Find A Lawyer Legal Articles Attorney Login

Fatal Truck Accident Lawyers

Injured? Call Now
Talk to a LAW.COM Premier Attorney today!

After a fatal truck accident, call a Premier Attorney

Understanding Truck Accidents and Seeking Legal Assistance

In the United States, there are more than eleven million active trucks on the road, many of which are operated by overworked drivers transporting hazardous materials. In 2016, there were approximately 475,000 large truck accidents, with human error accounting for about ninety percent of them. Surprisingly, a Harvard study found that a quarter of all drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel, but this figure jumps to 50% among professional truck drivers.

Given the prevalence of trucks on highways and the potential for life-changing accidents, it is crucial to take immediate action if you or a loved one are involved in a truck accident. The services of an attorney become vital in such cases. Since truck drivers are often insured for millions of dollars, and multiple parties can be held responsible for a driver's negligence, having legal representation ensures that your case is handled professionally. Identifying the different insurance coverage involved in trucking accidents can be challenging, as the truck and trailer are often insured by different companies, any of which could be liable for negligence.

A Lawyer!

Free Evaluation

Tell us about your potential case.

By submitting you agree to our Terms & Privacy Policy.
Injured? Speak to a LAW.COM
Premier Attorney

1-866-828-0442 or Submit Your Case Form

A fatal truck accident is a devastating event that can have a profound impact on the lives of the victim’s families. Loved ones of fatal truck accident victims may be wondering what their legal options are to get the justice and compensation they need and deserve. That’s because, in addition to the emotional toll, fatal truck accidents can also result in significant financial losses. If you have lost a loved one in a fatal truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses.

An experienced fatal truck accident lawyer can help level the playing field and fight for your rights. They have the legal knowledge and resources to investigate the accident, gather evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies and trucking companies to get top results. If you are the loved one of a fatal truck accident victim, contact a trusted fatal truck accident lawyer in your state for a free consultation. At no cost to you, they can answer your questions, explain how the law and statute of limitations apply to your situation, and help you decide what to do next.

What to Do Following a Truck Accident?

Immediately following a truck crash, the situation can be chaotic and confusing. The first step is to ensure that the police and necessary emergency personnel are contacted to assist with any injuries or damages. The police will gather detailed information, statements from involved parties and witnesses, and take photos for their accident report. If possible, it's crucial to document the scene yourself, including collecting witness statements. If your phone has a working camera, take photos of the vehicle damage and any injuries sustained by you or passengers. These steps help ensure that any missed details by the police are still documented.

The most common cause of fatal truck accidents is driver error. Commercial truck drivers are often under intense pressure to meet delivery deadlines and may be driving for long periods without taking breaks. This can lead to fatigue and reckless behavior. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Driver fatigue. Fatigue can impair a driver's ability to react quickly and make safe decisions. A tired trucker can fall asleep at the wheel and cause a deadly wreck.
  • Distracted driving. Truck drivers may be distracted by things like cell phones, food, or other activities. It only takes a moment of inattention for a trucker to lose control of their vehicle and cause a bad crash.
  • Speeding. Driving over the speed limit, or too fast for road conditions, contributes to many fatal truck accidents. When a truck is traveling at a high speed, the force of impact is magnified, increasing the likelihood of serious injuries or death in an accident.
  • Improper loading. Trucks are often loaded with heavy cargo. If the cargo is not properly secured or the vehicle is overloaded, "cargo shift" can occur during transport and cause the truck to lose control, leading to a fatal rollover, jackknife or other type of truck accident.
  • Mechanical failure. Trucks are complex machines, and mechanical failures can occur due to poor vehicle maintenance or defective components. If a truck's brakes fail, a tire blows out, or another type of malfunction occurs, the results can be deadly.

How Truck Accidents Differ from Car Accidents

Truck accidents differ from car accidents in several significant ways:

  1. Larger Insurance Policies: Truck drivers' insurance policies can be up to fifty times larger than those for car accidents. Dealing with multiple insurance carriers involved in a lawsuit can be challenging, as they will do everything possible to prove they are not liable. Having a trusted lawyer by your side can alleviate much of the stress in this process.
  2. Increased Property Damage: Due to the weight and size of commercial freight trucks, accidents involving trucks cause more extensive property damage than those involving cars.
  3. More Serious Injuries: Injuries sustained in truck accidents are often more severe and can include whiplash, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and severe lacerations. These injuries can have a life-altering impact on victims.
  4. Larger Medical Bills: Hospital stays resulting from truck accident injuries tend to be longer than those resulting from car accidents. Truck accident victims often face extended recovery periods or may be unable to return to work at all. Working with an experienced lawyer can ensure that your medical expenses and losses are accurately calculated for appropriate compensation.
  5. Greater Chance of Death: Truck accidents have a higher likelihood of resulting in fatalities compared to accidents involving two cars. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck accidents cause between 3,000 and 5,000 deaths each year. The complexities involved in truck accidents, along with the considerable resources of trucking companies and their insurers, make seeking a no-cost case assessment and consulting with a lawyer the recommended first steps.

If you have lost a loved one in a fatal truck accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim and/or lawsuit against the at-fault party. Wrongful death lawsuits can seek compensation for the financial losses and emotional pain and suffering that the victim's family has suffered. In most fatal truck accidents, there are multiple parties that may be liable for the accident. The truck driver may be liable if they were negligent or reckless. The trucking company may be liable if they failed to properly train or supervise the driver, or if they knew about the driver's dangerous driving habits and did nothing to stop them. Other parties who may be liable include the manufacturer of the truck or its components, or the company that loaded the truck's cargo.

Every state has its own laws regarding who can file a wrongful death lawsuit, conditions to file, and statute of limitations. An experienced fatal truck accident lawyer can analyze the circumstances of an accident, determine how the law applies, and explain the necessary steps to collect compensation.

Types of fatal truck accident damages

A successful wrongful death lawsuit may result in the recovery of damages like:

  • Medical expenses. The cost of medical care for the victim's injuries before death.
  • Lost wages. The income that the victim would have earned if they had not died.
  • Funeral and burial expenses. 
  • Loss of consortium. The emotional and financial support that the victim's family lost when the victim died.
  • Pain and suffering. The emotional and physical pain that the victim suffered before they died.
  • Punitive damages. These are intended to punish the at-fault party for egregious behavior.

Again, what can be sought in a wrongful death lawsuit varies from state to state. Only an attorney can tell you what your claim may be worth.

Determining liability in a truck accident involves considering various parties who may be responsible. It is common for these parties to deny fault or liability. The liable parties may include:

  • Truck driver
  • Truck company
  • Truck owner
  • Company leasing the truck
  • Company leasing the trailer
  • Shipper requesting the load transport
  • Truck, trailer, or parts manufacturer

Truck accidents can cause severe injuries, such as brain trauma, spinal cord damage, disfigurement, burns, broken bones, lacerations, paralysis, or even death. Lawsuits related to truck accidents can be based on negligence or product liability. In some cases, family members may file wrongful death claims to seek compensation for their losses.

Average fatal truck accident settlement

The average fatal truck accident settlement varies depending on the facts of the case. However, in general, fatal truck accident settlements can range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on crash circumstances and the victim’s contributions to their family. Some wrongful death cases end in million-dollar or multi-million-dollar recoveries.

Winning a fatal truck accident claim or lawsuit typically requires a thorough investigation of the accident and a strong legal strategy developed by a truck accident lawyer with a winning track record. This may involve hiring accident reconstruction experts, gathering witness statements, and obtaining evidence from the trucking company and other parties involved. 

There are special issues to consider when pursuing a wrongful death claim in a fatal truck accident case. These include dealing with multiple parties, including trucking companies and insurance companies, and navigating complex regulations governing the trucking industry. Additionally, trucking companies may try to avoid liability by claiming that the driver was an independent contractor rather than an employee.

Families considering wrongful death action should work with experienced attorneys who understand the complexities of fatal truck accident cases and have a proven dedication to collecting nothing less than the compensation their clients deserve.

How an experienced fatal truck accident attorney can help

Working with an experienced truck accident attorney is essential. They are well-versed in the tactics used by insurance companies to reduce the compensation you deserve. They have access to a network of expert witnesses and investigators to thoroughly examine every aspect of your case. After a truck accident, the trucking company and their insurance company conduct their own investigations at the crash scene. They gather witness statements, take photos, and examine the vehicles to assess the extent of damage. State authorities may also investigate the accident, which can benefit your claim.

Once you have chosen to retain the services of a truck accident lawyer, they will conduct their own investigation, including gathering witness statements, taking photos, and examining the vehicles. They will review camera footage (if available), mandatory police and accident reports, medical records, and consult experts to reconstruct the accident scene. Additionally, they will help preserve important evidence, obtain alcohol and drug testing from the truck driver, and collect data from the truck's Electronic Control Module (ECM). They will also send a spoliation letter to the truck company to ensure crucial evidence is preserved.

If you have lost a loved one in a fatal truck accident, you should contact an experienced fatal truck accident attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you protect your rights and negotiate and litigate relentlessly for top results.

Don't wait to take action. The statute of limitations for fatal truck accidents is often short, so it's important to contact an attorney as soon as possible for a free consultation. Contact a trusted lawyer in your area for the information you need to make an informed decision about your legal options.

Injured? Call Now
Talk to a LAW.COM Premier Attorney today!

Free Evaluation

Tell us about your potential case.

By submitting you agree to our Terms & Privacy Policy.
Injured? Speak to a LAW.COM
Premier Attorney

1-866-828-0442 or Submit Your Case Form