Accidents involving trucks often result in catastrophic injuries. Drivers of smaller, lighter cars bear a disproportionate burden in such collisions. This is because the possibility of many parties sharing responsibility for truck accidents could make pursuing compensation for any property damage, and injuries, among other losses, more challenging.
That’s why we recommend engaging a seasoned Las Vegas truck accident attorney to help you get what you deserve. Our experienced truck accident attorneys at Dallas Horton & Associates have the tools and the resources necessary to challenge major trucking enterprises and fight for victims' rights. Call us today to set up your consultation.
An Overview of Nevada Truck Accidents
Commercial trucks, including tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, and semi-trucks, used for a majority of interstate transit of commodities are regulated by both federal and state laws in Nevada and across the country.
Federal and state trucking law sets forth distinct requirements (and limitations), including weight limits, operating hours, as well as driver qualifications. These rules ensure that the trucking business runs smoothly and, more critically, that all drivers are safe. When trucking laws and policies are infringed, accidents can happen.
Due to the risks associated with commercial truck incidents, the central government has put tough guidelines in place to make sure trucking businesses as well as their drivers maintain and operate their vehicles properly.
The United States trucking sector is governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Truck drivers must abide by the rules set forth by the FMCSA. If you were hurt in a truck crash, FMCSA laws will almost certainly play a part in your case.
FMCSA regulations enforce:
- Driver qualifications
- Safety procedures
- Insurance coverage
- Maintenance, repair, and inspection
- Hours of service
If you have been injured in a truck accident, your attorney should be well-versed in both state and federal trucking laws. Additionally, your attorney needs to be aware of how the court and defense might construe the rules as they relate to your particular case.
The Most Common Types of Truck Accidents
Accidents involving trucks tend to fall into a few distinct categories. These vehicles' structures tend to collide in specific ways. For instance, only commercial vehicles can be involved in "jackknife" accidents, in which the tractor-trailer's bed swings outward and makes a jackknife-like angle with its cab. A truck that is in a jackknife position cannot be steered, stopped, or controlled by the driver.
With the right braking tactics, drivers can stop this kind of accident from happening. Below are other common forms of truck accidents:
In 2019, 59 percent of all deadly truck accidents involved head-on collisions. This might occur if the operator nods off at the wheel, misunderstands a traffic warning, or operates a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
When a trucker overcorrects, makes a quick turn, or drives too fast for the road conditions, the vehicle could roll over. Smaller vehicles can be crushed and their occupants gravely injured by trucks that tumble over and roll over them.
Rollovers can be caused by hazardous road conditions, like icy or wet roads. A truck could tip over due to incorrectly distributed cargo.
Large trucks need significantly more space to come to a halt than passenger cars due to their massive weights. Because of this, truck drivers always need to keep a safe safety margin from the cars before them. If a truck driver is exceeding the speed limit, driving while distracted, or tailgating, they may cause a rear-end accident. These collisions may also be brought on by other motorists abruptly stopping and trying to cut off trucks.
A blowout occurs when a tire entirely or partially separates while being used. This could happen as a result of old tires with worn treads, poorly maintained tires, or loads that are too heavy. Tire blowouts could result in a driver losing control of the truck and crashing.
Although uncommon, these accidents frequently result in death. Semi-trucks can be as heavy as 80,000 pounds. A vehicle receives the full power of the truck's weight when it is struck from the side.
Blind Spot Accidents
The bigger the truck, the bigger its blind spots. The most frequent causes of truck accidents are negligence, fatigue, or distracted driving.
Leading Causes of Catastrophic Truck Accidents
Many truckers travel on the same roads as regular commuters who are merely on their way to and from school or work. Contrarily, truck drivers could be halfway through some kind of a cross-country journey while they are tired, preoccupied, or rushing to meet a deadline. Innocent motorists or pedestrians could sustain fatal or seriously life-threatening injuries when trucking enterprises or operators neglect to prioritize caution. Common causes of truck accidents and crashes include:
The state's legal blood alcohol threshold for truckers is 0.04 %. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is equally forbidden for truck drivers. The following are indicators of an inebriated driver:
- Weaving, veering, or ng in an erratic manner
- Abrupt acceleration or braking
- Either moving too quickly or slowly
- Not using headlights when driving
- Turning abruptly
- Trailing too closely
Driving requires focus, especially when driving big commercial trucks. Sometimes distracted driving tends to increase the likelihood of an accident by up to nine times. Although it is against Nevada traffic laws to chat on or send texts while driving, distractions can come from a variety of sources. Almost anything can cause a driver to get distracted, including:
- Reaching for something in the car
- Looking at events happening outside
- Referring to a GPS or a map
- Trying to put on makeup while driving
- Chatting with other occupants of the vehicle
In 2017, it was estimated that 50,000 people were injured by fatigued drivers. Fatigue is a problem that affects many of our nation's hard-working truck drivers, and is defined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as the consequence of mental or physical exertion that affects performance.
A trucker could experience fatigue because of:
- Insufficient sleep
- Long hours at work
- Excruciating activity
- Late-night or long-distance driving
- Missing meals or hunger
- Medications that could make you drowsy
The FMCSA, trucking businesses, and Nevada Laws all place restrictions on how long and when a driver can drive. These guidelines, often known as hours-of-service laws, are based on the following elements:
- If the trucker has passengers with them
- How many days in a row they have worked
- Whether the commercial truck has a berth
No matter what you do for a living, you may experience drowsiness while working. But when a job requires driving, employees can't let themselves get too weary. Although there are laws in place to stop this, neither drivers nor their employers always abide by them strictly.
Common Injuries Caused by Commercial Truck Accidents
Because of the enormous weight and size of commercial trucks, significant injuries and substantial property damage could ensue when these enormous commercial vehicles are involved in accidents with much smaller and lighter passenger vehicles.
Serious injuries may necessitate prolonged medical care and recuperation periods. You could have many expensive health care costs as your recovery keeps you from going back to work. Additionally, truck accidents might result in psychological trauma. the following injuries are frequently sustained in truck accidents:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
TBIs are among the most common major injuries resulting from collisions involving commercial trucks.
When something hits the head, it causes the brain to move within the skull, resulting in this injury. Symptoms could include acute headaches, loss of memory, changes in behavior, as well as long-term physical impairments.
Paralysis and Spinal Cord Injuries
When the muscles, nerves, or bones in the spine are injured it could result in full or partial paralysis. Spine injuries might not be instantly noticeable after a truck accident and often will require an MRI to be diagnosed. Even after receiving the appropriate care, spinal injuries are going to need time, rehabilitation, physiotherapy, or even surgery.
The implications of a truck accident can produce so much trauma that could shatter bones. One of the most fractured bones during truck accidents is the hip. Fractured ribs, legs, and arms are also common.
There's a higher capacity of fuel in a truck than in a passenger car since commercial vehicles have considerably larger fuel tanks. Extreme third- or fourth-degree burns as well as explosions could occur when the fuel catches fire during an accident.
Disfigurement from blunt force trauma as well as broken glass can be traumatic for crash victims.
Internal injuries to body organs such as the kidneys, lungs, heart, spleen, and liver are common among riders in passenger vehicles and could be life-threatening to the victims.
Truck accidents can result in amputation of legs, arms, feet, and hands.
Who is at Fault in a Trucking Accident?
The majority of vehicle accident lawsuits involve only two entities: the injured motorist and the motorist responsible for the injury, with both sides' insurance companies aiming to give as little compensation as possible. Finding knowledgeable counsel is crucial since truck accident situations are generally more complex.
You might have suffered injuries as a result of a collision involving several parties. Your lawyer can examine all contributing factors to the collision, such as:
- Inattention or improper behavior on the trucker's part
- Impairments brought on by drugs, alcohol, or distractions and sleep deprivation
- The rig's maintenance logs
- Cargo manifests that detail the contents of the trailer, how much and what it was transporting
- The responsibility of the enterprise that employed the trucker and sent the truck out
- The entity that built the trailer, truck, or any parts
In the end, multiple affected drivers may likely seek compensation from the negligent trucker in the truck accident lawsuit. Lawsuits involving tractor-trailer crashes may also include the trucker's employer, third parties who repair and pack the truck, as well as other parties.
Determining Fault After the Accident
Identifying who is at fault after a truck accident often entails investigating the scene of the accident, getting witness testimony, and getting a copy of the police reports. Your Las Vegas truck accident attorneys would also look into the trucker and the trucking firm. The method in which the driver was recruited and trained, the number of hours he or she worked, and the truck's condition would all be considered for assessing and determining the party at fault.
If you are involved in a truck accident, your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation. In addition to inspecting the crash scene and gathering eyewitness accounts, your legal team will assemble and evaluate all available facts, including:
- Qualifications and work experience of the truck driver
- Drug tests for truck drivers
- Driver's logbooks
- Insurance details for the trucking company
- Records of truck maintenance
- Damages to your vehicle
- Medical records
- The truck's electronic control module (ECM)
- Phone records
- Police reports
- Violations committed by the truck driver or trucking company
Compensation for Truck Accidents
Most people involved in tractor-trailer crashes suffer from extensive and serious injuries. You most likely would incur significant medical fees for treatment, and extra costs for occupational and physical rehabilitation. Furthermore, you would be unable to complete your daily duties, putting further strain on you and your dear ones.
If you sustained injuries from a truck accident, you could be eligible for compensation for:
Pain & Suffering
You most likely suffered serious physical pain as a result of the truck accident. However, you could also suffer missed opportunities and activities, as well as PTSD or emotional troubles as a result of the incident. A court of law would grant you compensation for your damages.
Medical expenses begin with ambulance transportation from the accident scene and continue through to the emergency room, specialist visits, hospitalization, physiotherapy, durable medical equipment, and necessary modifications to your vehicle and home after the crash.
After a truck accident, you would have to spend time away from work to recover from the injuries sustained. Not only will your activities be limited as a result of the injuries sustained, but you could also be admitted until you start to recuperate. Lost wages pile up quickly. You can include these lost wages in your insurance claim after the truck accident. If the injuries hinder you from going back to your job, you could be able to seek compensation for lost earning potential.
If the conduct of the truck driver, trucking company, or any other party was particularly atrocious, your lawyer could be able to seek punitive damages on your behalf. Punitive damages are meant to penalize the parties at fault, as opposed to compensatory damages, which are meant to make up for losses that truck accident victims have endured. These types of compensation are only applicable in extreme cases of misconduct.
Why Are Truck Accident Lawsuits Complicated?
Truck accidents normally result in more serious injuries than collisions involving two-passenger automobiles due to their enormous weight and size. Also, unlike car accidents, which often include only the motorist and their insurance firms, a truck accident would involve several parties, including the truck owner, the cargo loaders, and the trucking company, among others. Every truck accident is unique. In these cases, determining liability is quite challenging.
Additionally, truck drivers must comply with the special Nevada statutes as well as laws from other states. You should choose a professional Las Vegas truck accident attorney to represent your case due to the likelihood of several liable entities as well as the complex regulations and laws that are unique to the trucking company.
Nevada Statute of Limitations on Truck Accident Claims
Nevada truck accident injuries are classified as personal injury cases, which carry a two-year statute of limitations. That implies you should file a lawsuit to get compensation for the damages incurred within two years of the date of your accident. If you don't meet the deadline, you certainly won't be able to get compensation for the losses incurred.
Tips on Protecting Your Rights After a Truck Accident
If you are involved in a truck accident, you should do everything possible to safeguard your rights following the incident. This includes the following:
Seek Medical Attention
Your safety and health should be your top priority following any accident. You must get medical assistance immediately after the truck accident. Some traumas, like brain injuries, could not show immediate symptoms. If you do not receive medical attention at the scene of the accident or are not quickly transported to a hospital or an emergency room, consult a physician as soon as possible. A healthcare professional will assess the best course of care for you and will assist you in documenting your injuries.
The Accident Report
Anybody involved in an accident should remain at the accident scene. When a law enforcement officer arrives at the scene, he or she would carry out an assessment and file an accident report. Keep a copy of the report of the incident for your reference.
Share Information with Other Drivers
As with every car collision, you should obtain basic contact information and insurance information from the motorists involved. If available, seek information on the trucking company for which the truck driver works. You could be able to submit a case against the driver's employer, the trucking firm, or other trucking industry entities. Take pictures of any writing or numbers that are on the truck to gain as much as information you can about it.
Do Not Sign Anything
Don't sign anything at the crash scene that has not been issued by law enforcement. After that, trucking firms would send in teams of formidable lawyers and insurance claim providers to try and persuade you to accept a release form, thereby effectively waiving your rights. Avoid signing any documents that seem suspicious and refrain from engaging in independent negotiations with insurance providers. It is important to let an attorney speak on your behalf.
Take Photos and Speak With Witnesses
Take several photos of the scene of the accident, including the truck involved, your motor vehicle's damage, your physical injuries, as well as any road hazards that could have led to the collision. You can also consider taking pictures of the road's condition, debris, and skid marks. These images could be used as evidence in the future. Also, gather the names and addresses of any individuals who witnessed the accident.
Speak To A Lawyer
Contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible after the truck accident to explore your constitutional rights. Your attorney would walk you through the claims procedure and handle all interactions with insurance providers and at-fault parties, enabling you to concentrate on your recovery.
How Can A Truck Accident Lawyer Assist You?
Cases involving truck accidents can be complicated. In most cases, the injuries sustained are severe, and the regulations are different than in a regular car accident. It's crucial to work with attorneys that have experience in trucking accidents. Truck accident lawyers have the experience and knowledge to:
The trucking company is often held responsible for truck accidents. A trucking firm should be accountable for all of its operations, including its driver's training and fleet maintenance. It would also be held responsible for the conduct of its truck drivers. A professional attorney can look into your case and assist you in determining the party at fault.
Understand the Laws
Trucking accidents are governed by several complex federal and state laws. Hiring a lawyer enables you to manage these rules to your advantage.
Use Discovery to Your Advantage
The discovery stage of a personal injury claim involves both parties learning what the other party knows. A lawyer could use discovery to obtain evidence and develop a claim against the accused. Your attorney also acts as your contact, responds to all of your inquiries, and manages the claims procedure.
Find a Truck Accident Attorney Near Me
Our truck accident attorneys at Dallas Horton & Associates have vast experience managing catastrophic personal injury cases that involve trucks in Las Vegas and throughout the region. We are conversant with the complexities of truck accident claims, and we can assist you in understanding your rights. If a settlement is unable to satisfy your claim, we are equipped to bring the matter to court. Call us today at 702-380-3100.