Being the victim of an accident involving a large commercial truck can absolutely devastate your life. Injuries, damage to your vehicle, lost wages from missing work, and mounting medical debt can totally change how you and your family live. If you’ve been the victim of an accident with a large truck, you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit. In this article, you’ll learn the basics about personal injury as a result of this sort of catastrophic event, and what you need to do to protect your legal rights.
Why Fault Is Important in a Personal Injury Claim
There are four elements that determine whether there may be a claim of personal injury. Yet, it all boils down to one determining factor: fault. Now, in the legal sense there is more than one type of fault. Many states have what is known as contributory negligence.
This means that if there is an accident and both parties did something that made the wreck occur, they will only be able to recover according to their level of fault. That is, what is the percentage of fault that each party had (contributed) to cause the accident.
So, for the purposes of our discussion, let’s say that Mr. Smith was involved in a wreck with a truck owned and operated by a partiucular trucking company. First, let’s say that the driver of the vehicle was driving 65 MPH on a highway that clearly states that the speed limit for trucks is 55 MPH.
Now, let’s say that Mr. Smith was doing the speed limit, but texting and driving. He looks up from his phone and realizes all the traffic in front of him has stopped. He slams on his brakes. The driver of the truck is behind Mr. Smith and can’t stop as fast because of the size of his vehicle and because he was speeding.
This would be an instance of contributory negligence. Had Mr. Smith not been looking at his phone, he would have not needed to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting the car in front of him. However, that would not have made the driver from the company do the stated speed limit for trucks.
So, the insurance companies, attorneys, and court would look at this to determine how much each of the parties contributed to the wreck. The truck company would most likely bear more of the responsibility because the driver was speeding and because it would have been a rear-end collision.
If, using the same facts, Mr. Smith hadn’t been texting and driving and the truck him while speeding because he could not stop in time, Mr. Smith would not have contributed to the accident. Why is that important? In many jurisdictions, if someone has more than 50% of the fault, they cannot recover any damages.
Protect Your Legal Rights
If you’re involved in a wreck involving a tractor-trailer, it’s imperative that you immediately contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Partnering with a personal injury attorney can protect your legal rights from greedy insurance companies and help your medical bills get paid. Talking with a personal injury attorney can help determine if you do indeed have a claim and whether you’re entitled to compensation for your injuries.
*The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Con-way, Inc, or any other party, you may not be entitled to any compensation.