When to Hire a Truck Accident Attorney

Jun 10, 2024 | Pierre Prialé
When to Hire a Truck Accident Attorney

Truck accidents can be devastating, causing severe injuries and significant damages. If you or a loved one have been involved in a truck accident, it's important to understand when to hire a truck accident attorney to protect your rights and seek the compensation you deserve.

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Understanding the Challenges of Truck Accident Cases

A big rig semi-truck with significant body damage from an accidental collision stands out of service on the highway shoulder, awaiting roadside assistance.

Truck accidents are unique and complex for several reasons. First and foremost, trucks are much larger and heavier than regular passenger vehicles, so the level of damage and severity of injuries are often greater in truck accidents.

Additionally, trucking companies and their insurance carriers have aggressive legal teams working diligently to minimize liability and payouts. This can make it challenging for accident victims to navigate the legal process and secure fair compensation without professional assistance.

One of the key reasons to hire a truck accident attorney is the need for early legal intervention. Truck accident cases often involve multiple parties, including the truck driver, trucking company, insurance company, and potentially other motorists. The earlier you involve an attorney, the better your chance of collecting valuable evidence, gathering witness statements, and preserving important documents.

Furthermore, a truck accident lawyer can communicate and negotiate with insurance companies, protecting your rights and ensuring you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages.

Determining Liability in Truck Accidents

Determining liability in truck accident cases can be complicated and requires an in-depth investigation. Multiple potential parties may share some degree of responsibility, including the truck driver, trucking company, cargo loaders, maintenance personnel, and even the truck manufacturer or its parts. A skilled truck accident attorney has the experience to analyze the details of your case, identify all potentially liable parties, and build a solid legal strategy to hold them accountable.

Who is Liable for Truck Accidents?

A red big rig, known for its reliability and popularity, transports commercial cargo in a dry van semi-trailer as it moves along a wide, straight highway.

Unlike accidents involving regular passenger vehicles, truck accidents often involve multiple parties who may share responsibility for the accident. Understanding who is liable is essential for truck accident victims seeking compensation for their injuries and damages.

The Truck Driver

In most cases, the truck driver bears a significant portion of the liability. Factors such as driver fatigue, distracted driving, or driving under the influence can contribute to accidents. Truck drivers have a responsibility to drive safely and follow traffic laws.

The Trucking Company

The trucking company that employs the driver may also be liable for a truck accident. Companies must ensure that they hire qualified and trained drivers, properly maintain their vehicles, and adhere to safety regulations. Negligence on the part of the trucking company, such as pressuring drivers to exceed hours-of-service regulations, can contribute to accidents.

Manufacturers and Distributors

If a mechanical failure or defect in the truck or its parts contributed to the accident, the manufacturer or distributor of the truck or specific parts may be held liable. Such defects include faulty brakes, tire blowouts, or defective steering systems. It is important to note that these cases often require expert accident analysis to determine liability.

Cargo Loaders

Improperly loaded or secured cargo can cause accidents. If the cargo load is not properly distributed or shifted during transit, it can lead to a loss of control for the driver, resulting in an accident. In such cases, the party responsible for loading or securing the cargo may be liable.

Dealing with Insurance Companies

The insurance claim process can be overwhelming, especially when dealing with trucking companies and their insurers. Insurance companies are focused on minimizing their financial responsibility and may use various tactics to undervalue or deny your claim. By hiring a truck accident attorney, you have someone on your side who understands the tactics used by insurance companies and can negotiate aggressively on your behalf. An attorney will ensure that your claim is thoroughly evaluated, all damages are considered, and a fair settlement is reached.

Pursuing Maximum Compensation

Truck accidents often result in significant damages, including medical expenses, property damage, lost income, pain and suffering, and long-term rehabilitation costs. Calculating the actual value of your claim requires a detailed understanding of the law and the ability to accurately assess the extent of your injuries and damages. An experienced truck accident attorney will work diligently to calculate and pursue maximum compensation on your behalf, ensuring that all potential losses are considered.

A 3D rendering of a truck alongside a wooden gavel and scales of justice, set against a white background.

Hiring a truck accident attorney offers numerous benefits to accident victims. Besides providing legal experience and guidance, an attorney can alleviate the stress of dealing with insurance companies, paperwork, and legal procedures. They handle all communication with parties involved, allowing you to focus on your recovery. Additionally, an attorney has the resources to bring in expert witnesses, accident reconstruction specialists, and medical professionals who can strengthen your case and provide robust testimony.

When to Hire a Truck Accident Attorney

While every truck accident case is unique, there are several situations where it's imperative to hire a truck accident attorney:

  • Severe Injuries: If you or a loved one have suffered severe injuries in a truck accident, hiring an attorney is necessary. They will fight for maximum compensation to cover extensive medical treatment, ongoing rehabilitation, and future medical needs. 
  • Wrongful Death: If a loved one has tragically lost their life in a truck accident, a lawyer can file a wrongful death claim to seek justice and hold the responsible parties accountable. 
  • Disputed Liability: When liability is unclear or is disputed by multiple parties, you need to have a truck accident attorney on your side. They will investigate the accident thoroughly, collect evidence, and build a compelling case to establish liability and protect your rights. 
  • Inadequate Insurance Offer: If the insurance company's settlement offer is inadequate to cover your damages fully, it's time to involve an attorney. They will negotiate aggressively to ensure you receive a fair settlement. 
  • Detailed Legal Process: The legal process involved in truck accident cases can be detailed and overwhelming. Hiring an attorney ensures an experienced professional guides you through each step and protects your best interests.

What Causes Truck Accidents

A close-up photo of an irresponsible man typing a phone number while driving a truck, highlighting the danger in transport caused by an inattentive driver.

Truck accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, and understanding the common causes can help victims identify when they may need the assistance of a truck accident attorney. Some of the primary causes of truck accidents include:

Distracted Driving

Like any other motorist, truck drivers can become distracted behind the wheel. Texting, talking on the phone, eating, or using electronic devices can significantly impair their ability to react to sudden changes on the road.

Fatigue

Truck drivers often work long hours to meet strict delivery deadlines. Unfortunately, this can lead to fatigue, causing them to fall asleep at the wheel or have reduced reaction times. Suppose you suspect that driver fatigue played a role in your accident. In that case, a truck accident lawyer can investigate the driver's logbook and other records to determine if they complied with the federal rest and break periods regulations.

Mechanical Failures

Trucks are large and intricate machines that require regular maintenance to ensure their safe operation. A failure in any critical component, such as brakes, tires, or steering, can lead to catastrophic accidents. Suppose you believe that mechanical failure contributed to your accident. In that case, a truck accident lawyer can work with accident reconstruction experts and industry professionals to identify any equipment defects or maintenance issues that may have played a role.

Negligent Hiring or Training

Trucking companies have a responsibility to vet and train their drivers properly. If a company hires a driver with a history of accidents or fails to provide adequate training, they may be liable for any accidents caused by the driver's incompetence. An experienced truck accident lawyer can investigate the trucking company's hiring and training practices to determine if their negligence contributed to the accident.

Types of Truck Accidents

Truck accidents can occur in various ways, and understanding the different types can help you determine when to hire a truck accident attorney. Some common types of truck accidents include:

Rear-End Collisions

Rear-end collisions with trucks can result in severe injuries and damage due to the large size and weight of commercial vehicles. These accidents are usually the result of distracted driving or speeding.

Jackknife Accidents

Jackknifing occurs when a truck's trailer swings out to the side, forming an acute angle with the cab. These accidents can cause multi-vehicle collisions and significant damage. If you were involved in a jackknife accident, a truck accident attorney can identify the cause, such as improper braking or overloading, and hold the responsible parties accountable.

Underride Accidents

Underride accidents occur when a smaller vehicle becomes trapped underneath a truck's trailer. These accidents often result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities.

Rollover Accidents

Rollover accidents involve a truck tipping onto its side or roof, often causing significant damage to the truck and any other vehicles involved. Various factors, including speeding, improper cargo loading, or sudden steering maneuvers, can cause these accidents. A truck accident attorney can analyze the circumstances surrounding the accident to determine liability and seek justice on your behalf.

Understanding Truck Accident Injuries

The concept of treating a patient with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is illustrated by a doctor piecing together a brain puzzle.

Due to the size and weight of trucks, accidents involving them often lead to severe injuries, including:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): The impact of a truck accident can cause head injuries, ranging from mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries. TBIs can have long-lasting effects on a victim's cognitive and physical abilities, requiring ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI): The force of a truck collision can cause damage to the spinal cord, leading to partial or complete paralysis. Victims of spinal cord injuries may require extensive medical care, adaptive equipment, and lifestyle modifications to cope with the permanent disability.
  • Broken Bones and Fractures: Truck accidents can result in multiple broken bones and fractures due to the immense force involved. These injuries may require surgery, physical therapy, and long recovery periods, often impacting a person's ability to work and carry out daily activities.
  • Internal Organ Damage: The impact of a truck accident can cause internal injuries, such as damage to organs like the liver, spleen, or kidneys. These injuries may require emergency surgery and ongoing medical treatment.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries: Whiplash, strains, and sprains are common soft tissue injuries that can result from a truck accident. While they may not be as severe as other injuries, they can still cause significant pain and discomfort, requiring medical attention and rehabilitation.

The physical and emotional toll of these injuries can be overwhelming, making it necessary to have a truck accident attorney by your side.

The Statute of Limitations for Truck Accidents

It is vital to understand that there is a limited time within which you can file a personal injury claim following a truck accident. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations. The specific statute of limitations for truck accidents varies from state to state.

In some states, the statute of limitations may be as short as one year, while in others, it can be as long as six years. Failing to file a claim within the statute of limitations can result in losing your right to seek compensation for your injuries and damages.

To ensure you meet the deadlines and protect your legal rights, it is crucial to consult with a truck accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Your attorney will guide you through the legal process and ensure all necessary paperwork is filed within the required timeframe. Remember that there may be exceptions to the statute of limitations, so consulting with a truck accident lawyer is imperative to preserve your legal rights.

If you or a loved one has been in a truck accident, don't handle the legal process alone. Look for experienced personal injury lawyers with a deep understanding of truck accident laws and who are committed to fighting for your rights. Your lawyer can handle your injury case for compensation while you focus on your recovery and rebuilding your life.

Case evaluations are free, so schedule yours today.

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Pierre Prialé Author Image

Pierre Prialé

Over the course of his career, Prialé has handled approximately 2,000 criminal defense and traffic cases, including DUI, reckless driving, weapons charges, and personal injury cases. His dedication to helping clients in difficult and desperate situations has earned him a reputation for being a committed and knowledgeable attorney.

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