Commercial trucks are heavier than passenger vehicles and they often carry flammable or hazardous materials. That’s one of the reasons why commercial truck accidents typically result in serious injuries or even death.
In fact, commercial truck drivers are held to a higher legal standard than other drivers are. So if you have been in an accident with a commercial truck, you might be entitled to compensation.
According to NHTSA, there were 330, 000 large trucks involved in trucking accidents in 2012. And the number of total deaths resulting from the accidents had increased by 4%.
Dealing with commercial truck accidents can be stressful not to mention the difficult process you have to go through. But we are here to help you so don’t stress out. We are going to address the most common questions asked by people who have been victims of a trucking accident.
1. What Is A Commercial Truck?
A commercial truck is a car used to transport commercial goods. Examples include delivery vehicles, tanker trucks, 18-wheeler tractor-trailers and other large freight trucks.
Some businesses might use standard pick-up trucks but we are talking about much larger trucks, which can only be operated by a driver with a commercial driver’s license.
2. Why Are Commercial Truck Accidents So Dangerous?
A large, fully loaded truck can weigh as much as or more than 80, 000 pounds. Compare all that weight to a passenger car, which probably weighs approximately 3,000 pounds. The impact of a collision between a passenger car and a commercial truck will definitely result in a serious accident.
Here’s more information on truck accidents.
3. What Should I Do At The Scene Of A Truck Accident?
Unless it’s too dangerous for you to remain in your car, you should always stay calm and remain in your car until help arrives.
Turn on your hazard lights and call 911.
If you have to get out of your car, don’t move it until the police arrive.
Write down the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident. You should also write down the names and badge numbers of any police officers who are investigating the scene of the accident.
Don’t talk to insurance companies or admit you are the one on the wrong. Wait for your lawyer to get there so that they can sort out any legal issues.
Don’t sign any forms sent to you by the trucking company or their insurance carrier. You should always speak to an experienced lawyer first.
4. Can I Be Compensated For Lost Wages If The Accident Wasn’t My Fault?
Yes. You are entitled to compensation for lost wages and any other loss of earning capacity that’s as a result of the accident. Your truck accident lawyer will take you through the process of filing a lawsuit if you decide that is what you want. You have a much higher chance of getting compensation for your injuries if you hire a lawyer than if you went at it alone.
5. What Should I Do In The Days Following The Trucking Accident?
Record any symptoms or pain you experience in a journal. You should also write down all appointments and visits you make with your doctor or your health care provider. Get copies of relevant medical information like treatments, medication and test results.
Record all activities you have been unable to do because of your injuries from the commercial truck accident as well as missed days of work.
6. Can You Sue A Driver’s Trucking Company For Your Injuries?
The answer is yes and no. If you can establish an employment relationship between the trucking company and the driver then you can sue the company for negligence.
If the contractor is an independent contractor, it can be very hard to establish the company’s liability. This is because there are several issues that’ll need to be addressed including the amount of supervision the company exercises.
7. Can I Still Win A Lawsuit If I Was Partially Responsible For The Accident?
This depends entirely on the degree to which you were at fault. Under comparative negligence, the degree to which you are responsible for the accident is determined by comparing your carelessness with the truck driver’s carelessness.
Your portion of liability will dictate the amount you will be expected to pay in damages. But it all depends on where your accident occurred. If it occurred in state that practices the principal of modified comparative fault, you won’t be able to recover anything if you were 50% or 51% responsible for the accident.
8. How Do I Handle A Trucking Company After An Accident?
The first thing you should do is to call a truck accident lawyer. Truck companies will be working hard to try to relieve themselves of any liability in your accident. The worst mistake you can make is to negotiate directly with the trucking company lawyers, insurance adjusters or the trucking company. Any action you take can be held against you in a court of law.
9. I’ve Heard People Say I Shouldn’t Drive In A Truck’s No Zone. What’s A No Zone?
A no-zone is a truck’s blind spot…meaning the truck driver can’t see you when you are in these spots. A truck’s no-zone is usually on the sides, back and around the front. If you happen to be in these spots, the truck could turn on to you and cause a serious accident.
Read about common causes of trucking accidents.
10. What Should You Do To Protect Myself After A Commercial Truck Accident?
Commercial truck accidents are complicated and if you don’t have the necessary knowledge and experience of handling trucking accidents, it’s advisable that you call a lawyer.
A trucking accident lawyer who has deep knowledge and experience in dealing with trucking accidents knows how trucking companies like to fight. For instance, they have their own team of lawyers and investigators who will do anything to make sure they fight against your lawsuit. In other cases, they might try to make your case “go away” by paying you less than you deserve.
But you don’t have to worry about all the legal processes or lawyer fees when you come to us. We work on a contingency fee basis…meaning that we get paid when you get paid. And, we will handle all that needs to be done including dealing with the trucking company’s lawyers, insurers and the hospital.
All you need to do is call us at (800)-200-7752 today for a free initial consultation.