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Truck Accident Legal Guide 2024

A Brief Summary of the Following Article

  • Liability: Various parties, including truck drivers, their employers, manufacturers, property owners, government entities, and other drivers, can be held liable for truck accidents due to negligence.
  • Evidence: Establishing liability in a truck accident claim requires proving duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages, with evidence such as police reports, medical records, and witness testimony being crucial. 
  • Potentially Recoverable Damages: Victims of truck accidents may recover damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more, with the possibility of punitive damages if the at-fault party acted egregiously.
  • Why Hire a Lawyer: Feller & Wendt assists truck accident victims through investigations, evidence collection, navigating comparative negligence laws, and advocating for fair compensation, emphasizing the importance of trusted guidance in complex truck accident claims.

With the rise of online shopping and e-commerce, you may have noticed more trucks on the roads in recent years. While these vehicles are a necessary part of the supply chain and our economy, they can also be dangerous. Truck drivers are held to a high standard of care, but when they or other parties neglect their duty to act safely and responsibly, serious accidents and injuries can occur. If you have been hurt in a truck accident due to someone else’s negligence, our experienced lawyers at Feller & Wendt are here to help.

We proudly represent truck accident victims in Idaho, Arizona, and Utah. With over 70 years of combined experience providing unparalleled legal services to truck accident victims, you can rely on us to handle your claim with the utmost professionalism and attention. We guide you through every step of the process, allowing you to focus on recovery. Our dedicated team takes a personalized approach to your claim by creating a plan tailored to your unique needs. We communicate with you every step of the way so you can better understand your rights, legal options, and the best decisions to make for your future. 

Who May Be Liable for a Truck Accident?

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 127,000 large truck and bus crashes resulted in injuries in 2019. Unfortunately, many of these accidents result from human negligence, causing serious harm to those involved.

These collisions often happen suddenly, and with so many factors contributing to truck safety, it can be challenging to know whose negligence caused the collision. While you may assume the truck driver is responsible, this is not always true. Potentially liable parties for truck accidents may include the following:

  • Truck Driver: The truck driver may be liable for the accident if they failed to follow traffic laws, drove recklessly, or neglected proper inspection protocol.
  • Truck Company: The truck driver’s employer may be responsible for the accident if they failed to train their employee, maintain their vehicles, or overworked their drivers.
  • Manufacturer: If a defective part caused the truck crash, the manufacturer may be held accountable.
  • Property Owner or Government Entity: Property owners and government agencies are responsible for maintaining their premises, including roads. Therefore, these parties may be liable if poor road conditions cause a truck accident.
  • Other Driver: If another driver drove recklessly, causing a truck driver to brake suddenly or swerve and crash, the driver may be held responsible for the accident.

No matter who is responsible for the truck accident and your injuries, we understand filing a claim can be intimidating. The process becomes more complex when government agencies and large trucking companies are involved. Our Feller & Wendt team understands how to navigate these situations and protect your rights.

Proving Liability in a Truck Accident

To file a strong claim and give you the best chance of securing maximum compensation, we conduct a thorough investigation to identify the liable party and fulfill your burden of proof. This responsibility involves presenting evidence that clearly demonstrates the following points:

  • Duty of Care: The at-fault party owed you a duty of care, which is the legal obligation to avoid careless acts.
  • Breach of Duty: They breached this duty by acting negligently.
  • Causation: This negligence directly caused the truck accident and your injuries.
  • Damages: Your injuries resulted in physical, emotional, or psychological damages.

We understand fulfilling this burden of proof can be daunting, but we launch a thorough investigation into your case, gather evidence to prove negligence, and hold the liable party accountable. Some valuable information that can help build a strong truck accident claim includes the following:

  • Police report
  • Medical records
  • Traffic, security, and dash camera footage
  • Witness testimony
  • Black box data
  • Maintenance and inspection records
  • Electronic logging device data
  • Expert testimony

Contacting a lawyer right after a truck accident is crucial because several forms of the above evidence get deleted or become outdated quickly. At Feller & Wendt, we can help you obtain and preserve valuable evidence to build a strong claim and prevent insurance adjusters and the liable party from blaming you for the accident. Our knowledgeable attorneys also understand federal and state truck regulations in Idaho, Arizona, and Utah that may apply to your case.

One of the best steps to strengthen your truck accident claim is to seek immediate medical attention. Even if you feel okay, you may have underlying conditions that have not manifested symptoms. Seeing a medical professional allows you to start recovery right away and creates a record of your injuries and their cause. 

What Damages May You Collect After a Truck Accident?

With the evidence we use to prove negligence, we may also prove the damages you suffered from the liable party’s negligence. You should not have to pay any bills associated with injuries someone else caused, so we work hard to accurately calculate your claim’s value and fight for maximum compensation. Based on the severity of your injuries and your unique circumstances, you may recover the following damages:

  • Past, present, and future medical bills
  • Lost wages from missed work
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Ambulance ride
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy
  • Assistive medical devices
  • Home modifications
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Disability or disfigurement
  • Reduced quality of life

If the liable party acted with egregious negligence or malicious intent, you may also receive punitive damages, which aim to punish the at-fault party instead of rewarding the victim. By paying these damages, the negligent party is discouraged from practicing the same carelessness in the future. Our skilled lawyers can help present evidence that proves the liable party acted willfully to ensure they are held accountable.

However, it is important to note that Arizona, Utah, and Idaho have their own statutes regarding punitive damages. According to Arizona Revised Statutes § 12-820.04, public entities and employees are immune to punitive damages. Idaho law places a cap of $250,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater, on punitive damages. Utah does not have these limitations or caps on this type of compensation.

Can You Receive Compensation for Truck Accident Injuries if You Were Partially Responsible?

In many truck accidents, multiple parties, including the injured victim, share responsibility. If this is the case for you, you may wonder if you can collect damages for your losses. At Feller & Wendt, we represent truck accident victims in Arizona, Utah, and Idaho, all of which have their own comparative negligence systems that assign each party involved a percentage of fault. Your percentage gets deducted from your compensation. The details of these rules include the following:

  • Utah: Utah uses a modified comparative negligence rule, meaning anyone over 50% at fault for a truck accident cannot recover any damages. However, if you are under 50% at fault, you may still receive compensation with your percentage of fault deducted.
  • Idaho: Like Utah, Idaho operates under a modified comparative negligence rule. Therefore, those over 50% responsible cannot collect damages, and plaintiffs deemed more negligent than the defendant cannot receive compensation.
  • Arizona: In contrast, Arizona utilizes a pure comparative negligence system. This means victims can recover damages regardless of their fault percentage if the other party is at least 1% responsible.

While comparative negligence systems allow truck accident victims to recover damages while being partially responsible, insurance adjusters often use them to treat you unfairly and undermine your claim. At Feller & Wendt, we understand these tactics and fiercely advocate for a just fault percentage and settlement.

How Can a Lawyer Help With Your Truck Accident Claim?

Your recovery should be your top priority after suffering injuries in a truck accident, but putting your health first can be challenging without the help of an experienced lawyer who can guide you through the complex legal process. At Feller & Wendt, our team has successfully managed intricate truck accident claims with our comprehensive legal services, which include the following:

  • Thoroughly investigating your case
  • Collecting and reviewing critical evidence
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Using our legal knowledge to answer your questions
  • Utilizing valuable resources, including accident reconstructionists and medical professionals, to provide expert testimony
  • Translating relevant state and federal laws
  • Developing a personalized strategy based on your circumstances
  • Negotiating with insurance adjusters on your behalf
  • Taking your claim to court if necessary

Truck accidents often involve multiple parties, large companies, and high-value costs, making them more complex than other personal injury cases. With our extensive experience handling these types of claims, you can trust us to support you every step of the way and allow you to focus on recovery. 

How Long Do You Have to File Your Truck Accident Claim?

Contacting a lawyer as soon as possible after a truck accident is vital for several reasons, including the statute of limitations, which is the maximum time you have to file a claim after an accident. Arizona, Idaho, and Utah have their own rulings for these time limits, which include the following:

While this may seem like plenty of time to file your claim and pursue compensation, your recovery and the complexity of the legal process can make it difficult to meet these deadlines on your own. With the help of our efficient team at Feller & Wendt, you can take full advantage of the opportunity to fight for your rights and seek justice.

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