Coping after a car accident is never easy. Commercial truck accidents are especially complicated and traumatic. If you are facing the devastating aftermath of a commercial truck accident, contact an experienced Minnesota truck accident attorney.
Experienced Commercial Truck Accident Attorneys Serving all of Minnesota
At Sand Law, our truck accident attorneys relentlessly challenge companies and individuals that try to withhold compensation. Our experienced lawyers are familiar with the tactics commercial companies use to protect their profits. We will advocate for you and your loved ones at no cost to you unless you win.
How Insurance Works for Truck Accidents
Minnesota state laws require commercial trucks to be heavily insured. It is necessary for drivers to maintain a specific minimum in primary liability coverage. The specific amount varies depending on the type of cargo a truck transports.
As the potential for damage increases, so does the coverage amount. For example, $750,000 is the lowest amount of coverage for trucks transporting typical commodities. Coverage for trucks carrying hazardous materials is much higher, beginning at $5 million.
In addition to primary liability coverage, commercial truck companies carry other sizable policies, including general liability and physical damage coverage. As their policies often amount to millions of dollars, companies do everything in their power to avoid paying out. Teams of experienced insurance adjusters scrutinize the details of truck accidents in search of ways to deny claims.
What parties can be held responsible for a truck accident?
Multiple parties may be liable in a truck accident. That’s why the legal process is not as clear-cut as accidents between two average vehicles. When a case goes to trial, juries decide how much each defending party is to blame.
The truck driver
Truck drivers who fail to follow traffic laws and safety regulations can be held liable for accidents involving company vehicles.
The trucking company
Trucking companies are required to maintain driving records that prove they are following safety laws meant to keep overworked drivers off the road.
The trucking manufacturing company
If a design flaw contributes to a crash, the manufacturer can be held liable for allowing unfit parts or vehicles to be sold.
The truck mechanic
Mechanics who equip trucks with old or inadequate parts or cause further damage while they work can be held responsible.
How Truck Accidents Are Different from Car Accidents
Commercial truck accidents and motor vehicle accidents differ dramatically. Semi-trucks can weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds, more than 20 to 30 times the size of the average vehicle. The increased size also means increased fatality rates, injury, and property damage.
All too often, truck accident survivors face especially long recoveries. Many injured victims never regain their full abilities. Life-long health problems, including severe back pain, brain injuries, and paralysis, rob truck accident victims of their optimal quality of life. The intensity and length of medical treatment mean they also face mountains of medical expenses.
Accident records typically rely on the accounts of witnesses and the involved parties, as well as surveillance footage. Fortunately, more information is available after commercial truck accidents. By law, commercial vehicles that exceed 10,001 pounds and/or carry more than a certain number of passengers must have an Electronic Logging Device.
An ELD automatically records evidence of how much rest a commercial driver got prior to the accident. While not unique to commercial vehicles, event data recorders can also provide important records after a truck accident. EDRs provide information such as speed, brake application, and steering angle at the time of the accident.
What factors can lead to a commercial truck accident?
There are many different types of Minnesota truck accidents caused by many different factors. Here are some common causes of truck accidents that can lead to serious injuries:
Overworked or drowsy driver
The livelihood of truck drivers often depends on meeting delivery deadlines. Many spend long days and nights on the road, causing severe drowsiness and increasing the probability of a crash. If your accident was caused by a drowsy, overworked driver, you may be able to receive compensation from both the driver and the trucking company. In many cases, truck drivers are overworked because their employers schedule them over the legal hour limit.
The legal BAC for CDL holders is half that of the general population. When a driver is intoxicated, they may have impaired vision, reduced decision-making ability, and poor critical thinking skills. Being behind the wheel of any vehicle, let alone a large commercial truck is dangerous when intoxicated.
Commercial driving school is optional for obtaining a commercial driver’s license in Minnesota, so many new commercial drivers are learning on the road. Not only that, but the truck driver shortage has led to many employers hiring inexperienced truck drivers. Inexperience doesn’t just mean that they don’t have logged time driving a semi. It also means that they may not know how to adapt to changes in traffic or avoid a potential accident.
Dangerous weather conditions
In any vehicle, both fog and heavy rain can impair visibility. Turbulent winds are especially dangerous for commercial trucks that are not as aerodynamic as smaller, personal vehicles. Inexperienced drivers may not know how to adapt to these changes.
Flawed parts, such as defective tires or inadequate brakes, can cause or contribute to disastrous crashes even with a safe driver behind the wheel. Commonly defective parts include tires, steering systems, brakes, and fuel tanks.
Companies should follow strict maintenance schedules. Sadly, some put profit before safety, keeping overtaxed vehicles on the road to meet business demands.
Sometimes employees of commercial truck companies do not safely secure their cargo. Loose cargo can fall into the path of other travelers.
What compensation is available for a Minnesota Truck Accident?
There are various types of damages that you can receive compensation for. Hiring an experienced truck accident attorney is the best way to ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve for all of your damages.
Lost wages, future earnings, and earning capacity
You can recover lost wages related to your recovery. This includes time spent at hospitals, therapy, and doctors’ offices, as well as time taken off from work to recover at home. If a truck accident creates professional limitations, the other party(ies) may need to compensate you for your reduced ability to earn.
Past, present, and future medical bills
Negligible parties can be held liable for ongoing treatment stemming from your accident. Anticipated future medical costs can also be requested. Medical bills can include surgery costs, ambulance rides, doctor visits, hospitalizations, prescriptions, medical equipment, therapy, and in-home care.
Pain, suffering, and emotional distress
The trauma and discomfort you have to endure are also factors in determining what you are owed. These types of damages will be calculated by looking at how much your quality of life has changed as a result of the accident. If you’ve experienced a greater change, you’ll receive more compensation.
Permanent injury and disability
Truck accidents often result in irreversible injuries and disabilities that impact victims on a daily basis. You can seek compensation for caregivers, treatment, and any other ongoing expenses.
Disfigurement and scarring
Physical changes, even if only aesthetic, can be traumatic for truck accident victims. Guilty parties can be held liable for your suffering.
Wrongful death and funeral expenses
No amount of money can replace a lost loved one, but negligible companies and individuals must be held accountable for the emotional and monetary toll grieving parties cover.
Property damage and car rental
A truck accident can easily leave you without a vehicle and can even cause destruction to buildings and other personal property. If you had to pay for lodging or transportation, the other party(ies) should cover these costs.
Other general damages
Any cost you would not have otherwise accrued is worth exploring and requesting.
Contact the Experienced Truck Accident Attorneys at Sand Law
If you have been injured in a commercial vehicle accident, contact the truck accident attorneys at Sand Law today. Our lawyers have overseen numerous cases against large companies, vehicle manufacturers, negligent drivers, and mechanics. We know how to navigate the unique complexities that arise when multiple parties are involved. We are committed to getting you the full compensation you need to physically and emotionally recover. A free consultation with an expert will help to ease your concerns. Reach out to us today at 651-291-7263 or by contacting us online.