Richmond Truck Accident Lawyer
Trucks navigate the roadways to deliver goods to consumers throughout the country, leading to the ease of merchandise convenience but also leading to the unfortunate side effect of potential accidents involving heavy trucks.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident involving a commercial or semi-truck, reach out to a dedicated Richmond truck accident attorney as soon as you are able. We can help you approach the trucking insurers and get the compensation you need after your accident.
Causes of Truck Accidents in Richmond
Most truck crashes are not due to one specific reason but are often the culmination of various dangerous conditions, each of which will be weighed by an experienced personal injury attorney and the insurance companies involved.
Here are a few of the most common causes of truck accidents in Richmond:
- Drowsy driving
- Dangerous road conditions
- Defective truck parts
- Errors with mechanical repairs
- Drunk driving
- Coercion from employers to complete routes faster
Many of the pressures truckers face that push them into dangerous situations are the same that rideshare operators face. The faster they finish routes, the more money they can earn and the more likely their employers will keep them on the payroll.
Types of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents take many forms, and the crash can reveal many things about who is at-fault. Any accident involving a passenger vehicle and a heavy truck will have dramatic repercussions on the passenger vehicle, given the weight and size differential between them.
Rollover accidents are often the most severe and result in one or both vehicles turned on their side. Top-heavy vehicles like semi trucks are prone to this kind of accident. This is why there are special signs for trucks to slow down on tight turns.
A rollover accident also puts cargo at risk. If a truck is carrying hazardous material and rolls over, hazmat teams will have to clean up the risk. Spilled chemicals can put public health at risk, and could affect your health in a way that changes your settlement offer.
Head-on accidents are often the result of distracted driving or drunk driving and can have devastating consequences for the individuals involved. However, it’s more common for the smaller vehicle to be the responsible car in this type of accident.
This is because it’s much harder to force a semi-truck the wrong way down a busy street due to its size. Nevertheless, it can happen. And if you’re caught up in it, it’s a terrifying and traumatic experience.
Jack-knife accidents are common in the trucking world and occur when a truck trailer loses its traction and slides toward the tractor. This action mirrors a pocket knife folding in, hence the name of the accident.
Any other vehicles which are caught in the truck’s way during this type of accident may face extreme injuries due to the impending impact of both sides of the trailer and the truck. Road conditions or sloppy driving can push the truck into this shape.
Underride accidents occur when a small car becomes trapped underneath a semi-trailer truck. There are often few protections for the driver and passengers of the car during these accidents. Therefore, the accident can lead to extreme injuries, including brain injuries.
Trucks can take methods to safeguard against these accidents by installing a guard bar on the underride or including lights and reflective tape along the rear of the trailer. Many of these accidents occur at night, given the low light conditions.
Blindspot accidents or “no-zone” accidents occur when a truck changes lanes and does not notice a car in its blind spot. Large vehicles have larger blind spots, and this is why there are many warnings on the rear end of trailers to keep other drivers out of them.
However, truck drivers, therefore, must be vigilant in their lane shifting to ensure no vehicles are in their blind spots. A good way to protect yourself is to always stay back far enough that you can see the mirrors of the truck in front of you.
Negligence and Tort Law for Truck Accidents
The legal definition of a tort relates to a wrong which was caused by the negligence of one party, or the breach of their duty to act as a reasonably prudent person. This is the foundation of personal injury law and what gives our Richmond truck accident attorneys grounds to investigate liability.
Negligence in a truck accident could include the actions of a truck driver who sent a text from his smartphone while driving, which is not the actions of a reasonably prudent truck driver. This can also mean the actions of a truck driver who did not adequately have his truck inspected.
Certain types of truck accidents occur due to driver error, such as braking too quickly on slick roads, reckless driving at excessive speeds, or failing to slow down in work zones. A jack-knife accident is often caused by a trucker’s negligent driving.
Virginia’s Contributory Negligence Laws
Virginia is, unfortunately, a contributory negligence state, meaning that if the victim is even one percent at fault, they may not be eligible to bring a claim for damages. Contributory negligence is the belief that the responsible party should be held liable for any injuries caused during an accident.
Therefore, if a victim’s injuries were exacerbated by their own actions, such as not buckling their seat belt, then the victim could be prevented from bringing a claim for the extent of their injuries. Other states often split the fault on a percentage basis, but not Virginia.
If you are partially liable, it might be best to consider the options of a settlement with the insurance company, but you should always consult with a knowledgeable truck accident attorney in Richmond before deciding so you can get an expert opinion.
Dealing With Trucking Insurance Companies
It is important to keep in mind that insurance companies are in the business of making money, and will work to settle a case efficiently and expediently. This will not always mean that you will get the best outcome.
If you have been injured in a truck accident, the other side’s insurance company (if they have one), will probably have contacted you shortly after the accident. Seek the legal counsel of a Richmond truck accident attorney before speaking with the other side’s insurance company.
Insurance companies can often coerce settlements with the promise of immediate payment. However, it is important to recognize that you may be entitled to a greater settlement offer than what the insurance company offers.
Dealing With Other Insurers
It’s also possible that you’ll have to work with more than one insurance company, depending on the insurance status of the driver, the employer, and any other party that could be liable for what happened.
Dealing with multiple insurers is a tough job, and none of them will want to pay out what you’re truly owed unless you can provide compelling evidence. That’s our job as Richmond truck accident lawyers, and it’s our job to go to trial, if necessary.
Dealing With Uninsured Truckers
Virginia is only one of two states that do not require drivers to carry motor vehicle insurance. Instead, uninsured drivers pay an annual fee to the DMV. If an uninsured motorist is involved in an accident, they must cover the cost of any related expenses out of pocket, rather than seek the inclusion of an insurance company.
It’s likely that a truck driver will be required to carry insurance by their employer, but there are independent truckers on the road that may not. If you are caught in the unfortunate situation of an uninsured truck driver accident, speak with us for advice on what to do next.
Types of Truck Accident Damages You Can Recover
As the victim of a truck accident, you are likely suffering extreme injuries. Trucks are large, multi-ton vehicles that cause a great deal of damage in even the most minor of car accidents. Any victims in passenger vehicles, unfortunately, suffer serious injuries such as broken bones, concussions, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and severe burns.
Your truck accident lawyer in Richmond should hold the responsible party liable for any resulting injuries after the accident and the amount in damages, including:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Lost wages
- Future earnings
- Pain and suffering
Consult a Richmond Truck Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, contact the Richmond truck accident attorneys at Christina Pendleton & Associates. Our lawyers have years of experience in handling personal injury claims related to truck accidents.
You should not be forced to cover the expenses of your injuries. Truck accidents often lead to extensive injuries which require weeks, and even months of rehabilitative care. This could, in turn, impact your monthly wages besides leading to a pricey hospital fee.
Your mind should be on your recovery and not on these additional expenses. Our attorneys will handle your claim for damages for you so that you can focus on your family and your recovery. Call us or contact us online for a free consultation.