Truck Accidents FAQs
Commonly Asked Truck Accident Questions
Big rig trucks and commercial vehicles travel on interstates, roads, and highways throughout the country. To be exact, there are more than 12.5 million commercial large trucks and buses registered in the United States according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, logging more than 300 billion miles annually. Due to the sheer size and weight of big rig trucks, accidents involving them can produce tragic consequences. After being struck by a much bigger vehicle, victims fortunate to survive can suffer catastrophic injuries with long lasting consequences.
Q: How Do You Determine Fault in a Truck Accident?
A: You can normally determine fault in a truck accident by proving negligence. Truck accidents are commonly caused by driver error, also known as negligence. Negligence can include speeding, running a red light or stop sign, making an improper turn, texting while driving, driving drunk, or driving under the influence of drugs. Fault can be established through witness testimony, the investigation of the responding police or law enforcement department, or by inspecting the truck’s black box. When consulting with a truck accident lawyer, ask if they have the resources needed to consult with qualified expert witnesses that may be necessary in proving your case.
Q: What Is Considered to Be a Commercial Vehicle Under Federal Law?
A: Under federal law, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a commercial vehicle is considered to be a vehicle used in interstate commerce to transport persons or property when it weighs more than 10,000 pounds, is designed or use to transport more than 8 passengers for compensation, is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers not for compensation, or is used to transport hazardous materials. Examples of commercial motor vehicles are 18-wheelers, tractor trailers, charter buses, cement trucks, tanker trucks, delivery trucks, and transportation buses.
Q: What Are the Most Common Causes of Truck Crashes?
A: According to federal regulators, the most common causes of truck crashes are speeding, aggressive driving, inattention, drowsiness and fatigue, overcorrecting, and drugs and alcohol. Inadequate driver training also leads to crashes across the country.
Q: Do Special Laws Apply to Truck Drivers?
A: Special laws, known as Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, apply to truck drivers. Interstate truck drivers must follow regulations that cover a broad range of topics, including vehicle maintenance, hours of service, training, driver qualifications, and drug and alcohol testing. In an accident involving a commercial truck, it may be necessary to consult with a trucking industry expert to review vehicle maintenance records, inspect the truck and its components, analyze driver logs, and conduct a thorough analysis to determine whether any rules violations took place.
Q: What Can Be Recovered in a Claim Against a Trucking Company?
A: In a claim against a trucking company, you can recover for your damages caused by the at-fault driver or trucking company. You can recover economic damages, such as medical bills and lost wages. You can also recover non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and mental anguish. If you or a loved one suffered traumatic or permanent injuries, an expert witness could testify as to future medical treatment needed and future loss of income or earning capacity. Punitive damages are a separate class of damages that could apply in cases involving egregious conduct, such as driving drunk or under the influence of drugs.
Q: Should I Give a Recorded Statement to the Trucking Company’s Adjuster or Investigator?
A: Do not give any statement to a trucking company, insurance adjuster, or field investigator without first speaking with a lawyer of your own. Commercial trucking companies have the resources to begin investigating an accident immediately, and any recorded statements or interviews you give can later be used in their favor. By first speaking with an attorney of your own, you can feel comfortable you have someone looking out for your interests only and taking the necessary steps to protect your rights at all times.
Q: Who Is Responsible in a Truck Accident – the Driver or Trucking Company?
A: Depending on the facts, the truck driver and trucking company could be responsible for your injuries and damages. Respondeat superior, also known as vicarious liability, is a legal theory that states an employer is responsible for negligent acts committed by employees within the course and scope of their employment. Be careful – in an effort to avoid responsibility, a trucking company could claim the driver was an independent contractor and not an employee. A truck wreck lawyer with knowledge and experience handling trucking cases will be able to assess the facts and identify all potential defendants and insurance policies.
Q: What Should I Look for When Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer?
A: When hiring a truck accident lawyer, look for a law firm with the experience, knowledge, drive, and resources needed to effectively handle your case. Personal injury claims involving commercial trucking carriers can be highly technical and complex, and it may be necessary to hire expert(s) in order to prove the case. Our team has experience handling cases involving traumatic injuries and wrongful death, and we understand the importance of conducting a thorough investigation into all facets of the accident, obtaining relevant evidence, and identifying all possible legal theories that could apply to the case.
Q: How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Lawyer?
A: Hiring our truck accident lawyers will not cost you anything up front. We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning our fee is a percentage of your settlement or verdict. We strongly believe in each case we take on and we are dedicated to helping each client receive the best possible result under the circumstances.
If you have any additional questions, call our personal injury law offices at 800-529-4004 or complete our online form. We offer a free case review and will take the time to explain your rights to you and all we can do to help. Our firm takes pride in helping accident victims and their loved ones get through difficult times. Whether you were injured in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, or Kentucky, let us show you why NST is the way to go.