A truck accident can change a victim’s life in an instant. This is because a passenger vehicle is no match for a fully-loaded tractor-trailer. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 67% of truck accident deaths are occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, and 15% are pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists.
In the wake of such a devastating accident, you may think that pursuing legal action is too overwhelming when you are focused on recovering from your injuries—and that is perfectly understandable. However, with the right legal team on your side, you may find that the legal process is easier than you expected.
Below, we discuss three reasons to file a truck accident claim.
Why File a Truck Accident Claim?
Filing a truck accident claim may be the only way for you to recover compensation after such a devastating accident. Three key reasons to file such a claim include the following:
#1. You will need funds for medical bills and lost wages.
There is no denying that truck accidents almost always leave victims with catastrophic or fatal injuries. Such injuries can easily throw victims into physical, emotional, and financial ruin. In fact, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the cost of fatal accidents involving medium to large trucks totals approximately $3,604,518.
The catastrophic injuries that truck accident victims often sustain include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe burn injuries
- Injuries requiring amputation
Such catastrophic injuries not only require immediate medical attention, but they also call for long-term, rehabilitative care. Most victims and their families cannot afford to pay for extended medical treatment on their own. This is where a truck accident claim comes into play.
With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you may be able to recover the following economic and non-economic damages:
- Medical bills
- Loss of wages
- Diminished earning power
- Vehicle repairs
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment/quality of life
- Physical disfigurement/disability
#2. Not all injuries are immediately apparent.
It’s important to remember that, while most truck accident injuries are obvious, some take longer to present themselves. Traumatic brain injuries, for example, may not display symptoms until years later—and these symptoms can be debilitating.
Therefore, filing a truck accident claim soon after the crash can provide the compensation you may need down the line. Never underestimate your injuries—you may regret failing to take legal action once symptoms present themselves.
#3. Your claim may protect other drivers on the road.
Filing a truck accident claim not only protects you, but it also protects other drivers on the road. For example, if an intoxicated truck driver caused your accident, taking legal action against them may ensure they never drive again. This could protect other motorists from falling victim to another crash this irresponsible driver causes.
Similarly, if a negligent trucking company hired drivers who should not have been on the road or encouraged their drivers to violate the FMCSA’s hours-of-service regulations, then the punitive damages they may have to pay through a truck accident claim could deter them from repeating their actions in the future.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Given the prevalence of truck accidents, it’s important to understand why they occur. According to the FMCSA, the most common causes of truck accidents include the following:
- Brake problems
- Driver traveling too fast for conditions
- Driver unfamiliar with roadway
- Hazardous road conditions
- Driver over-the-counter drug use
- Driver inattention
- Driver fatigue
- Driver pressured by employer
There are certain defensive driving techniques you can employ to keep yourself safe on the road. When driving near large trucks, make sure to:
- Stay out of a truck’s blind spots. Trucks have large blind spots directly in front, directly behind, and on either side of them. Try to spend as little time in these blind spots as possible.
- Never cut off a truck. Since trucks have large front blind spots and cannot come to a sudden stop, do not cut off a truck when changing lanes. Wait until the truck is visible in your rearview mirror before changing lanes.
However, utilizing these techniques will not prevent every truck accident. Some factors, such as a truck driver’s distraction or intoxication level, are out of your control. Therefore, it’s important to know the steps to take after a truck accident so you can protect your rights.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
If your vehicle gets hit by a truck, there are several key steps you should take after the accident to support any legal action you may take down the line. Taking the following steps (if you are physically able to do so) may help your case succeed later:
- Check to see if anyone requires medical attention and contact emergency medical services.
- Seek medical treatment and retain all records of treatment received.
- Exchange contact, vehicle, and insurance information with the truck driver. Make sure to get the business contact information for the truck driver’s employer as well.
- Obtain a copy of the responding officer’s police report.
- Check to see if there are any nearby traffic or security cameras whose footage can be used as evidence.
- Contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
The Benefits of Working with an Experienced Attorney
Many people feel deterred from working with a personal injury attorney because they feel they cannot afford attorney fees. However, most personal injury attorneys—including those at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman—operate on a contingency fee basis. This means you do not owe your attorney any money unless they win money for you. Then, this fee is taken out of the verdict or settlement award. Nothing comes out of your own pocket.
Additionally, any good personal injury attorney will take the matter largely out of your hands while you focus on recovering from your injuries. A good attorney will also make sure to keep you updated and informed throughout the process.
Keep in mind that truck accident lawsuits typically involve complex federal commercial transportation regulations and well-funded defense attorneys. In this case, you need legal representation with extensive experience and a proven track record of success litigating against major transportation companies.
Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman has a proven track record of success litigating against many of the largest transportation companies in the country. Our attorneys have diverse backgrounds and offer a unique combination of skills that are useful in commercial trucking accident investigations.
Call Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman at (855) 948-5098 to schedule a free consultation.