There is no question that commercial truck accidents are some of the most devastating and destructive accidents, given the size, weight, and sheer force of these massive big rigs. It is usually the occupants of the passenger vehicle involved in the accident who suffer the most severe, often fatal injuries. The costs associated with these catastrophic accidents can quickly accumulate, particularly if the victim’s injuries are extensive and he or she is unable to return to work. To seek financial compensation, the injured victim will need to file a personal injury claim against the truck driver or the truck company. However, the last thing truck companies want is to be held liable for a truck accident, and they will resort to a range of tactics to avoid a costly settlement. Therefore, it is in the victim’s best interest to hire an experienced truck accident lawyer who can negotiate with the truck company and seek the best possible financial outcome.
The Tactics Truck Companies Use to Avoid Liability
Although truck accidents represent a relatively small percentage of the total accidents that occur on roads and highways across the United States, when they do happen, the property damage and injuries tend to be quite severe, and the damages can be extremely costly. Pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against a truck company can be intimidating and overwhelming, particularly when the victim is in the process of recovering from serious injuries. This process can become even more challenging if truck companies use the following tactics to avoid liability:
- The truck company may claim that the truck driver is an independent contractor. A significant percentage of truck drivers are indeed independent contractors, but some work directly for the truck company. The truck company may try to prove that the truck driver was speeding, distracted, drowsy, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, failed to load the cargo properly, or some other type of behavior that would be considered negligent. If it can be proved that the truck driver was employed by the truck company when the accident occurred, the company is legally responsible for paying the damages. There is a specific procedure that the court uses to confirm a truck driver’s employment status.
- The truck company may try to blame other parties, including the company responsible for loading the cargo, third-party maintenance firms, and the truck manufacturer. The truck company may even try to point the finger at the passenger vehicle involved in the accident and claim that he or she was responsible for causing the accident.
- The truck company may try to deny that the injuries were caused by the truck accident. They may try to argue that the victim was injured prior to the truck accident, and that they are attempting to obtain financial compensation wrongfully. In order for the victim to seek compensation for the truck accident, they must establish negligence by proving the following:
– The truck company owed him or her a duty of care.
– The truck company breached the duty.
– The breach resulted in the injuries.
- In some cases, the truck company may admit that negligence was what caused the crash and the resulting injuries, but the company may challenge the damage that the victim claims. For example, the truck company may try to argue that the victim’s injuries are not as serious as he or she claims and do not warrant the level of compensation that has been requested.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
Injured victims can assume that the truck driver and the truck company will have a team of lawyers who will fight hard to keep them from having to pay a large settlement. That is why it is so important that an injured party is also represented by skilled legal professionals who have their best interests at heart. It can be difficult to hold the truck company responsible for an accident without the help of skilled legal counsel. The following are specific examples of how an experienced truck accident lawyer can help individuals who have been seriously injured in a truck accident:
- Conduct a thorough investigation into the details of the accident. This will involve collecting and examining police reports, medical records, witness testimonials, and other documents related to the accident. In addition, if the truck had a black box onboard at the time of the accident, or if the truck driver kept a detailed logbook, a lawyer will be able to retrieve that data, which can help re-create the events that led up to the accident.
- Process all paperwork. There is a great deal of paperwork involved in a truck accident claim. A dedicated truck accident lawyer will ensure that all the necessary paperwork is filled out and that it is filed well before the deadline. Missing the deadline can impact one’s ability to recover financial compensation.
- Ensure that clients get the medical care necessary. Truck accidents can cause devastating injuries that may require extensive, long-term medical care. An attorney will ensure that the injured victim gets the medical care he or she deserves.
- Conduct an investigation of the trucking company. If the trucking company’s negligence caused the accident, a lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation into the details of the accident and look for evidence of negligence. For example, if the truck company failed to keep the truck properly maintained, did not make the necessary repairs to the truck, ignored regulations that limit the loading of cargo, or failed to train new drivers, the company may be considered negligent.
- Negotiate with insurance companies. In addition to the truck companies, insurance companies try to do whatever they can to avoid paying a large sum of money to the injured victim. A lawyer will build a strong case that demonstrates to the insurance company that they are going to do whatever it takes to secure the compensation that their client is entitled to receive.
- File a lawsuit. If the insurance company denies the claim or fails to negotiate a fair settlement, a lawyer will fight the case in court. If the court rules in favor of the truck driver or the trucking company, the lawyer will appeal the case and take the matter to a higher court.
The Most Common Truck Accident Injuries
Injuries caused by large truck accidents are usually severe, if not fatal. For victims who survive a truck accident, their life may never be the same, particularly if they suffered a spinal cord injury or a serious head injury. The following are examples of common injuries that truck accidents can cause:
- Broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Back and neck injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Organ damage
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
What Damages Are Victims Entitled to if Injured in a Truck Accident?
If a truck accident victim is fortunate enough to survive the crash, he or she will likely face a long road to recovery. Common truck accident injuries can include spinal cord injuries, multiple bone fractures, internal injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. In addition to severe physical injuries, victims can suffer serious emotional and cognitive injuries as well. Recovering from these injuries can require extensive medical treatment, surgeries, physical therapy, and long-term care if there are permanent impairments. Truck accident victims are entitled to the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Unfortunately, owing to the massive size and weight of the average commercial truck, it is usually the occupants of the passenger vehicle who suffer the most severe, often fatal injuries. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 4,136 people were fatally injured in large truck accidents in 2018, and 67 percent of the fatalities were the occupants of cars and passenger vehicles. This tragic loss is devastating to the victim’s family, friends, and loved ones. If the truck accident caused a fatality, the surviving family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the family may be eligible for the following damages:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical debt
- Loss of future income
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of inheritance
Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyers at ACTS Law Seek Justice for Victims of Truck Accidents
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a truck accident and you believe that the truck company was negligent in some way, you are urged to contact the Los Angeles truck accident lawyers at ACTS Law as soon as possible. Our dedicated legal team has a proven track record of reaching successful settlements for our clients. We will conduct a thorough investigation into the details of the accident and fight to hold the truck company and any other parties liable. We will walk you through the claims process and take every step necessary to reach a favorable outcome. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 833-ACTS-LAW or contact us online.
With offices in San Diego and Los Angeles, we serve clients throughout Southern California.