National Truck Accident Lawyers
At Humphrey, Farrington & McClain, we know that people are often confused about what to do about insurance coverage and legal matters following a truck wreck injury or wrongful death. We have compiled some frequently asked questions and answers for our clients.
Our firm handles cases involving seriously injured truck accident victims across the country, including in Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas. Since 1984, we have recovered more than $1 billion on behalf of our clients.
To arrange a free consultation with one of our attorneys, contact us online or call 888-353-0491.
Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents
Q. I was involved in a trucking wreck. What should I do?
A. There are a number of steps you should take after a truck accident. First and foremost, call 911 to report the wreck. It is essential that any injuries are treated by a physician. Also, to be able to recover complete money damages for your injuries, you will need to fully document your recovery and physical therapy. Failure to get medical assistance immediately or shortly after your truck wreck may cause your injuries to become more severe.
Q. How are truck wrecks different from wrecks involving passenger cars?
A. Wrecks involving trucks are typically more catastrophic than automobile accidents, due to the sheer size of a truck. A typical fully loaded 18-wheel semi tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. An average car weighs approximately 3,000 pounds. Due to the disparity in size, the basic laws of physics mean a collision is likely to result in more serious, even fatal injuries.
Q. Why are there so many trucking wrecks?
A. More than 500,000 truck wrecks occur in the United States annually. Truck wreck statistics make it hard to pinpoint exactly why so many accidents occur, but in many cases, the cause is truck driver or trucking company negligence. Common causes include:
- Truck drivers speeding, reckless and aggressive behavior
- Truck drivers disobeying traffic laws, failure to yield
- Overloaded trucks, load violations
- Improper maintenance or disrepair of truck
Q. What are some common causes of truck wrecks?
A. Common causes of trucking wrecks include:
- Lack of training, driver inexperience
- Overloaded trucks
- Oversized trucks
- Brake failure/defects
- Poor driving conditions
- Truck driver fatigue
- Speeding to make a deadline
- Alcohol or drugs
- Running off the road
- Failure to yield right of way, aggressive driving
- Mechanical failure
Q. What are some of the most common types of tractor-trailer wrecks?
A. Common types of tractor-trailer wrecks include:
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- Broadside collisions
- Center-lane crossovers
- Lane change collisions
- Jackknife and rollover accidents
- Loss of control of vehicle
- Hit and run
Q. What information should I exchange with a negligent or reckless truck driver?
A. As in any motor vehicle wreck, you should exchange driver's license numbers, vehicle registration, insurance and general information. Do not volunteer any other information or discuss the facts of your truck wreck. Also, do not admit responsibility for any part of the wreck, as any comments you make can be used against you later to reduce your monetary compensation.
Q. Will the police be at the truck wreck scene?
A. It is essential that you contact the police so they can document and prepare a police report, which can be used later to maximize your monetary compensation. When you are interviewed by the police, it is essential that you are as specific as possible in recounting the facts and events before, during and shortly after your truck wreck, as well as any statements made by the truck driver or truck passenger.
Q. Should I take pictures at the scene of the truck wreck?
A. At the scene, it is important that you document as much as you can, especially your serious injuries, as soon as you can. If you or anyone who was in your motor vehicle is able, take pictures of all of your injuries at the scene, pictures of the weather conditions, tire tracks, locations of all vehicles, general wreck scene, damage to all vehicles and all motor vehicle license plates, as well as anything else that can be used to support your case.
Q. Should I talk to the truck driver's insurance company?
A. No. Do not make any statements without first contacting an attorney who has experience representing individuals in truck accident personal injury claims.
Q. Do I need an attorney?
A. If you are thinking about filing a lawsuit to claim compensation for your injuries and financial damages, yes, you will need an experienced lawyer. Without legal representation, you stand little chance of being successful with your lawsuit. Most people do not have the legal experience, the knowledge or the resources necessary to litigate complex truck accident cases.
Q. What if I do not have money to hire an attorney?
A. Most personal injury lawyers work entirely on a contingency basis. You will not pay attorneys' fees unless you win money in a settlement or by jury award. You get quality legal representation from a professional without having to pay thousands of dollars upfront. Some court costs and other legal expenses may apply.
Q. How soon do I need to bring a case in a tractor-trailer collision?
A. Contact an attorney as soon as possible. Federal regulations require that certain essential evidence need only be kept by the truck company for a set period of time. For example, the critical truck driver's logbook can be destroyed after six months if your attorney does not recover it by court order.
Q. If I am injured in the truck wreck, who can I sue?
A. Generally, you will likely be able to sue the driver, the trucking company and perhaps the truck manufacturer. There may also be other third parties that can be liable, including a maintenance or load subcontractor. If the truck driver is an independent, you may be able to show that the trucking company was negligent in hiring or supervision.
Q. What are some typical injuries associated with truck wrecks?
A. A trucking wreck may cause any of a number of serious injuries and often results in wrongful death. Typical injuries include:
- Head trauma and brain injury
- Spinal cord and neck injury
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Broken bones, ligament and joint damage
- Burns, scarring and disfigurement
- Amputation, loss of limb
Q. What types of losses can I receive compensation for?
A. Laws regarding compensatory damages vary from state to state. A truck wreck victim can often receive money damages for:
- Medical expenses (current and future)
- Hospital bills
- Income lost because of missed work
- Lost future earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The types of damages available are often state- and case-specific, so talk to an attorney.
Q. How much is my claim worth?
A. A claim amount will vary depending upon the severity of the injuries suffered. Typically, permanent and disfiguring injuries or the loss of a bodily function will result in higher claim amounts, for lifetime care. Your attorney will determine what your claim may be worth by conducting a thorough evaluation of your case. No lawyer should ever make a promise of a certain settlement or jury award.
Q. Can I file a claim if I have lost a loved one in a truck wreck?
A. Yes. You may file a wrongful death claim if you have lost a family member or can show that you directly relied on the deceased for financial care and emotional support.
Q. Who will pay my medical bills after a truck wreck?
A. The truck company may not pay your medical bills immediately. Your own insurance will often contain a medical provision to pay for all expenses, ranging from X-rays to funeral costs. It is usually not in your best interest to sign a medical release or to give a statement to the trucking company or any insurance company before contacting a lawyer.
Q. What trucks are categorized as commercial trucks?
A. A commercial truck is any truck that is used to transport goods from manufacturer to a store or consumer. Commercial trucks are typically quite large, such as 18-wheeler semi trucks, but may also include much smaller delivery vans.
Q. What are some unique features of trucks that contribute to the severe nature of many truck wrecks?
A. Trucks often have large tank bodies that affect maneuverability and stopping. Further, if a tanker truck is carrying chemicals, the liquid may sway and cause an imbalance in steering. In addition, most tractor-trailers use an air brake system, in which pressure is used to increase braking force. Proper use of air brakes can help prevent a truck from sliding and jackknifing. If a brake system is unbalanced, it can affect the steering, control and stopping distance.
Q. How do we contact your firm, and what kinds of cases do you handle?
A. Contacting our firm is easy. You can send us an email or call 888-353-0491. We represent seriously injured truck accident victims across the nation, including in Illinois, California, Texas and Florida. We also represent families that have lost loved ones in truck accidents.