Semi-Truck and Car Accident Claims in Las Vegas
Approximately 500,000 semi-truck accidents occur in the U.S. each year, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Commercial trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, which means that when accidents happen, the results can be disastrous. Roughly one in five truck accidents results in severe injury or death.
Because serious accidents involving 18-wheelers can result in catastrophic harm, the amount of compensation possible in these types of claims can be higher than a traditional car accident claim. Trucking companies and their insurers know this. They work hard to find reasons to deny, minimize, or dismiss valid claims. Without legal help, victims may settle for only a fraction of the compensation they are truly owed.
The complexity of liability laws governing trucking accidents puts additional pressure on victims to accept lowball settlement offers. Trucking accidents are significantly more likely to involve multiple vehicles or even multiple liable parties, further complicating questions of who is at fault.
Here’s the bottom line: Navigating a truck accident claim is not something that you should do on your own.
If you were injured in a truck accident in Las Vegas, it’s very important to find a law firm with proven experience handling truck accident claims. Not only will its lawyers be familiar with the complex regulations governing the trucking industry, they will also be able to advise on what your claim is really worth.
Look to THE702FIRM Injury Attorneys for help during your darkest hours. Our truck accident lawyers have the knowledge, resources, and persistence needed to take on large trucking companies and win. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.
What Happens After a Truck vs. Car Accident?
In the immediate aftermath of an accident between a car and a tractor-trailer, injured parties will be taken to nearby hospitals, the accident site will be cleared of debris, and police will gather testimony and other evidence to try to determine the chain of events that led to the crash.
Later, insurance investigators may arrive to assess the accident scene, the vehicles involved, and potentially interview witnesses regarding the accident. If the trucker was at fault, their insurer may reach out to any injured parties and urge them to settle fast. Serious truck accidents often lead to high-value claims, so it’s crucial that you talk to a knowledgeable attorney before accepting a settlement from the insurance company.
Remember that the insurance adjuster will do everything they can to minimize the company’s payout. Beware — once you agree to a settlement, you’ll waive your right to any additional compensation. A truck accident attorney will fight strategically for the full money you deserve.
In addition to hiring a skilled attorney, there are a few other things you can do to protect your right to compensation in the weeks and months following your accident:
See a Doctor
If you were injured in the accident but did not require emergency medical attention, be sure to see a doctor for an assessment as soon as possible. Follow all instructions regarding pain management and recovery. If you fail to follow directions, the insurance company may argue that you’re not as injured as you claim or that you’re not taking your health seriously.
Gather all of the documentation you have related to your case, such as medical records, medical receipts, vehicle repair estimates, photos of the accident scene, pay stubs, tax forms, and the police accident report. This information will help your truck accident attorney put a fair value on your case.
Keep it Quiet
Do not discuss your accident publicly or post updates on your social media accounts while your case is pending. Even seemingly harmless information or photos can potentially be used against you by insurance adjusters.
Why Are Truck Accidents So Different From Car Accidents?
Truck accidents differ from car accidents in a number of ways. The size disparity between the vehicles is the most obvious one. Semi-trucks can be 20 to 30 times heavier than other vehicles on the road. Many of the safety features found in modern cars cannot adequately withstand the force of impact during collisions with large trucks. Consequently, serious and even fatal injuries are much more common when trucks hit cars.
Recognizing the danger, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) places strict restrictions on the trucking industry. Truck drivers must have specialized training, track their hours-of-service so they get adequate rest, exercise special caution on the roads, and follow all regulations regarding the inspection, operation, and maintenance of their rigs. Whether or not truckers involved in accidents follow these laws can affect whether they can be held liable for a wreck.
Because truck accidents are statistically more dangerous than car accidents, truckers can carry insurance policies worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, many times more than your everyday driver. To avoid losing money, major insurance companies fight much harder in trucking accident cases than they would in a car accident case. It’s wise to have an attorney who is well-versed in trucking accident law by your side during settlement negotiations.
Fault in a Car vs. Semi-Truck Accident
Determining fault in truck accidents can be difficult, especially if multiple cars are involved. The laws are also different because semi-trucks and their drivers are subject not only to state traffic laws, but to FMCSA rules as well.
Though truck accidents are more complex, the basic principles of fault following a truck accident are essentially the same as any other accident.
If one or more parties involved in the accident failed to follow the rules of the road, and the failure contributed to the accident, they are considered at fault. Speeding, disregarding traffic signs or lights, driver impairment, fatigued driving, and distracted driving are all common causes of truck accidents.
If multiple parties share fault for the accident, Nevada’s comparative negligence rule is used to determine each party’s responsibility. Their compensation will be reduced in proportion to their assigned percentage of fault.
If a semi-truck driver is at fault for a traffic accident, additional questions of liability may arise depending on his or her employment status.
In Nevada, if the driver is an employee of a trucking company and operating the truck within the ordinary scope of employment, then the company is generally considered liable for the accident. If the truck driver is an independent contractor, or is driving for reasons unrelated to work, they may be solely liable for the accident.
Truck accident claims are also complex because multiple parties in the trucking sector may be partially liable for a crash. Aside from the driver and trucking company, the freight company that loaded the truck, the mechanics that serviced the truck, and vehicle manufacturers are other potential defendants. A qualified attorney can review your case to identify every liable party.
Types of Truck Accident Injuries
The most current statistics from FMCSA show there were 107,000 injury crashes involving large trucks in a recent year. An estimated 151,000 people were hurt in those collisions, according to the agency’s Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts report. That same year, there were 4,415 fatal crashes involving large trucks, resulting in 4,951 deaths.
Serious injuries are markedly more common in truck accidents compared to passenger vehicle crashes. Common injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Head and skull injuries
- Neck and spine injuries
- Internal injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
Emotional distress, PTSD, and other anxiety disorders that victims develop following an accident are other injuries that are compensable in a truck accident claim.
How THE702FIRM Can Help You Win Your Truck Accident Case
With over 130 years of combined experience, THE702FIRM Injury Attorneys are well-versed in the intricacies of truck accident law. You need an advocate who understands how federal and state laws will affect your claim and defend you when stubborn insurance companies pressure you to settle low. That’s what we do every day.
Our lawyers have recovered over $115 million for personal injury victims in the Las Vegas Valley. We strive to make the process of recovering full and fair compensation run smoothly and end favorably for every client.