If you’ve been involved in a Richmond commercial truck accident, you may be dealing with severe, perhaps even life-threatening injuries. Your entire focus is likely on your injuries, your finances, and your future—and this is entirely normal. Commercial truck accidents are so severe because a loaded commercial truck and trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. When you compare that to the average 3,000-pound passenger vehicle, you can see how the disparity in size contributes to very serious injuries to those in the smaller vehicle.
A commercial truck accident involves a large commercial truck that is usually owned by a business, and driven by an employee of that business. What makes commercial truck accidents different includes the number of liable parties as well as the insurance coverage. Trucking companies are required to carry commercial insurance policies which typically have much higher limits.
Trucking companies and their insurers don’t want those injured in a large commercial truck accident to know about these higher limits—which is why you should always have an experienced Richmond commercial truck accident lawyer from Tronfeld West & Durrett working on your behalf. We will ensure your health and your future are not jeopardized by the questionable tactics of an insurance company that has no interest in ensuring your damages are fully covered.
HOW ARE COMMERCIAL ACCIDENTS DIFFERENT FROM TYPICAL ACCIDENTS?
Commercial truck accidents differ from passenger car accidents in a number of ways, including:
- Severity of damage
- The potential causes of the crash
- The evidence gathering process
- The number of potentially liable parties
- Potential compensation
Commercial truck accidents are different from accidents involving only passenger vehicles in that there may be more than one liable party. It is important that you speak to a knowledgeable Richmond commercial truck accident lawyer from Tronfeld West & Durrett as quickly as possible. We will immediately ensure your rights and your future are fully protected as we advocate for you and your family at every turn.
Below, the legal team at Tronfeld West & Durrett details these differences and how they can affect a truck accident claim.
SEVERITY OF DAMAGE
Commercial trucks are much bigger and heavier than typical vehicles; thus, they have the potential to cause far more destruction. The force of a tractor-trailer accelerating at the same speed as a car, truck, or SUV is significantly higher, and therefore can cause much more damage.
Property damage and personal injuries tend to be much worse in commercial truck accidents. The other vehicle is often a total loss, its driver and passengers frequently suffering severe injuries, such as head trauma, spinal injuries, and broken bones.
POTENTIAL ACCIDENT CAUSES
Most traditional auto accidents result from a variation of one thing: driver error. It could be texting, driving under the influence, failing to check a blind spot, following too closely, or any number of mistakes. But it almost always involves a mistake by one or both drivers.
Commercial truck accidents are not always so cut and dry. One, semi-trucks are more complex machines than traditional automobiles; thus, there is a higher possibility of mechanical error.
Also, truck drivers are known for keeping brutal hours, and fatigue is an inescapable part of the job. Though legislation in recent years has tightened the rules on how many hours truckers can drive and how long they must rest, fatigued driving remains a factor in many accidents involving commercial trucks. While driving drowsy is still negligence, it can be difficult to determine whether the truck driver or the trucking company was the primary negligent party.
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THE EVIDENCE GATHERING PROCESS
In a typical car accident, much of the evidence is mostly out in the open for each party to recover. However, in a truck accident, much of the evidence rests in the hands of the trucking company, which may legally destroy it after a certain period of time. A good truck accident lawyer will know to send a spoliation letter immediately to preserve any necessary evidence.
In typical auto accidents, the liable parties usually involve one or both drivers. However, in a trucking accident, the trucking company, not the driver, is often your liable party. This is because of the vicarious liability doctrine which holds employers liable for their employees’ actions so long as the employee was acting within the scope of his employment.
This can be a good thing for drivers involved in semi-truck accidents, as trucking companies tend to have greater financial resources than individual drivers, and as a result, they have more money available to pay large settlements. However, it can also make recovering compensation more difficult.
The amount of compensation is often higher in a commercial truck accident. This is for two reasons. One, the damage is usually greater, resulting in higher medical bills, more time away from work, and so on. Also, trucking companies are more likely to have the money available to pay out a large settlement than an individual driver.
What Are Common Injuries Sustained In A Commercial Truck Accident?
Commercial trucking accident injuries can be catastrophic. Even when the accident doesn’t result in the death of those in the smaller passenger vehicles, the injuries can be so severe that it can take years—or a lifetime—of recovery. The victim may be left with piles of medical bills, the necessity for years of medical treatments and rehabilitative therapies, the inability to return to work, and a lifetime of pain and emotional trauma. Some of the more common injuries sustained in commercial truck accidents include the following:
- Back and neck injuries including herniated or dislocated discs, fractures, sprains and strains, pinched nerves, spondylosis, whiplash, or more serious spinal cord injuries that can result in partial or full paralysis. Back and neck injuries can result in chronic pain, loss of mobility, the inability to engage in normal activities or work, or the inability to move and take care of yourself.
- Fractures are common in any vehicle accident. Fractures or bone breaks are likely to be more severe when a large commercial truck is involved. Compound fractures can take a long time to heal, or may never heal properly, resulting in some level of disability.
- A fast-spreading, high-temperature fire can develop after a commercial truck accident when a gas tank is punctured or sparks spread from severed wires. If the commercial truck accident damages hoses or lines, a leak in fluids can lead to a fire. Those in the passenger vehicle could suffer first, second, or third-degree burns. While first-degree burns only affect the top layer of skin and can often be treated at home, second and third-degree burns affect more layers of skin and can require many years of treatments, including reconstructive surgery for disfigurement caused by burns. If the truck was transporting hazardous materials, those materials could be especially flammable or could result in chemical burns.
- Head injuries are common in commercial truck accidents. These head injuries may range from a concussion to severe traumatic brain trauma. Symptoms of brain trauma can be temporary or can last a lifetime. Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury may include confusion, nausea, vision problems, cognitive difficulties, emotional problems, depression, anxiety, loss or diminishment of some motor functions, and the necessity of relearning basic activities. Some people with brain injuries will require long-term care.
- Internal injuries can result from any type of blunt trauma. There can be trauma to an organ like the liver, kidneys, pancreas, spleen, bladder, or internal bleeding. In some cases, an internal injury may not be readily apparent and can be overlooked.
When your injuries are catastrophic, you may be facing a lifetime of medical treatments—and a lifetime of medical expenses. Because of this, it is extremely important that you speak with a highly skilled commercial truck accident lawyer from Tronfeld West & Durrett. We will fight for you, ensuring you not only get a full and fair settlement but that you also receive the treatment you need.
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Call The Legal Team At Tronfeld, West & Durrett For Help
When you choose a Tronfeld West & Durrett commercial truck accident lawyer, you have taken an important first step toward safeguarding your future. Once we are on board, we will do the following:
- All liable parties will be identified, including the truck driver, the trucking company, the cargo loading company, the maintenance company, or the manufacturer of the truck.
- Complex negotiations will be handled by your attorney as we fight to secure a full settlement that will comprehensively cover your injuries.
- We will always prepare your case as though we are going to argue it at trial—thoroughly, so there are never any surprises.
- If your case does go to trial, we will argue persuasively on your behalf, provide expert witnesses to support your claim and find all the weaknesses of the defendant as they pertain to your claim. Our legal strategy will be tailored to ensure you receive the compensation you need and deserve.
- Guiding you through the legal process while answering all your questions in an easy-to-understand manner is also a part of our job as your attorneys. The legal process is often complex, time-consuming, and overwhelming. Our goal will be to represent your best interests at all times, allowing you the time to heal and move forward with your life.
If you’ve been involved in a commercial truck accident, the attorneys at Tronfeld West & Durrett can help Virginia residents win maximum compensation after a commercial truck accident. Dive deep into informative content on unsafe property conditions. They know how to gather evidence, prove liability, and aggressively negotiate for a large settlement. Let them put their knowledge, experience, and resources to work. To set up a free consultation, call our office today at 804-358-6741.