If a tractor-trailer hit you, retaining a lawyer as soon as possible is the best course of action. This is not your classic car accident where you file a claim with the insurance company. Truck drivers often work for large trucking companies. Those companies have lawyers and adjusters on staff to reduce their liability after accidents, so you need all the help you can get.
Going head to head with a trucking company lawyer without representation will be challenging. These complex accidents often involve serious injuries, which entitles you to compensation for your losses and suffering.
Here’s a look at what you need to know about truck accidents in Virginia and why you should hire an attorney if you’ve been involved in an accident.
Common Damage Types in Tractor-Trailer Accidents
When pursuing damages in a tractor-trailer accident, you can pursue the following damage types:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
Generally, injuries from these accidents are severe since tractor-trailers are so large. Some common injuries that victims sustain as a result of a tractor-trailer accident include:
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal injuries
- Injuries to the neck and back
- Broken bones
In some situations, family members must pursue wrongful death compensation against a truck driver or the driver’s company when the accident leads to the death of a loved one. These are truly tragic situations.
Some injuries from these accidents are lifelong, resulting in the need for ongoing medical care and permanent loss or decrease in income. That’s why legal action is so important in these cases to help repair finances after an accident that you could do nothing to prevent.
Why Truck Accident Victims Need Legal Representation
No victim wants to go through the added challenge and trauma of a court case after a serious accident. Most just want to heal and move on with their lives, which is understandable. But the medical bills and lost wages won’t just disappear, and most trucking companies won’t just pay out all your bills without some work.
Here’s a look at the benefits of hiring a truck accident lawyer.
- Most trucking accidents involve multiple liable parties. There’s the truck driver, trucking company, parts manufacturers, shipping company that contracted with the truck driver or company, and the truck mechanic or maintenance company. Determining the at-fault party for your injuries will require expertise. And each of the various companies involved might try to shift the blame to another party, making it challenging for you to get your bills paid.
- You might be negotiating with multiple insurance companies. Multiple liable parties mean multiple insurance companies, which further complicates the situation.
- Trucking law violations might also be a factor. Trucking laws are complex, and you likely have no interest in becoming an expert on those laws. Law violations could prove negligence, though, which will be crucial evidence in your case.
Negligence in Virginia Trucking Accidents
With many possible liable parties, proving negligence is not as simple as it can be in an accident involving another standard vehicle. Examples of negligence can include:
- Truck driver: the driver failed to yield, follow a posted law of the road, etc., just like any other motorist on the road.
- Trucking company: might be liable if they employ the driver and failed to complete adequate pre-employment screening or failed to train the driver properly in line with state or federal trucking laws.
- Parts manufacturer: defects in parts on the truck could lead to an accident, such as in the case of brakes giving out or a tire blowing and causing an accident.
- Shipping company: the shipping company can be negligent if it loads the trailer incorrectly. Bad practices can cause a weight distribution issue and lead to the driver not being able to control the vehicle.
- Mechanic/maintenance company: failing to keep a tractor-trailer properly maintained can lead to mechanical failures to the point where the driver can’t control the vehicle.
These are all examples of negligence but also show how complex these accidents can be since so many parties are involved in the trucking industry. For the best protection after becoming a victim of a tractor-trailer accident in Virginia, schedule a free consultation with Geoff McDonald & Associates.