Our nation’s truck drivers are essential workers who transport goods to all corners of the country. However, that does not mean that they do not make mistakes. Countless trucking accidents happen every year, and those who are unfortunate enough to experience one will probably not forget it. If you were a victim of one of these accidents, it’s good to know how the legal process will play out so that you can be prepared to fight for the compensation you deserve.
Truck drivers and trucking companies must follow the rules regarding documentation, maximum drive time, and safety checks. Drivers and companies are held liable when injuries occur from violating these regulations, but that’s only if you contact an experienced trucking accident attorney first. Van Law Firm has helped trucking accident victims get the compensation they deserve for nearly ten years now, and we’re standing by to help you too. Call our office nearest you for more information.
Trucking Accidents Can Impact Your Life in Multiple Ways
Physical damage can be seen immediately, like cuts and bruises. However, you must seek medical attention after an accident to check for broken bones and head injuries. Scratches, burns, fractures, loss of limbs, spine and back surgeries can all develop hours or even days after an accident, which makes it crucial to visit with a medical professional. In the most severe cases, truck collisions can lead to death. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were over 3,000 fatal car-truck accidents in 2019 alone.
Truck accidents can also result in emotional damage. Emotional damage can last longer than physical damage and may interfere with your everyday life. Truck crashes can result in severe anxiety, PTSD, depression, and behavior changes.
Lastly, many people suffer financially after a car accident. Being injured in an accident could mean you are unable to work, which can dramatically decrease your income. Accidents can lead to financial struggles, which can worsen anxiety and depression. If you are in this situation, it is best to get a financial advisor rather than continue to bury your head in the sand.
Suing Trucking Companies
There are various situations where you can sue a trucking company if they were negligent in and of themselves. These can include:
Negligent hiring and retention: If a trucking company knowingly hires drivers who have a history of violations or who are unqualified to operate commercial vehicles and then keeps them on staff.
Inadequate maintenance: Failing to keep trucks properly maintained can lead to malfunctions and crashes.
Failing to drug test drivers: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that trucking companies randomly test their drivers for drug use. Failing to do so can make them liable in the event of impaired driving crashes.
Allowing truck driver violations: Dangerous truck operations can result if a truck company knowingly allows its drivers to violate FMCSA regulations (for example, allowing them to drive without taking mandatory breaks).
Trucking companies can be liable for situations where they approve or authorize the negligent conduct of a driver. For example, the company specifically instructs a driver to drive over the speed limit to meet a deadline. Innocent victims suffer for the company’s negligence, and many endure burns, brain injuries, broken bones, and other forms of trauma.
Steps to Take After You’ve Been Involved in a Truck Accident
- Stay at the scene. Move your vehicle to a safe area if needed.
- Ensure that other drivers remain at the scene.
- Ask witnesses to stay or obtain their contact information before they leave. (Name. address, phone number, driver’s license number, VIN number, truck’s license number, insurance information).
- Call the police and make sure that they are aware of the situation, even for seemingly minor crashes.
- Get medical help as needed! If immediate transportation via ambulance is not needed, visit your personal physician after the accident, as some injuries may not be immediately evident.
- File a police report – This will be needed for an insurance or legal claim.
- Take photos of the scene. Capture damage to the surrounding area, skid marks, road conditions, etc. Keep these in a safe place and save extra copies.
Contact Your Insurer (With Caution)
As soon as possible, obtain a claim number and the name of the adjuster who is assigned to your claim. Never describe what you think happened in the accident on a recorded line to your adjuster or any other people that might be inquiring. As you are obtaining information regarding the accident, do not admit any fault for the crash. Do not respond to any correspondence from the insurance company representing the truck driver or trucking company.
Contact Van Law Firm
A qualified attorney is needed to ensure that the process unfolds as it should. If you or a loved one has been in an accident, Van Law Firm can help. Our experienced attorneys can help recover compensation for injuries including medical costs, loss of income, and pain and suffering. Our firm’s investigative team will retrieve the proper documents necessary. Even if you do not have all of the information from your accident. Our team will shoulder the burden of gathering information for you, so you can give yourself the space and time you need to recover. Call our office today for a free case evaluation and consultation.