How Are Truck Accidents Different Than Other Accidents?
When it comes to truck accidents—everything is bigger. The damage can be more severe, the injuries can be more serious, and the stakes higher. Commercial vehicles are taller and heavier than passenger cars. These vehicles take longer to slow down or stop and have a higher roll-over risk. When they are involved in crashes with passenger cars, it is easier for the smaller cars to be damaged or to dangerously underride the truck.
The injuries associated with truck accidents are also typically more severe than those that occur in car-to-car crashes. Trucks can create a wide wake of destruction, and often the crash victims are left with debilitating injuries. This leaves victims facing more serious medical treatment and longer recovery times, which also means higher medical costs and possibly more lost wages from missed work.
Additionally, most truck accidents involve professional drivers and their large employers. In these cases, the trucking company lawyer and insurance company typically get involved, leaving victims facing an experienced team seeking to protect their bottom line and mitigate any negative effects on their business.
While it can be a daunting process, a skilled attorney can help victims state a comprehensive case and fight for the compensation they deserve. The lawyers at Morris James understand that the game changes in a truck accident. When the stakes are high, our team is ready to protect your rights and ensure you get the medical and financial stability you deserve.
When Should I Pursue a Truck Accident Lawsuit in Delaware?
In Delaware, truck accident victims have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. The courts are strict about the statute of limitations and will refuse to hear a case after that time.
What Types of Compensation Can Be Recovered for a Truck Accident Victim?
The purpose of a truck accident claim is to seek justice for the victim and obtain compensation to help the victim and their family move forward with their lives. The state of Delaware allows victims to seek compensation for:
In each of these instances, the victims must show why and how much they deserve. The insurance company for the opposing side will likely dispute these numbers in an effort to avoid paying the victim what is due. Our attorneys at Morris James fight for our clients and help them obtain fair compensation that will help them recover both physically and financially from the losses sustained in an accident.
How Do I Know If I Have a Trucking Accident Case?
There are many types of commercial vehicles that can be involved in these types of cases, including:
Accident victims can pursue a claim if an injury or property loss was sustained in an accident of this type and has negatively impacted the way they live their lives. Typically, the severity of the injury does affect the amount of compensation that is awarded.
What Are Common Injuries in Trucking Accident Claims?
Common injuries in truck accident cases include broken bones, concussions, burns, amputations, spinal cord injuries, pregnancy complications, traumatic brain injuries, and more. If a death occurs as a result of a truck accident, the victim’s surviving dependants can pursue a wrongful death claim.
What are Common Causes of Delaware Truck Accidents?
Many factors can cause truck accidents, too. A few of the most common include:
- Lack of proper vehicle maintenance. Failure to maintain a vehicle most commonly leads to trouble with the brakes and tires, both of which can cause serious accidents.
- Irresponsible drivers. Thousands of accidents are caused each year by drunk drivers and drowsy drivers.
- Driver error. Truck driver errors cause thousands of accidents each year, and trucking companies add to the danger when they engage in questionable hiring and training practices.
- Poor cargo loading. This can make the truck unbalanced or cause it to tip over.
- Bad weather. Poor weather conditions can impact truckers' abilities to slow down or see their blind spots.
- Speeding. Driving fast can result in collisions or prompt a driver next to the truck to swerve out of the way and into another vehicle's lane.
- Distracted driving. A trucker paying attention to something else, such as a smartphone, instead of the road, can lead to a crash.
What Evidence Do Truck Accident Attorneys Use to Prove Liability?
To prove liability, an attorney must show exactly what happened in the accident and determine what damages occurred. We investigate the driver and the truck company they work for to uncover any safety regulation violations. We may pursue evidence that will prove the truck driver was at fault, such as documentation of:
- Company training and safety procedures.
- Equipment inspection logbooks.
- Hours of service (HOS) logs.
We will also look into the driver's compliance with requirements related to drive time and cell phone usage.
Who Could Be Liable for a Truck Accident?
The trucking industry is monitored at the federal and state levels, with companies required to follow strict safety and insurance regulations. When someone violates these rules and an individual is hit by a truck in Delaware, it could make several people liable, including:
- The truck driver or owner.
- A manufacturer that supplied faulty parts that caused the accident, such as defective brakes.
- The person or company leasing the truck.
In cases where cargo causes the accident, the people who loaded or even shipped the cargo could be held liable.
What Are The Regulations Around Safe Commercial Truck Driving in Delaware?
Regulators set rules to keep truck drivers and others on the highway safe. They know that a truck driver who drives too many hours may fall asleep at the wheel and that trucks that aren't maintained properly could suffer breakdowns on the way to their destinations. Just a few of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations include those related to:
- Driving commercial motor vehicles.
- Safety fitness procedures.
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCRs).
The Code of Federal Regulations also has sections related to drugs and alcohol use and hours of service.
What Should I Do if I am the Victim of a Truck Accident?
If you have been in a truck accident, do not talk to the driver's insurance company. It will immediately begin to gather evidence, and you don't want to feel pressured into saying or signing anything about the accident. Insurance companies can be very persuasive and often apply pressure to get their way. Cooperate with the police and any of your attorney's investigators, and always tell the truth. We will also gather information on your behalf about the truck driver and company, such as:
- Trip tickets.
- Black box information.
- Inspection reports about the truck that law enforcement must file at the scene of the accident.
Keep in mind that you have two years after a truck accident to file a claim.