Accidents involving commercial trucks can be terrifying. Just one mistake can send a semi-truck toppling over, crushing your car beneath tons of steel.
If you’re fortunate enough to walk away after such an accident, you may be dealing with painful and sometimes crippling injuries that can make it nearly impossible to live a normal life.
A truck accident attorney in Virginia may be able to help you recover damages for the suffering a negligent driver or poorly maintained truck caused you, but you’ll need to follow a few steps after the accident to seek compensation.
What To Do After a Truck Accident
When you’re hit by a truck, call 911 right away. Even if you don’t think you’re hurt, it’s wise to see your doctor as soon as you can. You may not realize the extent of your injuries until days after a truck accident.
You should also report the accident to the police. Your lawyer can use the police report to your advantage if you choose to sue the driver.
If it’s safe for you to remain at the scene of the accident, take pictures of your car, the truck, and the surrounding area. Talk to any witnesses you can find, and record their statements as well.
Reach out to a truck accident attorney in Virginia as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you determine liability and help you seek compensation.
Who May Be Liable in a Truck Accident?
It’s easy to blame the truck driver for your accident — after all, they were the one behind the wheel. But another entity, such as the truck manufacturer or the cargo company, could be liable as well.
For instance, the cargo company may have overloaded the trailer, causing the truck to tip over. If the truck crashed because of a defect, your lawyer may be able to hold the manufacturer liable.
Under the legal theory of respondeat superior, your lawyer can hold the trucking company responsible for injuries and damage the driver caused. For this to apply, the driver’s actions must have been unintentional and committed within the scope of their employment.
Before filing a claim, your truck accident attorney in Virginia will look at:
- The driver’s training and driving history
- The driver’s drug and alcohol use records
- Maximum hours the truck driver can work per shift according to the law
- Maintenance records for the truck
- Black box records of the truck
- Cargo weight limits
Pure Contributory Negligence in Virginia
Virginia is one of a very few states that follow pure contributory negligence rules in personal injury cases. That means if you were even 1% at fault for the accident in any way, you can’t recover damages from the other party.
For instance, let’s say the truck driver hit you because they fell asleep at the wheel. But if you hadn’t been speeding, you could have avoided the truck in time. In this case, the law may prohibit you from recovering any damages.
Damages for a Truck Accident in Virginia
If the truck driver or another entity was fully responsible for your accident, you could seek compensation to cover:
- Current and future medical bills
- The cost of an aide to help you at home
- Diminished earning capacity
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney in Virginia for Help With Your Case
If you’re in a truck accident, don’t talk to the insurance adjusters before speaking with an attorney first. Saying the wrong thing or admitting fault in any way could lower your settlement, and it’s possible that the insurance company could refuse to pay you anything at all.
Contact Geoff McDonald & Associates accident attorneys at (804) 888-8888 for a free consultation on your truck accident case today.