An 18-wheeler truck is roughly 20 times the weight of an ordinary vehicle on the road. In a collision involving a car and a truck, the chances of being seriously injured are substantially higher than in a collision involving two automobiles.
If a crash victim decides to bring a lawsuit against the trucking firm that hired the driver who hit their automobile, they will need an experienced attorney to fight for their rights. Trucking firms have enough money to compensate injured victims for their injuries, but they also have enough money to pay for legal representation so that they don’t have to settle for a large amount. The injured party in these cases is sadly an underdog, especially when they enter litigation unrepresented.
Even if an injured party decides to sue the driver and not the company, they will still need legal representation. Most times, the company responsible for the driver will become involved in the ligation or claim, regardless of if they are a named party or not.
Hiring a Truck Accident Attorney
Truck accident cases can be overly complicated due to the regulations around the industry. The trucking sector is governed by state and federal laws. Despite the fact that most truck drivers are cautious and responsible, occasional accidents can occur as a result of drivers not getting enough rest or failing to keep up with routine maintenance in order to stay on schedule.
There are many reasons to hire an attorney after an accident, especially after an accident with a big rig or truck. The most common reasons an individual will hire an attorney after a truck accident include, but are not limited to:
- They have sustained serious or life-threatening injuries
- They are afraid of the insurance companies and do not know how to get the compensation they are owed
- If they are fighting the trucking companies, they will need the manpower and know-how to fight them
- Not sure how the litigation process works and cannot properly negotiate a settlement for themselves
- They do not have the time to properly investigate the matter and obtain witnesses
- Unsure of what damages they can collect and how much they can sue for
Accidents involving trucks are complicated. Sometimes it is the driver’s fault — exhaustion, diversions, intoxication, erratic driving — but other times, it’s someone else’s fault – poor maintenance, inappropriate loading, overloading, or terrible road conditions. A competent personal injury lawyer will research the claim and assist a crash victim in determining who is responsible for the injuries and damages sustained. The advantage of hiring an attorney is that a crash victim can concentrate on their rehabilitation while a truck accident attorney makes sure they get the recompense they deserve.
Who is Liable in a Truck Accident?
Commercial truck accidents differ from passenger automobile accidents in part because the truck driver engaged in the collision is frequently employed by the trucking company. The trucking carrier may be held liable for the activities of its drivers, as well as the safety of the trucks it owns, as the trucker’s employer.
In addition to a truck driver and the carrier, several other parties may be liable for a truck accident. The manufacturer of the truck and its parts is commonly a party involved in litigation after a truck accident. Additionally, vendors that provide services to the carrier can also bare when a truck accident occurs.
Moreover, oftentimes the drivers and companies do not own what is actually in the trailer, and therefore, the owner of the cargo could be responsible for the accident if the cargo was not packed properly or carried an additional hazard that was not relayed to the driver.
Another possible party to a lawsuit after a truck accident is the local government or contractors who are responsible for highway design or maintenance. If the road conditions were not kept up to code or not properly marked, it is likely those in charge of road repair and safety will be responsible for the accident. If this is the case, the type and timeline for the suit will differ drastically from a common personal injury case.
Truck Accident Statistics
Every year, tens of thousands of people are killed in trucking and commercial vehicle accidents. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 5,237 semi-trucks and commercial vehicles involved in collisions that resulted in fatal accidents in the most recent reported year (FMCSA). Around 127,000 persons were injured in crashes involving large trucks and commercial vehicles in the same year.
Iowa is a mostly flat state that serves as a popular route for many trucks transporting commodities across the country. As a result, Iowa has a higher rate of semi-truck-related fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Iowa is one of nine states with a death rate of over 12 percent with a fatality rate of 14.5 percent.
Some additional truck statistics that are worth noting as they relate to personal injury cases are:
- There has been a 52% increase in truck accidents since 2009
- 74% of all vehicle fatalities involve a type of truck
- Tire defects account for around 30% of all truck-related accidents across the United States
- The majority of truck accidents occur in the middle of the afternoon
- In fatal truck accidents, 68% of the fatalities occur in the passenger vehicles
Due to their tremendous size and weight, truck accidents frequently result in severe injuries or death. Broken bones, back and neck injuries, head trauma, internal hemorrhage, spinal cord damage, and whiplash injury are all examples of severe injuries commonly sustained in truck collisions. These injuries necessitate prompt medical attention and, in some cases, numerous procedures, which can be prohibitively expensive.
Contact the Truck Accident Attorneys at Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling
If you or your family members have been injured in a truck accident, you have the right to seek fair compensation for your injuries and damages. The Des Moines personal injury attorneys at Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling have the experience you need to develop a case against the responsible party or parties. You can reach us online or by phone at (515) 444-4000