A truck accident can be among the most devastating types of vehicle accidents. Semi-trucks, for example, can weigh as much 80,000 pounds in the United States, while the average car weighs less than 10,000 pounds. It is that size difference that can make truck accidents so damaging to the car driver and his or her vehicle, with a total vehicle loss, serious injuries and even death a possibility.
As a victim of a truck accident, you can take steps to help protect your rights and receive compensation for your loss. Here’s what you need to know.
The Common Causes
According to HG.org, the most common truck accident cause is driver fatigue. While federal law requires that truck drivers drive no more than 11 hours each day and have at least 10 hours between shifts, not all drivers or companies follow these rules. Even if they do, the trucking company doesn’t know for sure what the driver does in his or her hours off between shifts. Being tired behind the wheel of a smaller car isn’t safe because it can lead to judgment errors, delayed reaction times and lack of focus, and the results of those things in a big vehicle can quickly add up to disaster.
Other causes or contributing factors in a truck accident include the following:
• Speeding or distracted driving
• Debris in the road
• Drug or alcohol impairment
• A truck that is overloaded or has poorly secured cargo
• Equipment failure, including tires and brakes
Both the truck driver and the truck company have a legal duty to make sure that none of the above causes apply in your accident.
What You Can Do
If your car was damaged or totaled in the accident and the truck driver’s insurance accepts that he or she was at fault, you should receive your storage and towing costs. The insurer will appraise the market value of and damage to your car. They should cover repairs if possible, but if your damage exceeds your car’s market value, they’ll only pay you the market value. If your car loan was more than the market value, you’ll be on the hook for the difference with the loan company.
You may be entitled to compensation beyond damage to your car if you were injured in the accident. Other losses you might be able to recover include:
• Your wage loss and medical expenses, both in the past and in the future
• Any wage or benefit loss from your delay into the labor market
• Your pain and suffering
• Any psychological trauma you endured as a result of the accident, such as PTSD
Truck accident cases can be complex, often involving laws at federal and state levels. If you’re a truck accident victim, seek experienced legal help to navigate these waters and ensure you receive what you’re entitled to. Injuries from these types of accidents can have profound long-term effects on your life, so it’s in your best interest to protect your legal rights and your future.
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