Truck Accidents cause some of the most severe personal injuries to Utahns. Semi-trucks can weigh over 18,000 lbs. and seriously change or take the life of an individual traveling in a smaller vehicle over 70 miles an hour. What can be even more dangerous is that many of these trucks also are pulling hazardous materials that can lead to a serious life-threatening situation for a driver. This can also include heavy cement trucks and oversize load trucks.
What is needed to show I have a valid truck accident case in Utah?
In order for a person to prevail against a truck driver and the company that employs the truck driver for a truck accident, an injured person must show that the truck driver was negligent in how it drove the truck or semi-truck. Negligence is a deviation of the standard of care of what a reasonable truck driver would do in the same circumstances.
If a jury determines that person deviated from the standard a reasonable person would have done in the same circumstance, then it means that the truck driver breach the standard of care owed to other drivers and would be held legally responsible for the damages that were related as a result of the breach.
Violation of a policy, rule or regulation
Truck drivers are regulated by numerous laws and regulations both state and federal as well as internal company policies and rules and any violation of those laws can be enough to prove negligence.
This can include a violation of the amount of hours the driver was behind the wheel, the failure to have proper medical clearance, the failure to do a pre and post inspection on the vehicle, drinking while on the job, or violating any laws and regulations related to the material the truck is pulling such as violating applicable weight laws.
It can also include the failure to properly have and maintain a valid commercial driver’s license or be properly trained under that driver’s license.
A company can also be held liable with its failure to properly maintain, tune the semi-truck and replace and repair and defective or damaged parts.
Negligence can also be proven by a violation of normal traffic laws such as speeding, failure to use a turn signal, failure to yield or failure to maintain a safe distance.
Driving in unsafe conditions
One can also prove negligence if the driver was driving in unsafe conditions such as windy conditions. Semi-trucks with their height can be prone to tip over in serious wind conditions. Class 8 trucks are also prone to weather conditions such as heavy rain and heavy snow conditions.
This is especially true while the truck is driving through a steep mountain pass. A driver could be negligent in knowing about the weather condition and failing to take steps to mitigate the dangerous situation to himself and to other drivers.
Injury due to a defective product
If the accident was caused by a defective product on the truck that caused personal injury to another, there could also be a products liability claim against the manufacturer of the truck in addition to a claim against the truck driver and the truck driving company. So even if the truck driver was not negligent, a person could still have a valid claim if the accident was caused by a defective product.
When a company will be held liable for the actions of its drivers
A truck driving company will be held liable for personal injuries to another if the truck driver and accident occurred while the truck driver was in the course and scope of his her employment, meaning, that they where on the clock and driving on behalf of a company at the time of the incident.
If the truck driver is an independent contractor and owned its own truck and was not hauling material on behalf of an company at that time, the truck driver might only be liable as well as the insurance company of the truck driver.
What can I recover from a truck accident?
If a person in Utah was injured due to a truck accident, they may be able to recover lost wages and benefits past and future if it caused the person to miss time off of work or render them no longer to work in that career. A person can also recover incurred medical expenses, including medical expenses that their own insurance company may have covered.
A person can also recover damages related to the physical pain and suffering they incurred past and future. This can also include any emotional trauma as well as loss of life activities and the relationship with a spouse.
Also, if a person can prove the actions of the driver were intentional or due to the use of alcohol or any other prohibited substance, or the intentional neglect of a known defect to the truck, a person may also be able to possibly recover punitive damages, which is a penalty fee against the individual the company to penalize them for what they did and to deter any future mishaps from occurring.
If a person is killed and lost his or her life from a truck accident, the estate of that person can bring suit against the driver and the company in a wrongful death claim. The estate can still recover damages for the loss of a loved one. If the driver that caused the accident was killed in the accident, a person can still recover under the insurance policy of the driver, from the company and from the estate of the deceased driver.
What is the process for a truck accident personal injury claim?
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a truck accident, it is best to gather as much evidence as possible. This can include pictures of the injuries and gather applicable medical documents and billing. This can also include gathering the names and information of all eyewitnesses. There is a four year statute of limitations of when the incident occurred. If it involves a defective product, the statute of limitations is two years.
A police officer may have compiled much of the eyewitness information and statements as well that investigated the scene of the accident. A personal injury attorney can properly review and evaluate your case and determine whether or not there is enough evidence to show the truck driver was liable for the accident and the amount of damages as a result of the accident. From there, an attorney can approach the company and insurance company and negotiate an amount that properly compensates you for your claim.
If the insurance company or truck company is unwilling to settle the claims, then a personal injury attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf. Our Utah Personal Injury Firm offers contingency fees on these types of cases, where clients only pay the attorney a percentage of what he or she recovers from the legal claims. Reach out to our Utah Personal Injury Attorney for a free consultation and evaluation of your legal claims.