Commercial Truck Accidents Can Have Devastating Consequences. Our Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help You Recover.
What happened? How did it happen? Why did it happen to you? A crash with a 40-ton commercial truck can result in devastating and catastrophic injuries. If a loved one was seriously injured or even killed in the accident, it can leave you wondering how you will ever possibly be able to move on.
As truck accident lawyers, these are facts we know all too well. While we are passionate about what we do, we also have no problem saying that representing truck accident victims and their families is hard and requires experience. We witness our clients’ physical and emotional struggles firsthand, and we are right there with them as they try to find ways to cope with their losses.
As Albany residents, we are committed to serving those in our community. If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one, we want to help you attain the compensation you deserve.
At Lincoln Trial Lawyers, we have an in-depth knowledge of the laws that are meant to prevent these catastrophic injuries from happening. If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, contact our personal injury lawyers for a free consultation. We want to help you recover the financial damages you deserve.
What Compensation Is Available to Victims of Commercial Truck Accidents ?
What is “justice” if you have been permanently injured, disfigured, or emotionally scarred? What amount constitutes “just compensation” for a life-altering injury or the loss of a loved one? These are not easy questions to answer; for some people, no amount will make up for the loss.
But, our legal system is rooted in the concept of providing financial compensation for losses sustained in serious and fatal accidents. This includes compensation for both financial and non-financial losses. While it may not be possible for any amount of money to truly replace what you have lost, truck accident victims and their families will often be entitled to significant financial recoveries under the law.
For example, in a typical case involving a serious but non-fatal truck accident, the damages available to victims of the crash will include compensation for:
- Current and future medical bills, prescription costs, and other treatment-related expenses
- Property damage and the cost of home modifications, home services (such as cleaning and landscaping), and other direct out-of-pocket costs
- Lost income, benefits, and future earning capacity
- Pain, suffering, and emotional trauma
- The psychological and economic effects of permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship, consortium, services, society, and support
In cases involving fatal truck accidents resulting in wrongful death, potential damages include:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral, burial, and cremation expenses
- Loss of future income and benefits
- Loss of companionship and consortium
- The victim’s pain and suffering prior to death
How much can you expect to recover? The answer to this question will depend on the specific facts of your case—from the factors involved in the accident to the extent of your financial and non-financial losses. During your free initial consultation, our attorneys will begin collecting the information we need to assess the value of your claim.
Are You Entitled to Financial Compensation for Your (or Your Loved One’s) Truck Accident?
Accident victims’ right to financial compensation is based on the legal principle of liability. In order to establish your claim for damages, you must be able to prove that someone else is liable for your losses.
Within the context of a commercial truck accident, liability can arise in a variety of different ways. While this includes many different forms of truck driver negligence, it includes various other causal factors as well. For example, some of the most-common grounds for seeking financial compensation after a truck accident include:
- Driving under the influence
- Driving while distracted
- Driving without a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- Exceeding federal driving hour limitations (or otherwise driving while fatigued)
- Failing to perform necessary safety inspections
- Failing to perform routine maintenance or necessary repairs
- Failing to properly secure or pressurize cargo
- Overloading or improperly loading a commercial truck
- Selling defective trucks or truck components
- Speeding, tailgating, and other forms of negligent truck driving
As you might expect, in many cases multiple factors will combine to cause a serious truck accident; weather can be a factor in commercial trucking collisions as well. While these types of issues can complicate the process of securing financial compensation, our attorneys have the experience required to ensure that all relevant parties are held appropriately accountable for our clients’ losses.
Who Is Liable for Your Losses Resulting from a Commercial Truck Accident?
Once the cause of a truck accident has been determined, the question then becomes: Who is liable for your losses? While it might seem like this should be fairly straightforward, there are several factors that can complicate the answer to this question as well.
For example, let’s assume that your accident can be attributed entirely to truck driver negligence. The truck driver was speeding while distracted behind the wheel, and you were driving the speed limit in your lane. Does this mean that you will need to sue the truck driver? Not necessarily.
Trucking companies are subject to the law of “vicarious liability.” This makes them liable for their employees’ negligence in most cases. So, rather than suing the truck driver, your case will most likely involve a claim against his or her employer. If the truck driver was unqualified to be behind the wheel of a commercial truck, then the trucking company could also be directly liable for negligent hiring and entrustment.
Depending on the circumstances involved, other companies that could be liable for losses sustained in a commercial truck accident include:
- Shipping company – Cargo loading errors may be attributable to the shipping company that filled a container or loaded the container onto the truck bed.
- Truck manufacturer – Truck manufacturers can be held liable for brake failures, transmission failures, and other defects.
- Component manufacturer – Component manufacturers can also be held liable for design, manufacturing, and failure-to-warn defects.
- Dealership or repair shop – Dealerships and independent repair shops can face liability for performing negligent maintenance or repair work that leads to failures on the road.
- Road authority, contractor, or other third party – In addition to truck-related issues, issues with the road, issues with other drivers’ vehicles, and various other factors can cause and contribute to commercial truck accidents.
How Do You Prove Negligence (or a Product Defect) After a Commercial Truck Accident?
Proving negligence or the existence of a product defect requires evidence. Whether your case is resolved through settlement negotiations or you ultimately have to take your case to court, in order to win you are going to need to be able to present clear evidence of liability.
This evidence could – and most likely will – come from several different sources. One of these sources is the scene of the crash. After any type of accident, it is important to conduct an investigation at the scene as soon as possible. Various types of forensic evidence may be available, but this evidence could also disappear if it is not preserved promptly.
The truck, your vehicle, and any other vehicles involved in the crash will also need to be carefully inspected. Depending on the circumstances involved, driver logs, phone records, employment records, and various other sources of documentation could all provide key evidence as well.
Of course, gathering all of this evidence is not easy. The on-scene investigation will need to be conducted by experienced forensic experts, and it may be necessary to utilize formal court procedures to obtain documents from the liable party.
What Types of Vehicles Are Considered Commercial Trucks?
Commercial truck accident claims present unique challenges. One of the key differences between these cases and “ordinary” auto accident cases is the fact that seeking financial compensation rarely involves filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
When we (and other truck accident law firms) use the term “commercial truck,” we are referring to any type of truck that is used for business purposes. This includes:
- Box trucks
- Cement mixers
- Dump trucks
- Flatbed trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Delivery trucks
- Tanker trucks
- Tractor trailers
- Utility trucks
When dealing with the aftermath of a commercial truck crash, the type of truck is less important than the cause of the accident and the party (or parties) that are responsible. Ultimately, if you were injured or a loved one was killed in a commercial truck accident that was someone else’s fault, you and your family are entitled to just compensation.