I was Involved in an Accident with a Truck- What are my Options?
Truck Accident Settlement
An accident involving two cars can be bad enough, often resulting in injuries and property damage. However, an accident between a truck and a passenger vehicle can be catastrophic. A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh approximately 80,000 pounds, but the weight of a passenger vehicle can be less that 3,000 pounds for a compact car and less than 6,000 pounds for a large SUV. The laws of physics indicate that when two objects collide, the object with a heavier weight will endure less damage than the object with the lighter weight. The greater the disparity in weights, the greater the damage will be to the lighter object. Therefore, if you are involved in a truck accident while driving a passenger car, your vehicle — and your body — are far more likely to incur more damage than the truck and its driver. Many drivers in the Las Vegas area have acquired firsthand knowledge of the consequences of being involved in a collision with a truck. Regrettably, some of these victims accepted offers from the trucking company without realizing that the truck accident settlement was woefully inadequate. With truck accidents increasing steadily over the past few years, many more drivers will likely be added to the list.
Why Are Truck Accidents in Las Vegas Increasing?
The increase in truck accidents is not a phenomenon that affects only the Las Vegas area. Instead, it is a nationwide trend. Although truck accidents declined for almost 20 years, the rate has been rising steadily since 2009. In 2016, more than 4,200 fatalities resulted from truck accidents in the United States, an increase of more than 25 percent over 2009 and an increase of approximately 3 percent over 2015.
However, Las Vegas has a few features that may be contributory factors in the number of accidents as well as the number of truck accident settlements:
• More than 40 million tourists visit Las Vegas every year. This is more than 10 times the population of the entire state of Nevada. When there are more people, more trucks are needed to deliver the food, retail goods and other supplies required. Furthermore, many of these tourists gravitate to brightly lit areas, including Fremont Street and the Las Vegas Strip, and they may be distracted by the sights, especially if they are driving an unfamiliar rental car. Some truck drivers are similarly distracted by the bright lights and the throngs of people.
• Most truck accidents occur on highways and interstates. In the Las Vegas area, you can find numerous truckers who are hauling loads from California to Canada on I-15 or connecting with I-515 in the downtown area. Various state and federal highways crisscross Clark County and surround the city. The more trucks that you have traveling at high speeds in a relatively small area, the greater the chances are that accidents will occur.
• Between 1990 and 2017, the population of Las Vegas increased from approximately 258,000 to almost 650,000. Supporting explosive population growth requires the construction of housing, infrastructure and businesses. Trucks are involved in the delivery of materials and equipment to projects that range from building roads in new subdivisions to constructing new shopping centers.
The Importance of an Attorney Knowledgeable About Truck Accident Settlements
The laws pertaining to truck accident litigation are complex. The following list highlights some of these issues.
• To win a lawsuit, your attorney must prove that the truck driver’s negligence contributed to the collision, that the truck was malfunctioning, or that one of the truck’s parts was malfunctioning. The lack of an appropriate driving license, a violation of federal safety regulations and falsified sleep logs are a few areas that could be classified as negligence. Malfunctions could be the result of negligence and/or defective parts.
• In Nevada, plaintiffs can sue all, some or one of the parties contributing to the accident, so multiple defendants are common. Depending on what your attorney’s investigations prove, you could potentially sue the truck’s driver or owner, the trucking company and/or its management, the manufacturer of the truck, the manufacturer of the truck’s malfunctioning part and the people who were responsible for the truck’s maintenance. You might also be able to sue the owner of the trailer and the manufacturer of the trailer and its parts as well as the people who loaded the trailer or truck.
• Calculating a fair and reasonable truck accident settlement can be complicated. Naturally, the party or parties who are at fault should pay to repair or replace your vehicle, cover all of your medical expenses and pay for your lost wages. However, you may also be entitled to payment for your pain and suffering. If applicable, payments for future damages may be sought, including your reduced earning potential, need for long-term care, future medical bills and damage to property other than your vehicle.
• Insurance companies representing defendants will almost always try to get you to accept a truck accident settlement that benefits them rather than you. They will usually contact you directly with an offer, and they will normally initiate contact very quickly. They know that if you engage an attorney to represent you, the truck accident settlement will be more than their first offer. If your attorney litigates your case, the insurance companies will probably try to bypass him and extend an offer during the trial. An experienced attorney serves as a shield so that you are not pressured into accepting an unfair settlement.
If you have been injured in a truck accident, contact the experienced Powerhouse Injury Attorneys at Lloyd Baker’s office. We focus our practice on injuries and wrongful deaths resulting from the actions of others. For a free case consultation, call our office at 702-444-2222 for Las Vegas, NV, or 602-265-5555 for Phoenix Arizona. You can also or contact us through our website.