If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you need to speak with a Utah truck accident attorney now. You pay us nothing… until we win. Call for a free consultation with a Utah 18 wheeler lawyer.
Should I get a Utah truck accident lawyer?
In short, yes.
An accident with a semi truck or other commercial truck is a terrible, often life-changing event for our Utah clients and their family. Losses can include medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Good Utah truck accident attorneys know how to get their clients maximum money after a 18 wheeler truck accident.
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Utah victims and their family members deserve to be compensated when they suffer losses at no fault of their own. Truck accident lawyers can help get your life back on track by getting you the right medical treatment along with the maximum possible recovery for your claim.
Don’t talk with insurance companies after trucking accidents
After a Utah truck accident, you will probably be contacted by a claims adjuster from the insurance company. Your family members may even be contacted. This person works for the insurance company, not you!
Don’t let them ruin your 18 wheeler accident case. They are often professional and know how to harm your claim.
Insurance companies have Utah truck accident lawyers that they use to fight your case. This is why you need an experienced semi truck accident law firm representing you and your claim.
We offer free, professional consultations. You’ll be able to quickly speak with a Utah semi truck lawyer.
While the insurance company employee may seem friendly, their job is to pay the victim as little money as possible. They likely will try to get you to say things that will hurt your case. We do not want our clients talking with anyone from an insurance company.
Follow the advice of almost all truck accident lawyers: do not talk with the insurance company without your lawyer.
I know this sounds like a broken record, but, the bottom line is that you should never talk to a claims adjuster without talking to your lawyer first. If you’ve been injured in a salt lake city truck accident, or a semi truck accident in Utah, please call us for a free consultation. We will review your case and provide you professional advice.
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If you become our client, you pay us nothing… until we win.
A Utah truck accident attorney can help you understand the claims process, negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company, and if the insurance company will not be fair, file a personal injury lawsuit.
Your Utah personal injury lawyer will provide you a free case evaluation and will know what it takes to build and win your case, including collecting evidence, finding expert witnesses who know the trucking industry, and ultimately establishing that the truck driver or semi truck company is legally at fault.
Utah semi truck accidents are serious. Take your case serious and reach out to a law firm that handles trucking accidents.
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What should I do after a truck accident?
First – seek medical help/attention.
Utah truck accidents can cause serious injury and it is important to seek prompt medical care from a professional if you are involved in one.
Even if you don’t feel hurt or your injury doesn’t seem serious at the time, it is smart to seek the advice of a medical professional since some injuries do not show themselves immediately.
If you can’t find medical treatment in Utah, our law firm can help. Call us now for a free consultation.
Second – report the accident.
Call the appropriate authorities and report the Utah truck crash. Responding authorities may collect evidence from the scene that could help show the cause of the accident or that you were not at fault for the accident. This could make or break your case.
Third – document the accident.
Save all of the information about the accident and your injuries in one place/file. You will want to share this information with your Utah truck accident attorneys. Important information to keep includes:
- The name of the trucker and semi truck company and any contact information.
- The license plate number of the truck and any other identifying information, such as a vehicle number.
- Contact information for any witnesses to the accident (Utah truck accident lawyers will be able to use this information to strengthen your case).
- Photos of the accident, any injuries, and any property damage.
- All medical, dental, and other health records related to the Utah accident.
Fourth – contact an experienced Utah truck accident attorney.
If you are involved in a Utah truck accident, contact an experienced truck accident lawyer or personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Truck accident lawyers know how to make your case as strong as possible. Our law firm serves Salt Lake City and all of Utah.
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Common Causes of Truck Accidents
The top 10 factors that contribute to truck accidents are:
- Distracted Driving
- Failure to Yield Right of Way
- Impaired Driving (Drugs, Alcohol, Fatigue, etc.)
- Careless Driving
- Failure to Keep in Proper Lane (dangerous lane changes)
- Obscured Vision
- Failure to Obey Traffic Signs
- Following Improperly (Tailgating)
Other factors include: bad road conditions such as rain or snow, reckless or negligent driving, and tire blowouts.
Why A Semi Truck Is So Dangerous
Semi trucks and other commercial trucks are bigger and weigh much more than a passenger car. Pickup trucks, minivans, and SUVs weigh less than 6,000 pounds, but commercial trucks weigh 2 to 5 times as much.
A box truck or delivery truck weighs between 10,000 and 19,500 pounds.
Garbage trucks, furniture trucks, and “big rigs” without a trailer typically weigh 26,000 to 33,000 pounds.
Cement trucks and 18 wheelers with sleeper cabs can weigh over 33,000 pounds.
Their size and weight means commercial trucks take longer to stop than regular vehicles – even if they are empty. If they are full, they need even more time and distance.
Commercial trucks also have large blind spots and need much more room to turn than other vehicles.
Commercial trucks often carry hazardous materials, or HazMat. Hazardous materials were released from commercial trucks in 16% of all truck accidents involving injuries or fatalities.
And, in over half of those cases, a flammable material such as diesel, gasoline, or oil was released. The lives of other drivers, first responders, and other community members are put at risk when these materials are released in an accident.
If you or a family member was injured in a truck accident, contact our law firm for a free consultation.
Compensation for Truck Accident Victims in Utah & Salt Lake City
You may ask yourself if truck accident lawyers in Utah are worth the cost.
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First of all, a personal injury attorney will most often work on a contingency fee basis. This means that clients pay nothing unless the client recovers compensation for their case.
Second, the injuries that are typical in truck accident cases can be severe and effect victims and families for years after the accident. While the amount of compensation varies from case to case and with the type of injury, the types of damages available can include compensation for the following:
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
- Out of Pocket Expenses
- Property Damage
- Pain and Suffering
- Life-Changing Disabilities
- Punitive Damages
Generally, the worse the injury, the more compensation a victim will receive. Punitive damages are typically only available if the defendant was grossly negligent or reckless in causing the accident and injury.
If you were involved in an 18 wheeler accident, or other commercial vehicle accident, schedule a consultation with an experienced truck accident attorney to better understand the possible compensation available for your injury or injuries. A truck accident lawyer can change your case and life.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
An accident with a large truck can lead to serious, life-changing injuries. Common truck accident injuries include:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs), like concussions
- Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis
- Back and Neck Injuries
- Broken Bones
- Lost Limbs
- Soft Tissue Injuries (sprains, strains, and bruises)
- Wrongful Death
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident?
A trucking company can often be held liable for damages in a truck accident. A semi truck company has a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent accidents. These steps include things like regularly inspecting equipment, following federal safety regulations, and hiring and training qualified truckers.
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If a trucking company doesn’t take these steps and causes an accident, it can be found negligent held liable for damages. A trucking company can also be held liable for the actions of their truckers if one causes an accident. A semi truck company can be liable even if the trucker is an independent contractor.
The Trucking Company
Generally, companies are responsible for negligent actions by their employees and contractors when those workers are on the clock. And because trucking companies often have more insurance coverage than their employees, they are in a better position to pay damages caused by an accident.
Third-party defendants can also be held liable in truck accidents if they contributed to the accident. A third-party defendant is someone not directly involved in the truck accident, but whose actions played a role.
For example, a manufacturer may have produced a defective tire that “blew out” causing the truck accident. Or a contractor may not have adequately performed the maintenance they were hired to do on the truck. Sometimes, another driver may have contributed to the accident but not have gotten hit.
A truck accident lawyer with the right experience can help you determine the causes of the truck accident, determine all of the parties at fault, and get you fair compensation.
Truck Accident Statistics in the United States
In 2018, there were approximately 499,000 large truck accidents reported to the police. Of these, 4,415 crashes involved one or more fatalities, and 107,000 (21%) involved injuries. In 82% of fatal truck accidents, the fatality was someone in the other vehicle.
The majority of large truck accidents in 2018 involved two or more vehicles.
Over half of fatal truck accidents involving large trucks occurred in rural areas and 23% occurred on the interstate. Thirty percent of fatal work zone accidents involved at least one large truck.
36% of fatal truck accidents occurred at night.
83% of fatal truck accidents and 88% of non-fatal truck accidents involving large trucks happened on weekdays.
Semi trucks pulling a trailer accounted for 55% of the large trucks involved in fatal truck accidents.
How Long Do I Have to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit in Utah?
Typically, you have four years to file a lawsuit if you are involved in a Utah truck accident. But, if a Utah government entity is involved in the accident in any way, that time can be as short as one year.
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Even if you believe you have four years to file your claim, it is best to contact an experienced Utah truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Evidence to support your claim can get harder to collect as time goes on and your lawyer can help you understand your rights and deal with the insurance companies involved.
What If I’m Blamed For My Utah Truck Accident?
Utah is what lawyers call a “modified comparative negligence” state, which means that you can still recover damages for a truck crash even if it was partially your fault. In Utah, so long as you are not more than 50% responsible for the accident, you can recover damages. Damages are reduced by the amount you are at fault, so if you are 10% at fault, your damages will be reduced by 10%.
Determining who is at fault for an accident and determining the proper division of fault can be a complicated process. Working with an experienced attorney who understands truck accidents can protect you from being blamed and make sure that, even if you are a little at fault, your responsibility for the accident is not overstated. Don’t let an insurance carrier blame you for an accident without seeing us for a case evaluation.
How Long do Truck Accident Lawsuits Take?
Truck accident lawsuits can take years if they are contested, but many cases settle before trial. Truck accident claims usually follow a three-part process: Investigation, Negotiation, and Trial.
The trucking insurance company will send investigators to the scene of the accident as soon as they learn of the crash. These investigators will gather evidence and interview witnesses to help defend the insurance company against personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits.
They work for the insurance company, not the victims.
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(The insurance company will investigate… and your attorney should too)
If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, you should contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer will help you gather evidence and build your case. You should not speak with the insurance company’s investigators until you have spoken with an attorney. Remember, the investigators work for the insurance company, not you.
The trucker’s insurance company makes its money by paying out as little as possible to the victims of truck accidents. Victims who don’t have a lawyer might take a quick settlement that is worth a fraction of their total claim, because they don’t understand the true value of their claim.
An insurance adjustor might tell a victim that the company “accepts responsibility” for the accident. But once settlement talks begin, the insurance company may back track and not pay for anything related to the accident. In reality, the insurance company was just paying lip service to accepting responsibility to stop the victim from contacting a truck accident attorney.
Hiring a truck accident attorney will help you or your loved one get paid what you deserve, not just what the insurance company wants to pay. If you are in a truck accident, never let an insurance company persuade you to not hire an attorney, you deserve someone fighting in your corner.
A semi truck company and their insurance company usually will settle a case before going to trial and defending themselves before a jury.
But in cases of serious injuries or wrongful death, going to trial – or at least threatening to go to trial – is often what it takes to get just compensation for our clients. There is just something about having to present a case to a jury that tends to make insurance companies re-think what they should pay to accident victims.
While trials themselves are fairly short, truck accident litigation can last several years depending on if issues like liability or the amount of damage are contested. Most of this time is taken by lawyers collecting and analyzing evidence, and arguing over legal issues before the trial takes place.
While it may seem like a long process, the potential benefit for the victim suffering possibly life-changing injuries can be huge. An experienced truck accident attorney can help you evaluate the pros and cons of settling early, filing a lawsuit, and going to trial.
How do Trucking Laws and Regulations Impact my Case?
It doesn’t take much to see that commercial trucks are far more dangerous than regular passenger vehicles. Weighing up to 80,000 pounds, a carelessly operated big rig can cause an enormous amount of destruction in seconds. Because of this, trucking companies and drivers are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The FMCSA issues rules that govern safety issues for trucks and truckers, and provide minimum standards for the trucking industry. Whether there was a violation of any of these trucking laws is one of the most important factors in determining the cause of any big rig accident.
Important safety rules for the trucking industry include:
Hours of Service
Everyone knows that driving a commercial truck on the highways while tired or distracted is a bad idea. Hours of service rules are designed to keep tired and distracted truckers off the road and reduce accidents caused by driver error. They do this by limiting the number of hours truck drivers can drive before needing to stop.
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Truck drivers must then rest for a certain amount of time before they can begin driving again. Unfortunately, truck drivers will many times ignore the rules in order to deliver or pick up loads on time, leading to driver error and trucking accidents.
A lawyer will be able to discover whether a Utah or Salt Lake City truck driver was driving longer than allowed.
Inspection, Maintenance, and Repair
A trucking company is responsible for maintaining their trucks in good working condition. The safety regulations provide for minimum standards to ensure that trucks are in a reasonably safe condition while they are being operated on the road.
Trucking companies must perform regular maintenance and truck drivers must inspect their vehicles and report any safety concerns to their company. Again, these rules are sometimes ignored because of deadlines or budget concerns. Poorly maintained trucks are a common theme in many truck accident cases.
A truck driving in Utah (including Salt Lake City) should be properly maintained.
Everyone knows that it takes a commercial driver’s license, or CDL, to operate a commercial truck. But a CDL is a bare minimum. A trucking company is responsible for ensuring that any truck driver they employ is safe and qualified for the commercial vehicle they are driving.
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For example, a truck driver with known drug issues should not be trusted to drive a commercial vehicle. But companies may turn a blind eye to an unsafe or unqualified truck driver when they are short on qualified ones.
HazMat, oversized loads, and longer than normal tractor trailers all require special training.
As with driver qualifications, it can be easy for trucking companies to cut corners or turn a blind eye to safety regulations when there is a shortage of qualified and trained drivers.
Semi truck accidents are no joke. Contact our law firm for a free consultation now.