Can I Sue If I’m In a Truck Accident?
By Chris Dixon
Commercial truck drivers are insured by large insurance companies and must adhere to strict state and federal regulations while behind the wheel. If you have been harmed in a truck accident, you could have a valid claim against the at fault truck driver. Insurance companies can be difficult to negotiate with, but with significant evidence from the crash, your lawyer can prove the truck driver’s liability in the accident and guide you in suing for damages.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
Truck drivers often drive for hours or days at a time without stopping. Sleep deprivation can cause a driver to be less alert while driving, become distracted, and fatigued. Sometimes, there are other factors involved in the accident such as drugs and alcohol, and overloaded cargo. It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of a truck accident, but gathering substantial evidence from the scene and filing a police report can provide powerful evidence for your case. A police report provides details from the crash that can be useful when suing the liable truck driver, but might not include every piece of evidence from the crash. The only way to ensure that your case has the evidence it needs is to collect evidence yourself, or send someone to do so on your behalf. Consulting a truck accident lawyer after your crash can help gather evidence, protect your rights, and ensure that your case has a compelling truck accident claim.
Commercial truck companies are insured by large insurance companies that will do everything in their power to make sure that you receive the lowest settlement amount possible. It’s crucial that if you are involved in a truck accident to stay silent and let your lawyer handle negotiations for you. Commercial truck drivers must follow strict state and federal trucking regulations when on the clock. Truck drivers must conduct a thorough pre-operation safety check to make sure that their truck is safe and working properly (section 392.9 of title 49 regulated by the Department of Transporation), and while on the road, they must use proper truck safety signals (section 392.7), stop periodically for rest (section 392.3), and above all, pay attention to other drivers on the road.
The average commercial truck weighs in at 70,000 pounds, so the impact of these vehicles in a crash can be devastating. If a truck accident happens, the CDL driver must file a DOT-CDL post-accident report with the FHWA and undergo drug and alcohol testing mandated by their company’s policies. If a driver doesn’t do this, they risk steep fines and fees, being fired, or even losing their CDL license. If you have been in a truck accident, your lawyer can start an investigation of the crash, find out if the liable truck driver made a report, or if they have prior truck accident offenses; all of which can be used to support your claim.
Can I Sue the Trucking Company a Driver is Employed By?
Depending on the circumstances of a truck accident, you could be eligible to sue the employer of the at-fault CDL driver. If the truck driver was on the clock at the time of the accident, and there are records to prove this, their employer may be additionally liable for their negligence. Some truck drivers operate as independent contractors for large trucking companies so blame for an accident would entirely fall on the driver if they are at fault. If your lawyer can obtain evidence that the truck driver is employed with a trucking company and that they were on the clock at the time of the accident, their employer is liable for their negligence. Under the Vicarious Liability Law, “an employer can be liable for the acts or omissions of its employees, provided it can be shown that they took place in the course of their employment” (Acas- Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service). If the accident was caused by improperly loaded cargo, you could be eligible to recover compensation from the goods’ manufacturer.
What Type of Damages Can I Sue For in a Truck Accident?
Commercial truck accidents often cause severe injuries and financial damages. If you have been in a truck accident where the commercial truck driver behaved negligently, you may eligible for reimbursement from the at-fault driver for damages. The most common types of damages that can be recovered include:
- Medical bills caused by the accident
- Pain and suffering that stemmed from injuries caused in the crash
- Property damage from the accident
- Lost wages that you experienced because of the crash
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a commercial truck is involved in 1 out of 10 crashes that occur on the highway. If you are in an accident with a truck, you could be eligible to recover damages for your suffering. While not every case is eligible, with a valid truck accident claim and an experienced lawyer, you could be able to recover full compensation.
How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help With Your Case
Truck accidents can be traumatizing, so it’s understandable if you don’t know what to do after a truck accident. That’s why consulting a truck accident lawyer immediately after a crash is the best thing you can do. Your lawyer can protect you from the truck driver’s insurance company, help you file a powerful claim for your injuries and losses, and negotiate for the highest settlement possible. If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident and you need a lawyer, contact the Dixon Injury Firm today. The Truck Accident Lawyers at Dixon Law offer free consultations and are committed to doing everything they can to recover the most compensation for your claim.