Surviving the Aftermath of Semi Truck Wrecks: A Guide to Your Legal Rights
It is estimated that 10 million accidents take place due to vehicle operation each year. Many of these accidents are fatal and a shocking number of the most deadly accidents involve semi trucks.
That’s because some semi trucks weigh over 80,000 pounds.
If you’re the victim of a semi truck accident, count yourself lucky to be reading this article. Now that you’ve made it through the worst of your experience, it’s time to take action.
Taking the appropriate steps after a truck-involved accident is a little bit different than what you’d do after a standard car accident. Below, our team walks you through some general tips on how you should move forward after semi truck wrecks.
Get Medical Help
The first thing that you need to do after an accident, especially one involving a truck, is to get appropriate medical help.
It’s obvious that physical injuries will require medical attention. What many people don’t look to get help for is the psychological and emotional damages semi truck wrecks can cause.
If you’re finding yourself fearful of getting behind the wheel of your car or fearful of getting on the freeway because of your accident, do what you can to seek psychological help.
Be sure that your doctor(s) document all of your issues meticulously as these records will serve you well if you should choose to sue.
Understand Who to Sue
Being involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle can make understanding who to go after a little fuzzier than when you’re in a standard vehicle accident. In most cases, your legal action will be aimed at one of two parties…
The Trucking Company
If the driver who hit you works with a trucking company and is classified as an employee (not a private contractor) your legal action will likely be against the company they work for.
This is good since many truck drivers may not have the assets or the insurance to award you the compensation that you need to cope with your trauma.
If the truck driver that hits you is a contractor or an “owner-operator”, you may have to direct your case at them personally.
While a driver’s assets are likely to be less than a trucking company’s, in many cases, owner-operators own their truck. This can give courts the option to liquidate that asset to pay for damages.
Sometimes though, truck drivers are borrowing the truck that they’re using. Consequently, the truck that caused your accident may fall out of the reach of legal action.
What Kinds of Damages Can You Sue for in Semi Truck Wrecks?
Understanding the kinds of legal grounds you have at your disposal when filing a lawsuit is important to make sure that you and your US Attorneys or other legal representation are seeking correct damages.
Common damages awarded during semi truck wrecks include:
- Medical Expenses – Any bills you incur from medical professionals that are a direct result of your accident.
- Pain and Suffering– Psychological and other less tangible damages that you incur from your accident.
- Lost Wages and Future Earning Capacity – Money lost from not being able to work and future wagesw lost due to an inability to perform your trade.
There are many more categories of damages that you and your attorney can pursue. The list above should serve as a good starting point to build your case around.
Understanding Truck Laws that are Often Violated
There’s a reason why so many car accidents involve semi trucks.
Semi trucks are governed by a handful of core tenants that aim to prevent drivers from being negligent. Due to the prospect of monetary gains however, many of these tenants are violated by drivers which can cause dangerous situations.
Laws that are most commonly violated and may have been linked to your accident include:
Illegal Truck Logs
A truck log is where drivers need to keep track of their hours to make sure that they’re not driving too much within a 24 hour period. Many times drivers exceed log limits or cheat on them which can lead to complacency behind the wheel.
Driving With an Overweight Trailer
Chances are that you’ve seen truck “weigh stations” placed off to the side of major freeways. In order to access certain roads, trucks must be under assigned weights and these weigh stations aim to keep truckers honest.
Still, some drivers forgo weight limits and may end up losing control of their rig.
Driving Without Proper Credentials
Many small trucking companies hire people to pull their trailers that can’t legally work or that haven’t gone through proper training to drive large trucks. This represents an obvious risk to other vehicles and has lead to a number of accidents over the years.
Wrapping Things Up and How to Find the Right Attorney
Our team hopes that the insight we’ve provided on semi truck wrecks has added some clarity to your situation. At the end of the day though, reading an article online is no substitute for talking to an actual attorney.
Where can you find a qualified attorney that specializes in semi truck accidents?
Right here on Halt.org.
Halt hosts a database of attorneys from all over the United States that are taking on clients with your exact legal concerns right now.
Every day you wait to hire an attorney, your chances of getting the compensation you’re entitled to get slimmer. Don’t wait any longer and use our free tools at Halt to get the legal help you need today.