Experienced Semi-Truck Accident Firm
Being involved in any accident is traumatizing. But being involved in a truck accident can turn your life upside down. The severity of these accidents can cause serious bodily harm, irreversible damage, and weeks or months’ worth of healing time and lost wages. Aside from your injuries, dealing with insurers and doctors can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed. That is why it is so important to get the right type of support — from local Virginia truck accident lawyers with more than 40 years of experience helping the community.
Click Here to Contact Our Attorneys Now!
Tronfeld West & Durrett are those attorneys. We have been helping personal injury victims in Richmond, Virginia and the surrounding areas get fair compensation for their losses since 1972. We know Virginia truck accident law and we can use our knowledge to make sure you do not have to fight an injury lawsuit alone.
Truck laws in Virginia can be very complex, but with the right help and guidance, you can ensure that you receive adequate compensation for your losses. If you were involved in a serious truck accident, let the attorneys at Tronfeld West & Durrett handle the complex rigors of the judicial system so you can focus on getting your life back on track. Having an experienced Richmond truck accident attorney from Tronfeld West & Durrett to help you through your semi-truck accident can make a significant difference in the outcome of your truck accident claim.
What Do I Need to Do After a Truck Accident?
When involved in a truck accident, it is important to act quickly and investigate the events that led to your incident.
This requires securing crucial evidence such as:
- Documentation of your injuries
- Photos of the scene of the accident (including impact marks on the road, tire skid marks, and any fluid stains that may have come from the vehicles involved)
- Debris and other car parts that sustained damage during the accident
- Securing medical records of anyone involved in the accident
If you do not have all your ducks in a row, the driver’s insurance company may try to get you to admit fault or pressure you into settling for a smaller settlement than your case is truly worth.
Note: Remember that under Virginia law, if you are even one percent responsible for an accident, you will be unable to recover compensation.
What You Should Know About Virginia Trucking Laws
To avoid this, it is imperative that you work with a team that knows the inner workings of Virginia truck law.
For instance, did you know that truck drivers must follow a federal set of guidelines that define when and for how long they can operate their vehicle?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) lays out these laws, known as “hours of service” regulations.
The FMCSA allows property-carrying truck drivers to work a maximum of 11 hours only after they have taken at least 10 hours off duty.
Passenger-carrying drivers (such as bus drivers) can legally drive for a maximum of 10 hours only after taking at least eight hours off duty.
Knowing these hours of service regulations can help determine if the driver of the truck in your accident was acting negligently and was responsible for your injuries.
Other laws Virginia truck drivers must abide by not drinking (i.e., a driver cannot operate a truck with a blood alcohol content above .04), no texting while driving, as well as certain restrictions regarding the size and weight of any property they are carrying while driving on an interstate.
Any violation of these rules can make a truck driver at fault in your accident and allow you to file a negligence claim against his or her insurance or the trucking company itself.
Can I File a Claim Against the Trucking Company?
When it comes to determining who is liable for a truck accident, the list can be much longer than you might originally believe. While the truck driver will likely be at fault for breaking any driving laws, other times, the accident may be out of the driver’s hands.
For instance, the trucking company could be negligent if it did not properly maintain or inspect the truck before sending out on the road. The loader or shipper of the truck’s cargo could also be at fault if it was negligent when loading the truck, to begin with.
In addition, if the truck driver is at fault, the trucking company will likely be at fault as well. This is because of the concept of vicarious liability which allows victims to hold an employer liable for the actions of its employees. While this will likely allow for a bigger payout, it can make your case more difficult.
Once our attorneys have determined the liable parties, we will begin gathering evidence for your case and send the trucking company a spoliation letter.
A spoliation letter puts the company on notice that a personal injury case is pending and that it must preserve all evidence related to your accident, including driver training history, inspection records, hours of service records, and alcohol and drug testing results for the driver.
These are aspects of your personal injury case that you should not have to deal with alone. You need a professional team of attorneys who can get to the bottom of your accident and determine quickly who is at fault so you can get fair compensation fast and easy.
Why Are Trucking Accidents a Serious Issue?
If you have been involved in a Richmond truck accident, it is likely you suffered severe, even catastrophic, injuries. A loaded semi-truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, while a passenger vehicle weighs around 3,000 pounds. This disparity in size means that those in the smaller vehicle are likely to suffer extremely serious injuries or death. The injuries from a truck accident can be life-altering and permanent. Trucks are not only bigger and heavier, but they are much more challenging to maneuver than other types of vehicles.
Truck drivers often travel at high speeds because they always attempt to meet deadlines. Truck drivers only get paid if they drive on the road, so they are constantly under pressure. A truck driver also lacks visibility compared to smaller vehicles, making it difficult for truck drivers to see certain areas surrounding their trucks when a smaller vehicle is in their blind spot.
Finally, large semi-trucks are much more likely to roll over when they make a sharp turn or go around a steep, curved road. These issues make truck accidents much more dangerous than normal passenger car accidents. A Richmond semi-truck accident attorney from Tronfeld West & Durrett can help you through every single stage of your truck accident claim, ensuring you receive a full and fair settlement.
What Happens When a Truck Driver Has an Accident?
When a truck driver has an accident, the trucking company and its attorneys immediately “circle the wagons,” so to speak. The goal of every involved party on the side of the truck driver will be to minimize the exposure of the trucking company, the truck driver, and anyone else the insurer represents. The truck driver may be required to undergo a drug test following an accident with injuries. However, the trucking company’s attorneys may delay that test as long as possible if they think the test might be positive for drugs or alcohol. In the same vein, if the driver was “over” on their hours—and the trucking company was aware of this fact, those records could mysteriously disappear.
The sooner you have your own attorney on your side, the better outcome for you. Your attorney will secure all the necessary evidence before it can go missing, including driver time sheets, the truck’s black box, and the driver’s drug test. Your Richmond semi-truck accident attorney from Tronfeld West & Durrett will help you understand all your options regarding pursuing legal action, answering all your questions in a thorough yet easy-to-understand manner. We will carefully evaluate all evidence to prove liability clearly, then comprehensively calculate your current and future damages.
What Makes Truck Accidents More Complex Than Passenger Vehicle Accidents?
The size difference between a semi-truck and a smaller passenger vehicle and the fact that there can be more than one liable party for the accident means that accidents involving semi-trucks are much more complex than other types of auto accidents. The driver of the truck could be responsible for the accident if they were driving while impaired, distracted, or overly fatigued. The driver might also be responsible for the accident if they are driving carelessly or recklessly by driving over the posted speed limit, changing lanes without properly looking, or refusing to yield the right-of-way.
In some instances, the trucking company may be just as liable as the truck driver—or more so. Perhaps the company did not perform an exhaustive background check on the driver and put a driver with a history of careless driving on the road. The driver may not have been properly trained and should not have been on the road. If the truck driver routinely exceeded their allowed driving hours, the trucking company was certainly aware of that.
If the accident was the result of poorly maintained tires or brakes, the company hired by the trucking company to conduct regular maintenance on the trucks may bear some responsibility, or if the accident was the result of poorly loaded cargo, the loading company could be held partially responsible. In some cases, a defective truck part could be responsible for the accident, in which case, your attorney might file a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
How Hiring a Richmond Truck Accident Attorney Near You Can Help
You may think you can handle your Richmond truck accident on your own. This is virtually never a good idea. You may have severe injuries that keep you from returning to work and causing your medical bills to mount alarmingly. When you are unable to work, you are also unable to pay your normal monthly expenses. You may feel you are drowning in debt and unable to find the medical treatments you need. You need a helping hand—and you don’t need to spend your time arguing with an insurance company that is not interested in your injuries and wants to pay you as little as possible.
It’s important to remember that insurance companies are primarily interested in their financial bottom line and will pay as little as possible for each claim. Even when the insurance adjuster seems to care about you, it’s important to remember that their job depends on getting you to accept a low payout amount. This is simply not something you need to deal with when you are injured and trying to get your everyday life back.
Having a Richmond semi-truck accident attorney from Tronfeld West & Durrett by your side can make a huge difference in your final settlement amount. Our attorneys will aggressively fight to prove liability, then calculate all your damages. We will negotiate with the insurance company to ensure a fair and full settlement amount. When necessary, we will help you get the medical treatments you need for your recovery. If the insurer doesn’t want to pay you a fair amount, we will file a lawsuit on your behalf. At a time when you need to focus on healing, let us handle the legalities following your semi-truck accident.
Click Here for More Information About 18-Wheeler Accidents
How Can Tronfeld West & Durrett Help Me With My Case?
Our attorneys handle every aspect of your truck accident injury case, including managing communication and sending important spoliation letters on your behalf.
We are not your typical personal injury lawyers. We are locals, born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. We are deeply involved in our community and we have helped obtain settlements and successful jury verdicts for thousands of local clients since 1972.
If you or a loved one was involved in a truck accident, do not face the pain and turmoil alone and do not get help from some stranger not interested in your best interests. Get help from local Virginia attorneys who will work with you on a personal basis and handle your case with care and professionalism. Click here to see The 10 Most Dangerous Intersections in Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia.
Call Tronfeld West & Durrett today at 804-358-6741 to set up a free consultation with an experienced Richmond truck accident attorney. We have offices in Richmond, Chesterfield, Petersburg, and Mechanicsville.