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Do You Need a Truck Accident Lawyer?

A motor vehicle hit by a semi-truck is one of the most catastrophic accidents on roadways. The size, weight and speed of an 18-wheeler leaves drivers and passengers extremely vulnerable to serious injuries or death. A semi carrying a full load requires about 600 feet to make a complete stop. If a truck driver is distracted, traveling too fast for conditions, or violating traffic safety laws, an accident could have a horrible outcome.

Proving liability is an essential factor in truck accidents. These accident cases are complex and require an experienced attorney to guide you through the legal process. Fielding Law is the firm you need to protect your rights and get you fair compensation. Here are some important reasons you need a truck accident lawyer.

Case Review and Consultation

You need to know if the facts of your case hold up when seeking damages in a truck accident. At your initial appointment with a law firm, an attorney reviews the information related to your claim and tells you if you have a case. If you proceed with a claim, your attorney walks you through each step of building your case and provides consultation throughout your legal journey. Complicated personal injury cases can take time to settle, and you need a truck accident lawyer on your side.

A personal injury case must meet specific criteria by law before you can file a suit. These are four areas of duty of care you must prove:

  1. Duty: You must show the defendant owed you a legal duty.
  2. Breach: You must prove the defendant breached a legal duty by action or inaction.
  3. Causation: You must prove the defendant caused your injuries by action or inaction.
  4. Damages: You must show that the defendant was responsible for your injuries due to a breach of legal duty.

Your attorney is knowledgeable regarding the complexities of truck accident cases and has the skills to present your case effectively.

Liability and Personal Injury Claims

One of the most important reasons to have a lawyer represent you after a commercial motor vehicle accident is the issue of liability. Insurance companies put up a battle trying to shift the blame toward you or denying a truck driver or other party has responsibility for a crash. Attempting to manage insurance negotiations on your own is not advisable. You need to concentrate on healing and getting your life back on track. An attorney knows how insurance companies handle claims and will see that you get the compensation you deserve.

Another crucial factor about liability to consider as a Utah resident is modified comparative fault. This is a critically important issue because it affects how or whether you recover damages for personal injuries. As defined in Utah Code 78B-5-818, comparative negligence allows a plaintiff to seek damages from a defendant, even when the plaintiff bears some fault in an accident. However, the award of damages is modified by significant legal structuring.

First, if a plaintiff is found at fault for accident damages by more than 50%, there is no right to recovery. A plaintiff that bears more responsibility for an accident than a defendant has no legal grounds for compensation. Second, your claim amount is reduced by your percentage of fault in an accident. If you are awarded damages of $50,000, and your percentage of fault is 30%, your total damage award amount is reduced by $15,000 to $35,000. You need an attorney to fight for your right to compensation and make sure liability decisions are fair.

Shared Liability Determinations

In truck accidents, the responsible party is not always easy to determine. There are a number of parties involved in trucking operations, and each has the potential to bear fault. Here are the types of entities that could be liable:

  • Truck driver
  • Trucking company
  • Shipping company
  • Truck manufacturer
  • Maintenance crews

Individual parties related to trucking operations may also be responsible for negligent actions that cause truck accidents. Your lawyer investigates issues related to your case and the circumstances.

Truck Driver Responsibilities

Truckers have an enormous responsibility to act safely around other motor vehicles. They must take extraordinary care in observing traffic safety laws or risk personal liability for negligent actions. Additionally, the unsafe operation of a CMV is against the law. Trucks must be maintained according to standards, or drivers can be held responsible.

Another serious issue for truck drivers is aggressive driving. If a truck driver weaves in traffic, cuts in front of other vehicles and brakes quickly, blocks other drivers from passing, engages in tailgating, or forces a vehicle off the road, destructive consequences are significant. A lawyer will hold a negligent driver responsible for all actions that legally violated your safety.

Trucking Law Requirements

Trucking companies are governed by a series of state and federal regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Association requires a high standard of care from trucking companies pertaining to commercial vehicle safety and operations. These are problem areas for trucking companies:

  • Substance use while working
  • Poor inspection standards
  • Hours of service violations
  • Overloading of trucks
  • Improper safety training (initial or ongoing)
  • Failure to remove unsafe truckers from the roster

Any of these infractions are serious and could cause a devastating accident, but the issue of liability can be complicated. For instance, if a trucker works over the designated hours or does not record hours in a log, it could result from a personal choice or a company pushing to make deliveries on time. A lawyer parses these issues and has a strategy for developing your case, given these important details.

Wrongful Death Claim

A death resulting from the actions of a driver or another party in a truck accident is difficult to overcome. If your loved one is killed due to wrongful actions, you have the right to file a wrongful death claim. Since a deceased individual has no recourse for remedy, the victim’s estate can bring a civil action in the victim’s place.

A family member can file a personal injury suit to seek damages on behalf of the victim. These actions are not covered by a federal statute and are governed by the laws of each state. Thus, in the event you need to pursue a wrongful death claim, you need an experienced lawyer who understands how to handle wrongful death actions in Utah.

Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury cases require careful preparation and oversight throughout every aspect of the proceedings. You need personalized legal representation, whether you settle your claim with an insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death action due to a truck accident. Each case is unique, and you deserve a law team that is ready to protect your rights. Your well-being is most important, and we act on your behalf toward a just outcome.

Get an Experienced Lawyer To Handle Your Claim

Fielding Law is the team you need on your side when injured in a truck accident. It is necessary to hold responsible parties accountable for negligence that leads to serious or debilitating injuries or death. Our firm offers legal services that make a difference for the people we represent.

We strive to keep an open line of communication so that you speak directly with your attorney about issues important to your case. We are confident in our ability to help and provide you with a free case evaluation. There are no fees unless you win. Contact us so we can review your claim and discuss options.

Sources:

https://www.jdpower.com/cars/shopping-guides/how-much-does-a-semi-truck-weigh

https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title78B/Chapter5/78B-5-S818.html

https://www.enjuris.com/personal-injury-law/shared-fault-rules.html

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/passenger-safety/inspection-repair-and-maintenance-motor-carriers-passengers-part-396

https://www.justia.com/truck-accidents/causes-of-truck-accidents/aggressive-driving-by-truck-drivers/

https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-49/subtitle-B/chapter-III/subchapter-B/part-392

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/passenger-safety/inspection-repair-and-maintenance-motor-carriers-passengers-part-396