Truck Accidents and Your Rights – What to Do First

Truck accidents and your rights, what to do next
Truck accidents and your rights, what to do next

Trucks are huge vehicles that can cause serious injuries to you if you have the bad luck to get involved in an accident with one. But don’t think that because a truck is bigger than you that you don’t have rights! If you’re injured as the result of a truck accident, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Motor vehicle accidents, including truck accidents, cost a lot of money in Ohio every year — over $1.3 billion! Most of these costs are related to the high cost of emergency health care, as the majority of truck accidents are not fatal. In addition, many truck accidents are preventable. A national survey of truck drivers in 2010 found that a sizeable number of long haul truck drivers attributed accidents to factors such as fatigue from being required to drive for long periods of time and driving over the speed limit to try to ensure that they reached their destination before their delivery deadline.

Truck Regulations

Truck regulations help prevent accidents. The federal government has set out a series of regulations in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Some of these regulations directly apply to accidents. For example, truck drivers are required to keep a register of all accidents for the past three years and to share records and information with federal or state authorities who are investigating accidents.

Other parts of Title 49 involve safety regulations, regulations for driver training and obtaining commercial drivers’ licenses, and requiring drug and alcohol testing prior to hire and after an accident. These regulations can help prevent accidents because if they are followed properly they ensure that drivers are operating trucks safely and have the appropriate training to drive their trucks.

Consequences of Truck Accidents

If you are involved in a truck accident, you might experience some of the following consequences, many of which entitle you to compensation.

  • Loss of employment. Serious injuries might stop you from being able to work temporarily or permanently. In either case, you may lose wages from not being able to work or have to rely on disability payments, which are often far smaller than your ordinary paycheck. In some cases, you may have to change jobs or quit working altogether because of injuries sustained in an accident.
  • Medical bills. Medical care is expensive in the United States. If your medical bills aren’t covered by your health insurance, you could be liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars for your care after an accident.
  • Damage to your vehicle. Obviously, damage to your vehicle is the least of your concerns if a truck hits your car. But trucks are heavy machinery that can do a lot of damage, and your auto insurance company may declare your vehicle a total loss instead of covering repairs. Damage to your vehicle can also have other consequences, such as making it difficult for you to get to work.

Common Types of Injuries

Truck accidents can lead to serious injuries. Here are some of the most common.

  • Spinal injuries and paralysis. If your spine is broken as the result of a truck accident, it could result in permanent paralysis. You might not be able to walk, drive, or do other things most people take for granted.
  • Traumatic brain injuries. If you hit your head during a truck accident, you could end up with a concussion or other brain injury. Depending on the severity of the injury, you could have trouble with speech, memory, spatial awareness, or other vital functions.
  • Wrongful death. Truck accidents can lead to the death of drivers and passengers. In this case, sometimes loved ones left behind are entitled to compensation.

Liability and Truck Accidents

There are several parties that may be liable for a truck accident.

If the truck driver broke traffic laws, drove while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or was distracted by his or her cell phone while driving, he or she may be liable for the accident.

In addition, if the truck driver was employed by a particular company at the time of the accident, that company may be liable. For example, if the company hired a driver who had a poor driving record or had been arrested for driving under the influence in the past, a case could be made that the employer was aware that that driver was likely to cause an accident at the time of hire.

If the accident occurred because the truck had mechanical issues such as brake failure, the truck manufacturer could be liable if it can be proven that the mechanical failure was due to a manufacturing defect and not to misuse of the vehicle.

The Bottom Line

Every situation is different, so you can’t determine from reading this article, or any other, whether you’re entitled to compensation. However, if you were involved in a truck accident that involved serious injury, death, or loss of employment due to the accident, we want to talk to you! Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

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