- Truck accident lawsuits differ from car accident lawsuits in many ways.
- Since truck accidents typically cause much more severe injuries, the stakes are much higher.
- Trucking industry regulations and liability are key factors in a truck accident lawsuit.
- Due to the complexity of truck accident lawsuits, victims must contact an experienced lawyer immediately.
- Priorities after a truck accident include moving the car from the road, calling for medical help, and contacting an attorney.
Anyone involved in a truck accident knows it’s one of the most terrifying experiences a person can have. When an 80,000-pound truck hits a 3,000-pound car, the results can be life-shattering and often life-ending. Since the consequences are so horrible, the stakes are typically much higher in truck accident lawsuits than in a wreck involving two cars.
At Werner, Hoffman & Greig, our attorneys have extensive experience helping truck accident victims. If you’ve suffered a severe injury or the tragic loss of a loved one, we’ll fight to help you recover financially so you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery. We’ll do all we can to make those responsible for your suffering pay dearly for their negligence.
The following is a look at four key differences between car and truck accident lawsuits. Please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call (800) 320-HELP for a free case evaluation.
Overview of Car and Truck Accident Lawsuits
In 2021, 28 people died, and 124 others suffered incapacitating injuries in Florida large truck accidents. In many instances, the truck driver, trucking company, or another party caused the accident through negligence.
The driver might have been impaired due to drug or alcohol use. The trucking company may have neglected critical maintenance. A third-party company could have failed to load the cargo securely.
Truck accident victims demand justice. Skilled attorneys, such as the ones with WHG, help them get it. But winning truck accident lawsuits is more challenging than winning the average car accident case. These are just four of the many reasons why.
1. The Scale of the Accident
Commercial trucks can be more than 20 times the size of passenger vehicles. When the two collide, the results are devastating. A truck hitting a car will do much more damage in most instances than two cars colliding. The collision subjects occupants of passenger vehicles to much greater forces, leading to much more severe injuries.
On the other hand, the injuries associated with most car accidents are much less severe. According to an analysis of more than 70,000 insurance claims stemming from car wrecks, about 66% of injuries involved neck strains and sprains. Another 56% were strains and sprains of the back. About 14% were shoulder injuries, while 8-9% were knee injuries.
The above isn’t meant to minimize car accident injuries. They can obviously be horrible. The point is that, on average, truck accidents lead to much worse injuries than the average car wreck.
2. Regulations and Liability
Other critical components of truck accident lawsuits involve federal and state regulations and determining liability.
One of the most important federal rules for truck accident lawsuits is the Hours of Service Rule. This rule mandates mandatory breaks for drivers after they’ve been behind the wheel for a specific time. For example, drivers must rest for at least 30 minutes after eight hours of driving.
Other trucking regulations include the following:
- Vehicle maintenance and inspection requirements.
- Alcohol and drug testing.
- Safe loading of trucks.
- The length and weight of commercial trucks.
Drivers and trucking companies can face severe penalties for breaking the Hours of Service Rule and other regulations. Experienced attorneys can use those violations as evidence in lawsuits. At WHG, our lawyers thoroughly understand trucking rules. We’ll use that knowledge to help you obtain maximum compensation.
3. Complexity of Truck Accident Lawsuits
Truck accident lawsuits are typically more challenging because of two main factors. One factor is that multiple parties usually share responsibility. Another is that the opposition is much more formidable.
As mentioned earlier, the driver, the trucking company, the cargo loading company, and other parties could play a role in causing an accident. There’s also a chance a part on the truck failed due to negligent manufacturing. A truck accident attorney has to determine why the accident occurred and who to pursue for compensation.
The other complicating factor is that trucking companies immediately dispatch investigation teams when an accident occurs. In some instances, investigators can arrive within minutes. That gives them access to not only the accident scene but also witnesses.
Some trucking companies will resort to destroying evidence. This, unfortunately, is a common practice. Trucking companies, for instance, will often falsify driver logbooks to keep a victim’s attorney from finding out the driver violated the Hours of Service rule. They may put the truck back into service before an attorney can obtain data from the vehicle’s “black box,” which stores critical information such as the truck’s speed when the accident occurred.
But if you hire an attorney as fast as possible, they can keep the trucking company from destroying or distorting evidence. Your lawyer can also obtain crucial accident scene evidence before it disappears.
4. Available Insurance
Trucking company insurance policies are costly. They can cost $1 million or more. The reason is truck accidents cause horrible injuries, and these injuries cost a lot of money to treat. For example, treating severe spinal cord injuries can cost anywhere from $347,000-$769,000 (or more) in just the first year after the injury occurs.
Again, the stakes in truck accident lawsuits are high. Insurers, as well as the trucking companies they cover, will fight passionately to protect their interests. That’s why you need an attorney who will be just as passionate and have the skill to defeat this deep-pocketed opposition.
Steps to Take After You’re Involved in a Truck Accident
Protecting your health is the most important thing to do in a truck accident. If you can get your car off the road immediately, even if you can only get it to the shoulder. Check yourself and others in your vehicle for injuries, call 911 to report the accident, and ask for medical help.
Once you’re safe, call your insurance company to tell them what happened. Also, get in touch with WHG so we can investigate. As you learned, starting the investigation as early as possible will be critical to obtaining the evidence needed to win your case. If possible, take photos of the accident scene and get the contact information of any witnesses.
How WHG Can Help You Receive Fair Compensation
WHG attorneys have years of experience and a long track record of delivering our clients positive results. When you turn to us, we’ll dispatch investigators to the scene to gather evidence. We’ll also collect evidence from other sources. These include nearby surveillance cameras, GPS black box data, logbooks, etc.
Our lawyers also have relationships with expert witnesses who can further strengthen your case. These include accident reconstruction experts, medical professionals, and others. We’ll work hard to obtain a fair settlement. If the opposition refuses to settle, we’ll be ready to fight for your rights in court.
Contact Our Team to File Your Truck Accident Lawsuit ASAP
We invite you to get in touch with WHG to learn more about how we can help. Use our online form or call (800) 320-HELP for a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do I have to file a truck accident lawsuit?
The statute of limitations in Florida is two years for truck accident lawsuits. If you don’t take legal action within two years from the accident date, you won’t have a chance to get the money you deserve.
Can I still receive compensation if I’m partially at fault?
Yes. If an investigation shows you were partially to blame, the court will reduce your compensation by your percentage of fault. For example, if your damages are $100,000 and you’re 30% to blame, you’ll receive $70,000 instead. Florida follows a legal principle known as “comparative fault.”
How is compensation calculated in truck accident lawsuits?
Attorneys calculate damages in several ways. Your lawyer will use medical bills, pay stubs, and other documentation during this calculation. They’ll also demand compensation for intangible damages, such as lost quality of life and pain and suffering.