Because of the sheer size and weight difference of commercial trucks (18-wheelers, big rigs, semi trucks), a truck accident can be far more devastating than a car accident. Accidents involving semi-trucks, commercial trucks, large trucks and more may lead to serious injuries or catastrophic injuries including long term disabilities or death.
If you, a family member, or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, it’s important to seek the help of a truck accident lawyer right away. Get connected with a trucking accident lawyer in your area today for your personal injury case.
How are Truck Accidents Different than Car Accidents?
The laws pertaining to large commercial trucks are different.
- Trucking accidents are accidents that occur between a person and a big rig, 18-wheeler, semi, bus, tractor-trailer or commercial vehicle. The laws pertaining to truck accidents are different from car accidents and vary state to state and involve a trucking company and their truck driver. The trucking industry is subject to different federal regulations such as limited hours of service and other safety regulations that a passenger car is not.
The severity of injury and damage tend to be MUCH higher for truck accident injuries.
- If you are a victim, you can face substantial medical bills for your recovery, as well as, property damage, lost wages if you are unable to work, pain and suffering if you have long lasting impairment and bodily pain as a result of your injuries and non-economic damages such as the loss of normalcy to enjoy life.
- Most people will underestimate the full costs of an accident because the costs can continue to accrue and because they are unfamiliar with the laws that govern what you are entitled to as an accident victim.
This is why it is critically important to seek the help of an experienced trucking accident attorney who can help you recover your losses in a comprehensive claim. Speak to a trucking accident lawyer today with a free consultation.
Multiple liable parties can be held responsible.
- In truck accidents, there could be multiple responsible parties such as the truck company, the manufacturer of the vehicle and the company that loaded the truck.
Insurance policies are higher for tractor trailers.
- Truck insurance policies are higher than car insurance policies. This means insurance adjusters will do everything possible to put the passenger vehicle driver at fault to prevent a large payout.
Commercial truck black boxes can provide crucial evidence on how the truck collision occurred.
- Trucking accident personal injury lawyers are incredibly important to have on your side to help you investigate the facts, gather evidence, create a strong legal case, and negotiate for full maximum payment for your accident.
Insurance adjusters and trucking companies are unlikely to offer victims the maximum compensation amount for their injuries.
- They are a business that is incentivized to reduce their payouts to keep costs low.
In order to understand the value of your accident, it’s in your best interest to speak to a trucking accident lawyer first before speaking to your insurance company. An experienced trucking accident lawyer will assess your accident and build a strong case so that you can receive maximum compensation and carry on with your life.
How Much Does it Cost to Retain a Trucking Accident Attorney?
Most trucking accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means that they don’t get paid unless they win for you. This arrangement is very beneficial for the plaintiff in many ways:
- Your accident attorney is aligned in incentives to make sure you win. Attorneys that work on contingency are financing all upfront costs. It’s in their interest to win a maximum recovery for you and to do so efficiently.
- You don’t have to pay up front fees for their services. Legal representation is expensive and many people are afraid of hiring a lawyer. On contingency, a lawyer either wins or their client doesn’t have to pay. Additionally, contingency payments are only made after the reward is secured as a payment of the reward amount. This arrangement represents no risk to plaintiffs.
- If a law firm decides to take you on, they are likely confident in their ability to secure a win. In some cases, a trucking accident attorney may not decide to take you on for instance if the injuries are small it may not be cost effective for them to manage the claim for you or you can find another accident attorney who will help you. Speak to several accident attorneys to discuss your case. Having more than one option is very helpful for you to understand what’s available and choose between them. We’ll connect you to several accident lawyers in our network.
Compare Trucking Accident Lawyers in Your Area.
Get a free consultation with several personal injury lawyers in your area to talk to them about your accident, how they work with their clients, what they think they can do for your case, and answer your questions.
What to Look for in a Trucking Accident Attorney
These are questions you can ask in addition to speaking about your accident during your free consultation.
- Compare trucking accident attorneys. Use our short form or call our number to connect with personal injury attorneys in your location. It’s best to compare your options to find one that you are comfortable using.
- Understand the fee structure. Confirm if they are paid on contingency, when payment occurs, and what percentage it is. Are there any other costs in relation to working with them?
- Ask about their track record of wins and experience in trucking accidents in your state.
- Get a free consultation with trucking accident attorneys in our nationwide network. Be sure to take notes and compare so you can make the decision that suits you.
What Determines Compensation Amounts For an 18-Wheeler Accident Case?
If you were not at fault, you could be compensated for the losses sustained during the accident and for future losses as a result of the accident. Personal injury lawsuits for a trucking accident seek to recover trucking accident settlements to pay for:
- Medical treatment and medical expenses related to the accident including immediate and ongoing (such as rehabilitation or a surgery that is needed as a result of the accident)
- Property damage
- Lost wages due to inability to work. Lost future wages if a victim’s ability to work has been compromised due to their injuries.
- Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
- Punitive damages if the accident was reckless or malicious in nature. This is often rare.
Compensation amounts vary widely but if catastrophic injuries occurred such as traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury occur, claims amounts and settlement offers for trucking accident victims will likely be higher than lesser injuries. Compensation amounts are also dependent on the other driver’s insurance policy as well as your own.
Only a trucking accident lawyer can give you an estimate based on your specific circumstances.
Trucking Accident Lawyers are Personal Injury Lawyers
Personal injury lawyers help their clients build a personal injury claim and seek compensation for injuries sustained due to another person’s fault. Their work can involve:
- Determining liability
- Gathering evidence and investigating
- Helping their client understand the law
- Negotiating for a fair settlement from insurance companies of those at fault or of the client’s insurance company.
- Filing a lawsuit if an insurance company will not negotiate
- Representing you in court if a lawsuit goes to trial
Why It’s Beneficial to Have a Trucking Accident Lawyer
A study by the Research Insurance Council determined that those who were represented by a lawyer earn 3.5x greater reward than those who represent themselves.
- An experienced trucking accident attorney is knowledgeable about the law. There are federal regulations that trucking companies and drivers must abide by that come into play for a big rig trucking accident.
- It’s their job as attorneys to know the laws and regulations from the FMCSA to build a strong case for trucking accident victims. Laws are extremely complex and differ by state and city.
- Experienced trucking accident lawyers know how to build a solid case to win maximum compensation.
- That is their job and they have the experience to know what to do to create a case with the best chance of success. In fact, they are incentivized to do so if they take on a client as most personal injury lawyers only work on contingency.
- Trucking accident attorneys are skilled negotiators on behalf of their clients.
- Trucking accident lawyers are personal injury lawyers and most are paid on a contingency fee basis.
- This means that they don’t get paid unless they win compensation for their client. This aligns their incentives to their clients to win. Clients benefit from not having to pay upfront costs for legal representation.
- Insurance companies are more likely to negotiate with a client that is represented by an attorney.
When Should I Contact a Trucking Accident Lawyer?
If you were seriously injured in a trucking accident, you have a limited time to file a personal injury claim. The statute of limitations varies by state. In California, you have 2 years to file a claim, whereas in Tennessee, only 1 year.
If you were not at fault, it’s in your best interest to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible so they can help you prepare and set up the best chances for winning full financial compensation for your losses. You will want to speak to them early so you know what not to do especially when it comes to speaking with insurance companies that can use anything you say against you.
Working with a trucking accident lawyer right away will help you:
- Setup your case for the best chance of winning.
- Educate you on what to do and what NOT to do (for example not to speak to the other driver’s insurance company directly instead of through your attorney).
- Walk you through the claim process.
- Value your trucking accident claim.
- Potentially expedite your compensation.
Get Free Consultations from Personal Injury Lawyers in Your Area
Our form connects you to personal injury lawyers in your area. The lawyers we connect you to offer free case evaluations and most work on contingency. Be sure to verify their fee structure and how they work with their clients during your consultation.
You’ll be matched with more than one so you are not limited in your options. Be sure to use your free case evaluation to ask the questions you need to determine which personal injury attorney works best for you. You can ask about their fee structure, their track record, and what they think you can recover for your case.
What Should I Do if I Was in an Trucking Accident?
If you are ever involved in a trucking crash, some tips from personal injury lawyers will include the following steps to take:
- Call 911
- Make sure you call from a safe place following an accident.
- Collect information about your trucking accident.
- After any necessary medical treatment from emergency technicians has been given at the scene, exchange contact information with others in the accident. Get names and phone numbers of witnesses.
- Take pictures of the scene and get a police report.
- Use your cell phone to take photos and videos of the entire accident scene. Get a copy of the police report.
- Make sure you receive medical care even if no injuries are visible.
- You may have sustained injuries you are not aware of. Take trucking of your health.
- If you were seriously injured and not at fault, it’s in your best interest to speak to an trucking accident attorney first. Trucking accidents are complicated and involve regulations and laws uniquely applicable for trucking. Many people who try to go it alone without an experienced attorney will not be able to recoup the maximum compensation that an experienced attorney can recover for them.
Most Common Causes of Trucking Accidents With Other Vehicles
It’s very common for those not at fault in a trucking accident to have been hit by a negligent or distracted driver. Due to the size and weight of a truck, if a truck becomes out of control, it can easily become a deadly weapon.
Here are some of the common accidents that occur with at-fault drivers:
- Maintenance and Training: Training of the truck driver is critical to ensure they are prepared to drive safely. Laws also require trucks to be mechanically maintained for safely. A poorly maintained truck can cause accidents even with a well-training driver.
- Fatigue: Truck drivers endure driving long distances for long durations of time. It’s not uncommon for a truck driver to be affected by fatigue. Fatigue can cause drowsy driving where a driver may not be able to react fast enough if needed to respond to something on the road. Truck drivers may also accidentally fall asleep at the wheel.
- Distracted Driving: Distracted driving is a common cause of accidents for all motorists. These include texting and driving, making a phone call, or anything that distracts a driver from paying attention to the road.
- Speeding: Given the nature of truck driving, many are on tight delivery schedules which could influence their desire to speed.
- Weather: Inclement weather makes visibility poor and difficult for drivers to see other vehicles. Rain, ice and snow can affect the distance to stopping a vehicle. It’s important for drivers to drive at a safe speed for the conditions of the road.
- Overloaded Trucks: One of the most dangerous and avoidable accidents are overloaded trucks. An overloaded truck increases the risk that a truck driver will have difficulty handling the vehicle. Common scenarios include exceeding weight limit causing likelihood of tipping, exceeding height clearance for bridges and overpasses, increasing the distance needed to stop a truck, and jackknifing (when a truck comes to a sudden stop but its traile continues causing a sharp angle of the truck. In most of these cases, the driver loses control of the truck.
Federal regulations are set to make trucks and their drivers safer, unfortunately, accidents where federal regulations have been ignored are still far too common.
Example Trucking Accident Case Settlements
The majority of personal injury claims cases settle outside of court as opposed to going to trial. Below are examples of several settlement cases. These cases are public statements made by law firms in different states. They are not representative of compensation for similar accidents. Every accident is unique and different states have different laws.
Insurance policies are much greater for tractor-trailers and injuries tend to be much more serious than passenger car injuries leading to higher value settlements.
Only an experienced trucking accident attorney can give you a good idea of what they would expect to win for you for your situation.
- 71% of fatalities involving large trucks were occupants of other vehicles.
- 69% of injuries involving large trucks were occupants of other vehicles.
$750,000 Tractor-trailer accident case settles during first day of trial in Georgia – Butler Kahn
$2,500,000 commercial truck accident lawsuit that involved a motorcyclist who was struck and injured by a truck with a trailer attached in Wisconsin. “The defendant insurance company refused to make a settlement offer before a formal lawsuit was filed. After a significant amount of discovery, including deposition testimony, the case was set for mandatory mediation. At the conclusion of the mediation, the case was ultimately settled for $2.5 million.” – Gruber Law
$600,000 settlement for a wrongful death / semi-truck accident in Arizona where the police initially did not find the truck driver at fault but the personal injury attorneys retained were able to determine that the truck company had a record of inadequate performance and pushing the regulatory limits imposed on drivers. – Mayro
$1,300,000 settlement after a big rig drops a housing unit onto an oncoming pick up truck during high winds resulting in serious back injuries and the inability to work for the pickup driver in California. The retained personal injury law firm was able to gather evidence that the trucking company ignored the terms of their permit stating that they should not drive in high wind conditions and that the truck had rusty brakes and was poorly maintained. – CCW