Trucks are essential for transporting the products we use every day. Most of the time, smaller vehicles are able to share the roads with them without any issue. Unfortunately, things can occasionally go wrong for a number of reasons, which can result in a truck crash.
Any accident involving a vehicle can cause serious injuries, but truck accidents are particularly devastating. Impact with a large truck can easily destroy your car and injure, or even kill, the occupants. If you or a loved one has been in a Louisville truck accident, it’s crucial you make a personal injury claim to receive compensation for the damages you’ve incurred. You’ll be most successful with your case if you have a truck accident lawyer on your side.
Common Injuries from Truck Accidents
Since an 18-wheeler truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, it’s unsurprising that it can cause serious injuries. However, accidents with commercial trucks of any size can cause a multitude of injuries, including:
- Broken bones. It’s particularly common to suffer from broken bones when the car accident was due to a collision between a semi truck and your motor vehicle.
- Spinal cord injuries. Damage to your spinal cord can affect your mobility and even cause paralysis. This can mean expensive medical care and adaptations to your home.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Impact to your head can lead to trauma that causes anything from concussion to lifelong disabilities.
- Internal injuries. If you’ve suffered an impact to your abdomen, you may have internal injuries, such as organ damage or internal bleeding.
In the worst case scenario, a loved one could be killed in an accident. It’s important to talk to a truck accident attorney about a wrongful death claim against the truck driver, truck company, or any other at-fault party.
What Compensation Can You Recover After a Truck Accident?
You’re entitled to various types of damages after an accident, including:
- Medical bills. Both those you’ve already incurred and for treatment you’ll require in the future.
- Lost wages. You can recover the amount you lost from missing work due to your injuries and any reduced earning capacity.
- Loss of consortium. This covers damages for lost physical and emotional support.
- Property damage. You’ll receive fair market value for any property damaged, such as your car.
- Pain and suffering. This includes both physical and emotional pain.
- Funeral expenses. If a loved one was killed, you can receive damages to pay for the funeral and burial or cremation.
- Punitive damages. These are only available if the driver was found to have acted egregiously, such as by driving under the influence.
The Statute of Limitation Law for Accidents in Kentucky
In Kentucky, the law states that you have two years to make a personal injury claim. The time limit begins either from the date you suffered the truck accident or the day you received the last payment of no-fault benefits from an insurance company. When you’re dealing with the aftermath of the accident, this time limit can pass fast. For this reason, talking to a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible is crucial. This will also mean the details are fresh in your mind, which will make it easier to prove negligence.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
There are several ways accidents can occur.
Distracted driving is far more dangerous for truck drivers than for drivers of any other type of vehicle on the road because it requires more concentration to maneuver a truck. There are a few types of distracted driving.
The first is manual distractions. Even taking one hand off the wheel to do something else can be dangerous. For this reason, federal regulations ban the use of phones when operating commercial trucks. The law says that drivers must not hold a cellphone to make a call or text nor may they reach for a phone if this means they’ll no longer be seated. If drivers need to use a phone, it must be hands free. Anyone driving a large commercial vehicle who breaks this law could face a fine of up to $11,000 — and repeat offense result in a lost license.
Often just as dangerous are visual distractions: looking elsewhere than the road. This can occur if the driver is looking at a phone, GPS system, or paperwork.
Finally, cognitive distractions happen when drivers are distracted by their thoughts rather than anything physical. The driver could be talking with someone else in the cabin, listening to music, or just thinking and not focusing on the road.
Driving While Drowsy
The average truck driver will spend far more hours behind the wheel than a driver of a non-commercial vehicle. Although regulations specify how long drivers are allowed operate a commercial truck, drivers may decide to keep going longer than they’re supposed to or trucking companies may pressure their workers to meet unreasonable targets.
Being tired reduces attention span and reaction times to similar levels as driving under the influence of alcohol. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) calculates that 13 percent of accidents involving large trucks are due to driver fatigue.
It’s crucial to keep your distance while driving to ensure you stay out of a truck driver’s blind spot. If you were too close to the vehicle, the truck driver may have been unable to see you.
Poor Highway Condition
Truck drivers can do everything right and still suffer accidents due to circumstances outside their control. One example of this is a road in bad condition, such as the presence of debris or potholes or a lack of a shoulder on the highway.
Problems with the Truck
Trucking companies must regularly check their vehicles to ensure they’re safe to be on the road. A commercial truck could crash if the wheel comes loose, the engine or brakes fail, or a tire blows out. A faulty part could also cause any of these.
Who Are Likely to Be the Liable Parties in a Truck Accident?
Most truck drivers are responsible and have received adequate training to ensure they’ll be safe on the road. However, others are reckless, putting other drivers and their passengers at risk. In still other cases, though, accidents are the fault of another party, such as the state of Kentucky (such as in the case of poor road conditions), the trucking company (if improper maintenance caused the accident), or the manufacturer of a part.
In all truck accident cases, it may be possible to make a claim and receive damages. This is true even if you share some of the fault because Kentucky follows pure comparative negligence when determining fault. This means you’ll be entitled to a percentage of the damages according to your degree of liability. Accident victims are much more likely to receive the full damages they’re entitled to when they work with injury lawyers.
How to Prove Fault in a Truck Accident Claim
The insurance companies of the truck driver, trucking company, and any other parties involved will always attempt to show that their clients were not liable for the accident. To prove that someone else was at fault, there are a few things you need to do.
First, you must prove that the party you say was at fault owed you a duty of care and breached this duty. You’ll also need to show that this act of negligence led to your accident.
Next, you’ll need to compile evidence that shows the cause of the accident. This could include eyewitness testimony, the police report, the driver’s cellphone records, and video surveillance. You must also link your injuries to the accident through medical records and show that you missed work due to your injuries.
Why You Need an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer
Whereas you could try to prove negligence yourself, you need to remember that the insurance companies all have lawyers working with them and will do their best to pay you as little compensation as possible.
An injury lawyer can determine who was liable (the truck driver or someone else), gather evidence, and negotiate the compensation deserve. When insurance companies refuse to offer fair payouts, accident attorneys can go to trial for their clients.
It’s important you work with a law firm in Louisville, KY, that has experience handling accidents similar to yours. An experienced attorney will know what evidence to present and how much you should expect to receive in compensation.
Louisville Truck Accident Lawyers
Being involved in an accident is distressing enough. It’s worse still when you suffer the financial burden that comes with medical expenses, lost wages, and reduced earning potential. Working with a truck accident attorney will mean you recover the full damages owed to you by the insurance company of the at-fault party. For a truck accident lawyer in Louisville, Kentucky, rely on the Fleck Firm. Our law firm has experience handling all kinds of truck accident cases. Contact us to set up a free consultation in Louisville, KY.