What to Do If You’re in a Truck Accident
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Trucking accidents are serious events that can result in life-changing injuries. Victims of trucking accidents may not be fully aware of what to do or what rights they have following an accident. Understanding how to respond to a trucking accident may help protect your health and legal rights.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident and are interested in filing a claim, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to receive a free case evaluation with an experienced truck accident injury attorney.
common CAUSES OF TRUCK ACCIDENTS
Trucking accidents can occur for a variety of reasons. Under certain circumstances, the truck driver, the driver’s employer, or a third party may face liability for the accident. Listed below are several of the most common causes of truck accidents throughout the nation.
Poor Weather Conditions
Poor weather conditions such as rain, sleet, snow, or hail turn roadways into one big hazard. Truck drivers and other motorists are at risk of getting into an accident even if all proper driving techniques are utilized.
One of the most common causes of truck accidents across the United States is driver fatigue. Truck drivers may be fatigued for a variety of reasons. For example, truck drivers are expected to work long shifts, often times exceeding twelve, thirteen, or even fourteen hours. This demanding work schedule along with pressure to meet deadlines can result in tired drivers whose concentration or coordination may be impaired.
Lack of Training
State and federal laws mandate that truck drivers undergo rigorous training to ensure that they are capable of driving large commercial vehicles in a safe and responsible manner. Employers of truck drivers are responsible for making sure that their drivers are adequately trained. However, this duty is not always upheld. Sometimes truck drivers or their employers will take figurative shortcuts and neglect training procedures in order to, for example, cut costs. An improperly trained driver puts other motorists in great danger.
State and federal law also mandate that large commercial vehicles such as eighteen-wheelers and semi-trucks undergo routine maintenance to ensure that the vehicle stays in safe operating condition. When truck drivers or employers fail to properly maintain the truck, the risk of an accident happening skyrockets. In such cases, the truck driver or employer may be held accountable.
Unfortunately, a significant amount of trucking accidents occur as a direct consequence of driver intoxication. A driver may be intoxicated as a result of ingesting alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, or other narcotics. When a driver is under the influence, coordination, concentration, and reaction times may be impaired, thus increasing the chances of an accident occurring.
Truck drivers, like ordinary motorists, have tendencies to engage in unsafe or imprudent driving. For example, truck drivers may speed, fail to use a turn signal, run a stop sign, tailgate, or cut someone off. In addition to serving as their own independent traffic violations, these driving practices also increase the risk of an accident occurring.
STEPS TO TAKE FOLLOWING A TRUCK ACCIDENT
Victims of trucking accidents are likely to be hurt, confused, or disoriented in the immediate aftermath of a wreck. Understanding ahead of time what to do in the event that you are involved in a trucking accident may help preserve not only your health and well-being but also the safety of others, and finally, your legal rights. Listed below are several steps that you should take following a trucking accident.
1. Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Given the sheer size of eighteen wheelers and semi-trucks, it should come as no surprise that trucking accidents have the potential to lead to serious injury. Examples of such consequences include traumatic brain injury, permanent spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and even death.
If any of these injuries arise after a wreck, the need for immediate medical attention is apparent. However, it is important to remember that medical attention should be sought even after accidents that seem minor. This is because the effects of an automobile accident may take hours or even days to manifest. Seeking prompt medical attention will help increase your chances of recovering as quickly and efficiently as possible.
2. Report the Accident
Another step you should take following a trucking accident is to report the accident to local law enforcement as soon as possible. You can report the accident immediately after it happens if you are feeling well enough to do so, or you can wait until after you have received medical attention.
Reporting the accident is important because it will create an official record of the accident which may later be used as evidence to support your claim. Reporting the accident may also put the truck driver or his or her employer on notice of unsafe driving and may cause them to implement safer driving practices immediately.
When filling out the report, be sure to include as many details as you can remember, such as the date, time, and location of the accident, how the collision occurred, the injuries and vehicular damage sustained as a result of the crash, and whether there were any witnesses to the accident.
3. Document the Accident
One of the most important but overlooked steps to take following a trucking accident is to document the accident by keeping all paperwork, records, and other materials relating to the accident. Examples of items that should be held on to include copies of the police report, witness statements, medical bills, photographs of your injuries, and photographs of your damaged vehicle.
Keeping these documents in an organized folder at your home, office, or other safe location may make it easier for you to recall the details of your accident and can expedite the claims process. More importantly, these documents may also serve as evidence to substantiate the value of your claim.
4. Call an 18-wheeler accident attorney
Before speaking with insurance companies or agreeing to a claim settlement, contact a truck accident lawyer for a brief consultation regarding your accident. A lawyer may engage in a comprehensive review of the facts of your case and provide legal advice regarding what rights and remedies may be available to you. If necessary, an attorney may also negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to ensure that you receive the full value of your claim. If a settlement agreement cannot be reached, an attorney may file a lawsuit against the necessary parties.
Whom can i sue after a truck accident?
One of the most common and important questions asked by victims of trucking accidents is who can be held legally accountable for the accident occurring. Determining liability requires a careful and thoughtful analysis of the facts and circumstances giving rise to the collision. In many cases, the truck driver is legally at-fault. However, other parties may also be liable. Listed below are several parties that may face liability after a trucking accident.
Truck drivers may face liability if they acted negligently or recklessly, or intentionally caused an accident. Examples of truck driver conduct that may give rise to liability include speeding, driving while intoxicated, driving recklessly, engaging in distracted driving, and falling asleep at the wheel.
The trucking company that employs an at-fault driver may also be liable for trucking accidents. The company may face liability for its own negligence, such as when the company fails to properly train or supervise its drivers. The company may also face liability under a legal theory known as respondeat superior. Under this theory, an employer is responsible for the actions of its employees performed during the course of their employment. Thus, for example, the truck company may also face liability if its driver runs a red light and causes an accident while making a delivery.
A company that manufactured the commercial vehicle or a component of the vehicle may also be held liable under certain circumstances. For instance, if the manufacturer supplied the trucking company with a defective piece of trucking equipment, and the accident was caused by the defect, the manufacturer may be held liable for the accident. These cases typically involve defective tires or brake parts.
Another driver or pedestrian may also face liability for a trucking accident. For example, if a motorist illegally cuts off a truck driver and causes the truck driver to swerve into oncoming traffic, the motorist may be partially at-fault for the accident.
LET ZINDA LAW GROUP HANDLE YOUR TRUCK ACCIDENT CLAIM
Zinda Law Group’s team of truck accident lawyers is ready to help you navigate your claim. In addition to having years of experience handling, litigating, and resolving trucking accident claims, we also have the resources necessary to make your claim as strong as possible. While you focus on recovering from your injuries, we will investigate the facts of your case, interview witnesses, consult with accident reconstruction experts, negotiate with insurance companies, and do whatever else it takes to make sure your rights are fully protected.
Our firm also believes that an injury victim should never have to worry about being able to afford excellent legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.