Truck Accident FAQs: Common Questions About Truck Accident Lawsuits
Semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and other commercial trucks are a frequent sight on America’s roadways. Injuries from a collision with a large truck are likely to be serious, life-changing, and sometimes even deadly. Addressing any truck accident FAQs you may have may help to understand what action you or a loved one can take after an accident.
At Fried Goldberg, we’re well-versed in truck accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, we’re sure you have questions. We hope this list will cover many of them; however, to better understand the circumstances of your particular case, it’s best to speak with an attorney as possible. Our case evaluations are always free and at no obligation to you.
Truck Accident Settlements
How Much Is My Truck Accident Case Worth?
The details of each truck accident lawsuit are unique, so there is no standard amount that can be quoted. Many factors go into determining how much a truck accident case is worth, including medical expenses, lost wages, and possibly funeral expenses – in addition to pain and suffering. Compensation for a truck accident can provide recovery in the following areas:
- Payment of medical bills
- Treatment for injuries not covered by insurance
- Lost wages and loss of ability to generate income
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Vehicle damage
A free case evaluation from a truck accident attorney is the best way to determine the worth of your truck accident case.
What Is the Average Semi Truck Accident Settlement Amount?
There is also no real “average” settlement amount for a semi truck accident. Settlement amounts can vary widely, depending on the degree of the victim’s physical and emotional injuries, and the financial harm suffered. A settlement can cover medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning potential, pain and suffering, and other losses.
In the past ten years, Fried Goldberg has obtained over 100 verdicts and settlements for commercial vehicle cases in excess of $1 million dollars each. Each case will vary, though reviewing our truck accident settlements and verdicts may give you an idea of what types of damages can be involved in a case.
How Much Does a Truck Accident Lawyer Cost?
This is one of the most common truck accident FAQs. Most personal injury lawyers will charge a fee based on whether you win a monetary award in court. This is known as a “contingency fee.” A typical amount ranges anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of the total settlement or verdict amount. Truck accident lawyers may be more willing to negotiate a lower contingency fee if the case is strong and severe injuries are involved.
Are There Other Fees Involved in a Lawsuit?
Besides a contingency fee, other costs may be involved, like court fees and investigation fees. Be sure you understand these up front. Not all fees will be applicable in every case. Most law firms will offer a free initial consultation to discuss how to move forward.
What Should I Look for When Choosing a Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer?
There are three main traits to consider when looking for an attorney. They should be someone who:
- Understands the nuances of laws and regulations that apply to truck accidents
- Has a proven track record of successful trial experience, and
- You feel comfortable and confident with
At Fried Goldberg, LLC, at least 95% of our caseload is dedicated to representing victims of accidents involving commercial trucks, RVs, and tractor-trailers. Our experience is extensive, and we’ve shared our combined knowledge in our book, Understanding Motor Carrier Claims. You can read more about our client’s success stories by visiting our Verdicts and Settlements page.
Does Experience Matter?
Experience is highly important when selecting someone to represent you in court. Competition among law firms for clients can be fierce when it comes to injury cases. This is especially true for major accidents such as those involving large commercial trucks. Just because a firm is putting out ads or has a website doesn’t necessarily mean that they have the resources and experience to handle your case.
When searching for a truck accident lawyer or law firm, be sure to ask them specifics, such as the percentage of cases they won or the case results they have generated. Reviewing client testimonials and reviews can give you a better picture of what it is like to work with a certain attorney or firm.
Truck Accident Lawsuits
How Is Fault Determined in a Truck Accident?
Investigating the accident scene, eyewitness testimony, and the police report are all tools that help determine fault in a truck accident. An experienced truck accident attorney will also investigate the driver and the company that employs them. Factors in assigning fault can include:
- How the truck driver was hired and trained,
- How many hours they were working
- The condition of the truck can all be contributing factors in assigning fault
How Are Truck Accident Investigations Conducted?
An experienced truck accident lawyer will request the driver qualification file (DQF) from the trucking company the driver works for. The driver qualification file is a requirement of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and will include detailed information about the driver’s history, records, and medical test results.
An attorney will also review the electronic on-board recorder or electronic logging device (ELD), collect eyewitness testimony, review police reports and examine the scene of the accident, as well as the truck itself. All this information adds up to a complete truck accident investigation.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) regularly issues accident reports for big rigs and other commercial vehicles on their website following a formal investigation.
Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident – the Driver or the Trucking Company?
Both the driver and the company they work for may be held liable in a truck accident, depending on the results of the investigation. Trucking companies will always try to avoid liability and may claim the driver doesn’t work for them or that the company doesn’t own the vehicle involved. Having a truck accident attorney on your side can help reveal the truth of who is responsible and how.
Determining liability between a driver and a trucking company can be a difficult task. Get in touch with the lawyers at Fried Goldberg at 877-591-1801 if you have questions about who is liable or responsible for your injuries.
How Long Does a Truck Accident Lawsuit Take?
Once you hire a truck accident attorney, the amount of time it will take to resolve your injury case can depend on many factors. These include liability investigations, interactions with insurance companies, medical treatment, and negotiations. A full lawsuit can take anywhere from half a year to a few years to complete.
You should be wary of quick offers from insurance companies or the opposing party — insurance companies can be notorious for rushing injured victims to settle their claim as soon as possible. This works to their advantage and pressures the injured party to lose the full recovery they are entitled to.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Trucking Accident Lawsuit?
Personal injury cases such as trucking accidents are subject to filing deadlines known as the “statute of limitations” for lawsuits. These filing rules mean you have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit after the crash. Once this filing window expires, you typically cannot bring a lawsuit anymore.
For instance, the state of Georgia has a two-year statute of limitations that applies to all personal injury and wrongful death cases, including truck accidents. For truck accidents, that two-year filing deadline begins to run on the date of the crash. Thus, if you’ve been in an accident, you should contact an attorney promptly after the incident. Waiting too long can disqualify you from receiving the damages award you otherwise may have been entitled to.
Truck Accidents and Insurance Issues
The Trucking Company’s Insurance Adjuster Wants a Statement from Me. Should I Give Them One?
No. To protect your legal rights, please do not speak with the trucking company’s claims adjusters, nor should you agree to sign anything. Politely refuse and have your attorney speak with them instead. No matter how concerned for your well-being an insurance adjuster may seem, their ultimate priority is to protect the interests of their company – not your family’s.
Why Not Just Accept the Insurance Settlement?
A trucking company’s insurer is going to offer what they feel is the lowest reasonable amount, which often isn’t nearly enough to cover the lifetime expenses of your injuries. Severe, life-altering and fatal injuries are common in accidents involving big rigs and commercial trucks. A truck accident attorney can assist you in determining and securing maximum compensation for the pain and suffering you’ve endured as a result of a collision with a large truck.
Does Insurance Cover Everything?
This is another common inquiry with truck accident FAQs. As mentioned, an insurance settlement doesn’t typically cover the lifetime expenses and costs associated with your injuries. In fact, they can be just the opposite -– an insurance payout is often just the bare minimum of what is needed to close the case and have the trucking company move on with their business. A civil lawsuit can provide the full amount of recovery needed, which will far exceed an offer from an insurance company to cover expenses.
Truck Driver and Truck Company Liability
Do Special Laws and Regulations Apply to Truck Drivers?
Yes, there are many federal and state regulations that truck drivers must abide by. These include traffic and civil laws (such as speed limit, weight, and height maximums on roadways) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Department of Transportation regulations (including how many hours a driver can be on the road, training and licensing, etc).
A truck accident lawyer will be able to uncover what laws and regulations have been violated during the accident investigation. If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, contact Fried Goldberg at 877-591-1801 for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation to determine what your legal options are.
Can a Truck Driver Be Fired for an Accident?
Yes, truck drivers can often be fired by their employers if their negligence causes an accident or injury on the road. Truck accident lawsuits can sometimes uncover broad safety violations or poor safety policies in a trucking company, such as negligent hiring. These can lead to other changes in the company and may help to elevate safety standards for the trucking industry.
Can I Sue the Truck Driver’s Company for My Injuries?
You may be able to sue the truck driver’s company if an employment relationship can be established between the driver and the trucking company. Under the respondeat superior doctrine, a trucking company is legally responsible for the actions taken by workers in the course of their employment.
Drivers are sometimes hired as independent contractors, which may or may not make the company that hired them liable for any accident damages. An experienced truck accident attorney can help uncover how much liability the trucking company has for any injuries sustained in a truck accident.
What Will the Trucking Company Be Doing to Prepare Their Case?
After a trucking accident, the trucking company will also be busy formulating their defense strategy. The trucking company will hire their own experts and field investigators to reconstruct the accident. A trucking company will often pour significant amounts of money and resources into their defense.
Make sure you don’t speak with the other side without the representation of a lawyer. At Fried Goldberg, our team has over 50 years of combined experience in dealing with trucking companies and their investigators, and are prepared to stand against trucking companies and their defense teams.
Truck Accident Statistics
How Common Are Truck Accidents?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, large trucks account for approximately 9% of all fatal crashes and 3% of all injury and property-related crashes. This may seem like a small amount, but consider that in 2017, 4,761 people were killed in big rig collisions, while 84,000 people were injured. Also, truck accidents tend to involve multiple-vehicle crashes: 82% of fatal trucking accidents involve multiple vehicles, compared with 62% for fatal passenger vehicle accidents.
Why Are Big Rig Accidents More Likely to Cause Injury Than Ones Involving Passenger Cars?
The simple answer is: physics. The average car weighs about 3,000 pounds, while a big rig carrying a full load can weigh more than 70,000 pounds. The differences in size and weight mean that the occupants of the passenger car are more likely to suffer severe or fatal injuries in a crash.
At Fried Goldberg, we understand how dangerous tractor-trailer accidents can be. A truck accident can cause life-altering, permanent injuries. Our attorneys have decades of experience providing care and guidance for truck accident victims. Call us at 877-591-1801 for a consultation to see what your legal rights and options are.
What Makes Tractor-Trailers So Dangerous?
Tractor-trailers, also known as semi-trucks, can weigh more than 16 times the average passenger car. Semis are typically 53 feet long, 8 and a half feet wide, and over 13 feet high. They’re difficult to maneuver, require at least 350 feet to come to a complete stop, and often carry hazardous materials. A collision with a truck of this size can be disastrous, if not fatal.
What Are Common Truck Accident Injuries?
Truck accidents can involve a wide range of injuries and accident types. Common truck accident injuries include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, burn injuries, broken bones, and other serious injuries that require immediate medical attention. Whiplash injuries are common in cases involving rear-end or t-bone accidents.
What If the Victim Is Not Able to File a Lawsuit Right Away?
Many truck accidents leave the victim unconscious, in a coma, or otherwise unable to make decisions on their own. Wrongful death is also an issue in fatal truck accidents. In 2018, 96% of people killed in accidents involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck were occupants of the passenger vehicle, not the truck.
As such, it may be necessary for a loved one or other person to initiate legal matters on behalf of the injured person.
Truck Accident Details and Factors
What Are the Main Causes of Truck Accidents?
Common types of truck accident causes include:
- Driver inattentiveness
- Driver fatigue
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Negligent driving
- Poor maintenance checks
- Defective truck parts
- Other causes
These can create dangerous situations that place other drivers at risk of direct injury.
What Types of Trucks Can Be Involved in an Accident?
The term “truck accident” can involve a wide range of private, commercial, and service vehicles besides big rigs and semi-trucks. These can include garbage trucks, tanker trucks, flatbed trucks, recreational vehicles, and even tow trucks. You should get in touch with a truck accident attorney if you’ve been involved in any type of accident with a truck, whether commercial or privately operated.
What Are the Different Types of Truck Accidents?
Truck accidents can take many different forms depending on the nature of the accident and the way the vehicles were traveling at the time of impact. Common types of truck accidents include:
- Rollovers: This is where the truck rolls onto its side or top, often after falling into a ditch or driving off a ledge.
- Rear-End: This can happen when a truck strikes a vehicle from behind, and usually is attributed to a failure to stop or brake on time.
- T-Bone: This is where a truck strikes the vehicle from the side, usually after entering an intersection after running a red light or a stop sign.
- Jackknife: When a truck’s trailer folds back onto itself, it can create dangerous road hazards for the traffic behind or oncoming traffic. This can often happen when a truck is attempting to turn around or make a U-turn.
- Wide turn accidents: These can happen if a trucker miscalculates a turn, often pinning a driver next to them against the curb or another car.
- Blind spot accidents: Trucks have significant blind spots; failure to properly check blind spots when merging or turning can be deadly for other drivers.
What Do I Do After a Trucking Accident?
After a trucking accident, the very first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Even minor crashes can result in serious injuries, and certain injury symptoms don’t appear until much later after an accident (such as certain brain injuries). You’ll also want to contact local authorities and make sure they file a police report, which can provide documentation in case a trial becomes necessary.
Make sure you limit your interactions with the other party and their insurance agents, especially if you are not yet represented by an attorney. You should exchange information and be courteous, but you should also avoid making admissions or statements regarding fault in the accident. Call a lawyer as soon as you are able, in order to get the process of investigation and filing moving along.
While your lawyer will be handling all documents, evidence, and medical records for you, it does help to preserve anything else you feel might be necessary and useful as evidence in court.
Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer
How Do I Know What to Ask a Truck Accident Lawyer?
You should feel free to ask your truck accident lawyer anything, especially during initial consultations. This includes any questions about the legal process, truck accident laws, settlement procedures, and other issues. You can even ask more detailed questions, such as how the lawyer will approach your case and how it might affect your daily life. Asking questions is one way to gauge whether the attorney is the right fit for your case and your needs.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
When filing a trucking accident lawsuit, there will be many legal concepts and laws that are difficult to understand, such as those covering negligence and liability. A trucking accident attorney will be able to review these complex issues and help formulate the proper strategy. They will also be the ones to obtain all records, medical files, insurance transactions, and other documents needed for evidence in court.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help With a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
Truck accidents can involve highly nuanced areas of law. They can also involve accident patterns that are more complex than a typical accident between passenger automobiles. In such cases, you need an attorney that can properly represent you to pursue the best possible outcome for your case.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a truck accident, you should contact the lawyers at Fried Goldberg at 877-591-1801 for consultation and representation. Our experience and expertise set us apart from other firms, and we understand what’s needed to get your life back on track.
The Truck Accident Attorneys
The Truck Accident Attorneys at Fried Goldberg LLC devote at least 95% of their caseload to representing the victims of accidents involving tractor trailers and other commercial vehicles. Our extensive experience with the laws governing the trucking industry is the reason we are routinely successful at taking on trucking companies when someone is seriously injured.
Table of Contents
Negligent Hiring, Entrustment, or Retention
Actions Against Insurers for Negligent Hiring
Negligent Inspection, Maintenance, or Repair
Violations of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
Commercial Driver’s License (“CDL”) Manual
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