Injuries sustained in a semi-truck accident are often catastrophic, leaving victims permanently disabled or resulting in death. Commercial trucks and tractor trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Passenger cars are no match for a large truck, which typically weighs about 4,000 pounds. Victims of truck accidents face long recovery periods and lost wages, which can quickly overwhelm their family’s financial resources and emotional health.
Our Virginia Beach truck accident lawyers are dedicated to helping victims of truck accidents claim the maximum compensation available for their injuries. Medical bills, ongoing therapy, prescription medications, and lost wages due to catastrophic injuries can leave victims and their families financially devastated. Attorneys at East Coast Trial Lawyers work diligently to protect the victim’s legal rights and recover the compensation they deserve.
Common Types of Truck Accidents
Head-On Collisions. These types of collisions are mostly caused by truck drivers who have fallen asleep at the wheel and drift into oncoming traffic because they no longer have control of the vehicle.
Pedestrian Accidents. These accidents often occur when truck drivers cannot see pedestrians due to the size of the vehicle or when they do not use the appropriate safety procedures at stop lights.
Rear-End Collisions. These collisions can occur when a truck driver is cut off in traffic or does not leave a good stopping distance. This could also be due to speeding because the driver feels they have no choice but to complete their route as fast as possible.
Rollover Accidents. Rollovers are caused by drivers who are not managing their vehicles properly or making dangerous turns or lane changes. A large truck can easily flip over because of shifting cargo that is overloaded or unsecured in the trailer.
Tire Blowouts. Drivers who are overdriving their vehicles could cause their tires to overheat and break apart. At the same time, the trucking company may not have maintained the truck properly. If the tires were not replaced or rotated properly, the truck could cause a major accident when one of the wheels is torn from the vehicle.
Work Zone Accidents. These accidents occur when drivers of large trucks do not leave enough space for workers on the road. This also occurs when drivers are speeding. The intense draft caused by a large truck could knock over workers or machinery, causing injury or death. At the same time, a large truck driver who rides the shoulder obstructs the view of other drivers who might not see workers on the side of the road.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents occur for a variety of reasons but are often caused by factors that the driver or the trucking company could control. Most accidents can be prevented with proper driver training, regular vehicle inspections, and routine maintenance.
The most common causes of truck accidents include:
Aggressive Driving: Drivers must ensure that they do not instigate aggressive driving behaviors with a large truck. Truck drivers could lose control of the truck quickly if they do not keep their eyes on the road.
Inadequate Training: Many trucking companies do not train their drivers properly, and that causes accidents when the drivers do not know what to do in any given situation. This is also true of inclement weather because these drivers do not slow down or pull over when necessary.
Poor Road Conditions: Bad conditions can cause an accident because any large truck that is forced to make a defensive maneuver on the road could flip over easily.
Improperly Loaded Cargo: A truck driver might drive too aggressively for the load they are carrying. Drivers can often see the weight of the trailer shift when driving near the truck. Stay away from trucks that seem unstable.
Speeding: Trucking companies insist that their drivers get to their destinations as quickly as possible. Drivers often make unsafe maneuvers to make that happen, such as speeding or erratic driving.
Drugged and Drunk Driving: Some drivers may self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, which will impair their ability to drive and make wise decisions on the road.
Drowsy Driving: This is common in the trucking industry, and a driver will automatically lose control of their truck when they fall asleep behind the wheel. Our expert legal team will show that the driver or the trucking company was negligent when managing or operating the truck.
Catastrophic Injuries from Truck Accidents
Truck drivers, and those in passenger vehicles, typically suffer serious and sometimes fatal injuries when large trucks, trailers, and cars collide.
Injuries typically sustained from truck accidents include:
- Cuts and lacerations: These injuries could become infected and require corrective surgery.
- Head and neck injuries: These injuries can cause a lifetime of pain, but they may not be apparent at first. It is important to go to the hospital or see your doctor as soon as possible.
- Internal organ damage: These injuries are impossible to see, but victims could grow sick over time because of internal damage sustained in the accident. Joint pain, muscle tears, and skeletal damage are also symptoms that require a lifetime of medical care.
- Broken bones: These injuries can result in missed work due to the recovery time.
- Burns: Some people are burned and even scarred during an accident. If you have been exposed to toxic chemicals, you could experience respiratory problems for the rest of your life, or you may develop other disorders because of the chemicals that were spilled by an errant truck driver.
- Amputation: In the worst cases, limbs or extremities may need to be amputated, resulting in disability and loss of earning potential. At the same time, drivers or passengers could be decapitated or killed by the impact.
Some of these injuries are extremely serious and may result in death long after the accident. Victims have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against both the driver and the trucking company depending on who is truly at-fault for the accident.
What Should I Do If I am Involved in a Truck Accident?
The most important thing to do when involved in a truck accident is to seek immediate medical attention. Injuries sustained in a truck accident can be life threatening, even when they do not initially appear to be serious. Anyone involved in a truck accident should be evaluated at a hospital emergency room or by their own physician.
Once the scene of the truck accident is stabilized, it is important to contact the police so that an official accident report can be filed. Names, addresses, contact information, and insurance policy numbers should be recorded. Witness testimony, along with witness contact information, is vital as we attempt to substantiate your claims during an accident investigation.
When possible, take pictures of the accident scene, the road conditions at the scene of the accident, and pictures of the weather conditions present at the time of the crash. These pictures or videos can be a tremendous resource in determining liability for the accident. Video recordings of witness statements can dispel any questions of what was said immediately following the accident when investigators try to determine fault for the crash.
Anyone involved in a truck accident that results in injury or death should contact an experienced truck accident lawyer. Insurance companies and commercial fleet owners are typically armed with aggressive legal teams that will try to deflect liability for an accident. Compensation for property damage, injuries, and personal trauma relating to the accident can cost millions of dollars. Injured victims should rely on the knowledge and experience of a qualified truck accident lawyer to ensure their legal rights are protected.
Understanding Liability in Truck Accidents
A truck accident lawyer will investigate the accident and gather pertinent evidence to support injury claims. We use this information to collect the maximum amount of compensation available.
This evidence includes:
- Driver logbooks
- Driver phone records
- Driver training history
- On-board communication data
- Truck inspection and maintenance records
- Truck weight tickets
- Personal and professional driving records
- Post-accident drug and alcohol screening results
You must understand that truck drivers are bound by a strict set of rules governing how much they drive, when they can drive, and how much rest time they need. Drivers are supposed to check their brakes once a day to ensure that the vehicle is safe, and trucking companies are required to keep their vehicles in excellent condition. Cargo crews may have packed the truck incorrectly, or the driver may have made unnecessary maneuvers on the road. Drivers might have been distracted during the accident, or they might self-medicate because they are forced to work long hours away from their families.
An experienced truck accident lawyer can also determine if it is worthwhile to pursue punitive damages as part of the victim’s compensation settlement. We take into account all the things that could have caused your accident. Something as simple as a missed brake inspection could cause deaths, catastrophic injuries, millions of dollars in damage, and a lifetime of heartache for your family.
Our Virginia Beach Truck Accident Lawyers Pursue Justice and Compensation for Injured Accident Victims and Their Families
If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a truck accident, reach out to a Virginia Beach truck accident lawyer today. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we will fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call us at 757-352-2237 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shores, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.