What Rights Do Truck Accident Victims Have?Posted on: April 21, 2023
Truck accidents can have devastating consequences for those involved, resulting in serious injuries, property damage, and even fatalities. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), in 2020, there were 107,000 large trucks involved in crashes resulting in injury, and 4,965 people lost their lives in large-truck crashes. While the number of fatalities decreased by 1% from 2019, it is still up by 31% since 2011.
Truck accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, such as driver fatigue, equipment failure, and distracted driving. When these accidents occur, it’s important to understand the rights of truck accident victims and the legal process for seeking compensation for your losses.
Let’s take a closer look at the different types of injuries sustained in truck accidents, the parties that may be held liable, the legal process for successfully filing a truck accident claim, the damages available to victims, and go over some tips for staying safe on the road to prevent accidents.
Types of Injuries Sustained in Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can result in a range of injuries, from minor bruises and cuts to life-threatening conditions. Some of the common injuries sustained in truck accidents include neck and head injuries, injuries to the spinal cord, broken bones, and internal organ damage. These injuries can have long-term effects, including chronic pain, disability, and reduced quality of life. Unlike impacts with lighter motor vehicles, truck crashes usually cause serious injuries.
More often than not, these injuries are suffered by the individuals in the other vehicles involved in the accidents, not the driver or passengers of the commercial trucks. The latest study from NSC found that there were about 147,000 incidences of injuries resulting from large-truck accidents in 2020. Of the total injuries reported, the majority were suffered by individuals occupying other vehicles involved in the crashes (68%). Truck occupants made up 30% of the injuries, while non-occupants accounted for the remaining 2%.
Parties Liable for Truck Accidents
When a truck accident occurs, there may be multiple parties that can be held liable for the damages caused. These parties may include the truck driver, the trucking company, the manufacturer of the truck, and others.
Determining liability in a truck accident case can be complicated, and it’s important to have legal representation to navigate the legal process. In addition to the parties directly involved in the accident, there may be third parties that contributed to the accident, such as a maintenance company that failed to properly maintain the truck or a shipping company that overloaded the truck beyond its capacity.
A skilled attorney can investigate the accident to determine all parties that may be liable and help truck accident victims obtain the compensation they deserve.
When selecting a lawyer for a truck accident case, it’s important to look for someone with experience in handling these types of cases. A good lawyer will have a thorough understanding of the legal process and will be able to provide sound advice and guidance throughout the case.
Other factors to consider when selecting a lawyer include checking their reviews and ratings, and ensuring that they are licensed and registered to practice law in the state where the accident occurred.
The Legal Process for Filing a Claim After a Truck Accident
The legal process for filing a claim after a truck accident can be complex and time-consuming. It involves several steps, including:
- Contacting a lawyer: The first step in the legal process is to contact a lawyer who specializes in truck accident cases. A lawyer can review the details of the case, advise on legal options, and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
- Gathering evidence: The next step is to gather evidence related to the accident, such as police reports, witness statements, and medical records. Take photos and video at the scene because the trucking company will be doing it and will not share it with you.
- Filing a claim: Once the evidence has been gathered, the lawyer can file a claim on your behalf. This claim will outline the damages suffered and the compensation being sought.
- Negotiating a settlement: After the claim has been filed, the parties involved will negotiate a settlement. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case may go to trial.
It’s important to note that there are statutes of limitations for filing a truck accident claim. These time limits vary by state and by the type of claim being filed. Therefore, it’s essential to contact a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that the claim is filed within the required time limits. In Florida, the statute of limitations was recently reduced to two years. So, filing a lawsuit early has become even more necessary to ensure all of the parties are included.
Damages Available to Truck Accident Victims
Truck accident victims may be entitled to a range of damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. The damages available will depend on the severity of the injuries sustained and the circumstances of the accident.
In addition to compensatory damages, truck accident victims may also be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the responsible party for their negligence and discourage similar behavior in the future. These types of damages are usually reserved for extreme circumstances but it is always something to explore.
Insurance companies play a significant role in truck accident cases. The trucking company and the truck driver are required to have insurance coverage, which will be used to cover the damages in the event of an accident.
However, insurance companies are not always willing to pay out the full amount of damages owed. They may attempt to limit the damages awarded to truck accident victims, which is why it’s essential to have legal representation to negotiate on behalf of the victim.
Your Rights as a Truck Accident Victim
Being involved in an accident with a truck can be a devastating experience, both physically and emotionally. In addition to the pain and suffering caused by the accident, victims often face mounting medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. However, truck accident victims do have rights that can help them recover from their injuries and losses. Here are some of the most important rights to keep in mind:
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Right to Compensation
Truck accident victims have the right to seek compensation for injuries and losses. This may include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If the accident was caused by the negligence of the truck driver or the trucking company, victims may be able to recover damages through a personal injury lawsuit or a claim to the insurance companies involved.
Right to Legal Representation
Truck accident victims have the right to hire a lawyer to represent them in their cases. Lawyers help victims understand their legal options, negotiate with insurance companies, and advocate for their rights in court.
Right to Medical Treatment
Truck accident victims have the right to receive medical treatment for their injuries, regardless of their ability to pay. Health insurance policies may cover the cost of medical care, but victims without insurance may be able to receive treatment through government-funded programs or a medical lien.
Right to Access Evidence
Truck accident victims have the right to access evidence related to their cases, such as police reports, witness statements, and medical records. This information can help victims build a strong case and prove their damages.
Right to a Fair Trial
Truck accident victims have the right to a fair trial, including the right to a jury trial and the right to present evidence and witnesses in their defense. If successful in their case, victims may be awarded damages to help them recover from their injuries and losses.
Let Beers and Gordon Advocate for You
Truck accidents can have serious consequences for those involved, often resulting in injuries, property damage, and fatalities. When these accidents occur, it’s important to understand the rights of truck accident victims and the legal process for seeking compensation for their losses.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, contact the truck accident attorneys at Beers and Gordon. Our team of experienced lawyers can help you navigate the legal process, negotiate a settlement, and obtain the compensation you deserve.
Don’t wait – contact us today to speak with an attorney and get the help you need!