A truck can feel like a menacing presence on the highways and local roads, and with good reason. Large tractor-trailers are difficult to maneuver and could block a driver’s view of the road ahead. Even smaller delivery trucks have large blind spots that require other drivers to be especially cautious.
If you sustained severe injuries in an 18-wheeler crash, you could pursue legal action against the trucking company. Damages in a large commercial vehicle collision case could cover your past and future medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. Consult a seasoned truck accident lawyer as quickly as possible following your accident. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney could explain your options and begin building a strong case for compensation.
The disparity in weight between trucks and most other vehicles on the road means that passengers in the smaller vehicles could suffer severe injuries or even death in a collision. The US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety calculates that more than 4000 people, mostly occupants of other vehicles, died in truck crashes in a recent year.
Survivors of tractor-trailer wrecks often suffer catastrophic injuries, such as:
Injuries like these are life-altering and recovery requires significant investments in time, money, effort, and emotional capacity. Some severe injuries will never heal, and the victim must learn to live with limitations for the rest of their life. In such circumstances, the trucking company and other potentially responsible parties are liable to the individual for the objective and subjective losses they suffered because of the accident. A committed truck wreck attorney could hold all liable parties accountable and ensure the injured person gets the compensation they deserve.
Large commercial vehicles are common carriers under federal law, which means that they must meet a higher standard of safety than personal vehicles. When determining whether a party is legally negligent, most drivers must meet the “reasonable” standard—they must exercise the degree of caution that a reasonable person would use in a similar situation. On the other hand, truckers must use the “utmost degree” of caution.
In practical terms, any divergence from best safety practices could be evidence the trucker was negligent. If the trucker was an employee, their employer is liable for their misconduct and would be responsible for paying damages to anyone who suffered injuries in an incident. If the trucker was an independent contractor, an 18-wheeler crash lawyer might establish that the trucking company engaged in negligent hiring practices and hold them responsible despite not being the trucker’s employer.
Other parties sometimes have liability in truck accidents as well, depending on the surrounding circumstances. If the vehicle was poorly loaded or overweight, the company that loaded it could be held responsible. If components on the truck failed, such as brakes or tires, the truck maintenance contractor and the component manufacturer might have liability. Truck crash lawsuits often involve multiple defendants contributing to the injured person’s damages.
Victims of tractor-trailer collisions often suffer such severe injuries that they require months or even years to recover. Their families might be so distraught that they can only focus on getting through the next day or week. Planning for the injured person’s return home and life after the accident may not be on their radar in the immediate aftermath of the catastrophe.
However, a tenacious truck crash attorney can build the most robust case when the evidence is fresh. If substantial time passes before a legal professional begins an accident investigation, evidence could be lost or hidden, witnesses’ memories could fade, and the resulting negligence case might not be as strong as it could have been.
Although it is beneficial to begin working with a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident, New York Civil Practice Law and Rules §214 allows a party three years to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, note that the Governor of New York issued Executive Orders “tolling” the statute of limitations for civil actions for eight months in 2020 due to Covid-19. A commercial vehicle accident attorney could determine what impact, if any, the tolling had on a specific case.
If a truck accident left you with severe injuries, you need an aggressive legal professional to advocate on your behalf. Trucking companies have substantial insurance coverage to compensate accident victims, but negotiating a fair settlement requires tenacity and skill.
A skilled truck accident lawyer understands the law and the industry and could help ensure that you receive all the compensation you deserve. Call now to schedule a case review.