National Truck Accident Lawyers
Large trucks can pose a strong danger against other motorists sharing the road.
If you were injured or lost someone you love in a serious accident with a truck, you may have legal options. The truck accident lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC can help you receive compensation that may provide support for medical bills, lost wages resulting from an inability to work, funeral costs, and pain and suffering. Our nationally recognized personal injury attorneys have decades of experience in helping injury victims. Because we work on a contingency fee basis, we do not charge any legal fees unless we help you receive compensation. Contact us to schedule a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your claim.
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Qualified Legal Experience
Truck accident claims require an attorney who has the tenacity and experience to pursue every lead that will identify the cause of a collision.
At Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC, our truck accident attorneys have won millions in verdicts and settlements for clients who have been injured or lost a loved one because of a negligent truck driver.
- $9 million settlement for an 18-wheeler crash
- $2.5 million settlement for a crash involving a tractor-trailer
- Multi-million dollar confidential settlement involving a hazardous waste truck
Truck accident cases require an attorney who has a proven record of successfully holding negligent parties accountable for their actions, as well as strong understanding of the many laws and regulations of the trucking industry.
Several of our attorneys have been nationally recognized as the top lawyers in the U.S. by Super Lawyers®, and have been named among the Best Lawyers in America®. Our Litigation Principal Kenneth Suggs, has been named by The Summit Council as one of the Top Civil Justice Attorneys.
Our truck accident lawyers are licensed to practice law in multiple states throughout the U.S. and have locations in:
- New York
- Washington D.C.
- South Carolina
If you do not live near one of our offices, our truck accident attorneys will still provide you assistances without requiring you to travel.
Our truck accident lawyers are committed to fighting for the injured and will devote the entirety of our resources to help ensure you or your loved one’s claim receives a fair outcome.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident?
The trucking industry is heavily regulated by federal agencies, and each state also has its own laws for monitoring commercial trucks.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provide federal oversight of the trucking industry and detail strict rules truck companies and employees must follow to ensure roadway safety.
Determining liability in a truck accident can be difficult, as several parties might have been responsible for causing the events that led to the crash.
Commercial truck drivers must be fully qualified and have met the requirements to receive a Commercial Driver’s License issued by the FMSCA to operate a commercial vehicle.
If a driver engages in behavior that violates local laws or FMSCA standards, he or she could be liable for causing an accident. In order to hold a driver accountable, her or she must have engaged in activities outside the terms of his or her employment, such as:
- Using the truck for personal reasons
- Recklessly driving the vehicle
- Operating the truck while impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Using the vehicle to intentionally cause harm to others
Not all truck drivers are employed by a trucking company. Some are independent contractors who own their own truck and possess liability insurance that separates them from the company that obtained their services. A company that hires an independent contractor is not always liable for an accident he or she may have caused.
If a driver employed by a trucking company causes an accident within the scope of his or her employment, the company can be held liable for the damages.
The FMSCA has set standards for the terms under which a truck driver is allowed to operate when on a long-distance haul. Trucking companies must limit the number of hours a driver is allowed to operate during a shift so that it does not create a dangerous level of impairment caused by sleep deprivation.
Companies cannot place unrealistic expectations on a driver that would force him or her to work long hours or operate a vehicle that exceeds the maximum weight limit for a commercial truck.
Trucking companies are also responsible for proving proper maintenance on the vehicles used for long-distance trips. FMCSA regulations require a trucking company to routinely inspect its vehicles at least once every 12 months and to provide any repairs or updates when a defect is found. The company could be held liable for an accident caused by a vehicle malfunction that would have been corrected if inspected.
If a truck accident was caused by a malfunction of the truck’s mechanics or vital parts, the vehicle’s manufacturer can be held liable.
Manufacturers can be held liable for:
- Brake failure
- Defective tires
- Faulty hydraulics
- Broken headlights, brake lights or turn signals
- Defective anti-lock braking system (ABS)
- Defective hitches on tractor-trailer trucks
- Malfunctioning power steering
- Faulty cargo straps or restraining devices
This must have occurred at the manufacturing stage of the truck and must have been unforeseen by the trucking company that purchased the vehicle.
Truck accidents are often the result of multiple violations committed by several parties, and could amount to multiple claims being filed. A qualified truck accident lawyer will be able to navigate between the federal and state standards to identify the parties that committed the violations that caused the accident.
Proving Negligence in a Truck Accident
One of the leading causes of truck accidents is negligence, most often on behalf of the truck’s driver.
You must be able to prove that your accident was caused by a negligent driver or the trucking company’s violation of federal or state regulations. Causes of truck accidents can include:
- Exceeding the maximum weight limit
- Impaired driving by alcohol, drugs or sleep deprivation
- Neglecting local traffic laws
- Failing to meet minimal truck driving requirements
- Failing to stop at weigh stations
- Overloading or failing to safely load the truck
- Distracted driving
- Failing to notice other vehicles or pedestrians on the road
There are four elements needed to prove negligence in a personal injury claim:
- Obligation of duty: The truck driver had a duty to ensure the safety of all those sharing the road by driving responsibly and within the law, while the trucking company was obligated to follow safe loading and maintenance regulations.
- Breach of duty: The truck driver or trucking company breached their respected duty and failed to act as others would have in a similar situation.
- Causation of accident: The negligence displayed by the truck driver or trucking company was directly responsible for causing the accident.
- Damages: The truck accident was the direct cause of the victim’s injury or death.
Proving negligence in a truck accident can be difficult. A trucking company and its insurance provider will try to distance itself from any act that could be considered negligent or reckless.
Our truck accident lawyers will obtain evidence that proves the at-fault party’s negligence was the cause of your accident by:
- Examining the vehicle inspection logs to determine if there were any defective or malfunctioning parts the trucking company knew about before the accident.
- Researching the background of the driver for a history of traffic violations, prior accidents, arrest records or failed drug/alcohol screenings.
- Interviewing anyone who witnessed the accident or the events that led to it, such as the driver’s prior behavior or the procedures the trucking company followed before approving the truck for long-distance use.
- Reviewing any footage, photographs or information provided by the Event Data Recorder “black box” that would provide a realistic timeline of the crash and the state of the vehicle before the accident.
- Reconstructing the events of the accident and those leading up to it in order to construct an accurate representation of how the accident occurred.
Personal injury claims require undeniable proof that the negligent actions of the alleged at-fault party caused the accident in order to establish liability. The truck accident lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC will be able to provide you with a detailed assessment of your claim and your legal options in a free consultation.
How Can I be Compensated After a Truck Accident?
The terms in which a plaintiff can receive compensation, and how much can be awarded, will differ depending on your state’s laws.
Compensation for a truck accident can be awarded based on the economic loss suffered by the plaintiff due to the defendant’s actions. This can include:
- Lost wages
- Current medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Property damage
- Loss of earning capacity
Truck accident victims or their families may also be able to recover non-economic damages, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental or emotional damage
- Loss of comfort if the victim’s abilities to socialize or care for loved ones and acquaintances has been affected by the accident.
Some states also have varying laws that provide different standards of awarding compensation, which might affect the victim’s right to pursue damages and the amount he or she can receive.
If a state has a contributory negligence rule, the plaintiff can only pursue damages if he or she was zero percent at fault for causing the accident. If it is found that you contributed to causing the accident in any way, you cannot pursue damages.
Other states follow a comparative negligence rule that decreases the amount of compensation you can receive based on your involvement in causing the accident. If a court finds that you are 50 percent responsible for causing the truck accident, you will only receive 50 percent of the damages originally sought in the claim.
Punitive damages can also be awarded in certain circumstances in which the defendant displayed actions considered especially malicious or reckless. In a truck accident claim, punitive damages can be awarded if the trucking company knew the vehicle had a defective part, but approved its use without regard for the consequences.
Likewise, punitive damages could be awarded if a driver recklessly operated the truck, such as driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Compensation is often an important means for a victim to recover, both medically and financially, after being in a truck accident. Contact our truck accident lawyers to discuss the damages you may be entitled to through a truck accident lawsuit.
Contact Our Truck Accident Lawyers
If you or your loved one has been in a truck accident, you will need a truck accident lawyer who has a history of pursuing just compensation for and protecting the rights of the injured.
The truck accident lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC work as a team to ensure that each client is provided with high quality legal service. We will dedicate ourselves to your claim and working to help you get the compensation you deserve.