What Are Your Legal Rights after an Accident Involving a Commercial Vehicle?

Categories: Car Accidents

Truck and car collision

When you are involved in a motor vehicle accident with a commercial vehicle, you may be able to hold the driver and the company that owns the truck responsible for your financial losses. Commercial vehicles are often bigger than the average passenger vehicle, which means a collision with one could result in catastrophic injuries.

If you or a loved one was recently injured in an accident with a commercial vehicle, it is important to contact an injury attorney as soon as possible. An attorney may be able to secure compensation for not only the damage to your car, but also for your medical expenses and your pain and suffering. The law limits how long you have to file a claim, so the sooner you speak with an attorney the better for your case.

As the victim of a car accident, you do have legal rights, but to exercise those rights you must be able to prove that the commercial truck driver or their employer was responsible for your injuries.

The Common Causes of Accidents involving Commercial Vehicles

Commercial vehicle accidents are all too common, and a vast majority are preventable. Some common reasons for these accidents include:

  • When a commercial vehicle takes too wide of a turn. If a commercial vehicle is making a wide turn, they need to swing the cab further out, which means they could crossover into another lane. Often the vehicle in that neighboring lane is then struck by the cab of the truck. Even if a truck driver needs to widen his turn to make it safely around the corner, they must do so after ensuring there is no risk to another drivers’ or pedestrians’ safety.
  • When a commercial truck jackknifes. This is more common with large semi-trucks when they turn too sharply, and it creates an angle between the cab and the trailer. It may occur during icy road conditions but can also happen when a truck driver applies his brakes too hard. A jackknife can quickly take over multiple lanes on a highway, increasing the chance of a multi-car accident.
  • Tire blowouts or icy road conditions. A tire blowout from a semi-truck can result in a catastrophic accident. In this case, the semi-truck may not even strike the other vehicle, but the debris from their tire blowout can hit a car’s windshield or damage the front of their car so that they are unable to drive.
  • When a driver accidentally enters a semi-truck’s blind spot. Semi-trucks have blind spots and they are a known issue for drivers. A motorist should never place themselves within a blind spot, but it is also a truck driver’s responsibility to ensure there are no vehicles in their blind spot before changing lanes or making a turn. When these types of accidents occur, the driver of the passenger vehicle and the semi-truck driver might both be at fault.

Your Rights as the Injured Party in a Commercial Vehicle Accident

As the victim of a commercial vehicle accident, you have the right to compensation for your losses following the incident. Just some of the compensation you may receive includes:

Medical Expenses

Any medical expenses you experience as the direct result of the accident may be compensated back to you or your health insurance. That includes any ambulance transportation costs, emergency room visits, hospitalizations or surgeries, doctor’s office visits, medical equipment, and prescription medications.

If your injuries are permanent or they will be long enough to require future medical care, you may be able to get compensation to cover those future medical expenses.

Lost Wages or Loss of Earning Capacity

Any wages you lost while recovering from the accident, going to the doctor’s office, or while you are in court arguing your case could be compensated as well. You would just need to show proof of the earnings you would have made if you were not recovering from the accident.

If your injuries are permanent and you are disabled, you may qualify for a loss of earning claim. In this claim, you are not just seeking compensation for lost wages but also future earnings that you could have made if you were not injured. This includes your future wages and any potential raises, along with the benefits that you will now lose because you are no longer able to work or stay within the same paying profession.

Property Damage

You can also request compensation for all personal property damaged in the accident. That would include your motor vehicles repair or replacement costs and any personal property that was also damaged in the collision.

Pain and Suffering

While no dollar amount can replace physical pain, emotional suffering, or mental anguish, the purpose of this category of compensation is to help make a person as whole as possible after the accident.

Pain and suffering damages are not as easily calculated as lost wages or medical expenses – you do not have an actual receipt or statement proving these losses. No two claims will have the same pain and suffering payout, because the payout is heavily influenced by subjective factors like:

  • The duration of the injury and recovery time. The more severe an injury, the longer the recovery time, which means a person may suffer from pain or emotional disruption for months or even years. In this case, they could receive more than a person who recovered from their injury faster.
  • Quality of life changes and how long they will last. A person that makes a full recovery would not receive as much as a person who is now permanently disabled.

The Importance of Hiring an Attorney

When you are in an accident with a commercial vehicle, you are going up against their team of attorneys. There is no way to recover from your injuries and take on a legal battle against a team of attorneys that do this weekly. Instead, you need someone with experience handling injury claims as well as experience handling large commercial attorneys, their law firms, and their insurance companies.

The advocates at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, PLLC can help you with your case. We will aggressively protect your rights to compensation. Call us directly to schedule a free consultation or contact us online now.

Author Photo

Matt Conner

Matt Conner has a proven track record of success. Following his graduation from Willamette University with a double major in mathematics and economics, Matt worked as an economist for the Office of Economic Analysis for the State of Oregon before moving onto working in mortgage banking and real estate.