Truck accidents can result in devastating consequences, often causing more severe injuries than car accidents due to the monstrous size and weight of commercial trucks. If you have suffered due to such an accident, it is crucial to identify the right liable parties and initiate claims with their insurance companies to receive the compensation you deserve.
Identifying Fault and Liability in Truck Accidents
There are various causes of truck accidents in Gainesville, or anywhere else. Some are often involving negligence of parties other than the truck driver. A skilled lawyer specializing in truck accidents can conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of your mishap and identify the parties liable for your compensation.
The Truck Driver
Negligence on the part of the truck driver is the most frequently encountered cause of truck accidents. This negligence can manifest in various ways such as distracted driving, speeding, intoxication, and violations of the federal hours of service regulations that limit the hours a driver can work without a break.
The Trucking Company
The trucking company can be held vicariously liable for the negligent actions of its truck driver. In addition, separate claims can be made against them for employing an unqualified truck driver, failure to train the driver, not inspecting and maintaining the truck, or violating federal hours of service or other federal regulations.
The shipper is accountable for correctly loading and securing the load being transported. If the load was improperly loaded or unsecured, it could contribute to a truck accident, making the loading company liable for compensating you.
The Maintenance Company
Trucking companies often contract with third-party maintenance companies to perform mandatory inspections and maintenance on their commercial fleet as per federal regulations. If the maintenance company fails to inspect or repair the truck adequately, a tire blowout, brake failure, or other repair issues could be the cause of your accident.
If a truck part was not designed or manufactured correctly, it could cause the trucker to lose control leading to a collision. If this is the case, you may have a product liability claim against the parts and truck manufacturer.
Damages You Can Claim in a Truck Accident Case
The damages you can claim in a truck accident case depend on your specific losses. The three main types of damages you can receive in a truck accident case are economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages or special damages in a truck accident claim include those that must be proved for recovery. They can be demonstrated through actual dollars and cents, making them relatively easy to calculate. These may include:
- Medical Expenses: Emergency medical care, doctor bills, hospital stays, prescription medications, physical therapy, and other long-term or future medical care.
- Lost Wages: Compensation for lost wages if your injuries prevent you from working.
- Property Damage: Compensation for damage to your vehicle—either for its repairs or its replacement if it’s been totaled.
- Transportation: Travel costs as damages in your claim if you have to travel to certain destinations as a result of the accident and/or your injuries.
- Legal Fees: Costs of hiring your truck accident lawyer can typically be collected in your claim.
Non-economic damages do not have a set dollar amount as they compensate you for the physical or emotional suffering caused by the accident. These may include:
- Physical or emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Scarring or other disfigurements
- Fear, anxiety, or humiliation
In some cases, punitive damages are also available to collect from a truck accident. These damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer and discourage future wrongdoing.
Wrongful Death Damages
If a loved one dies in a truck accident, certain family members can bring a wrongful death claim to collect damages like lost wages and benefits, loss of care or companionship, medical costs from the deceased’s last injury or illness, funeral and burial costs, and pain and suffering the deceased endured before they died.
Truck accidents can cause severe physical, emotional, and financial distress. Understanding the process of identifying the right liable parties and knowing the types of damages you can claim can significantly help in securing the compensation you deserve. Always seek the advice of an experienced truck accident lawyer to guide you through this complex process.