligibility for filing a claim or lawsuit, depending upon your circumstances. Your lawyer can help you file a claim for the total monetary recovery you deserve based on your injuries and other accident consequences.

Types of Truck Crashes

When truck drivers behave in a negligent or reckless manner, they may cause several types of accidents, which lead to debilitating injuries for accident victims. One common type of truck accident is a rear-end collision. These accidents happen when the front of a truck or tractor-trailer hits the back of another vehicle. These accidents usually occur when truck drivers are driving too fast for the prevailing road or weather conditions. They can also happen when truck drivers negligently tailgate other drivers.

Another common type of truck accident is a jackknife accident. These accidents happen when the tractor and trailer sections of a large truck fold inward on one another, taking on the appearance of a jackknife.

Jackknife accidents may occur when truck drivers speed, especially around sharp curves. When a large truck jackknifes, it may skid forward or down a hill, hitting numerous other vehicles in its path and causing severe injuries.

Another common type of truck accident is a rollover accident. Again, these accidents frequently occur when truck drivers speed around sharp curves or down a hill, and the truck overturns partially or entirely. These accidents may also happen when the truck’s center of balance becomes offset because of improper loading.

Next, truck sideswipe accidents happen when the side of a large truck hits the side of a vehicle traveling in a parallel lane in the same direction. The force of a sideswipe accident may actually push the other car off the road entirely and onto the road shoulder. At other times, the power of a sideswipe accident may cause the other vehicle to go into an adjacent travel lane, sometimes resulting in a subsequent collision.

Another common type of truck accident is a head-on crash. These accidents happen when the front of a truck or tractor-trailer hits the front of an oncoming vehicle. Sometimes, the force of these collisions is so great that it causes the vehicles to fold in on themselves and bring about permanent injuries and fatalities.

Finally, a broadside (or T-bone) accident happens when the front of a large truck strikes the side of another vehicle traveling on an intersecting roadway. A broadside collision may cause the vehicle on the intersecting road to overturn in the middle of the intersection or rollover, bringing about debilitating and sometimes deadly injuries.

If you suffered injuries in one of these types of truck accidents that a negligent driver caused, you should immediately seek the legal help you need. A truck accident attorney in your area can go through all of your legal options with you and help you chart a course of action for your case. Your attorney can then help you file a personal injury claim to maximize the compensation you recover for your injuries.

Injuries that Truck Accident Victims Suffer

Drivers and passengers in truck accidents frequently suffer serious injuries that leave them incapacitated for a significant amount of time. In some situations, these injuries are permanent, meaning they will affect the accident victim for the remainder of their life.

The injuries that a truck accident victim sustains will usually depend upon certain accident-specific factors, including the force of the collision, the number of crashes that occur, and how the driver or passenger’s body moves inside their vehicle. If the energy of a truck collision causes a part of the accident victim’s body to hit something in their car, then the accident victim may suffer a traumatic head or brain injury, broken bone, rib fracture, or soft tissue neck and back injury.

Other common injuries that truck accident victims may suffer include:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Internal organ damage
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Paralysis
  • Open lacerations
  • Bruises

One of the best ways to improve your chances of making a full recovery following a truck accident is to seek ongoing medical treatment for your injuries. For example, you may need to consult a medical specialist, attend physical therapy sessions, or follow up with your primary care doctor.

By seeking this ongoing medical treatment, you also show the insurance company that your injuries are legitimate and that you deserve to recover compensable monetary damages to become whole again.

While you focus your attention on your medical treatment, your truck accident attorney can start gathering your medical bills and treatment records and assembling a settlement demand package for you.

Monetary Damages in a Truck Accident Case

In no-fault jurisdictions like Florida, truck accident victims will first need to turn to their own insurance company to recover monetary compensation for their out-of-pocket losses, including their medical expenses and lost income. This is because all drivers in Florida must carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage. PIP coverage will pay out a maximum of $10,000 in compensation for a motor vehicle crash.

However, if the accident victim suffers a permanent disability or disfiguring injury in their accident, they can turn to the at-fault truck driver or trucking company’s insurer for the monetary compensation that they need. They can accomplish this goal by filing a third-party claim or lawsuit and naming the truck driver or trucking company as a defendant.

To succeed in a third-party claim, the accident victim will need to prove several legal elements in their case. For example, they must demonstrate that the at-fault truck driver or trucking company behaved unreasonably under the circumstances and deviated from the prevailing standard of care, such as by violating one or more traffic laws or motor carrier regulations.

Next, the accident victim must establish that as a direct result of the truck driver or trucking company’s negligence, the accident occurred, which subsequently led to their personal injury or injuries.

In fault-based jurisdictions like Washington State, drivers can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit directly against the at-fault party – or their insurance company – from the onset and recover various damages.

Third-party damages that accident victims may be eligible to recover can include monetary compensation for their medical costs, lost earnings, pain and suffering, mental distress, loss of life enjoyment, inability to use a body part, inconvenience, loss of spousal companionship, permanent disability or disfigurement, and lifetime care costs.

A knowledgeable truck accident attorney in your area can help you determine the type of claim you can file in your case, depending on your jurisdiction. Your attorney can then help you file the appropriate claim and pursue the full monetary recovery you deserve for your accident-related losses.

Talk with a Truck Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today

Tatiana Boohoff, Lawyer for Motorcycle Accident cases near Tampa area.
Tatiana Boohoff, Truck Accident Attorney in Tampa.

When recovering monetary compensation after a truck accident, you need skilled legal counsel on your side right away. Your personal injury attorney in Tampa can file a claim or lawsuit and maximize the total monetary award you recover in your case.

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Boohoff Law, P.A. — Auto Accident Lawyers – Tampa Office

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Tampa, FL 33603

Phone: 813-725-5606

July 14, 2023
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