Semi-Truck Accident Attorney

Understanding Your Rights: How a Semi-Truck Accident Attorney Can Help You

Tarun Sridharan Legal Editor & Attorney Contributor Read Time: 10 minutes

Understanding Your Rights: How a Semi-Truck Accident Attorney Can Help You

Have you been injured in an accident involving a large truck?  Commercial vehicles — like semi-trucks — can lead to unique challenges and opportunities in litigation.  Given that you’re likely to have suffered serious injuries in a collision with a semi-truck, your damages are also likely to be substantial.  The high-stakes nature of compensation for commercial truck accidents means that you should absolutely consult with an experienced semi-truck accident attorney for guidance on how best to proceed.

Of course, if you’d like to learn more about truck accident lawsuits, read on, and let’s explore.

Why are truck accidents so serious?

Accidents involving large trucks — like semi-trucks — are uniquely dangerous due to the size and mass of the vehicle involved, among other factors.  There are two categorical risk elements to discuss:

  1. Heightened risk of an accident: large trucks have several issues that make them more likely to get into an accident.  First, they are large and lack easy maneuverability, so their clunky structure creates blind spots and takes up enough physical space that accidents are more likely to occur.  For example, when a semi-truck has to make a sudden turn, its turn radius is so large that it may cut across several lanes simultaneously, exposing other drivers to a heightened collision risk.
  2. More severe accidents: large trucks simply have more mass.  They’re weightier than other vehicles, especially when considering the cargo they’re carrying.  This means that the force of impact will be substantial.  Normal vehicles are not necessarily equipped with the sort of safety features (or structure) that would enable them to protect you in a collision with a large truck.  The force of impact will crumple the structure and damage your body more easily.  This leads to more severe injuries on average.

What percentage of accidents are caused by semi-trucks?

Large trucks (which include massive semi-trucks, large delivery vans, and other large commercial vehicles, etc.) account for roughly six to seven percent of all accidents on American roadways, despite making up an even smaller portion of total traffic.  In other words, large commercial truck accidents comprise a disproportionately greater amount of total accidents than one would expect given the low numbers of commercial trucks on the road.

Compensation in a semi-truck accident dispute

Every case is different, and the compensation you can secure is directly linked to the losses you suffered.  In truck accidents, as with other personal injury disputes, you can be compensated for your losses — nothing more.  Recoverable losses from truck crashes include the following:

  • Wage loss
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Property loss
  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship
  • And more

To better understand how a damages claim works, let’s consider a brief example.  Suppose that you’re injured in a semi-truck accident.  Your injuries are severe enough that they prevent you from working for an entire year, and — as a construction worker — they cause permanent damage that limits your on-the-job responsibilities in the future.  This prevents you from being assigned to as many projects by your company, limiting your future income.  Your medical bills and expenses (even though they’re covered entirely by your insurance) are substantial, and the pain you feel everyday is quite severe — that’s claimable too.

Tallying some realistic numbers together:

  • Wage loss: $70,000
  • Loss of earning capacity: $200,000
  • Property loss: $15,000
  • Medical expenses: $100,000
  • Pain and suffering: $100,000
  • Total: $485,000

See how quickly it can add up?  That’s why it’s crucial to work with an experienced semi-truck accident attorney who can persuasively develop a damages claim that the court will accept as reasonable.

There may be several “liable parties” in your semi-truck lawsuit

Semi-truck lawsuits can be complex, involving multiple defendants.  This is potentially a good thing — it means you can establish liability across several different parties, and thus secure compensation from various parties.  If the driver doesn’t have adequate insurance coverage, for example, it’s not necessarily a problem, as you are also suing the truck company and other defendants who may have sufficient insurance coverage to pay out your losses.

Every case is different, of course, but potential defendants may include:

  • The truck driver involved in the collision with you
  • The truck driver’s employer
  • The warehouse where the truck driver loaded their goods
  • The repair shop that inspected and maintained the truck
  • The truck manufacturer
  • The City
  • And more

For example, suppose that you’re involved in an accident with an eighteen wheeler.  You sustain serious injuries, and hire an attorney to help you sue the trucking company and defendants for compensation to cover your losses.  The two obvious defendants are the truck driver and his employer.

But after further investigation (using an accident reconstruction expert), your attorney discovers that the crash was caused due to improper loading of goods at the warehouse.  You’d potentially be entitled to sue the warehouse as their employees improperly loaded the goods onto the truck, creating an imbalance that led to the accident.

Don’t rely on your insurer to understand your situation and be your ally

Broadly speaking, the general public has been incorrectly taught to go directly to their insurance company after an accident.  In fact, if you ask most people what to do after an accident, they’d probably tell you (among other things, like getting contact info and securing medical attention) to talk to your insurer about the accident.

This is a huge mistake.  Don’t rely on your insurer to be an ally.

Insurance companies profit from rejecting and/or underpaying claims.  When an insurance adjuster is talking to you after an accident, they’re not trying to get you paid more — their job is to identify things that you’re saying that could be used to deny your claim or lowball your payout.  If they can get away with denying your claim, they’ll have made a substantial profit off of you.

That’s the essential dynamic of the insurance business.

Insurance is good — but you should not be talking to them directly.  Have your attorney talk to them instead.  That way, you won’t make any problematic disclosures that could be used against you.  And your attorney will strongly represent your interests to the insurer, increasing the likelihood that you’ll receive a fair payout.

Unique strategic advantages you have as the injury victim in a semi-truck accident dispute

Large truck accident disputes are similar in some ways to a car accident dispute, but there are several important differences, too.  These can give rise to substantial strategic differences, and in fact, from a legal strategy perspective, you may actually have some unique advantages when litigating a large truck accident case.

Consider the following:

  • Semi-truck drivers must have a commercial license to operate their vehicles legally.  CDLs impose a number of heightened expectations on drivers.  Commercial truck drivers are expected to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner, but this behavioral standard is higher than the standard imposed on a non-commercial driver.  As such, for “small mistakes” that you might get away with on the road, a commercial driver could be found negligent (and therefore liable).  This makes it easier for you to prove that the driver is liable for your injuries.
  • Commercial drivers will have an employer.  Assuming that the accident occurred when they were working (or at least, occurred in the “course and scope” of their employment), you’d likely be legally entitled to sue their employer for damages.  This gives you access to deeper pockets, as employers are likely to have business insurance coverage that is sufficient to pay out all your losses.  Employers also may have business concerns relating to the negative publicity of a lawsuit — as such, they may be more willing to negotiate an early settlement to avoid damage to their brand.
  • Semi-truck accidents tend to lead to severe, even life-changing injuries.  That makes you — the injury victim — a more relatable and sympathetic figure to the jury.  This is strategically beneficial, as “playing to the jury” is a key psychological tool for securing a win (and maximum compensation).
  • And more

You don’t need to pay upfront to work with a semi-truck accident attorney

Semi-truck lawyers fall under the umbrella category of personal injury lawyers.  In other words, they work for injury victims — like yourself — with the intention of securing compensation for property damage on their behalf.  Plaintiffs ’-side personal injury lawyers generally work on a contingency basis, which is quite beneficial for everyone involved.

Contingency fees are paid out if and when the client gets compensated.  So, if you don’t get compensated (i.e., you don’t “win” your case or secure a settlement), then you don’t have to pay the attorney anything.  In fact, they’ll advocate for you from start to finish without you having to pay a cent up-front or out-of-pocket.

This takes away the stress of having to think about the “cost” of working with an attorney.  After all, if you’ve been in a serious semi-truck accident, chances are that you’ve sustained major personal injuries and you may not have a lot of funds at your disposal.

Now, if your attorney does secure compensation on your behalf, they’ll get paid a percentage cut of your total recovered compensation.  This can vary anywhere from 25 percent to 40 percent or more, depending on your law firm and what you agree to when you hire them.

This contingency fee dynamic is beneficial for you — the injured claimant — as it incentivizes the attorney to act efficiently and effectively to maximize your compensation.  The more you get paid, the more they get paid.

If you’ve been injured in a truck crash, following a truck accident, then you may be dealing with severe injuries, as well as major career and lifestyle changes — changes that could impact you and your family’s ability to move forward happily and healthily.

Under the various truck accident laws, you could be entitled to significant compensation to cover the losses you’ve sustained as a result of the truck crash.  But taking legal action isn’t always as straightforward as it seems.  That’s why it’s important to work closely with an experienced truck accident lawyer who can help you navigate the challenges of a dispute.

Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 to speak to one of our agents.  We’ll ask you a few initial intake questions to better understand how to serve you — then, in just 10 minutes or less, we’ll connect you to a qualified truck accident lawyer in your area who can provide a free legal consultation.  During this initial consultation, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss your truck accident claim in more detail, and better understand your strategic options and next steps.

You’re under no pressure to proceed if you choose otherwise, meaning there’s no drawback to reaching out and talking about your case.

We look forward to assisting you.

Our offices are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so we can assist you no matter when your accident occurs.

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