Richmond Truck Accident FAQ
Thousands of vehicle accidents occur in the Richmond area each year. According to the most recent edition of Virginia Traffic Crash Facts, 2,306 crashes in Virginia that year involved large trucks. Truck crashes can happen anywhere. Fifty-two percent of deaths in large truck crashes in 2017 occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways, 32 percent occurred on interstates and freeways, and 15 percent occurred on minor roads.
Being in any type of car accident can be upsetting, but being involved in a truck accident can be catastrophic. At Emroch & Kilduff, we have the experience and dedication to fight for your rights and get you the compensation you deserve.
What causes truck accidents?
Causes of truck accidents may include:
- Trucks are significantly taller than passenger vehicles. This increases the risk of an underride crash, an accident in which a passenger vehicle goes partially or totally under a truck or trailer. Research shows that the use of rear and side underride guards on large trucks could help prevent such accidents.
- Braking capability plays a part in some truck accidents. Stopping a loaded tractor-trailer takes a distance 20 to 40 percent farther than stopping a car. The difference is even greater when brakes are poorly maintained, or roads are wet or snow-covered and slippery. Rear-end collisions are common types of tractor trailer accidents in Virginia.
- Large trucks also often roll over during braking and crashes. Recent regulations requiring electronic stability controls may reduce such accidents.
- Truck driver fatigue is another major cause of accidents. Federal law determines how many hours a trucker can drive without a break, but drivers sometimes violate the regulations. Research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that truck drivers who have been behind the wheel for more than eight hours are twice as likely to have an accident. As of December 2017, federal law requires electronic logging devices to help control driver compliance.
- Drug and alcohol use is a factor in many crashes. Federal regulations require drug testing before employment, as well as random testing.
- Speeding and reckless driving lead to serious truck accidents.
- Defective truck parts can cause accidents and lead to liability on the part of manufacturing companies.
- Dangerous road conditions can cause a truck crash. These may include not only weather conditions but also hazards on the roadway.
- Improperly loaded or unsecured cargo can shift or break loose, causing a truck driver to lose control.
What rules influence truck accident lawsuits in Virginia?
Complex state and federal regulations apply to the trucking industry. Most of these are based on safety considerations. Violating these regulations can constitute negligence on the part of a truck driver or trucking company.
When someone injures you, especially because of recklessness or carelessness, that person is responsible for the harm caused. Negligence is the failure to use the proper care expected of a reasonable person in a similar situation. All drivers have a duty to use ordinary care by keeping the vehicle under control at all times, driving while alert, and obeying all signs, signals, and rules of the road. Drivers who are negligent may be held financially responsible for any damages. For example, injuries caused by a failure to obey traffic signals, or an accident resulting from drunk driving is generally considered negligence.
Virginia is one of a handful of states that follow the rule of “pure contributory negligence.” This rule means that when an injured person is found to share any blame for the accident, even a small percentage of the fault, he or she will not be able to recover damages from other at-fault parties, even if those parties bear most of the blame. It’s important to have an experienced lawyer on your side to make sure you protect yourself against this rule when seeking damages from other parties.
There are time limits for filing lawsuits, called statutes of limitations. Each state has these limits, which vary from state to state and according to the area of law. Your lawyer will advise you on the applicable statute of limitations for your accident. However, you should speak with a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident.
Who is at fault for a truck accident?
There are lots of parties who may have legal liability for the damage caused by a truck accident, as such:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company or the trucker’s employer
- The truck’s manufacturer
- Parts manufacturers
- Companies who performed maintenance or repairs on the truck or trailer
- The company who loaded or shipped the freight
Often, the party with legal liability for a truck accident will carry insurance, which means insurance companies typically play a large role in truck accident matters. Experienced truck accident attorneys know how to negotiate with insurance companies to achieve maximum recoveries for their clients.
What injuries typically result from truck accidents?
Truck accidents cause serious damage. Usually, the injuries resulting from a truck accident are more severe than those resulting from other types of car accidents. Common injuries include:
- Back and neck injuries – These include anything from minor neck pain to spinal cord injuries such as dislocated discs or paralysis. Serious back and neck injuries can have a long-term effect on your work and daily life.
- Head injuries – Brain trauma may range from mild to severe. Such injuries may not be immediately apparent. Symptoms include headaches, nausea, cognitive impairment, and loss of motor functions. Head injuries tend to be life-altering and heartbreaking.
- Internal injuries – Blunt force trauma from car accidents can cause internal bleeding in the organs such as the bladder, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and spleen. These injuries are dangerous and difficult to treat.
- Rib and torso injuries – The rib cage protects the body’s vital organs, so injuries to the ribs and torso can be dangerous.
- Lacerations and burns – Cuts, lacerations, and burns from truck accidents can be extremely painful and leave the victim with massive scars.
- Broken bones – The powerful impact of a truck crash often leads to multiple broken bones.
- Seat belt injuries – We all know that seat belts save lives, but in some cases, they can also cause injuries, such as whiplash.
- Wrongful death – A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of personal injury claim that is brought by the family or heirs of someone who has been wrongfully killed in an accident.
What compensation can I get for a Richmond truck accident?
Damages recoverable in truck accident cases vary widely, but may include:
- All medical care, including the cost of an ambulance, the emergency room visit, hospital bills, medications, surgeries, doctor visits, therapy, and rehabilitation
- Loss of wages and possible loss of future income
- Pain, suffering and emotional trauma
- Loss of your ability to enjoy your life
- Scarring and disfigurement
Contact an Experienced Richmond Truck Accident Attorney
If you have suffered an injury in a truck accident in the Richmond area, then speak with an attorney right away. The experienced, dedicated attorneys at Emroch & Kilduff can investigate your claim and fight for the compensation you deserve. For more information or a free consultation, call (804) 358-1568, or contact us online.