Filing a claim is a key step in getting compensated after a truck accident or injury. While most people have a passing familiarity with a regular car accident or personal injury claim, truck accident claims involve more moving parts that can make the process more complicated than an accident involving privately owned vehicles.
Typically, there are a lot more parties involved in truck accidents, from insurance companies to business owners, and these cases need to be handled more cautiously.
To gain a better understanding of the different types of truck accident claims, review the information we’ve provided below.
Types of Truck Accident Claims
The broadest of these claims is a semi-truck accident, which includes an accident with a large transportation vehicle often called a big rig or an 18-wheeler. Accident claims following a collision with a semi-truck are very complicated and it’s important to have experienced legal help right away.
Commercial Truck Accidents
A “commercial truck” is used by businesses to carry goods or provide commercial services. In cases involving commercial truck accidents, your compensation will often be the responsibility of the company’s insurance policy.
When it comes to trucking businesses, the bottom line will always be the first priority. Trucking businesses have insurance companies that specialize in truck accidents and deal with these cases regularly and will do everything in their power to give you the lowest settlement possible. This is why it is so important to have experienced truck accident lawyers on your side from the very start.
Tractor-Trailer Truck Accidents
Tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, making the trucks hard to maneuver and requires drivers to break earlier which means the drivers have to be completely focused on their surroundings at all times. While the sheer size alone can cause a lot of damage and a number of serious injuries, these trailers may also be carrying hazardous cargo which can cause even more damage in the event of an accident.
Tractor-trailer drivers must pass a series of tests to obtain their commercial driver’s license (CDL). There are different levels of CDLs depending on the size of the truck and state laws, however, all drivers must comply with federal DOT laws.
Improperly Loaded Truck Accidents
In some cases, the cargo of a semi-truck can be the cause of a serious accident. In fact, how cargo is loaded onto the bed of semi-trailer is very important for the safety of the truck driver and other vehicles on the road. If a truck’s cargo is not properly secured, or the weight is not evenly distributed in the trailer, the cargo load can shift and fall off the truck causing hazardous driving conditions. Even if the truck driver is attentive and driving safely on the road, accidents may still result if the person who loaded the cargo did not do their job correctly.
Fatigued Truck Driving Accidents
There are Federal Trucking Regulations in place that state truck drivers are not allowed to drive while fatigued. There are many specific rules about driving service hours that drivers must adhere to. Some general hours of service regulations are:
- Before beginning a service period, drivers must have had 10 hours off duty.
- Drivers are allowed to be on duty for up to 14 hours following that 10 hours off duty. Of that 14 hours, only 11 can be used as driving time.
- There is a 16-hour on duty exception to this rule for drivers on a 1-day work schedule, but the drivers must begin and end at the same terminal. Drive time in this situation is still limited to 11 hours.
- By the eighth hour of being on duty, drivers must take a mandatory 30-minute break.
- The adverse driving conditions exception gives drivers an additional two hours to reach a place if weather conditions prevent them from reaching their destination in the allotted time.
After an accident, a truck accident attorney has the expertise to attain trucking logs to determine if a driver was putting in more hours on the road than what is considered safe.
Intoxicated or Impaired Truck Accidents
There is never an excuse for driving intoxicated or impaired, especially when behind the wheel of a large and dangerous truck. Should you ever find yourself in an accident caused by an impaired truck driver, Murphy & Prachthauser will get you the compensation you deserve.
Negligent Maintenance Truck Accidents
Semi-trucks are highly regulated, and they require frequent inspections and maintenance. Should a trucking company become negligent in required maintenance, or miss a regularly scheduled inspection, a truck may be more likely to cause an accident. A Milwaukee truck accident attorney will be able to get ahold of the truck’s records and check to be sure the truck in question was up-to-date on all maintenance requirements.
Negligent Hiring of Truck Driver Accidents
It’s not just the trucks that are heavily regulated, it’s the drivers as well. To be behind the wheel of a large truck, a driver must be certified and trained. If a driver is not up-to-date on their training or certifications, then that driver and the company who hired them may be at fault.
To learn more about truck driver responsibility, read this blog.
Speeding Truck Accidents
Large trucks take longer to break, and breaking becomes even more challenging when the driver is speeding. An experienced truck accident lawyer knows how to obtain the truck’s black box and see the speed the driver was traveling at before an accident occurred, proving that they were driving recklessly.
For more information on black box technology and how Murphy & Prachthauser uses this information to help their clients, read this blog.
Under-Ride or Over-Ride Truck Accidents
Under-ride and over-ride truck accidents are terms used for when a large truck rides over the back of the passenger car coming from behind, or when the passenger car rides under the back of a large truck. These are especially dangerous due to the size difference between passenger cars and commercial trucks.
If you are looking for more information on a specific type of truck accident claim, contact our experienced truck accident lawyers.
Who is Liable After a Truck Accident?
Determining liability in a commercial truck accident is a complex affair as the trucking industry is highly regulated and involves several parties aside from the ones involved in the initial accident. Depending on the claim, an action can be brought against the driver, the trucking firm, the worker responsible for loading the truck, and other various employees involved with the business.
The party initially considered to be at fault, may not be entirely responsible for the accident. Determining fair and reasonable compensation for the injured party may involve looking into several potentially liable parties.
Compensation After a Truck Accident
There are four main types of compensation a truck accident attorney will fight for, and that list can grow depending on the nature of the accident.
The injuries sustained in a truck accident are typically more severe than those sustained in an accident involving another passenger car. With these serious injuries come serious medical bills, getting these paid for and getting you treated will always be the main priority.
When your car goes up against a semi-truck it’s your car that’s going to come away with the serious damages, along with whatever valuables may have been in your car at the time of the accident.
Pain and Suffering
Being in an accident involving a large truck can be terrifying. Even after physical injuries have healed, psychological ones may remain.
The aftermath of an accident is no time to be worrying about your next paycheck. Our Milwaukee Truck Accident Attorneys will make sure you are covered.
What to look for in a Truck Accident Lawyer
Finding a lawyer in the Milwaukee area can be a daunting task, it’s important to do your research and remember, not just any lawyer will do when it comes to building a strong truck accident case. You should look for the following six attributes when selecting a lawyer for your case:
- Experience - Research the history of the lawyer you’re considering. A clear sign of experience is a record of successful trial and appellate work. This proves that the lawyer in question knows how to argue a case on your behalf and do everything to get the best results. That means not just settling, before taking your case to court, with the first offer the insurance companies provide.
- Specialized Knowledge - Due to the highly regulated nature of the truck driving industry, cases involving large truck accidents can get very complicated very quickly. You need to find a Milwaukee Truck Accident Attorney who knows exactly how to handle your case.
- Regular Communication - Being involved in a truck accident is stressful enough without having to worry about your attorney getting back to you in a timely manner and keeping you properly informed. Find a law firm that values consistent communication.
- Clear Explanations - Your lawyer should be able to help you clearly recognize the options available to you as you work together to navigate through your case. The ideal lawyer for your truck accident case should serve as an interpreter as well as a legal expert.
- No Surprises - You need to understand any changes or developments in your case as they happen, the attorney you pick should be upfront with you about the status of your case.
- A Strong Relationship - A strong personal injury case is built on trust. You and your lawyer need to be able to work together to reach the desired outcome. Be sure to look for a lawyer you feel comfortable working with.
If you would like to speak with one of our truck accident attorneys, contact them here.
To get more specifics on what a truck accident attorney can do for you read this blog to learn about the truck accident investigation process.
If you have a truck accident case you would like to speak to a Milwaukee personal injury lawyer about, please contact us to get a free case evaluation and have an experienced team working on your behalf.