Getting Compensation for Commercial Truck Injury Victims in St Paul, Minnesota
Commercial truck accidents are commonly much more dangerous than motor vehicle accidents. This page contains a whole array of useful information that is helpful in terms of guiding you or a loved one who has found themselves involved in a commercial truck accident. Injured in a truck accident in St Paul or across Minnesota? You need to contact Sand Law, truck accident lawyers with offices in St Paul, Minneapolis, Woodbury, and White Bear Lake. Call us at 651-291-7263 or contact us online.
There’s little doubt that truck manufacturers and commercial drivers are held to higher standards than every other driver. Although they are held to such high standards, it is inevitable things will go wrong at times, and a commercial truck will cause, or be involved in, an accident out on the roads. When this happens, and it’s the truck driver’s fault, the driver or the driver’s company will be liable for reimbursing the other parties’ injury and property damage expenses.
The sections of this page are divided between a broad overview of truck accidents, common causes of truck accidents, unique dangers, how to prove your case, the varying potential defendants, and special considerations.
By going through this page, you’ll be more prepared for any potential or upcoming litigation involving a commercial truck accident. This kind of information is constantly handy, considering how dangerous road conditions can be in Minnesota, especially in the winter months.
Truck Accident Overview
An accident involving a commercial truck can many times more likely cause disastrous injuries, as opposed to personal-use vehicle accidents, simply because of weight disparity and physics. A fully loaded, typical commercial truck has the potential to weigh up to around 25 TIMES as much as a normal vehicle. As you can imagine, having all that weight jostled around in an accident out on the road can more likely lead to injuries that are very serious or even fatalities.
Depending on your specific situation, you may have the ability to recover compensation for your injuries and other damages by presenting a claim against whoever was responsible for the accident. It’s very important that you contact one of our experienced truck accident attorneys as soon as you can, but this page is here as complimentary guidance for these kinds of claims.
Common Truck Accident Causes
Some of the main causes of truck accidents are the danger of the general size of commercial trucks, as well as their issues with maneuvering out of sticky situations. There are also other common causes that every driver should be well aware of as well. These causes are a combination of negligent mistakes amongst truck drivers and other vehicles out on the road, as well as some intangibles.
Many truck drivers and truck companies work under intense amounts of pressure, and there are chances of dramatic risk for everyone else on the road when a truck driver hasn’t had an adequate amount of training due to their company needing to get them licensed and working as quickly as possible for business purposes. Another common cause is that there are compensation incentives that encourage some truck drivers to drive faster and for longer hours. A truck driver may be working under an honestly unrealistic schedule that can result in rushed or tired driving, which is always very dangerous.
A lot of car drivers or other motorists sometimes forget how difficult it is to drive a big rig truck, and when someone abruptly changes lanes or merges in a lane improperly in front of a commercial truck, it can pose a serious threat to the people around them on the road. There’s also an innate danger when a motorist turns right or left in front of a truck without enough space. There are also dangers when they drive in areas where there is low visibility for truck drivers, their large blind spots, and close behind in the rear.
Wind turbulence is also a common cause of truck accidents because large gusts can push cars to go past trucks very unexpectedly. Other additional hazards that other drivers generate for commercial truck drivers include driving in between bigger trucks, unsafe passing, and roadside parked vehicles that don’t allow for enough space.
Unique Dangers of Truck Accidents
There are several dangers that are unique to accidents involving commercial truck drivers that everyone should know about. In general, it can be said that truck drivers are safer than car drivers. There still were 106,000 injuries and 4,995 deaths due to large truck crashes just in 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. These injuries and accidents were, many times, not the truck driver’s fault, and many of these accidents resulted from the negligence of other drivers and road hazards.
One of the very unique dangers that can potentially be posed by a truck accident is the danger of the actual freight the truck is carrying. If a truck is carrying some kind of flammable or hazardous material, like industrial waste or gas, then there could be even more injuries due to the dangerous cargo.
Injuries Caused by Truck Accidents
Because of the many dangerous aspects of truck accidents cited above, severe and life-threatening injuries are not an uncommon result of these types of accidents. Unfortunately, severe injuries mean more treatment and more time off work for recovery, meaning the associated damages are often much higher. It’s important to note, however, that even those with minor injuries should consider hiring an attorney. Minor injuries can rack up thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars, and an attorney can help ensure you get the most compensation for those damages possible.
Common injuries that occur as a result of truck accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Breaks and fractures
- Soft tissue damage
- Crushing injuries and internal injuries
Internal injuries may not present themselves immediately. It’s important to seek immediate medical attention, even if you think you aren’t injured. A doctor will be able to evaluate you for many different injuries, including internal ones.
Types of Damages You Can Recover
Unfortunately, injuries are expensive. Even a broken bone can leave you with tons of debt. Thankfully, by filing a truck accident lawsuit, you can recover those losses and more. There are two different types of damages you can recover, economic and non-economic. Economic damages are those associated with a monetary value. Non-economic damages are the opposite.
Economic damages include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Wrongful death damages
- Funeral costs
- Burial costs
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of consortium
How to Prove Your Truck Accident Case
Just like many other accident cases, the main legal theory in terms of liability is negligence. So, in order to prove your case in any kind of truck accident, you’ll have to prove the following:
- The defendant owed a duty to exercise a reasonable degree of care to the plaintiff in order to avoid the chances of injury within the accident’s circumstances.
- The defendant, in fact, failed to exercise reasonable care, or in other legal terms, the defendant breached their duty of reasonable care; AND
- The defendant’s failure to exercise reasonable care towards the plaintiff was the cause of injury that the plaintiff ended up suffering.
To prove these items, we’ll use evidence such as police reports, black box data, videos, images, and statements.
Liable Parties in Truck Accident Cases
It’s really important to identify all potential defendants when trying to collect compensation for injuries that are suffered in a truck accident, and that’s because the liability could potentially not be limited to the truck driver. In many cases, contractors, employers, trucking companies, and insurance companies are the parties who are responsible for re-compensating you for your injury and damages costs.
Most of the time, an employment relationship has been established between truck drivers and a specific shipping or trucking company, and in these cases, the company could be liable for their employee’s negligence out on the road. It’s the job of your attorney to establish that the company did, in fact, exercise a degree of management over the driver and that the driver was acting within the employment relationship when the accident ended up occurring.
Sometimes a truck driver is an independent contractor with a larger shipping company, and that’s when things can get a little more complicated. When this is the situation, an attorney will focus on the legitimacy and the amount of supervising that was done by the company. It’s important to understand that determining the liable party is extremely important in terms of assessing insurance coverage recovery because contractors, trucking companies, and employers will all have unique policies.
There are other times when a manufacturer of hazardous materials is held liable for injuries that were made worse by a truck’s cargo. This normally coincides with the manufacturer’s duty to inform the driver of the potential dangers involved with the hazardous materials.
Special Considerations in Truck Accidents
There are always going to be some unique dangers that everyone needs to consider when it comes to sharing the road with larger commercial trucks. The most obvious consideration is the fact that commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds or more, which can make accelerating, braking, turning, and visibility all limited.
Jackknifing is also a special consideration everyone needs to know about in detail, and this usually happens when a truck driver is forced to suddenly turn or brake. Sometimes a truck driver who jackknifed is not liable or deemed negligent if their jackknifing was caused by an abrupt movement to avoid another motorist or truck or if there was any kind of unforeseeable slipperiness.
Turning accidents are also very common with commercial trucks, and it is almost a rule of thumb out on the road because it’s clearly obvious that trucks have difficulty turning and oftentimes need two lanes to turn right. Even though it’s pretty clear that trucks have difficulty turning at times, that doesn’t mean truck drivers are not held negligent when making these tricky turns that may occupy two lanes. Some courts have held truck drivers liable in these exact situations, while others have not.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, you need to consider your legal options. Reach out to us for a consultation, and we’ll weigh out your options and make sure you get the best result possible with your claim.
Contact an Experienced St. Paul Truck Accident Attorney
The personal injury lawyers at Sand Law have office locations in Saint Paul and White Bear Lake. We are conveniently located to meet your car accident and personal injury needs. To arrange a no-pressure consultation with a top-rated car accident attorney, please send us a message online or call 651-291-SAND (651-291-7263). There is no fee unless we obtain compensation on your behalf.