The trucking industry is vital to the American way of life, but these same vehicles can pose a tremendous danger to those of us who travel across Maine’s many roadways every day.
These trucks carry very heavy loads at high speeds and are often involved in catastrophic accidents. The personal injuries that these 80-ton trucks cause totaled 104,000 in 2013. That same year, almost 4,000 people were killed in accidents involving a truck and a passenger vehicle. Click here for our list of national and state truck accident statistics.
Truck Accident Law and Liability
Accidents involving semi-trucks can be more complicated than accidents involving passenger vehicles and may leave you with a lot of questions.
There are numerous federal and state laws and regulations that govern the trucking industry. The Code of Federal Regulations, the U.S Department of Transportation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and Maine’s state legislature all have an impact on the trucking regulations observed in this state.
When an accident between a car and a semi-truck occurs, it is sometimes difficult to determine who is liable. Sometimes several parties bear some responsibility for the victim’s injuries. Such parties may include:
- The truck driver;
- The truck’s owner; or
- The company that leased the truck from the owner.
It is crucial that victims retain the help of a qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer to determine the proper parties to the lawsuit and to ensure consideration of all applicable federal and state law.
Truck Accident Causes
Truck-car accidents can have a number of different causes. The owner of the truck may be at fault for failing to properly inspect the truck before sending it out onto the roadways. Perhaps the driver is at fault. Drivers may be paid a higher rate to drive long distances in a short period, which can motivate them to speed or take a dangerous turn just to save time and make more money.
Added to the danger is the fact that some drivers may not take the required number of rest stops, leaving them in control of a large, heavy vehicle while in an exhausted state.
Other common causes of semi-truck accidents include:
- Unreasonably long schedules imposed by trucking companies;
- Improperly or overloaded trucks;
- Driver intoxication;
- Poor driver training and little experience; and
- Driving in dangerous weather.
Regardless of the cause, when personal injury or wrongful death occurs, you deserve justice, and a personal injury attorney with experience in truck accident cases can help.
Stay Safe When Sharing the Road with a Truck
The average semi-truck weighs close to 80 tons, while the average passenger vehicle weighs only 2 tons. Whenever a car and a truck collide, the car is likely to endure tremendous physical damage. The passengers inside the car may also sustain serious injuries that result in permanent disability, such as brain injuries or a damaged spinal cord.
In order to stay safe while sharing the roadways with large trucks, please consider the following safety tips:
- Pass a semi-truck as quickly as possible. Do not drive alongside a semi-truck for long periods of time.
- Assume the driver cannot see your car in his or her mirrors.
Finally, always use caution whenever driving on any roadway. Accidents can happen quickly, especially when a heavy truck driving at highway speed is involved.
If you or someone you know is in need of an experienced truck accident attorney, please contact our law firm in Lewiston, Maine. Below is a review from one of our past clients:
“I highly recommend Tony. He was very helpful even when I didn’t give him much time for my case. He’s very to the point and honest. His personality was awesome as well. He makes you feel welcomed and not less than him. Very good man.”
– Corey W.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident and you’re dealing with an insurance company that refuses to recognize the value of your claim, the legal team at Fales & Fales, P.A. is ready to help. We’ve recovered millions for truck accident victims across the state and will fight to collect the compensation you are entitled to, so contact us for a case evaluation today.
How Is Liability Determined in a Truck Accident Case?
A truck accident lawyer can conduct a thorough investigation to determine who is responsible for the accident. This may involve gathering strong evidence, such as:
- The police accident report and any other accident report completed by a government institution
- Eyewitness statements
- Photos of the accident scene
- Videos from traffic cameras, dash cams, and nearby surveillance cameras
- Personnel records and employment policies
- Data from the on-board recorder or electronic logging device
- Log books and manifests
- Mechanical records
- Information about the driver’s history, employment, and medical test results
- The driver qualification file
- Previous safety reports
- Reports from accident reconstruction experts
Who Is Responsible for a Delivery Truck Accident?
Who is responsible when a delivery truck driver causes an accident? The obvious place to look for liability is the driver as they are responsible for their actions. If the driver is an employee of a company, the employer is liable for its employee’s actions. However, these companies often hire independent contractors to assist them, not only to get the job done but also to protect themselves strategically from claims made by accident victims who are injured by the driver’s negligence. An experienced truck accident lawyer can review the circumstances of your case to see if there is a legal basis to make a claim against not only the driver but also the delivery company.
What Is My Truck Accident Case Worth?
Every truck accident is different, so it can be difficult to determine an accurate value of a claim without a thorough investigation and analysis. There is no standard amount associated with truck accidents. A truck accident lawyer can gather information regarding your losses and pursue compensation for:
- Past and current medical expenses
- Medical expenses you anticipate incurring in the future
- Lost wages and employment benefits
- Reduction or loss of earning capacity
- Costs to repair or replace your damaged property
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
An experienced truck accident lawyer can estimate the value of your claim and pursue fair compensation for it.
Should I Settle My Case or Go to Trial?
It is important to understand that the insurance company’s interests are not aligned with yours. It wants to minimize the value of your claim, while you want to be fairly compensated for the harm you’ve suffered. Because of this inherent difference, the insurance company may offer a low settlement amount. Your lawyer will try to negotiate a higher settlement amount. If you are not satisfied with the insurer’s settlement offer, you can choose to refuse it and proceed to trial. Your lawyer can advise you of the risks and benefits of all your options.