• Wed. Sep 21st, 2022

You have been injured in a truck accident. And after? Do you need a lawyer? | Morris James LLP

ByElla E. Kidwell

Apr 22, 2022

Trucking accidents can be catastrophic events. These accidents involve heavy vehicles that usually carry even heavier loads. While any road accident can cause serious injury, when large trucks traveling at speed collide, jackknife or overturn, there is an even greater risk of horrific, sometimes fatal, injuries to occupants. other vehicles on the road.

According to statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 127,000 injury accidents involving large trucks or buses in 2019, a statistic that has been steadily increasing since 2009. In fact, statistics show that there was one 62% increase in injury accidents involving trucks and buses from 2009 to 2015. In 2019 alone, 5,237 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal accidents.

What types of injuries can occur in a truck accident?

Injuries in a trucking accident can range from minor cuts and bruises to serious injuries and death. In a truck accident, it is common to see more serious injuries or more injured people due to the greater size and weight of a truck and its cargo, or even the nature of the cargo which can be dangerous. . Trucking accidents tend to happen at higher speeds, as trucks generally travel on larger roads with higher speed limits. Common injuries in trucking accidents include:

  • Head injuries
  • Brain trauma
  • broken bones
  • Lacerations
  • burns
  • bruises
  • Internal injuries and bleeding
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Paralysis
  • Emotional and psychological trauma

What to do if you have been injured in a truck accident?

If you have been injured in a truck accident, either as a driver or a passenger, the most important thing is to get to safety and treat the injuries.

Call 911 alert the police and call the fire department or an ambulance, if necessary. If you do not need an ambulance, you should always seek prompt medical attention for any injury. Even minor injuries can turn into major problems or can lead to infection and scarring. All medical reports and the police report will be important for any future insurance claims or legal claims in relation to the accident.

Gather evidence from the scene. Take photos or video, if safe to do so, of the accident scene to document the vehicles position and conditions at the time of the accident. Photos can also be a useful way to quickly record license plate numbers, insurance information, and similar information. Obtain contact information for any witnesses.

Obtain insurance and employer information from the truck driver. The truck driver should give you their contact and insurance details, including insurance provider and policy number. Often, truck accidents involve commercial vehicles. You must therefore also obtain the contact details of the truck driver’s employer and/or the transport company. Sometimes this information will be displayed on the cab or body of the truck.

Do not admit fault. You should not admit any wrongdoing or liability at the scene of the accident or at any time before speaking to an experienced trucking accident attorney. You should not speak to any representative of the trucking company or other affected parties, or their insurers, until you have obtained legal advice. Any statements you make could be used to reduce your right to compensation for your injuries from an insurance company or in a lawsuit.

Talk to a truck accident lawyer. It’s important to understand and protect your legal rights after a truck accident by talking to a lawyer as soon as possible. Most lawyers, including the truck accident lawyers at Morris James, will offer you a free, no-obligation consultation to review your case.

Do you really need a lawyer if you were injured in a truck accident?

In short, yes. It is always advisable to seek legal advice if you have been injured in a road accident, and this is essential in a truck accident.

Any accident involving a truck can be more complex than other road accidents due to the increased severity of injuries and the number of parties involved. A car accident often involves only the driver and his personal auto insurance policy. However, a trucking accident can involve the driver of the truck, his employer or the rental company, a trucking and transportation company, the loaders and handlers, the truck manufacturer, the truck maintenance company and the commercial insurers of any or all of these. evenings. Each of these parties and their insurers will try to reduce their own exposure by placing the responsibility for the accident on another party or on you. It’s especially risky for you if the parties have a business relationship they want to continue. In these situations, it would be in their interest to protect each other and try to blame you. You should have a lawyer who understands the relationship between all of these parties, who will explain the law and your rights to you, and who will speak on your behalf to the other parties and their insurers.

Trucks involved in interstate commerce are subject to federal regulation. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration publishes and enforces safety regulations for commercial vehicles that travel interstate, which regulate driving hours, physical examinations of drivers, safety inspections, and vehicle maintenance schedules. Drivers and trucking companies are required to keep detailed records of driving and maintenance hours. These regulations are complex and can be crucial in a trucking accident claim. If a driver has not taken legally mandated driving breaks or if a truck has not been maintained according to federal regulations, the driver or trucking company is more likely to be considered at least partly responsible for the accident. It is advisable to seek the advice of an experienced trucking accident attorney who understands the state and federal laws that apply to your claim.

Companies and insurers involved in a truck accident almost always offer less compensation to an unrepresented victim than to a victim who has an attorney. Truckers and trucking companies are required by law to carry insurance with coverage amounts that are generally higher than a standard auto insurance policy. Big companies and insurers will have their own lawyers, legal departments and deep pockets to handle accidents and claims. On the other hand, unrepresented victims sometimes ignore all types of compensation to which they are entitled under the law or underestimate their expenses. An experienced trucking accident attorney will make sure you don’t overlook or understate your expenses and help you maximize your compensation. Your compensation as an injured victim in a truck accident should include:

  • Medical fees
  • Future medical expenses
  • Lost wages and lost future earnings
  • Pain and suffering, i.e. non-economic damage

Calculating these expenses requires more than just collecting doctor’s bills (although this is a very important step). It requires estimating and calculating ALL the damage caused by the accident, including how much your care could cost in the future, how much your ability to earn a living will be affected by your injuries, and your attempt to put a dollar amount about your emotional trauma. Non-economic damage is particularly difficult for a victim to assess. These can include physical and psychological damage caused by the accident, physical discomfort, fear, anxiety, insomnia and loss of enjoyment of life. The amount of these damages will depend on your lifestyle before and after the accident, how long you will recover and, if you go to trial, what a jury thinks is reasonable.

You deserve and need the knowledge and skills of a trucking accident attorney to ensure that you are properly compensated and can afford to pay your bills in the future.

There is no risk in speaking to a lawyer

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you’ll have a lot of questions. A lawyer can answer many of these questions for you. Most lawyers will discuss your case with you before you have to commit to them. They will listen to your story and explain your rights and how their fees are paid. Many trucking accident attorneys will take your case on an emergency basis, or on a “no gain or expense” basis, which means their fees are paid from any compensation or settlement you receive. You only have to pay their fees if you receive compensation or settlement.