Have You Been Hurt By a Commercial Truck?
Highways across the United States are full of commercial trucks delivering various materials to companies. Although these trucks contribute to the overall functionality of our economy, they can present many dangers to other motorists on the roads.
Due to their massive size and weight, semi-trucks can cause substantial damage if involved in a collision. Furthermore, injuries sustained after a trucking accident are typically severe. Have you or a loved one suffered injuries after a commercial truck accident? We can help.
At Lowry & Associates, we know how tragic and stressful a trucking accident can be for an individual and their family. The complex details of this type of case should be handled by a Portland, ME, truck accident lawyer. In order to accurately determine your legal options, we must review the specifics of your case. Every case is different, and the results will depend on the individual circumstances of your situation.
The Most Common Causes of Large Truck Accidents
Tractor trailer accidents occur for multiple reasons, including:
Defective equipment – It’s not unusual for a truck to have a defective part. If an accident was caused by a defective part, the manufacturer and/or trucking company may be held liable instead of the driver.
Substance abuse – The lifestyle of a truck driver can be difficult and lonely. From meeting tight deadlines to loading and unloading cargo, this job involves a lot of hard work. For this reason, some drivers turn to drugs and alcohol to help them endure the stressful nature of the job. Substance abuse frequently leads to devastating accidents.
Poor maintenance –Just like any other vehicle, maintenance is vital to keep a truck operating safely. When a truck is not properly maintained, it can create serious risks for both the driver and other people on the road.
Untrained drivers –In some cases, truckers do not receive adequate training to operate and maintain their truck. Poor training does not equip the driver with the necessary tools to drive safely, often resulting in serious collisions.
Driver fatigue – Truck drivers have to deliver their cargo to a set destination by certain deadlines. For this reason, drivers frequently continue driving without sufficient rest. When a driver is experiencing sleep deprivation, it can cause them to fall asleep at the wheel and/or make unsafe judgments that can result in an accident.
Road design – In some cases, it’s neither the driver, trucking company, nor the manufacturer’s fault for the collision. Sometimes roads have poorly designed features, such as misleading signs and lane changes, that can be confusing for drivers and lead to an accident.
Errors in cargo – Cargo that was loaded or weighed incorrectly can cause an accident.
Although these are common causes of semi-truck accidents, there are many other reasons an accident may occur.
Five Major Differences Between 18-Wheeler Accidents and Car Accidents
Although regular vehicle accidents and 18-wheeler accidents have similarities, there are distinct differences between the two.
1. More Severe Injuries
The legal weight for a truck is 80,000 pounds, while an average motor vehicle weighs around 5,000 pounds. For this reason, injuries in commercial truck accidents tend to be much more severe than car accidents.
2. Greater Property Damage
In addition to severe injuries, the weight of commercial trucks tends to cause far greater property damage.
3. Higher Medical Expenses
Since injuries are usually extensive, medical expenses can be much higher compared to car accidents. Treatment may require multiple surgeries and months of therapy to recover. In some cases, injuries may even result in permanent damage.
4. Large insurance policies
Typically, trucking companies have huge insurance policies in case of an accident. These companies are aware of the immense damage their trucks can cause, so they ensure they are protected with a high insurance policy as opposed to many motor vehicle drivers.
5. Higher Death Rate
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), “A total of 4,102 people died in large truck crashes in 2017.” The devastating effects of truck accidents cause the chances of death to be higher compared with regular motor vehicle accidents.
Since commercial truck accidents are often more complex than automobile accidents, it will be in your best interest to have an experienced Portland, ME, truck accident lawyer review your case and inform you of your legal options.
How to Proceed After a Commercial Truck Accident
When you’re involved in a truck accident, it can be challenging to know how to proceed. Our team has listed suggestions that you can implement in order to protect your legal rights:
Contact emergency personnel
If you suffered injuries and are able to call for help, do so. The police can evaluate the scene of the accident and write a report. The police report can later be used as evidence, if you decide to file a claim for damages.
Seek medical attention
It’s common to suffer injuries after a trucking accident. Even if your injuries are minor, it’s in your best interest to see a medical professional. If you decline treatment or fail to be seen by a doctor, it may negatively affect any compensation you may be entitled to receive.
Inform your insurance company
Make sure to inform your insurance company of your accident, even if it wasn’t your fault.
When seeking compensation for your losses, evidence will work to your advantage. Evidence, such as medical bills and photographs of the accident, your injuries, and property damage, can be used to help build a strong case on your behalf.
Contact an experienced attorney
Commercial truck accidents are complex, especially since multiple parties can be found at fault. It’s in your best interest to contact an attorney who has handled this type of case and knows what information is necessary to obtain compensation.
These tips may help your claim and preserve any compensation you may be entitled to.
Truck Driver Negligence Is a Major Cause of Accidents
In order to seek compensation for damages, it must be proven that your injuries were a direct result of another party’s negligent actions. In many truck accident cases, driver negligence is a common factor. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict regulations that truck drivers must comply with, including:
- Documenting hours of operation and breaks
- Loading cargo properly
- Driving no more than 10 hours a day
- Following scheduled maintenance and inspection requirements
- Not using any controlled substances or alcohol while on the job
To review the full list of regulations, click here. If you were injured in an accident because a truck driver violated one or more of these regulations, compensation may be available.
Who Is Held Liable After a Trucking Accident?
Establishing fault after a tractor-trailer accident is complicated. In this type of case, multiple parties may be found at fault for the accident, including
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The company who leased the truck
- The shipper who requested the cargo
- Manufacturer of the truck
- Owner of the truck
Determining who is at fault in a trucking accident enables our team to hold the right party responsible for the injuries and damages they caused. However, it’s common for parties to not accept fault. For this reason, it’s imperative to have our attorneys do an in-depth investigation of the accident in order to hold the liable party and/or parties responsible.
How to Receive Maximum Compensation for Your Damages
Victims who suffered injuries due to the negligent actions of a truck driver or a third party may be eligible to obtain compensation. The purpose of compensation is to help cover your medical expenses and other damages that occurred as a result of an accident. The amount of compensation you are awarded will depend on the severity of your injuries and other related damages. If you are eligible to receive compensation, it can help cover the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Punitive damages
- Loss of consortium
In order to receive the maximum compensation you are owed, it’s best to consult a truck accident lawyer. Every truck accident case is unique, and results will vary. Our team believes in holding the irresponsible party liable for their actions. If you have grounds to file a lawsuit, we will use our resources to fight on your behalf for the compensation you are rightfully owed.
Statute of Limitations in Maine
If you decide to file a claim, it’s vital that you’re conscious of the statute of limitations laws in Maine. The statute of limitations dictates the set amount of time an injured victim has to file a lawsuit for their losses. If the victim fails to file by the specified deadline, they will likely not receive compensation.
In Maine, an injured person has exactly six years after the day the accident occurred to file a lawsuit. Although this may seem like a long time, it’s best to consult an attorney immediately following the wreck. In some cases, victims missed the strict deadline and were unable to seek compensation. Don’t miss your opportunity to receive what you’re rightfully owed.
Consult an Experienced Attorney About Your Truck Accident Case
Lowry & Associates has been handling truck accident cases in Maine for over 25 years. We have helped numerous injured victims receive the justice they deserve. Through our detailed investigation process to our negotiation skills, you can trust that we will fight for every penny you deserve.
The legal system is often confusing and time-consuming. For this reason, seeking an experienced and knowledgeable attorney will be in your best interest. We understand the frustration many injured victims face when seeking compensation. It’s challenging to fight against large corporations without an attorney. Furthermore, insurance companies attempt to pay out as little compensation as possible, leaving you to pay for your expenses out of pocket.
Our team is dedicated to helping our clients fight for their legal rights. If you or a loved one sustained injuries after a trucking accident, we are available 24/7 to take your call and provide a free consultation. This type of case is time sensitive, so it’s important that we review your case as soon as possible.
Some people hesitate to contact an attorney, especially if they can’t afford one. With our firm, you don’t have to worry about expensive hourly fees. We operate on a contingency contract, meaning we don’t get paid unless we win for you. Call our law office today at (207) 775-3819, or fill out our free consultation form.
Our Personal Injury Law Firm
Our lead attorney James C. Beardsley grew up in Maine and received his law degree from University of Maine School of Law. As an experienced trial lawyer, Mr. Beardsley can pursue all avenues of resolving your case, including settling and taking it to trial.
We are committed to helping you heal and recover from this traumatic incident. As a personal injury victim, you are facing medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. We believe you deserve compensation for these things and more. We fight aggressively to resolve your case in the way that is the most beneficial for you!
If you are searching for an experienced, skilled truck accident lawyer in Bangor or Portland, Maine, call Lowry & Associates today for a free case evaluation!