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Semi-Truck Accidents

Commercial freight trucks (or ‘big rigs’) tend to weigh 80,000 pounds or more, twenty times the weight of passenger cars. Despite regulations that exist to ensure truck drivers do not drive more than ten hours per day, they are often given financial incentives for traveling large distances faster, which can directly impinge upon other drivers’ safety. Below are a few differences in trucking accidents:
  • Larger Insurance Policies - Truck drivers’ insurance policies are up to fifty times larger than car accident policies. This often puts the total value of insurance in the millions, so you can bet that the different insurance carriers named in a lawsuit will do everything in their power to prove they were not liable. Veteran insurance adjusters will be called in and employ intricate tactics, such as offering a seemingly large payout, when your case might be worth far more. Having a trusted lawyer by your side can help make the process considerably less stressful.
  • Increased Property Damage - As noted above, the weight and overall size of an 18-wheeler commercial freight truck are much larger than that of a typical vehicle. That means that any surrounding property is going to be affected much more than in a crash involving two cars.
  • More Serious Injuries - Similarly, the injuries that are common in car accidents are also far more severe and can include intensive medical care and bills. From serious whiplash and broken bones to brain trauma and severe lacerations, injuries following a truck accident are often life-changing.
  • Much Larger Medical Bills - The amount of time spent in a hospital tends to be much longer than car accident-related injuries. Victims of truck accidents are unable to return to work for a prolonged period of time, if at all. By working with an experienced lawyer at Morgan & Morgan, we can more accurately calculate your current and future pain and suffering to obtain the compensation you truly deserve.
  • Greater Chance of Death - An accident with a large commercial truck is far more likely to result in death than a crash between two passenger cars. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are between 3,000 and 5,000 deaths due to truck accidents every year.
Considering the number of variables involved in truck accidents and the considerable resources wielded by the trucking companies and their insurers, getting a no-cost case assessment is a recommended first step when deciding whether to obtain the services of a lawyer.

What Are My Options if I Have a Truck Accident?

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident, there are a number of parties who may be liable for your losses. It is not uncommon for these parties to deny fault or liability for a crash.

The liable parties can include the following:

  • Truck driver
  • Truck company
  • Owner of the truck
  • Company leasing the truck
  • Company leasing the trailer
  • The shipper who wanted the load transported
  • Truck, trailer, or parts manufacturer
Injuries sustained in truck accidents can be severe, including severe brain trauma, spinal cord damage, disfigurement, burns, broken bones, lacerations, paralysis, or even death.

Types of truck accident lawsuits include:

Negligence: Lawsuits filed to recover compensation for injuries sustained in a truck accident will often be based on the truck driver’s negligence.

Some common indications of negligence include:

  • Lack of truck driving experience
  • Overloading trucks
  • Operating oversized trucks on narrow roads
  • Failure to see other vehicles due to the truck’s large blind spot
  • Failing to obey traffic laws
  • Driving for too long without taking a break
  • Failure to monitor the driving hours of the truck driver
  • Not keep the tractor and/or trailer in a safe, working condition
  • Hiring an unqualified or unfit truck driver
  • Failure to properly supervise the truck driver
  • Failure to properly train the truck driver
  • Selecting an unqualified or unfit truck company
Product Liability: If a defect in the truck or one of its components contributed to the accident, there may be a viable claim against the product manufacturer(s). Product liability lawsuits based on manufacturer’s

Negligence will require the injured party to show:

  • The defective truck or a particular part was “unreasonably dangerous”
  • The truck was being operated as the manufacturer intended
  • The truck’s performance had not changed since its initial purchase
Wrongful Death: Many times, truck accidents are so severe that the victim does not survive the crash. In some cases, the family may bring a claim on behalf of their loved one to recover compensation for their losses. Wrongful death claims require the family to prove the same facts as the deceased, had they survived and pursued a claim on their own. E.L. Law Firm can help family members recover economic, non-economic, and, in certain cases, punitive damages for the loss of their loved one.

What is the Process for Determining Compensation After Truck Accidents?

Like other personal injury lawsuits, the types of compensation available to those affected as the result of an accident involving a truck fall into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Compensation involving economic truck accident damages serves to cover the specific monetary costs, including the following:
Current Medical Expenses: This may include fees for emergency room visits, hospital care, surgery, assistive devices, and appointments with approved medical professionals.
Future Medical Expenses: Compensation for extended medical attention and care.
Lost Wages: Compensation for the wages lost between the time of injury and the conclusion of the lawsuit.
Loss of Earning Capacity: If the victim can demonstrate that their ability to earn a living has been negatively impacted, compensation may be available. The awarding party will look to establish the amount the victim could have earned had the car accident not occurred.
Non-economic damages compensate the victim and/or family for non-financial, intangible losses.