Parker Waichman LLP

We’re Nationwide Truck Accident Attorneys – Here for You

A truck crash can cause severe injuries, lead to permanent disabilities, or even result in death, leaving loved ones without your care and support. At Truck Accidents Law Firm, our truck accident attorneys have years of experience helping clients pursue compensation in complex truck crash cases across the country.

Truck accident victims often suffer serious injuries due to the weight and force of a truck collision. Medical bills and reduced earning capacity can cause debts to pile up while insurance companies attempt to shift blame for injuries. Contact our offices today to schedule a free case evaluation with a knowledgeable truck accident attorney.

Truck Accident Statistics

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 101,000 of the 415,000 truck accidents reported in 2020 involved injuries (24%). An additional 4,444 of those truck accidents included at least one fatality. Most fatal crashes involving trucks occur on interstate highways or in rural areas. Other statistics of interest:

· 82% of fatal crashes and 87% of nonfatal crashes occurred on weekdays. Most injuries, fatalities, and property damage truck accidents cited collision as the first harmful event, while only 4% and 2% of fatal and nonfatal accidents cited rollover as the first harmful event.

· 26% of fatal crashes and 15% of nonfatal injury crashes in a work zone involved one or more large trucks in 2020.

· Between 2010 and 2020, there was a 27% increase in fatal truck crashes per million people in the U.S.

· In 83% of fatal truck crashes in 2020, fatalities were not truck occupants.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that in fatal crashes between large trucks and passenger vehicles, 97% of fatalities included occupants of the passenger vehicle and not the truck.

Common Injuries in a Truck Crash

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 117,300 large truck crashes caused an injury in 2021. Because of the difference in weight and force in a truck crash compared to a passenger vehicle collision, truck accident victims often have much more severe injuries than victims in car crashes at similar speeds.

Common injuries in truck crashes include:

  • Broken bones
  • Internal injuries and soft tissue damage
  • Crushing or pinning injuries
  • Severe burns
  • Limb amputation
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)

Broken bones and internal injuries often coincide in truck crashes, such as broken ribs puncturing lungs or other internal organs. Truck crashes also have higher rates of crushing injuries than most car crashes because the heavier truck causes the car frame to crumple and compress into the passenger cabin.

Trucks carrying chemicals or other combustible materials can start a fire, and with more electric vehicles on the road, a car’s own battery could prove dangerous in a collision with a truck. When occupants can’t escape a burning vehicle, they could sustain severe burns and complications from smoke or chemical inhalation.

Amputations, spinal cord injuries, and brain injuries can cause permanent, life-altering changes for victims and their families. These injuries can lead to paralysis, mental incompetence, and permanent disabilities that alter a person’s livelihood.

The truck accident attorneys at our firm can help truck accident victims across the country pursue fair compensation for their medical bills, lost earning capacity, ongoing therapy, and in-home care.

Compensation Truck Accident Victims Can Pursue

Truck accidents are complex cases. Victims often have high costs for their injuries and other losses. They may pursue compensation for their losses in court and be awarded damages or agree on a settlement with the insurance companies representing the defense.

Damages are monetary compensation awarded by a court to make a victim whole for their economic and non-economic losses. A court may also award punitive damages to further punish the defendant’s reckless or intentional actions.

After a truck accident, you may pursue compensation in court for economic losses, including quantifiable losses due to your injuries. Economic damages may include:

  • Medical bills
  • Physical or occupational therapy
  • Travel expenses for medical treatment
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished future earnings

Non-economic damages cover additional losses without a definitive cost. Instead, you and your attorney will need to estimate the value of your non-economic damages, including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Additionally, the court may award punitive damages against one or more liable parties if their actions were intentional, reckless, wanton, or oppressive. In truck accident cases, if a truck driver or trucking company intentionally disregarded hours of service regulations, the driver or company may have to pay punitive damages meant to punish reckless behavior and deter future instances of similar actions.

Contact our law firm to learn more about the compensation available in your case. Speaking with a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after a truck crash can help preserve evidence and determine which parties may be held liable for negligence in your case.

Liability in a Truck Accident

Liability and fault are different legal terms that many people confuse. Liability describes whether a party could be legally responsible for a person’s injuries in an accident. Many parties could be liable for a person’s injuries after a truck accident, including:

  • The truck driver
  • The trucking company
  • A loading company
  • A truck parts manufacturer
  • The government entity responsible for maintaining the roadway
  • Another driver who failed to practice safe driving

The truck driver and trucking company must adhere to appropriate licensing, certification, and hours of service regulations. For interstate truck drivers, they must follow the hours of service regulations enacted and enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Trucking companies or drivers who violate these regulations will likely face regulatory fines and punitive damages in addition to paying economic and non-economic damages to victims.

In cases where a truck load shifting caused a jackknife or rollover accident, the loading depot or shipping company could be liable for a victim’s damages. The part manufacturer could be liable for cases where a defective part caused the truck to malfunction during transit.

When road conditions lead to a truck accident that causes injuries, the state, county, city, or other municipality responsible for maintaining the road could be liable. Additionally, each driver on the road has a duty to understand their responsibility to drive safely. If another driver cuts off the truck driver, forcing them to react quickly and causing a crash, that driver could be liable for your injuries.

Determining liability and fault for a truck accident can be challenging, as many parties may share liability for your injuries. Additionally, each negligent party involved in your accident will have their own insurance policy, leading the attorneys for those insurance companies to attempt to shift the blame to other defendants in your case. Our experienced truck accident attorneys know how to file claims against multiple defendants in truck accident cases.

Proving Negligence in a Truck Crash

In any personal injury case, the plaintiff has the burden of proof to demonstrate “with a preponderance of the evidence” that the defendant or defendants were negligent in their behavior that led to the truck crash.

You must prove four elements of negligence: duty of care, breach of duty, injury and losses, and causation. Let’s break these down in more detail:

  • Duty of care. The defendant had a responsibility to follow certain regulations and safe driving practices to protect other drivers on the road.
  • Breach of duty. The defendant failed to uphold their responsibilities for safe driving, proper quality control for parts manufactured, or adhering to appropriate regulations.
  • Injury and losses. You must demonstrate that you suffered injuries and other losses, such as lost wages, diminished earning capacity, or property damage to your vehicle.
  • Causation. You must prove the defendant’s actions in breaching their duty directly caused the accident and your injuries, such as if the truck driver was distracted by their phone and caused the accident while texting and driving.

But what kind of evidence can you present in court to prove the four elements of negligence by the defendant or defendants?

Burden of Proof in Truck Accident Cases

A truck accident lawyer can help you gather and present the evidence necessary for your claim. After a truck crash, having a knowledgeable attorney helping you gather evidence as soon as possible for your case is essential. Evidence tends to disappear over time, meaning hiring our firm later could lead to difficulties securing evidence for your claim. What evidence can your attorney gather?

  • Video footage from security cameras of nearby businesses
  • The truck’s black box footage
  • Your medical history to compare records from before and after the accident
  • Witness statements
  • Police reports
  • Truck driver hours of service on-duty and off-duty logs
  • Truck maintenance logs
  • Expert witness testimony from medical professionals and accident recreation engineers
  • Photos and video of the accident scene
  • Weather reports from the time and date of the accident

Your attorney may not have much time to gather certain pieces of evidence. Many businesses don’t keep security footage for more than a week, and human memory becomes less reliable as time passes. The sooner your attorney can begin collecting evidence, the less likely it is to disappear.

How Fault Affects Your Compensation in Accident Cases

If the court determines you were partly at fault for your injuries in your truck accident case, how does that affect your right to pursue compensation? Some states follow different rules for contributory versus comparative negligence in personal injury cases.

Contributory Negligence

Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., all follow contributory negligence compensation award policies. In these states and the District of Columbia, a plaintiff may not collect compensation for their injuries if they contributed to the accident or their injuries at all. This means that even in a car or truck accident, if the plaintiff wasn’t wearing their seatbelt, the court may determine that the plaintiff cannot pursue compensation for their injuries.

Comparative Negligence

Currently, 13 states follow a pure comparative negligence rule, meaning the plaintiff can collect the compensation awarded minus their percentage of fault. Even if the plaintiff is 99% at fault for their injuries, they can collect 1% of the total damages awarded by the court in their claim.

Most states follow a 50 or 51% modified comparative fault rule. In some states, the plaintiff can’t be equally at fault (50%), while in other states, the plaintiff can’t share more than half of the fault (51%).

Contact Truck Accidents Law Firm for a Truck Accident Case Anywhere in the U.S.

After a truck accident, contact the seasoned attorneys at Truck Accidents Law Firm to understand your options and chart the best course forward. We have years of experience representing truck accident victims. Call us today at 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636) or contact us online for a free case evaluation.