Motor vehicle accidents with commercial trucks and semi-trucks are some of the most devastating of the lot because these behemoths pack a ton of momentum when traveling at high speeds, making them exceptionally dangerous. While following traffic rules and driving safely does help counter the probability of being in an accident, in most cases, these crashes are unavoidable.
Investigations have revealed that truck drivers tend to become negligent on the road. Several accidents also resulted either due to drowsiness or intoxication. In such cases, not only does the victim sustain substantial physical trauma but will also be confronted by mounting economic pressure. Such accidents usually cause long-term economic and non-economic damages.
The truck accident victims can recover their losses via financial compensation from the at-fault party, and an experienced truck accident attorney will prove to be instrumental in such endeavors.
Why Do Richmond Truck Accidents Happen?
Before we move on assigning blame and pointing fingers, it is important to understand how these accidents usually happen. In any car-truck accident, the former always take the worst beating while the latter only has to sustain minor damage. This is because of the sheer disparity between the masses of the vehicles involved.
Things can become much uglier if the accident involves pedestrians – in such cases, wrongful deaths are very probable.
Here are the common causes of such accidents:
1. Drowsiness & Distracted Driving
Since the trucking business involves being constantly on the move and not having as much time to rest as most other workers get, instances of drowsy driving are quite frequent.
By law, the shift of a trucker can be no longer than 11 hours per day and no more than 77 hours in a week – however, we know that this is not the case in reality.
Either the commercial truck drivers push themselves beyond the humanly limit or are forced to do so by trucking companies who don’t bow down to legal requirements.
Losing to slumber, behind the wheel, even if only for a couple of seconds, can lead to devastating consequences, and so can texting or eating while driving (distracted driving).
2. Unsafe Road
The road conditions also factor in semi-truck accidents. While they may not be the cause of such accidents (they can be in some cases), they can still complicated matters. The government is responsible for keeping the roads safe and ensuring that all citizens are secure from their end.
Thus, if the road was somehow dangerous (too slippery, damaged, etc.), then you can hold the relevant authorities responsible for your losses. However, in such cases, the statute of limitations will be shortened and you will have to proceed much faster than you would otherwise.
3. Violating Traffic Laws
In all forms of automobile accidents, violating traffic laws can become a major determining factor for a collision. This can happen either way, for instance, one party may have violated the traffic signal, or over-sped, or cut through lanes, etc. In such cases, the party violating the law is held responsible.
Over-speeding is especially problematic with trucks, as anyone with basic motion physics knowledge will attest: they are much harder to stop. Couple this up with the momentum of a truck crash and you’ll know why you should never be in front of an over-speeding semi-truck.
4. Malfunctioning Parts
Any technical issue with the truck itself can also lead to such trucking accidents as it has on several occasions. This malfunction may either be inherent – due to subpar manufacturing or lack of attention to certain details from the manufacturer, or it may result due to inadequate maintenance.
Since the trucking business never ceases, ensuring timely maintenance is sometimes harder than otherwise. However, this is not an acceptable excuse to ignore such an important segment of the business, especially when doing so can lead to such havoc.
Some trucks, on the other hand, are of inferior design in terms of safety. This is usually the case with the braking system which may be inadequate to avoid collisions and crashes.
5. Driving Under Influence
Intoxication is another leading cause of commercial vehicle accidents. Driving under the influence is a state when a driver has more than the legal limit of blood alcohol concentration (that is more than .08%) or if the driver had consumed alcohol but was not of the legal age to do so. In both cases, there will be no shred of doubt as to who is to be blamed for the accident.
Intoxication lowers inhibitions and impairs judgment – even a minor dose can factor in an accident. Companies are required to ascertain that their workers are in perfect shape on the job and not under the influence of drugs and other intoxicants.
Of course, the driver also shares this responsibility.
6. Error in Judgment
Sometimes, things happen due to honest mistakes. Even if the driver was not acting neglectfully or violating any traffic rules, a single error in judgment may lead to catastrophic results. Such mistakes can be avoided by not acting rashly and instead opting for the safest option when a challenge emerges down the road.
Even if the accident resulted due to an innocent mistake rather than deliberate negligence, the driver will still not be exempt from the blame.
How To Prepare Your Truck Accident Case In Richmond?
As soon as a truck accident happens, you will have to gather your strength and act immediately. Of course, this may not always be possible. Sometimes, the victims may be so incapacitated and deeply injured that they may need to be immediately rushed to the hospital.
Even in such cases, you can fill in the gaps later on.
But if you can, go through all of these steps:
1. Gather Evidence
You will have to muster up your strength, step out of your vehicle and assess the damage. Take out your cell phone and photograph the entire accident scene, clearly recording the damages sustained, injuries incurred upon you, and other details shedding light on the event.
You will also have to approach the other driver and exchange information with them. These pieces of information include contact information, license plate number, driver’s license information, insurance provider’s details, and so on.
Don’t discuss the blame at this point, act neutrally, and if the other party brings it up, you can say that the lawyers will handle this mess – be nice though.
You should also approach any bystanders and ask them to share their contact info with you, these people may later become important witnesses for your case if you go on and file a lawsuit.
2. Seek Medical Help
After you sort out all the mess at the accident scene, including filing a police report and keeping a copy with you, you should then visit a doctor. Usually, it is a standard practice to seek medical attention no later than 72 hours after an accident happens. You should not delay matters here – visit your doctor as soon as possible.
Only after a thorough diagnosis, will you be able to judge the extent of damage. Whiplash, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, internal organ damage, soft tissue injuries, and similar conditions are very common with trucking accidents.
Amputations and permanent disfigurations are also frequent.
3. Keep Track Of Your Losses
You should also make it a point to keep track of your losses, both economic and non-economic, and this you can do by documenting everything. Hold onto all the bills and receipts such as medical bills, loss of income/lost wages, property damage, and so on.
The non-economic damages are not that easy to account for. But you can record your pain and sufferings, describing the feeling as best as you can. You will also need to record the comments of your family and friends in addition to notes from your doctors to add credibility to your narrative.
This documentation can help victims better fight for their personal injury claims.
4. Don’t Talk To The Insurance Company
You should not approach the insurance company without knowing the full extent of your case. Instead, you should seek out competent truck accident attorneys to explore your legal rights and then face the insurance company with confidence.
This way, you will be able to negotiate on your own terms and if these turn futile, you can turn to a court of law.
Who Can You Sue For The Damages?
Depending on the specific details of the accident in your case, your personal injury attorney will help you identify the liable parties. One or more of the following may be culpable in a trucking accident, and you can sue them for your economic and non-economic losses:
- The truck driver (negligence, drunk, drowsy, error, etc.)
- Governing body (unsafe road conditions)
- The manufacturer (malfunctioning parts)
- The trucking company (inadequate selection process, overworked schedule, lack of maintenance, etc.)
Based on the details of your case, you can sue not one but several parties at once. The compensation sum ranges from a couple of thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands – based on the extent of damages, both economic and non-economic.
The VACAIL Personal Injury Lawyers Are Here For You
Being a sufferer of a semi-truck accident is a hard pill to swallow, physically, emotionally, and financially. No one should have to go through this sordid mess on their own. At the VACAIL Law Firm, we believe in offering our premium-level services to all and ensuring that justice is served.
The personal injury law is not a simple road to go down and most are deterred by the idea of hiring lawyers for their personal injury claims because they believe that it may be financially unfeasible. This is understandable considering the magnitude of the economic challenge created by truck crashes, but you have nothing to worry about: we don’t ask for upfront fees.
Yes, that’s right! Our team of professional truck accident lawyers will serve your case on a contingency fee basis meaning that you’ll only have to pay if your win.
Give us a call today, and we’ll handle the rest!
Let's get started with your free consultation!