Minnesota Truck Accident Lawyers
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Semi-Truck and 18-Wheeler drivers are expected to follow a different set of rules than regular motor vehicle drivers. If you have been involved in a truck accident, an understanding of these rules and regulations is particularly helpful in being able to file and fight a legal claim against the truck driver or responsible party.
Our lawyers at Zinda Law Group have a vast knowledge of the laws that govern big rig truck drivers and may be able to help you in seeking the compensation you deserve after being involved in an accident.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a semi-truck accident, we may be able to help. Call Zinda Law Group at (888) 345-9407 for a 100% free case evaluation with our Colorado truck accident lawyers today
YOU MAY BE ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION
After an incident with an 18 wheeler, there are several steps you need to take to ensure your health. rehabilitation and to also ensure that the strength of your case is not affected.
What To Do After A Truck Accident
1. Seek Medical Attention
If you are involved in a truck accident, you should immediately seek medical attention. It is important that you seek diagnosis and treatment of any injuries you may have sustained during the accident as soon as possible. This ensures any injuries you may have sustained are quickly discovered and treated, as well as provides evidence that these injuries were caused as a result of your accident. You should document any injuries as well as treatments you may receive after the accident.
2. Report the Accident
After seeking medical attention, report the accident to law enforcement. This is usually achieved by calling local police, sheriff, or highway patrol, who will respond to the accident and write up an accident report.
3. Document Evidence
It is important to document as much evidence of the events surrounding your accident as possible. This includes police reports, witness statements and information, and any other evidence that may be relevant to the accident. Such documentation helps your attorney determine liability and if negligence played a role in causing the accident as well as helps to build a case in seeking compensation for you.
4. Consult a Trucking Accident Attorney
You should consult an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. The sooner you contact an experienced Colorado trucking accident attorney, the sooner your attorney can begin gathering facts, negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf and potentially building a case if necessary while evidence is still fresh and readily available.
How to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit
1. Call a Truck Accident Lawyer
If you are involved in a truck accident, you should contact an experienced Minnesota truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. This allows your attorney to immediately begin to gather evidence and investigate the details of your accident. An attorney is often crucial to seeking the maximum compensation for your injuries and damages.
Once you have consulted a truck accident lawyer, they will immediately begin to investigate your accident. This will include gathering police reports, witness statements, any video that may exist, and examining the factors contributing to the accident. This will help your attorney determine liability and if negligence played a role in the accident.
3. Case Settlement
Once your attorney has gathered all the facts pertaining to the accident, they will begin to negotiate a settlement. Your attorney will present your claim to the insurance company, and they will negotiate back and forth until a settlement can be agreed upon. If the insurance company refuses to settle, the case may go to trial.
Who is Liable?
If the truck driver was negligent in their behavior while operating the truck, they may be liable. Examples of negligent behavior would include, but is not limited to: Distracted driving, driving while under the influence, speeding, reckless driving, or fatigued driving.
Trucking or Cargo Company
The trucking or cargo company may be liable for some accidents. Some examples would include accidents due to improper maintenance, improper loading, driver fatigue caused by extreme expectations by the company, overloaded trucks, or failure to select properly trained drivers adequately.
Various government agencies such as the department of transportation or other government organizations responsible for maintaining roadways may also be liable if poorly maintained, or designed roadways are responsible for the accident.
Proving Truck Driver Negligence
Generally, there are four elements that must be proven to demonstrate negligence by a truck driver in Minnesota trucking accidents:
Duty of Care
The first thing that must be established is that the truck driver had a Duty of Care. With trucking accidents, the truck driver generally has a “duty” to any other people on the road to operate the truck in a safe and lawful manner without causing any injury or damage to others.
Breach of Duty
It must then be proven that the truck driver breached this duty. This can include negligent behavior by the truck driver, such as driving under the influence or while distracted, or failure to properly maintain the truck, leading to a mechanical failure.
It must be proven that the victim of a trucking accident has suffered injury and damages. These damages may include medical bills, disfigurement, pain and suffering, emotional distress, property damage, or other losses.
Finally, it must be proven that the accident involving the truck caused those injuries and damages. Any injuries or damages must have been caused by the truck driver’s negligence.
Compensation in truck accident cases takes many variables into consideration, including determining liability and negligence, property damages, medical expenses, as well as pain and suffering.
- Medical Damages: Medical damages cover costs incurred seeking treatment for injuries suffered as a result of the accident. This can include ER costs, hospital stays, lab work, x-rays, specialist consultations, medical procedures and surgeries, medications, as well as rehabilitative therapies. In some cases, costs for future treatments may be covered as well.
- Property Damages: This covers the costs to repair your damaged vehicle or replace it if repair is not possible, based on the fair market value of your vehicle.
- Lost Income: If you are injured and unable to work as a result, you may be able to claim compensation for lost wages.
- Loss of Earning Potential: If you have been seriously injured, and are no longer able to perform the duties necessary for your job as a result of your injuries, or a loved one has died as a result of the accident, you may be able to claim compensation for the loss of earning potential.
- Pain and Suffering:You may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering. This takes into account the physical and psychological pain endured as a result of injuries caused by the accident.
If a loved one has died as a result of a trucking accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your loss, including lost income if you were dependent upon them or loss of consortium.
Legal Time Limits in Minnesota
Generally, the statute of limitations in Minnesota for automobile accidents is two years from the date of the injury. This means that you have two years from the date of the accident to make a claim. If you try and bring a claim forward after the time limit expires, you may not be entitled to pursue compensation.
However, under Minnesota’s wrongful death law, if the accident caused someone’s death, the family or representative of the victim will have a statute of limitations of three years to file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault truck driver.
If a child was injured and the claim seeks compensation for this minor child, the statute of limitations is paused until the child reaches the age of majority, which is 18 years old in Minnesota. This means that a claim can be filed up to a year period after the injured child reaches age 18, or until the day before the child’s 19th birthday, in other words.
Common Types of Truck Accidents
If you were involved in any of the following 18 wheeler accidents and it wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to seek compensation if you were injured:
This occurs when a truck brakes hard at high speed, causing the driver to lose control of the truck as the trailer comes to a 90-degree angle with the cab.
When a truck driver attempts to make a right turn, they often swing left to do so. This may result in vehicles to the right of the truck being squeezed against the curb or sidewalk. This is also known as a swinging-turn accident.
These accidents are caused by the truck and/or trailer rolling over, often caused by high speeds and steep inclines or declines in the roadway.
Trucks are heavy vehicles and often carry heavy loads, meaning more stress is put on the brake systems. If these systems are improperly installed, maintained, or not replaced regularly, they can fail during a critical moment, and lead to an accident due to the truck being unable to slow down or stop.
Truck Driver DUI
Driving under the influence is dangerous for anybody on the highway, but impaired truckers are much more likely to harm other motorists if involved in an accident due to the nature of their vehicles.
While any vehicle can have a tire blowout, it can be especially dangerous to other vehicles on the road when it occurs on a truck, potentially causing it to lose control and impact other vehicles.
All vehicles have blind spots, or areas where the driver does not have visual contact. However, the size of trucks means that these blind spots are more numerous and larger in size, and this may cause the driver to be unable to see vehicles around them, resulting in an accident.
Improper Braking Technique
Trucks are different in many ways from normal passenger vehicles and require more sophisticated training to operate safely, which includes braking in a fashion that reduces wear on the brakes so as to prevent sudden brake failure.
These often occur as a result of the truck driver misjudging the distance required to bring his truck to a full stop, as they are heavy vehicles often pulling a heavy load.
This occurs when a car impacts the rear of a truck with a trailer, and the trailer is high enough that the car goes under the trailer during the collision, which can cause serious or fatal injuries.
If a truck’s cargo is improperly loaded, it may shift during transit, which can cause a truck driver to lose control of the truck, often resulting in an accident.
Motorcycles and trucks represent two extremes in vehicle size. Truck drivers may not see or notice a motorcycle in their vicinity, and this may result in a serious accident.
When a truck fails to stop at a red light or a stop sign, they can hit vehicles in the side, causing extreme damage and harm to people inside the vehicle.
If a truck is driving on the wrong side of the road or the wrong way down a street or highway, they can hit an oncoming vehicle head-on.
Truck drivers often travel long distances and are expected to deliver their cargo quickly, which means some drivers may drive longer than they should in an attempt to deliver their cargo faster. This can result in driver fatigue, meaning the driver has become too tired or sleepy to drive safely and may have difficulty paying proper attention to the road, other vehicles, and inclement conditions that may affect safe driving.
Some truck drivers may be under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol while they drive. This is always a dangerous situation, as these substances can impair a driver’s ability to drive safely. However, illegal drugs and alcohol are not the only contributors to truck driving while impaired, as some prescription medications, even if taken as prescribed, may interfere with a truck driver’s ability to operate their vehicle safely.
Speeding and Reckless Driving
A truck driver may not be practicing safe driving habits, including exceeding the speed limit, traveling too fast through a work zone or during poor conditions, such as ice, rain, or fog. They may also be weaving in and out of traffic to overtake slower vehicles, as well drifting across lanes haphazardly.
A truck driver may become distracted while driving, causing them to not pay adequate attention to the road and vehicles around them. This can be caused by using a mobile device, eating, looking for a dropped item, or interacting with a passenger.
Braking systems malfunctions are a common cause of many trucking accidents. Trucks travelling long distances in a variety of conditions, while hauling heavy cargo, put a lot of strain on their braking systems. If these systems are not regularly maintained and replaced as needed, they can fail. A truck on I-90 may attempt to slow down due to icy conditions, but due to brake failure, may be unable to so, resulting in an accident.
Improperly loaded cargo
Trucks hauling cargo should be loaded in such a way that the cargo will not shift during transit. If it is improperly loaded, the shifting weight can cause a driver to lose control of the truck, putting the vehicles around it at risk.
If the truck has rear or side lighting that is not working properly, it can increase the chance of an accident, as other drivers may not be aware of presence or intentions, such as turning with an inoperative turn signal.
Worn or Punctured Tires
If tires on a truck are not properly monitored and replaced when they become worn, they can lead to a loss of traction where poor road conditions are present, such as during rain or ice on the roadway, or even cause a blowout while the truck is underway. This can cause a driver to lose control of his truck and cause an accident.
ZINDA LAW GROUP CAN HELP
A semi-truck accident can not only cause you physical harm but can leave you with financial burdens, an inability to continue workings and lost wages. Medical bills and rehabilitation costs can be expensive. This is where Zinda Law Group can help.
Our Minnesota truck injury lawyers can determine whether you have a case, investigate your claim and then build the strongest case possible for you to seek the compensation you deserve.
If you have been hurt in an 18-wheeler accident in Minnesota, contact us today, and our team of experienced truck accident lawyers can advise and handle the legal work for you so you can focus on what is most important: your recovery. Call (888) 309-6676 or chat us today to set up your free attorney consultation.
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