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Truck Accidents

Truck Accident Lawyers in Salt Lake City

Can I Sue for Being Hit By a Semi Truck?

Though all accidents are dangerous, truck accidents are particularly so, as they so often cause an intense amount of injuries and physical damages to those affected. Due to their sheer mass and weight, trucks pose a unique threat to all others on the road, and truck drivers are often overworked or fatigued due to their long hours spent behind the wheel. This deadly combination can be devastating to those who are unlucky enough to be in harm’s way. At high speeds, even the slightest wrong move can result in a huge accident, affecting the lives of many.

Understanding the Cause of Your Truck Accident

It is important to understand the cause of your truck accident so that you can properly file a personal injury claim against the rightful party. Understanding the most common causes of truck accidents can help you better identify the cause of your particular incident.

Truck accidents may occur due to any of the following, including but not limited to:

  • Fatigued driving: Truck drivers often have long and demanding schedules. Fatigue can impair their alertness, reaction time, and decision-making, making them more prone to accidents.
  • Unsafely loaded cargo: Incorrectly loaded or unsecured cargo can lead to imbalanced trucks, making them difficult to control. Shifting cargo can cause the truck to tip over or jackknife.
  • Drunk driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs impairs a driver's judgment and reaction times, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Distracted driving: Distractions like texting, using a phone, eating, or adjusting the radio can divert a driver's attention from the road, increasing the chances of an accident.
  • Speeding: Excessive speed reduces a driver's ability to react to unexpected situations and increases the severity of accidents if they occur.
  • Blind spots: Large trucks have significant blind spots around them, making it difficult for drivers to see nearby vehicles. This can lead to collisions when other vehicles are in these blind spots.
  • Wide turns: Trucks require a significant amount of space to make turns. Failure to properly judge the turn radius or signal intentions can lead to collisions with other vehicles.
  • Abrupt lane changes: Sudden lane changes without proper signaling can catch other drivers off guard, leading to accidents.
  • Unsafe passing: Improper passing maneuvers, especially on two-lane roads, can result in head-on collisions or sideswiping accidents.
  • Equipment failure: Mechanical failures, such as brake or tire issues, can cause a truck to lose control. Regular inspections and maintenance are crucial for preventing such failures.
  • Improper truck maintenance: Neglecting maintenance can lead to various issues, from brake failure to engine problems, putting the driver and others on the road at risk.
  • Truck malfunction: Technical failures in the truck's systems, like the engine or transmission, can lead to accidents.
  • Overloading: Overloading a truck can cause it to become unstable and less responsive, leading to accidents, particularly during sudden maneuvers or stops.
  • Road construction: Construction zones can create hazards for truck drivers, with narrowed lanes, lane shifts, and uneven road surfaces. Inadequate signage or poor construction zone management can increase the risk of accidents.
  • Adverse weather: Rain, snow, ice, fog, and other adverse weather conditions reduce visibility and road traction, making accidents more likely.
  • Inadequate or improper training: Insufficient training for truck drivers may result in a lack of skills and knowledge necessary to handle these massive vehicles safely.

Because truck accidents are so often catastrophic, the state of Utah requires these vehicles maintain a minimum liability policy of $750,000, and this is also why vehicles must adhere to federal statutes which require strict regulation.

Car vs. Truck Accidents

Truck accidents are significantly more dangerous and pose greater risks compared to car accidents due to several factors, primarily related to the size, weight, and dynamics of trucks.

Here are some key reasons why truck accidents are more hazardous:

  • Size and Weight: Trucks, especially tractor-trailers or big rigs, are much larger and heavier than passenger cars. A fully loaded commercial truck can weigh 20 to 30 times more than an average car. When such a massive vehicle collides with a smaller car, the force of impact is disproportionately greater, leading to more severe damage and injuries.
  • Stopping Distance: Trucks require considerably longer distances to come to a complete stop compared to cars. This means that when a truck driver needs to brake suddenly, they may not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision, causing a high-impact crash.
  • Blind Spots: Trucks have substantial blind spots, or "no-zones," where the driver's visibility of nearby vehicles is limited. If a car enters a truck's blind spot, the truck driver might not be aware of its presence, potentially leading to accidents during lane changes or merging.
  • Handling and Maneuverability: Trucks are less agile and have a harder time navigating tight turns or evasive maneuvers. This can lead to problems when attempting to avoid accidents or respond to sudden changes in traffic conditions.
  • Cargo Spills: Trucks often carry large and heavy cargo. In the event of an accident, improperly secured or hazardous cargo can spill onto the road, creating additional hazards and potential dangers for other vehicles.
  • Rollover Risk: Due to their high center of gravity, trucks are more susceptible to rollovers, especially during sharp turns or when swerving to avoid obstacles. Rollover accidents can be extremely dangerous for both the truck driver and nearby vehicles.
  • Inadequate Safety Features: While passenger cars have advanced safety features like airbags, crumple zones, and electronic stability control systems, trucks may not have the same level of safety technology, making the occupants more vulnerable in the event of an accident.
  • Driver Fatigue: Truck drivers often have demanding schedules, leading to fatigue and drowsy driving. Fatigued truck drivers are more likely to make errors that can result in accidents.
  • Highway Speeds: Trucks often travel at high speeds on highways, and at these speeds, accidents can be particularly devastating. The combination of high speed and a heavy truck can result in catastrophic crashes.
  • Environmental Hazards: Some trucks carry hazardous materials, which, when involved in an accident, can pose significant environmental risks, including fires, chemical spills, and other dangerous consequences.
  • Multiple Parties Involved: Truck accidents can involve multiple parties, including the truck driver, trucking company, cargo loaders, and others. This complexity can make determining liability and handling legal matters more challenging.

Individuals who drive the streets of Salt Lake City, Utah are likely impacted on a regular basis by large commercial trucks. In some cases, they have had near encounters with trucks. You are likely here because you or a loved one suffered from more than just a “close encounter," and require legal guidance as you pursue a claim. The damage and costs associated with a truck accident are often much more drastic than those associated with a car accident. The claim process will be similar to a car accident claim, except the need for compensation is often increased.

Legal Help Through the Truck Accident Claims Process

There are a number of factors that can go into filing a claim after a truck accident. Appropriately navigating each step of your case is essential to achieve a fair result.

You will first want to find an attorney you can trust to handle your case and sign an agreement with terms that you feel good about. When you work with an attorney from our firm, we can investigate your personal injury case, as well as all of the evidence available, including:

  • Gathering evidence
  • Taking pictures
  • Collecting police reports
  • Gathering witness statements
  • Obtaining medical documentation

All of your communication should be funneled through your truck crash attorney. Truck accident cases are often more complex than a typical car accident case, which makes it even more important that you are limiting communication about your case.

Our legal team can then help by filing the paperwork and negotiating a settlement with the insurance companies.

Establishing Liability in Your Truck Accident Case

There are a number of moving parts and different parties that can complicate your truck accident case. In most instances, the truck driver will be working for a trucking company. In some cases, however, the driver may be solely responsible for the accident, especially when he or she is an independent contractor. In other cases, a third party may even be responsible!

At Lowe Law Group, our truck accident lawyers can help determine who the liable party is for your accident and go after the rightful compensation you deserve and require.

The possible parties we will evaluate for liability include:

  • Truck Driver: The truck driver can be held liable if their negligence, such as speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, or reckless behavior, directly contributed to the accident. In cases of driver error, the driver can be sued individually.
  • Trucking Company: The trucking company that employs the driver is often held liable in truck accidents. This is because they are typically responsible for ensuring that their drivers are properly trained, comply with safety regulations, and maintain the vehicles. If a driver's negligence occurred within the scope of their employment, the trucking company may be vicariously liable for the driver's actions.
  • Truck's Owner: If the truck is not owned by the trucking company but by a separate entity or individual, the owner can be held liable for accidents if they failed to properly maintain the vehicle or allowed an unfit driver to operate it.
  • Manufacturer: If the accident was caused by a defect in the truck's design or manufacturing, the manufacturer of the truck or its components (e.g., tires, brakes) may be held liable. Product liability claims can be pursued against the manufacturer if their product was a direct cause of the accident.
  • Maintenance Company: If a third-party maintenance company is responsible for servicing the truck and a mechanical failure due to negligence or improper maintenance led to the accident, the maintenance company may be held liable.
  • Cargo Loaders: Those responsible for loading and securing the cargo may be liable if improperly loaded or unsecured cargo contributed to the accident.
  • Government Entities: In some cases, accidents may result from poor road conditions, inadequate signage, or other issues related to road maintenance or design. In such cases, government entities responsible for maintaining the roads may be held liable.
  • Other Negligent Parties: Depending on the specific circumstances, other parties like the vehicle leasing company, shippers, or brokers involved in arranging the transportation may also bear some liability.

It will be essential that you team up with a knowledgeable attorney who can help you pursue compensation from the appropriate party. An attorney can work with you to investigate each aspect of your case to hold the liable party responsible.

Holding the Liable Person Responsible

Utah works under the comparative negligence law. This means that if a person is found even primarily responsible for the truck accident wreck, they can be held liable. This concept may work in your favor as long as a professional attorney is hired to handle your case. We are willing and ready to evaluate your case and can help you determine the best course of action!

We can work with you, the victim, to obtain evidence regarding who is liable for the accident. From there, our goal will be to build a solid case in pursuit of full and fair compensation.

Contact Our Salt Lake City Truck Accident Attorneys Today

If you have been injured in a truck accident and don’t know where to turn for legal counsel, care, and representation you can rely on, look no further than Lowe Law Group for truck accident lawyers who will do everything in our power to fight for you. If you are now suffering from an onslaught of costly medical bills, loss of work and wages, pain and suffering, or other forms of emotional distress, we want to offer you a solution.

Watch the video below to hear Peter Lowe explain why it is so important to hire an attorney after a truck accident:

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