If you were hurt in a truck accident in Ferguson, chances are you’re suffering from serious injuries and facing quickly rising medical expenses. You may also be looking at a long road without income if you can’t work. Our truck accident team at OnderLaw, LLC has experience handling cases like yours, and we’ll work hard to secure the maximum compensation you deserve.
Trucks and truck drivers are crucial to our economy in the U.S., and most truck drivers take pains to drive carefully. Truck accidents, however, occur with an unsettling regularity. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of large trucks involved in injury crashes increased five percent from 102,000 to 107,000, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes increased ten percent from 4,251 to 4,657.
You shouldn’t have to handle a complex truck accident case alone. When you hire us, we’ll dedicate our resources, time, and attention to ensuring the at-fault party is held accountable for their negligent actions. We’ll help you fight for your rights and seek justice.
Various Types of Commercial Vehicles
Commercial trucks come in many shapes and sizes. Some are longer or heavier than others, but all are bigger than a standard passenger car. They transport goods throughout the country and are a common sight on the roads. It’s tough to drive anywhere without passing by one.
The most common trucks you’ll see traveling along the streets and highways in the United States are:
- Big rigs
- Delivery vans
- Box trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Fire trucks and EMS trucks
- Cargo trucks
Using the Theory of Negligence in a Truck Accident Case
If you want to pursue compensation from the at-fault truck driver or another party that caused the crash, you must choose a legal basis for your case. Negligence is the most common basis in truck accident cases. The legal theory of negligence is the failure of someone to act in a way that prevents injury to another person. There are five elements of negligence you must prove:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care to prevent harm;
- They breached their duty;
- If it wasn’t for their actions, you wouldn’t have gotten hurt;
- Their breach of duty was the direct cause of your injury; and
- You suffered damages.
Common acts of negligence could include the following:
- Reckless driving, such as tailgating and weaving in and out of traffic
- Distracted driving, such as texting
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Running a stop sign or red light
- Failure to check blind spots before changing lanes
- Inadequate securement of cargo
- Failure of the trucking company to train the drivers
- Poorly maintained or repaired vehicle
Truck Driver Negligence vs. Trucking Company Negligence
When you sustain an injury in a truck accident, it’s easy to assume that the truck driver is to blame. However, there are situations where the trucking company might be at fault. To determine who was negligent, you should hire a Ferguson truck accident lawyer from OnderLaw, LLC immediately after the crash.
A truck driver is negligent if they do anything that compromises the safety of other drivers. That includes becoming distracted or making an error. They must follow traffic laws that other motorists follow. If they drive too fast or take their eyes off the road to send a text, that could result in a traumatic accident and injuries.
On the other hand, the trucking company could be liable for an accident if they utilize negligent practices. They’re supposed to perform extensive background checks on all prospective employees and provide ongoing education and training. If they don’t adequately screen their drivers or enforce state and federal trucking regulations, that could be a form of negligence that costs them money in a lawsuit.
There are other parties that may be liable in a truck accident case, as well, including the freight company that loaded the cargo onto the truck, the maintenance company responsible for ensuring the safety of the vehicle, and the owner of the truck, if different than the trucking company.
What Happens If A Truck Driver Hits Me?
If you were the victim of a truck accident, OnderLaw, LLC and our Ferguson truck accident lawyers will begin working on your case immediately. We’ll open a complete investigation and start collecting evidence that proves fault.
Evidence can include physical documents, witness statements, and the results of a police investigation. We work efficiently to locate crucial evidence immediately after the crash, so nothing gets lost or destroyed.
The evidence we’ll work to obtain may include:
- Traffic crash report
- Video surveillance footage
- Photos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and your visible injuries
- Statements from individuals who saw the collision occur
- Truck driver’s driving history, cell phone records, and chemical test results
- Truck recorder data
- Truck maintenance records
- Load manifests
- Copies of all available liability insurance policies
- Your medical records and medical bills
- Out of pocket costs, prescriptions, receipts, and other expenses related to the crash
- Lost wage reports from the time you missed from work
- Vehicle repair estimates
We’re Ready to Fight for You
When you’re pursuing compensation after a truck accident, your Ferguson truck accident lawyer will be by your side throughout your entire case, and they’ll negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf. Insurance companies will work hard to save money and look for any reason to deny a claim or provide a low settlement offer. Review the list of Dos and Don’ts below to ensure you don’t do anything that could compromise your case’s outcome.
- Cooperate with the investigating officer at the crash site
- Seek medical care for your injuries
- Write down the names and contact information of witnesses
- File an insurance claim with the at-fault party’s liability insurance company
- Take pictures at the accident scene
- Get a property damage evaluation for your car
- Hire a lawyer
- Don’t move your car after the truck accident unless everyone’s safety requires it
- Don’t agree to an insurance settlement before consulting with an experienced attorney
- Don’t admit any degree of fault for the crash
- Don’t get rid of evidence
- Don’t sign or complete any forms that the insurance company sends you without reviewing it with your attorney
Recovering Compensation for Damages
When you file an insurance claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company, you’re attempting to collect compensation for your past and future damages. Damages are losses suffered after an accident or injury. The damages available in a truck accident case include economic and non-economic losses.
Economic damages are actual expenses that you can monetize by reviewing corresponding billing statements. They include things like:
- Medical costs, past and future
- Vehicle repair bills
- Lost income
- Lost future earnings
Non-economic damages are intangible losses that are difficult to quantify because they’re subjective. They include the following:
- Emotional or psychological trauma
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
The amount of compensation for non-economic damages is at the discretion of an insurance company or jury during a lawsuit. They will review contributing factors that could increase or decrease the financial award you end up with, such as:
- Type of injury sustained
- The severity of the injury
- Length of time spent recovering
- If there was a resulting disability, impairment, or disfigurement
- Total lost wages due to inability to work
- Sufficient evidence proving fault
- Insurance coverage available
- Affidavits from witnesses to the accident, family and friends who saw the suffering you endured, etc.
- Impact of the injuries on your quality of life and daily routine
Punitive damages are also available if you decide to file a lawsuit. If a jury determines that the at-fault party’s actions were negligent, reckless, or egregious and lacked any regard for others’ safety, they might award the victim compensation for punitive damages. Instead of reimbursing you for your economic damages and attempting to make up for the suffering you endured, punitive damages punish the individual for their dangerous behavior.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
In Missouri, there’s a rule that impacts an injured victim’s compensation based on the level of fault they share for an accident. Pure comparative negligence allows each party involved to recover compensation after reducing the total of their damages by their shared percentage of the blame. Even if your actions were 95% responsible for the truck accident, you could still collect 5% of your damages.
As an example, let’s say you were the victim of a commercial vehicle crash and incurred $100,000 in damages. The jury members determined that the truck driver was 80% at fault but place 20% of the blame on you. Based on those findings, you would be entitled to maximum compensation of $80,000.
This rule is one of the reasons why it’s crucial that you don’t admit to any fault after an accident. Even if you were texting behind the wheel, you shouldn’t incriminate yourself. The officer will investigate and determine who they believe was at fault. If they find that the other party was 100% to blame, you could pursue your total damages without any reductions.
What If I Can’t Afford A Lawyer?
OnderLaw, LLC knows you’re struggling financially. Truck accidents typically cause severe injuries, and treating injuries for months or years can become expensive. We offer free consultations to meet with one of our Ferguson truck accident lawyers at no risk or obligation. We’re happy to discuss the details of your accident and determine the legal options available.
We also take cases on a contingency-fee-basis. You won’t have to pay upfront for our legal services. We won’t collect any fees or costs unless we recover financial compensation from the negligent party. If we don’t win your case, you won’t have to pay us.
We work hard to resolve cases for our clients efficiently. We know you don’t want your case to drag on unnecessarily. When you hire us, we’ll begin our investigation immediately and utilize our experienced legal team to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. When the time comes, we’ll aggressively negotiate a full and fair insurance settlement or fight the opposing party at trial.