Delaware drivers take to the roads for many different reasons. Many drivers travel to work, on vacation, on errands, or just for an enjoyable ride. For some drivers, climbing behind the wheel is their job. Many of these drivers are commercial drivers who navigate large trucks and buses, spending many hours on the road shuttling cargo and people.
These drivers stake their livelihood on their ability to move goods and people as safely and efficiently as possible. Most truck drivers are responsible, safe drivers. Others, however, push the limits of both their physical capabilities and their professional duties. Drivers may get behind the wheel fatigued or not having properly checked their vehicle. When a professional driver or trucking company fails to operate with the appropriate amount of care, dangerous accidents occur.
If you have been injured by a tractor-trailer in Delaware, you may have legal options. You deserve compensation for the pain and suffering you have experienced through no fault of your own. Learn more about the Morris James Personal Injury Group and how we can assist you after a truck accident.
How Truck Accidents Are Different Than Other Accidents
When it comes to truck accidents—everything is bigger. The damage can be more severe, the injuries can be more serious, and the stakes higher.
Commercial vehicles are taller and heavier than passenger cars. These vehicles take longer to slow down or stop and have a higher roll-over risk. When they are involved in crashes with passenger cars, it is easier for the smaller cars to be damaged or to dangerously underride the truck.
The injuries associated with truck accidents are also typically more severe than those that occur in car-to-car crashes. Trucks can create a wide wake of destruction, and often the crash victims are left with debilitating injuries. This leaves victims facing more serious medical treatment and longer recovery times, which also means higher medical costs and possibly more lost wages from missed work.
Additionally, most truck accidents involve professional drivers and their large employers. In these cases, the trucking company lawyer and insurance company typically get involved, leaving victims facing an experienced team seeking to protect their bottom line and mitigate any negative effects on their business.
While it can be a daunting process, a skilled attorney can help victims state a comprehensive case and fight for the compensation they deserve. The lawyers at the Morris James Personal Injury Group understand that the game changes in a truck accident. When the stakes are high, our team is ready to protect your rights and ensure you get the medical and financial stability you deserve.
When to Pursue a Truck Accident Lawsuit in Delaware
In Delaware, truck accident victims have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. The courts are strict about the statute of limitations and will refuse to hear a case after that time.
Our experienced Delaware Truck Accident lawyers can help victims understand the timeline of a lawsuit and gather the proper information needed to file and support a truck accident claim.
Types of Compensation That Can Be Recovered for a Truck Accident Victim
The purpose of a truck accident claim is to seek justice for the victim and obtain compensation to help the victim and his family move forward with their lives. Victims should not have to further suffer through financial stress because of a commercial driver or driving company’s negligence.
The effects of a truck accident can be far-reaching. When a victim is injured, he will incur many medical expenses. The victim may or may not have insurance, and out-of-pocket costs can start to pile up quickly. In addition, the injury may affect one’s ability to work and earn income. This can affect an entire family. The state of Delaware recognizes this and allows victims to seek compensation for various elements, including:
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
In each of these instances, the victims must show why and how much they deserve. The insurance company for the opposing side will likely dispute these numbers in an effort to avoid paying the victim what is due.
That’s why the attorneys at the Morris James Personal Injury Group are here. We fight for our clients and help them obtain fair compensation that will help them recover both physically and financially from the losses sustained in an accident. Chat live with a member of our team to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at one of our convenient Delaware locations near you.
How Do I Know If I Have a Case?
There are many types of commercial vehicles that can be involved in these types of cases. The legal team at the Morris James Personal Injury Group has a wide range of experience helping victims in cases regarding crashes with many kinds of trucks, including:
- 18-wheeler truck
- Mack truck
- Flatbed truck
- Cement truck
- Garbage truck
- Heavy truck
- Tanker truck
- Semi-trailer truck
- Tractor-trailer truck
- Dump truck
Accident victims can pursue a claim if an injury or property loss was sustained in an accident of this type and has negatively impacted the way they live their lives. Typically, the severity of the injury does affect the amount of compensation that is awarded.
Common injuries in truck accident cases include broken bones, concussions, burns, amputations, spinal cord injuries, pregnancy complications, traumatic brain injuries, and more. If a death occurs as a result of a truck accident, our Delaware Truck Accident Lawyers can help you pursue a wrongful death claim.
Common Causes of Delaware Truck Accidents
To mount a successful case, the victim and his legal team must show that the driver or trucking company acted in a negligent manner. This means that they failed to act reasonably responsible and their behavior led to the injury or death of another person. Unfortunately, there are many ways that truckers and their employers disregard their responsibilities.
First, trucks are machines, and they need to be maintained as such, especially given the long trips and heavy cargo they endure. When companies fail to maintain or fail to inspect a vehicle, they are putting everyone on the road at risk. Failure to maintain a vehicle most commonly leads to trouble with the brakes and tires, both of which can cause serious accidents. Other serious mechanical defects can occur if left unchecked that can affect the performance of the truck and contribute to dangerous situations.
Drivers are under heavy obligations to act responsibly behind the wheel, as well. Thousands of accidents are caused each year by drunk drivers and drowsy drivers. The government imposes strict rules about the hours of service in which commercial drivers may operate, but it is widely acknowledged that many drivers disregard these rules to the detriment of others on the road.
Drivers and trucking companies can also be held responsible for poor decision making when it comes to performance on the road and business practices. Truck driver errors cause thousands of accidents each year, and trucking companies add to the danger when they engage in questionable hiring and training practices.
Many other factors can cause truck accidents, too. A few of the most common include:
- Poor cargo loading. This can make the truck unbalanced or cause it to tip over.
- Bad weather. Poor weather conditions can impact truckers' abilities to slow down or see their blind spots.
- Speeding. Driving fast can result in collisions or prompt a driver next to the truck to swerve out of the way and into another vehicle's lane.
- Distracted driving. A trucker paying attention to something else, such as a smartphone, instead of the road, can lead to a crash.
How Our Truck Accident Attorneys Prove Liability
To prove liability, our Delaware truck accident attorneys must show exactly what happened in the accident and determine what damages occurred. We investigate the driver and the truck company they work for to uncover any safety regulation violations. We may pursue evidence that will prove the truck driver was at fault, such as documentation of:
- Company training and safety procedures.
- Equipment inspection logbooks.
- Hours of service (HOS) logs.
We will also look into the driver's compliance with requirements related to drive time and cell phone usage.
Who Could Be Liable for a Truck Accident?
The trucking industry is monitored at the federal and state levels, with companies required to follow strict safety and insurance regulations. For example, truck owners and operators have to insure themselves for more than car drivers. And trucks must be authorized to carry certain loads. When someone violates these rules and an individual is hit by a truck in Delaware, it could make several people liable, including:
- The truck driver or owner.
- A manufacturer that supplied faulty parts that caused the accident, such as defective brakes.
- The person or company leasing the truck.
In cases where cargo causes the accident, the people who loaded or even shipped the cargo could be held liable.
Regulations Around Safe Commercial Truck Driving
Regulators set rules to keep truck drivers and others on the highway safe. They know that a truck driver who drives too many hours may fall asleep at the wheel and that trucks that aren't maintained properly could suffer breakdowns on the way to their destinations. Truck drivers have a lot of rules they must follow, and it's easy for some to get overlooked, which can help our truck accident lawyers prove liability in your case. Just a few of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations include those related to:
- Driving commercial motor vehicles.
- Safety fitness procedures.
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCRs).
The Code of Federal Regulations also has sections related to drugs and alcohol use and hours of service.
What to Do if You Are a Victim of a Truck Accident
If you have been in a truck accident, do not talk to the driver's insurance company. It will immediately begin to gather evidence, and you don't want to feel pressured into saying or signing anything about the accident. Insurance companies can be very persuasive and often apply pressure to get their way. Cooperate with the police and any of your attorney's investigators, and always tell the truth. We will also gather information on your behalf about the truck driver and company, such as:
- Trip tickets.
- Black box information.
- Inspection reports about the truck that law enforcement must file at the scene of the accident.
Keep in mind that you have two years after a truck accident to file a claim.
How to File a Personal Injury Claim From a Truck Accident
Do you know what to do after you are injured from a truck accident? Visit an experienced Delaware truck accident lawyer such as one from the team at Morris James Personal Injury Group. You can gain the insights you need to determine whether you want to file a case. If you do, our attorneys will assist with preparing your claim and walk you through the process. Remember not to talk about the accident with people outside your legal team.
How Our Experienced Delaware Truck Accident Team Can Help
There are many factors to consider after you’ve been involved in a truck accident. In addition to the many situations already discussed, there can be further confusion if an accident occurred out of state or if someone else was driving your car. Our team has over 150 years of combined experience, and we know what it takes to be successful against truck drivers, trucking companies, and insurance companies. We understand that truck accidents are scary and stressful, and we work hard to help accident victims seek justice and find a way to move forward.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a Delaware truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Take a moment to fill out our online contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our Delaware truck accident lawyers.
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