At any given moment, there are thousands of commercial trucks on the interstates and highways in the U.S. Truck accidents can happen anywhere, including truck stops, where you might assume you are safe. If you suffered an injury from an accident with a truck at a truck stop through no fault of your own, you deserve to receive compensation for the damages you sustained. If you have questions about the nature of a truck accident claim or lawsuit, you would likely benefit from contacting a truck accident lawyer.
How Do Accidents Happen at a Truck Stop?
There is virtually no limit to how collisions can occur, but the reason truck accidents happen at truck stops overwhelmingly relates to backing up. Driving a commercial truck requires a certain level of skill, and inexperienced drivers may find it difficult to back up safely. The spaces are narrow and drivers risk hitting other trucks, smaller vehicles, or a pedestrian while attempting to park. In addition, truck trailers can be as long as 70 or 80 feet, and maneuvering a large trailer with visual limitations is extremely difficult even for drivers with years of experience.
Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident?
Liability is a vital component of any personal injury case. As the plaintiff, you must prove that the defendant is at least primarily responsible for your accident. In a truck accident case, there are multiple potential at-fault parties:
- The driver owes a duty of care to other drivers and pedestrians. This means they must act in accordance with the law and conduct regular safety checks, including checking the security of the cargo and the condition of the tires, on the truck at every stop. Independent drivers are typically fully responsible for their actions and the state of the truck because they are not direct employees of a trucking company.
- The truck company that employs the driver is responsible if the cause of the accident relates to an issue with truck maintenance or a skipped inspection causes them to miss a dangerous condition. Additionally, the company may be liable if they hire drivers with a record of violations or if they do not adequately train their drivers.
- The cargo loader can be the driver, the trucking company, or a third party. If improper loading or weight violations contribute to the accident, the party that loaded the cargo could be held accountable.
- A manufacturer may be liable if a defective part or tire contributed to the accident.
- A third-party maintenance company or mechanic could face responsibility for damages if an issue with the truck caused the accident. Some trucking companies will outsource maintenance and inspection responsibilities to another company that would then be liable.
Truck accident cases sometimes involve multiple defendants for various reasons that may contribute to the accident and your resulting injuries. For example, if a defective part or tire played a role in the incident, you may need to file an entirely separate lawsuit for a product liability case. In addition, when you add the condition that the accident occurred on private property, there are even more nuances within the laws governing your case that you must consider. Therefore, more often than not, you would benefit from speaking with an experienced truck accident attorney that can answer specific questions given the details of your case.
What Should You Do if You Experience a Truck Accident at a Truck Stop?
In the event of a truck accident at a truck stop, you should carefully consider your actions to protect your potential legal claim to recover damages. Of course, the most important thing is to seek medical attention if you or someone else suffered any injuries. However, if you remain on the scene, some things you should do include:
- Document everything. Take photographs of both vehicles from every angle. Be sure to get plenty of images of the damage to your vehicle and any photos of injuries to yourself or your passengers.
- Report the accident to the police. Do not speak to anyone about the accident as you wait for the police to arrive. You do not want to risk saying anything that may imply that you are at fault for the accident. The police may not issue a ticket to the other driver, but this is common when accidents happen on private property. You can still request an official report and ask for a copy.
- Write down everyone’s information. Get the names and contact information of everyone involved, including any eyewitnesses. Take photos of the other driver’s insurance card, and ask for their employer information. Be sure to get the identifying information of the officers that report to the scene.
- Check for security cameras. Many truck stops have security cameras inside and outside. You can request footage to see if it provides a clear visual of the accident.
If your claim includes damages related to your injuries, you must provide sufficient evidence to show that your injuries directly resulted from an accident. This is difficult to do without seeing a doctor. If you feel fine immediately after the accident, you may think it unnecessary to seek medical attention, but this would likely be a mistake. You could have internal injuries with delayed symptoms, and waiting to get a medical assessment is dangerous to your health and potentially detrimental to your case.
How Can Hiring a Truck Accident Lawyer Benefit You?
The fallout from a truck accident can be exceedingly terrible for a passenger vehicle. Even a minor, low-speed accident can cause significant property damage and severe injuries. If you experienced a truck accident at a truck stop, you deserve compensation for any financial, physical, and emotional damages caused by the accident. The at-fault party should carry the burden of financial repercussions while you focus on getting healthy and recovering. You can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance provider, but that does not guarantee you will receive adequate compensation. Insurance companies have a terrible reputation for doing whatever it takes to protect their interests and try to avoid paying claims.
Your best option could be to file a personal injury lawsuit. You are under no responsibility to hire legal representation, but there are several reasons you may benefit from the guidance of a truck accident attorney:
- They represent you in negotiations with the insurance company, so you do not have to deal with an adjuster.
- They know what damages you can collect and how to calculate the value of your claim correctly.
- They do not require upfront fees and will evaluate your case for free. Typically, they do not get paid unless they can secure a settlement or award in your case.
- They start working on your case right away and handle all the necessary paperwork.
- They offer support during a challenging time.
- They will build a case with an independent investigation and the opinions of automotive accident experts.
The legal team at Cellino Law has years of experience working on truck accident cases. We understand the nuances of the legal process and will fight to protect your rights. You deserve total financial compensation for everything you lost due to your accident, which is why we do whatever we can to secure a fast and fair settlement. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.