Large commercial trucks are important cogs in the Phoenix and Arizona economy. These trucks move materials, transport goods, and dispose of waste. Without them, Phoenix would be a very different city.
Traveling at high speeds on the freeway, these trucks are massive. They can easily reach 80,000 pounds—roughly 20 times heavier than the typical passenger sedan. When these trucks collide with light trucks or cars, occupants suffer devastating injuries.
Karnas Law Firm can help. Our Phoenix truck accident lawyers have assisted many people hurt by big rigs, 18-wheelers, sanitation vehicles, and other large trucks. We have the leverage and firm infrastructure you need to bring a successful claim, so please contact us today to get started.
Why Trucks Crash
Many people think that negligent truck drivers cause the vast majority of crashes on the road. While this is sometimes true, it is also not always the case.
The main forms of truck driver negligence that cause collisions include violations of the hour of service rule, distracted driving, and driving while impaired. Truck drivers are under an immense amount of pressure to deliver their cargo on time.
Although federal law limits the amount of time drivers can remain on the road, to ensure they rest properly and do not pose a threat, not all drivers comply with the law. Trucking companies also sometimes provide incentives to drivers to break the law. Some truck drivers also think that using alcohol or other substances will help them stay awake.
Truck drivers also have to operate many different systems within the cab, which can cause them to become distracted. Just like other drivers, truckers can also drive recklessly, speed, and engage in other negligent behaviors that can easily cause a crash.
These large trucks get into accidents for many reasons, including:
- Distracted driving
- Driver fatigue
- Driver intoxication or impairment
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Improper vehicle maintenance
- Texting while driving
Many accident victims have no idea why this huge vehicle plowed into them. What they know is that they are badly injured and need help.
However, the cause of the accident matters considerably. This is how we assign “fault” for the crash. Under Arizona law, you can obtain compensation if you can prove someone else was at fault for a wreck. If you are 100% responsible for your own collision, you can’t sue—but that’s a rare case.
How to Receive Compensation for Your Injuries
The good news is that we can bring a claim against any party responsible for the wreck:
- Truck drivers
- Trucking companies
- Loading companies
- Truck mechanics
- Truck manufacturers
- Leasing companies
- Government agencies for road defects
We can submit an initial claim to the defendant’s insurer requesting a fair amount to settle a claim. However, be warned: they often unreasonably reject our settlement proposals. As a result, we must continue negotiations and sometimes use mediation. At some point, we might even go into court and file a lawsuit against all defendants.
Determining Fault After a Truck Accident
Determining who was at fault after an accident involving two passenger vehicles is difficult enough. In most of these cases, however, the blame lies with one of the drivers at the scene. This is not always true after a truck accident. There are many parties who could have been at fault for the collision you were involved in. They are as follows:
The truck driver: Just like any other driver on the road, truckers can behave negligently while behind the wheel and cause a crash. Truck drivers may not properly check their blind spots and crash into a vehicle, or they may follow another vehicle too closely, causing a deadly rear-end collision.
The trucking company: Trucking companies have a number of legal obligations. They must make sure they are only hiring competent and experienced drivers, and they must perform a thorough background check of any potential driver, including obtaining their criminal and driving history. Trucking companies must also ensure their trucks are properly inspected and maintained in compliance with federal regulations. Trucking companies sometimes take shortcuts in an effort to save money and keep more of their profits. When they prioritize their bottom line over your safety and well-being, they can be held liable.
Manufacturers: Commercial trucks are made up of thousands of moving parts. To ensure the entire truck can operate as a whole, each of those parts must be in proper working condition. When manufacturers create defective or faulty parts, they can be held liable for their negligent actions. In some cases, you can hold manufacturers strictly liable, which means you do not need to prove negligence. You must only show that a product was defective and that you became injured as a result.
Cargo loaders: Sometimes truck drivers load their own cargo while other times, a third-party loading or shipping company will. Regardless of who loads the cargo onto the truck, it must be loaded properly. If it is not, it can shift during transport and throw the entire truck off balance. The truck driver can then lose control of the vehicle and become involved in a crash.
The truck owner: Truck owners often rent out their vehicles to other drivers and trucking companies. It is also very common for truck drivers to own the vehicle they operate. Regardless of who owns the truck, they are responsible for making sure it is in good working condition and that it will not cause truck accidents that result in injuries.
Accident victims do not always know how to prove one particular party was to blame for their crash. A Phoenix truck accident attorneys will know how to determine who was at fault and hold them accountable for paying the maximum settlement you are entitled to.
How Much Is Your Claim Worth?
The damages or financial compensation, available after a truck accident are meant to restore you as wholly as possible to the same condition you were in before the accident. As such, you can claim financial compensation for any loss you sustained during the crash. Some of the most common damages available for a truck accident victim are as follows:
Our clients can seek compensation for:
- Medical bills, including the cost of rehabilitation, office visits, prescription drugs, diagnostic tests, and treatment in the hospital.
- Costs associated with in-home or long-term medical care you require as a result of the accident.
- Lost income or wages, benefits, sick pay, vacation pay, including loss of earning capacity.
- Other losses stemming from the accident, such as property damage.
- Pain and suffering, including physical pain.
- Emotional distress, including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and irritability.
- Loss of consortium for unwelcome changes to the marital relationship.
Our personal injury law firm helps clients document the full costs of their injuries for their truck accident cases. For example, we recommend hanging onto all medical bills, receipts, and insurance statements. These documents show how much your medical care costs. We can also use your pay stubs or self-employment ledgers to calculate your loss of income.
Pain and suffering and similar losses are different. We can’t use a bill or receipt to arrive at a number, but we do have years of experience estimating a meaningful amount. Generally, you can receive more for pain and suffering for more serious injuries.
Don’t Negotiate Alone
There are many reasons why injured victims shouldn’t try to bring their own truck accident claims. With doctor visits and rehab, you might not have enough time to gather all the information you need.
Whether a commercial truck accident or a regular truck accident claim, that are substantially different from a car accident case. Fortunately, seasoned Phoenix truck accident lawyers at Karnas Law can help.
We have the experience you need to investigate the cause of the accident. Sometimes it is obvious what happened. In other cases, the truck driver might blame you for the wreck. An investigation helps identify who is at fault.
As part of an investigation, we might visit the accident scene to see if anything in the environment contributed to the crash. For example, a road defect could have made it difficult to stop or caused a trucker to lose control.
We also will handle all insurance forms and negotiations with insurers. Trucking companies have large insurance teams dedicated to making sure they pay as little as possible. We can leverage our experience to your benefit and ensure your voice is heard in this process.
Five Simple Steps to Take to Bolster Your Case
We’ve seen far too many truck accident victims make small errors in the days following a wreck which undermines their claims. Here are 5 simple things you can do to strengthen your claim:
Step 1. Call the police after the crash. An officer can write up an accident report. If the trucker was intoxicated, a police officer can investigate further, such as requesting field sobriety tests or chemical tests.
Step 2. Take photographs of the accident, if possible. These photographs show where the vehicles ended up and the full extent of the damage. If you can’t move, ask someone else to get pictures using their phone.
Step 3. Go to the hospital. The sooner you receive treatment, the stronger your odds of a full recovery. You also prevent the defendant from blaming you for your pain.
Step 4. Avoid giving a recorded statement to the insurance companies. They often dig for evidence to use against you. For example, they might claim you are partially to blame for the wreck or don’t feel pain. The less you say without a lawyer present, the better.
Step 5. Hire an experienced Phoenix truck accident attorney as soon as possible. The trucking company will probably send an investigator to the crash site within an hour or two. They immediately begin building a case that benefits only the trucking company. You need a lawyer on your team who is looking out for you.
Karnas Law Firm Is Here for All Truck Accident Victims
If you have been involved in a truck accident, do not take your chances by filing a claim on your own. At Karnas Law Firm, PLLC, our Phoenix truck accident lawyer can determine who is liable for paying full damages for your losses and will negotiate for the fair settlement you deserve. Call us now at 602.402.5207 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
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