Phoenix Truck Accident Lawyer
Commercial trucks are easily the largest vehicles on the road. When fully loaded, these trucks weigh tens of thousands of pounds. As you can imagine, these vehicles can cause severe damage during a collision. Truck drivers and their employers are required to follow state and federal safety regulations, due to the dangerous nature of these vehicles. If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, it’s possible the driver or their employer violated these regulations. There may also be additional parties who may be responsible for the accident. A truck accident lawyer and car accident attorney in Phoenix can pursue multiple sources of evidence during a lawsuit, to determine who is at fault.
Why Truck Accidents Happen
Truck driver errors cause a large percentage of accidents. Many truck drivers are pressed to deliver their load while adhering to a strict deadline. This can lead to the reckless, careless driving of a machine that weighs thirty times more than most vehicles on the road.
However, the truck driver is not always at fault. Sometimes, the trucking company neglects to complete a routine inspection or fails to provide regular maintenance, failing to comply with safety regulations. A truck can leave the yard with inadequate tires, poorly functioning lights, or faulty brakes.
Some of the leading causes of trucking accidents include:
- Poor judgment
- Driver fatigue
- Failure to follow traffic rules
- Lack of experience
- Impaired driving
- Distracted driver
- Faulty brakes
Who Can Be Held Liable in a Trucking Accident?
A violation of state or federal regulations isn’t the only basis for establishing liability in a truck accident case. Multiple parties can be held liable for causing a truck accident. These parties can include shipping companies, truck manufacturers, truck companies, and the driver.
There are many cases where the driver is held responsible for the accident. A driver can cause an accident if they are in violation of their employer’s hours of service rules. Hours of service regulations were implemented to prevent a driver from causing an accident due to fatigue.
Like drivers, a trucking company is also expected to follow state and federal regulations. A trucking company can be held liable for an accident if they retained or hired an unqualified driver.
A truck may have defects that cause an accident. If this is the case, the truck manufacturer can be held liable for damages.
Shipping and Loading Companies
Shipping and loading companies can be held liable for an accident. A truck can crash if the cargo was not properly secured or loaded. This can cause the cargo to shift when the truck makes a sharp turn.
Types of Truck Accidents
Each type of truck accident is different. While some are more serious than others, when a passenger vehicle is involved, most accidents have catastrophic results.
Below, you’ll find a list of some of the most common types of truck accidents:
Hazmat trucks carry hazardous materials. The danger of a hazmat accident will depend on the type of cargo it’s hauling. Some materials will be deemed hazardous because they are flammable. Other hazardous materials are harmful when airborne, making it dangerous to breathe the air. A person can be injured by this type of truck collision without even being on the road. If the accident results in noxious vapors being released into the air, an entire neighborhood can be affected. If a truck that’s carrying flammable materials explodes, it can cause serious injuries for drivers on the road and the surrounding area.
A rollover accident is when a truck rolls to one side as the result of:
- Driver error
- Sudden maneuvers
- Slippery or dangerous roads
- Improper cargo loading
The trucking industry must follow strict federal regulations for loading cargo. During transport, the cargo must be secured and immobile. A truck’s restraints must be adequate for the type and weight of the cargo it’s transporting.
An unsecured load can cause:
- Jackknife accidents
- Cargo spills
This type of accident can occur when a passenger vehicle collides with a truck by sliding under it, either along the side or from the rear. The height difference between most cars and a commercial truck means that a car can slip under a truck, which could crush the front and top of a car, leaving the occupants severely injured.
Most commercial trucks will come equipped with underride guards. These guards are basically metal barriers that are designed to prevent a vehicle from sliding underneath. However, these guards are not tough enough to withstand impact.
When a tire blows on a commercial truck it can cause it to jackknife, rollover, or swerve into another lane. In some cases, a tire blowout is caused by routine maintenance deficiencies, defective manufacturing, and general wear and tear.
This is very dangerous to other vehicles on the road because a vehicle can be hit with flying tire debris, or as the truck swerves into another lane, passenger vehicles can collide with it.
Keeping as much space as possible between a truck on the road and your vehicle is the best way to protect yourself from being involved in this type of accident. When you have to pass a truck, be sure that you have plenty of space ahead of the truck, so you won’t ride alongside the truck for longer than necessary.
A jackknife accident is when the trailer and cab of an 18-wheeler or big rig fold at their joint. When something causes the back of a trailer to move forward or swing forward faster than the cab, it can create a sharp angle, with the truck then facing two directions.
The truck driver has lost control of their vehicle at this point. This is very dangerous for any other vehicles on the road because they can end up sliding under the truck or they can collide with the swinging trailer.
This type of accident can be caused by:
- Incorrect maneuvering
- Loose cargo
- Weather conditions
- Brake failure
- Locked wheels
- Equipment malfunction
How Phoenix Truck Accident Attorneys Will Prove Your Case
An investigation is necessary to determine who should be held liable for a truck accident. The evidence can come from several sources, including:
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Company records
- Black box
- Video footage
Black Box Information
All commercial trucks carry a black box. This box records important information from the engine. This box may record hard braking events, speed, driving time, and other types of information that will be crucial to a case.
Most drivers know that the faster they drive, the longer it can take them to stop. This fact is magnified when the vehicle weighs thousands of pounds and is up to eighty feet long. The heavier the eighteen-wheeler is, the longer it will take it to come to a complete stop. Even a minor distraction on the part of the driver can result in a serious accident. Black box data may indicate that the truck was speeding at the time of impact. This type of information can be crucial to a case. However, the box will shut off after a period of thirty days, so it’s crucial to obtain the evidence as soon as possible.
New models of commercial trucks may also contain video cameras. The footage of an accident can be useful evidence. Additionally, witnesses, businesses, and traffic lights may have also recorded the accident.
Company records may also be used as evidence in a truck accident case. For example, a truck driver’s file may show whether the driver was qualified to operate the truck. Inspection and maintenance records can also be very useful.
Witness statements can help determine what happened.
Police reports can help to determine who is liable.
Other Evidence Sources
There are additional sources of evidence that can be crucial to a claim. For example, the accident victim’s medical records can help to establish the severity of their injuries. Photos of the accident scene and accident reconstruction experts may also be useful.
What You Should Do After a Truck Accident in Phoenix
The steps that are taken after being involved in a truck accident can have an impact on the amount of compensation the victim can recover.
After a truck accident, the victim should first make sure they’re safe and check on the safety of the passengers in the vehicle. Because a truck accident often occurs on a highway, if possible, the vehicle should be moved out of the roadway. If the driver of the car or any of the passengers has sustained severe injuries, immediate medical treatment will be crucial.
Contact the Police
The police should be contacted. The police report will be used to establish many of the facts in a truck accident case.
After the police have been notified, the victim should obtain the truck driver’s information, including:
- Vehicle identification number
- The truck’s license plate number
- The driver’s license information
- Insurance information
- Photos of the scene of the accident and all vehicles involved will also be important
- Obtain contact information from any eyewitnesses including their names, phone numbers, and addresses.
- Use the camera on your phone to take photos of all the vehicles involved, the road conditions, any debris in the road, and any injuries.
Seek Medical Attention
Seek treatment from a medical professional. Even in a case where the injuries may not seem severe, the medical records that are generated from the emergency room visit will be important evidence in a truck accident case.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Notify your insurance company about the accident. Explain what happened. This can help to establish the liability of the driver and other responsible parties.
Speak with an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer
Contact a truck accident lawyer in Phoenix. An attorney will negotiate with insurance companies and will argue on your behalf in court. Hiring an attorney will give you the best chance of recovering the compensation you deserve.
Arizona is a Comparative Negligence State
If you were partially at fault for the accident, you can still receive compensation. In Phoenix, you will still be able to recover some compensation, as long as you are not 100% at fault. The award and settlement will be reduced, depending on the percentage of fault.
Statute of Limitations
In a truck accident case, the statute of limitations provides the time limit the accident victim has to file a case. In Phoenix, the statute of limitations is two years. This means that the victim must file their case within two years of the date of the accident. Failing to file a lawsuit within this period can bar the victim from filing their case in the future.
What Type of Compensation Can I Receive?
Victims of a truck accident can receive damages, such as:
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Loss of future earnings
- Loss of consortium
A victim can also seek compensation for past, current, and future medical expenses that are related to the injuries sustained in the truck accident. This can include:
- Surgeries, hospitalization
- Emergency care
- Doctor’s visits
- Rehabilitative therapy
- Assistive devices
- Retrofitting a home due to the injuries sustained, such as widening doorways to accommodate a wheelchair or building a wheelchair ramp.
Accident victims can seek compensation for lost income for the time needed to recuperate. An accident victim can also receive compensation for the loss of future earnings if the injuries they sustained in the accident render them unable to work at their former occupation or work at all.
Pain and Suffering
This type of auto accident often results in severe injuries that require several months or years of ongoing medical treatment. Compensation for pain and suffering can include physical pain and mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life if the accident has made it impossible for the plaintiff to pursue activities they formerly enjoyed.
Loss of Consortium
The plaintiff can also seek damages on behalf of a spouse, in the event, the accident has negatively impacted a relationship by making it impossible to maintain an intimate relationship.
The accident victim can seek compensation for damage to their property, such as a totaled vehicle.
How Much Compensation Can I Expect to Receive?
The amount of compensation a person can recover from this type of accident can vary and will depend on many facts in a case. However, there are some factors that can influence the amount of compensation the victim can recover, including:
- Whether the victim can establish that the truck driver or other parties were at fault
- The severity of the victim’s injuries
- Future pain and suffering the victim is likely to endure
- Lost income, including past and future earnings
How the Ferguson Law Group Handles Truck Accident Cases
The experienced truck accident lawyers at the Ferguson Law Group know that a truck company will have their own lawyers, investigators, and adjusters who will conduct an investigation. Their goal will be to reduce the company’s liability at all costs. It’s possible that the insurance company’s investigation can lead to an unfavorable outcome. If you’ve been seriously injured in a truck accident, you have options, especially if you are not at fault.
Our lawyers can negotiate with an insurance company or take the case to court to ensure you obtain the compensation you deserve. If the driver violated the hour limits, violated traffic laws, or the trucking company was negligent for failing to properly maintain the truck, we can pursue a lawsuit against them.
Contact a Phoenix Truck Accident Attorney Today
Whenever there’s an accident that includes a semi or tractor-trailer, the results can be catastrophic. Because of this, there’s a number of rules in the trucking industry that are designed to keep people safe. When a truck driver or their company breaks those rules and causes harm, all parties must be held liable. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, dealing with the trucking company’s retainer of lawyers and their insurance provider can be very challenging. You need someone on your side who has the experience and the resources to handle this type of accident. Our lawyers at the Ferguson Law Group have successfully helped many clients recover compensation for their injuries and other damages, in trucking accidents and car accidents in Phoenix. By holding the driver and their employer accountable when they break the rules, we can make it safer for other drivers on the road. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you receive the compensation you deserve.
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