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Truck accidents can range from minor fender benders to massive, deadly pileups. The claims arising from these accidents are just as varied. Truck accident claims can include property damage, personal injury, wrongful death, and more. This article will examine the different types of truck accident claims and what victims may be entitled to.

What Factors Lead to Truck Accidents?

There are many factors that can contribute to a truck accident. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Truck driver fatigue – Truckers often drive long hours without adequate rest. Drowsy driving dramatically increases the risk of an accident occurring. Fatigue slows reaction times, impairs judgment, and causes drivers to nod off. The federal hours of service regulations only permit 14-hour maximum workdays, but some drivers still flout these rules. Driving while overtired has effects similar to driving drunk.
  • Speeding – Trucks require much longer stopping distances than other vehicles due to their weight. Excessive speed makes it very difficult to stop in time. Truck speed limiters are often set to 65-75 mph, but steep downgrades can still lead to dangerous runaway truck ramp use.
  • Poor maintenance – Lack of maintenance can lead to brake failure, tire blowouts, faulty lighting, and other mechanical problems. Trucking companies may cut corners and extend maintenance intervals. Pre-trip and post-trip inspections by drivers may not catch all issues.
  • Load shifting – Unbalanced or unsecured cargo can cause rollovers and jackknife accidents. Improper load distribution affects the truck’s center of gravity. Hitting bumps and swerving can make loads shift. Drivers may fail to properly strap down cargo.
  • Driver inexperience – Inexperienced truck drivers may not handle the vehicles properly, especially in hazardous conditions. They may not have enough practice judging distances needed for turning, merging, and stopping. Training standards and exams vary greatly between states.
  • Impaired driving – Drug or alcohol use reduces reaction times and decision-making abilities. Truckers sometimes rely on stimulants to stay awake, which impairs cognitive abilities. Even some prescription medications are not safe for operating trucks.
  • Aggressive driving – Trying to make up time, some truckers drive aggressively and make unsafe maneuvers like speeding, tailgating, unsafe passing, and running red lights. The pay structure at certain carriers rewards faster delivery times.
  • Bad weather – Rain, snow, fog, and ice make truck handling much more hazardous. Wet roads increase stopping distances exponentially. Limited visibility impairs the ability to spot hazards and react.
  • Distracted driving – Eating, texting, talking on the phone, adjusting the radio, and other distractions take the driver’s eyes and attention away from the road. This delays reactions to changing conditions.
  • Night driving – Driving at night presents additional challenges like glare from oncoming headlights and reduced visibility of hazards. Drivers may become drowsy during overnight shifts. Roadway lighting is not always optimal.
  • Equipment failure – Brake defects, steering system issues, tire problems, and other equipment failures can lead to loss of control. Lack of maintenance exacerbates these issues over time as parts wear out.

Property Damage Claims

One of the most common truck accident claims involves property damage. When a commercial truck collides with a standard passenger vehicle, the damage is often extensive due to the truck’s large size and weight. Even what seems like a minor bump from a truck can completely total some cars.

Property damage claims will seek compensation for the value of the damaged vehicle. This is usually determined by the car’s pre-accident fair market value. Claims will also cover other damaged property like fences, buildings, landscaping, and so on.

If the accident victim had collision coverage on their auto insurance policy, the insurer will pay for the property damage. However, the insurer will then subrogate to try and recover what they paid from the truck driver and trucking company.

Personal Injury Claims

Truck accidents frequently result in severe injuries to passengers of the other vehicles involved. Common truck accident injuries include:

  • Brain trauma
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Broken bones
  • Internal organ damage
  • Burn injuries
  • Disfigurement/scarring

If you are injured in a truck accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you can make a personal injury claim. These claims seek compensation for all accident-related losses such as:

  • Medical expenses – Bills for hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, prescriptions, and more
  • Lost income – Wages lost due to missing work during recovery
  • Loss of future earnings – If injuries are permanently disabling
  • Pain and suffering – Hardship of going through the injuries and treatment

The settlement amount will depend on the specific injuries, prognosis, and projected economic damages. Many severe truck accident injury claims settle for seven figures.

Wrongful Death Claims

Unfortunately, the massive force of some truck collisions results in fatalities. Common causes of death include traumatic brain injuries, internal bleeding, and organ damage.

If the truck driver’s negligence or recklessness results in death, the surviving family members can pursue a wrongful death claim. This seeks compensation for losses like:

  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of future financial support
  • Loss of benefits like health insurance
  • Loss of household services the deceased used to provide
  • Loss of companionship and guidance

Punitive damages may also be awarded in egregious cases to further punish the defendant’s behavior.

Steps to Take After a Truck Accident

It is important to take certain steps after any truck accident to protect your legal rights:

  • Seek medical attention – This creates a record of injuries and treatment needed
  • Document the scene – Take photos and videos of property damage, injuries, skid marks, etc.
  • Get witness contact info – Witness testimony helps prove what happened
  • Report the accident – Notify police to have an official report filed
  • Contact an attorney – An experienced lawyer can handle the claims process

Truck accident cases can become complex legal battles, especially when large trucking companies and insurers get involved. Having a qualified attorney on your side levels the playing field and ensures your rights are protected each step of the way. They can handle the claims process while you focus on recovery.

Get a Free Consultation Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, contact our firm today for a free case evaluation. Our experienced truck accident attorneys will review the details of your case and advise you on the best path forward to recover the maximum compensation. You can visit our offices at:

  • Westerville – 4151 Executive Pkwy, Suite 355, Westerville, OH 43081
  • Mansfield – 33 S. Lexington-Springmill Rd, Mansfield, OH 44906

Or call now for a free consultation on (614) 224-4114.

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