Do you own a truck? Or perhaps you drive one for work purposes. If so, then you’ll no doubt have thought about what might happen if you were in a truck accident. It can be horrific, and there’s still a danger even if you take precautions such as driving slowly. But what do you know about trucking accident law? What happens if you’re involved in an accident, and the other party refuses to pay up or accuses you of being the guilty one? What if you have to veer off the road and damage public or private property?
Here’s everything you need to know about truck accident law.
Why Do Truck Accidents Happen?
Truck accidents happen for a multitude of reasons. A truck could be loaded with heavy goods such as metal piping that is not strapped down properly. If a truck driver has to brake suddenly, this material could fall out onto the road causing other vehicles to lose control. Pedestrians could also be injured.
Unlike cars, trucks are heavy, and if they are traveling at high speeds, it could be harder for them to slow down. The consequences of a crash could be more dramatic. Where a car might be brought to a halt if it smashes into a bollard or a solid wall, a truck might smash it to pieces bringing the entire building with it.
According to the National Safety Council, 4,862 trucks were involved in fatal accidents in 2018, and trucks account for 9% of all fatal crashes in general. Truck accidents often go up when the price of oil is low for American drivers.
Types of Compensation
One of the key things to understand is the level of compensation you are likely to receive for your accident, as well as the types you are entitled to. Remember that trucking accident settlements vary a lot.
Monetary Compensation For Injuries
Compensation can take many forms. But the most important form is money for injuries. This could cover the inconvenience of being in the accident if it wasn’t your fault.
The compensation can vary enormously depending on how great your lawyer is and how serious the accident was as well as how much the judge sympathizes with you. If your accident involved a tractor-trailer, be sure to get a tractor-trailer accident attorney who can help you secure the best possible deal in or outside of court.
Monetary Compensation For Mental Injuries
As well as receiving monetary damage for your physical injuries on top of your medical receipts you are also entitled to compensation for other injuries that are harder to pin down.
This includes pain and suffering and mental torture. Although this can be harder to prove, a great lawyer will be able to get you a payout. Equally, if you have lost your job because of an accident, your lawyer will not only be able to get you damages to cover you directly but also for the stress of having to worry about losing your job.
You can claim punitive damages when the guilty party is also guilty of negligence; they have harmed you through their incompetence somehow.
Perhaps they were looking at their cell phone when they should have been focused on driving the truck. In another scenario, they could have been watching Netflix on their laptop or listening to music. Maybe they forgot to replace their lights, and you didn’t see them indicate. Remember that laws on punitive damages tend to vary a lot from state to state.
One of the worst-case scenarios in any truck accident is a fatal accident for one of the parties. If your loved ones have died or the other drive has died, this can make the case a lot more complicated.
The case will undoubtedly merit a lot of legal attention and scrutiny, it will take longer, and It will no longer merely be a civil case where one party is issuing the other. There will likely be a criminal trial. These are standard truck driver accident procedures if there has been a fatality.
Issues that might arise include whether the deceased driver was at fault and committed manslaughter or if it is the person responsible for the accident that survives, they will have to account for their actions.
Driverless Trucks: Liability shortly
Another key issue for truck accident law is the issue of driverless trucks. If you want to know who is liable for a truck accident, then the answer may soon change!
Although this might sound like an issue that belongs in a sci-fi film, driverless trucks are already here and being tested on public roads. If you are involved in an accident with a driverless truck, you could well be suing a big tech company, not an individual. This could have implications on the likely outcome of the trial and the regulation of driverless trucks.
Trucking Accident Law: Be Sure to Swat Up
Be sure to swat up on trucking accident law if you drive a truck regularly. Nobody wants to think about being involved in an accident, but you should be prepared for every eventually.
You should get to know your rights both if you are the alleged perpetrator of an accident or the victim. This includes the different types of compensation that you are eligible for. If you are interested in learning more about trucking accident law, be sure to check out the rest of our site.