What to Know if You Have Been Involved in a Truck Accident

What to Know if You Have Been Involved in a Truck Accident

A crash with a commercial truck can flip your life upside down in an instant. Suddenly, you may have severe injuries, a totaled vehicle, tens or hundreds of thousands in medical bills, and be out of work.

What will you do if the worst happens and you’re in a truck crash? The following article describes the most important things to know after you’ve been in a truck crash.

If you have questions after an accident, talk to a Sebastian truck accident attorney immediately because you can be entitled to compensation.

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What Causes Most Truck Accidents? 

Truck Accident

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports approximately 5,000 fatal truck crashes annually and more than 100,000 accidents with injuries. 

When a large truck slams into passenger vehicles, drivers and passengers in those vehicles are more likely to be severely injured or killed. The size and weight of the truck create massive crash forces that can pulverize the smaller vehicle and everyone inside it.

Most tractor-trailer accidents happen because of truck driver error, including: 

  • Speeding: Driving too fast is a major cause of most motor vehicle accidents, but speeding is especially hazardous in commercial trucks. Speeding makes it more difficult for a driver to keep control and stop in an emergency. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that a fully loaded truck takes up to 40 percent longer to stop than most passenger vehicles. 
  • Distracted driving: Truckers may drive 700 or 800 miles daily through monotonous terrain, so they can get bored. They may distract themselves with cell phones, texting, surfing the Internet, eating, drinking, smoking, and checking the GPS. Truckers must actively avoid all distractions as they are highly dangerous.
  • Driving under the influence: A commercial truck driver has a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Two requirements for this license are having a lower impairment limit for driving the rig and regular alcohol and drug screenings. Despite the dangers of drinking and driving, too many truck drivers are intoxicated or drugged behind the wheel and get into accidents. 
  • Fatigued driving: The FMCSA reports that driver fatigue stems from mental and physical exertion that can reduce the driver’s ability to drive safely. Approximately 13 percent of truck drivers in crashes said they were fatigued when the crash happened. 

Most truck accidents are caused by one or more of the above. The driver is at fault in most truck accidents, so you should talk to an attorney. If you are one of the unlucky ones injured in a truck crash, there are several things you should know:

You May Have The Right To Compensation

If the truck driver did something that caused a truck accident that injured you, you can be entitled to compensation. Truck drivers should drive more carefully than other drivers, and after an accident, injured parties can hold the trucker or employer liable for your damages.

Right To Compensation

Several parties can be held liable for a truck crash that injured you: 

  • Truck driver: Most truck accidents happen because of trucker error. They may have been speeding, dozed off at the wheel, were intoxicated, ran a red light, etc. 
  • Trucking company: If the driver works directly for the carrier, the trucking company may also be liable for your damages. Trucking companies carry large commercial insurance policies because the damages in truck accidents can be in the six, seven, or even eight figures. 
  • Maintenance company: If the truck crash happened because of a maintenance issue, the maintenance company can be at fault. 
  • Parts manufacturer: Did a truck part, such as a tire or wheel, fail in the crash? That manufacturer can be partially responsible for your damages. 

One of your attorney’s jobs is to research the accident and find every possible person and entity that can be responsible. They will actively search for every possible insurance policy that can cover your damages. Damages may include current and future medical expenses, current and future income losses, pain and suffering, and more.

Get Immediate Medical Attention 

Truck accidents, by their nature, are usually worse than other crashes. Trucks are much heavier and larger than regular vehicles, and your chances of being severely injured are higher. Even when the truck isn’t fully loaded, it may outweigh your car by ten times.

You probably have serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment, such as: 

  • Shattered bones: Even a ‘minor’ truck accident where the rig rear ends can cause broken or shattered bones. The immense impact will violently throw your body, and you might have broken arms, legs, feet, hands, wrists, ribs, etc. 
  • Crushing injuries: A truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, so the crash force can be enormous. One of your arms or legs can be caught by the imploding door, dashboard, or car frame, causing a devastating crushing injury. Some crushing injuries require body parts to be amputated. 
  • Neck and back injuries: The force of the truck accident can cause damage to the spinal discs and soft tissues, leaving you with a life of pain. 
  • Traumatic brain injuries: You can suffer a serious brain injury in a truck crash, leaving you with severe mental or physical disabilities. 
  • Internal injuries: Your chest or lower body can be injured in the tremendous collision and damage your organs, possibly causing internal bleeding. 

Get a medical examination after a truck accident. You can have a serious injury that you don’t realize at first. If you wait for medical care, the injury can worsen and possibly threaten your life.

Also, securing compensation for the truck crash may be more difficult if you don’t receive prompt medical care. Insurance companies always check if you got care immediately or not. If you didn’t, they may question the severity of your injuries.

Hire A Truck Accident Attorney 

Truck Accident Attorney 

Another thing to know after a truck crash is always to hire an attorney to represent your interests. Truck accident attorneys have extensive experience with trucking laws, such as hours-of-service (HOS) rules and other regulations.

Truck accident attorneys also possess vast experience handling truck accident cases with severe injuries and have access to investigators, expert medical witnesses, economists, and trucking professionals to build the most robust claim:

Protects You From Insurance Companies

Trucking companies are all protected by insurance companies. These insurance companies will do almost anything to avoid paying a claim or paying as little as possible.

When you hire a truck accident attorney, the insurance company will know it’s harder to short-change you. They know you are more likely to file a lawsuit if you do not receive a fair settlement offer.

Some of the insurance company tactics that your attorney will protect you from are:

  • Pretending to care about you: An insurance adjuster will probably be nice after you file your truck accident claim. They will act concerned about your well-being and injuries. But this is simply part of their training. Adjusters try to take advantage of injured parties when they are vulnerable, hoping they will get information that damages their claim. They might even get you to sign a quick, lowball settlement. 
  • Ignoring you: Insurance companies have plenty of time and money. They know people injured by trucks probably need money. So, they may slowly walk your claim, not answer emails or phone calls, or say they are waiting for more information. They may be hoping you simply give up. Your attorney will not fall for the insurance company’s delay tactics and will demand more money for the hassle. 
  • Use your words against you: Insurance companies usually record phone calls with injury victims. They will try to use what you say against you. Part of their training is to search for any inconsistencies in your story and point them out, hoping to partially blame you for the accident. It’s best not to talk to the insurance company for the trucking carrier and have your attorney handle it. 
  • Offer you a pittance: Most people hurt in a truck crash have substantial injuries. They cannot walk, get out of bed, work, etc. The insurance company knows you need money, so they might dangle a small ‘carrot’ in front of you, such as covering your medical bills. They hope that you have not retained a lawyer and will take a small amount of money so they can close the case. Most truck accident victims have serious injuries and may be entitled to much more than just their current medical bills. 
  • Talk you out of hiring an attorney: The insurance adjuster will try to get you to trust them. They may tell you that you don’t need an attorney because it will just delay you getting money in your hands. Or, they’ll say you’ll have to give part of your settlement to the lawyer. They don’t tell you that an experienced attorney has a much higher chance of getting you much more money. Also, if the settlement offer is unfair, your attorney can sue and possibly get you much more money at trial. 

Hires Expert Witnesses

Obtaining compensation from the trucking company’s insurance provider is no easy feat. Their adjusters and agents will appear at the truck accident scene and begin collecting evidence. They also will attempt to minimize your claim and even might try to blame you for the accident.

truck accident

Your truck accident attorney has a list of professionals they often work with to prove fault in truck accidents. The attorney will determine the types of professionals needed to prove liability and the case size and obtain their opinions and testimony as needed.

Professional input is one of the most important things truck accident attorneys bring to the case. Judges, juries, and insurance companies highly value the opinions of various professionals, which can enhance your chances of securing more compensation.

Understand the Severity Of Injuries

Your truck accident attorney can also access medical professionals to review your doctor’s treatment plan and medical records. The goal is to fully understand the severity of your injuries and the medical care you need now and in the future. 

Many truck accident victims suffered a severe injury and might need months or years of care and rehabilitation. Without an attorney’s guidance and input, you can have much less money than you need to pay your medical bills.

Knows How To Prove Fault

It may seem obvious that a speeding truck driver ran a red light and hit your vehicle, breaking your arm and leg. Fault may seem clear-cut at first glance.

But you must prove several things to receive compensation in a truck accident claim: 

  • The truck driver or trucking company had a standard of care: A truck driver has a commercial driver’s license and must drive with a higher level of care than other drivers. 
  • The trucker breached their standard of care: If they ran a red light and hit your car in an intersection, they violated their standard of care. 
  • The breach of standard of care caused your injuries: Your medical records and doctor’s testimony should prove that your injuries are related to the truck accident. 
  • You have damages: Your truck accident injuries left you with, for example, medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. 

Your attorney is skilled and experienced in proving fault from these severe accidents. They will review all accident evidence and speak to eyewitnesses and professionals to prove that the trucker or employer violated the standard of care and injured you. Attempting to do this without an attorney’s help is extremely difficult.

Speak To A Truck Accident Attorney Today

Sebastian Truck Accident Attorney, Jordan Lulich
Jordan Lulich, Sebastian Truck Accident Attorney

A crash with a commercial truck is one of the most dangerous accidents that happen on our roads. You can have severe injuries and a totaled vehicle, and it’s important to make sure you get the most compensation for your injuries.

But getting fair compensation without an attorney representing you is unlikely; the insurance company will try to pay you as little as possible.

After a truck accident, get medical attention, then call a truck accident attorney immediately to review your case. A truck accident lawyer can tell you if you have a strong case and what to do to win.