If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a truck accident, you may be wondering how long it takes to settle a semi-truck accident.
People involved in truck accidents can suffer life-threatening injuries and leave victims with long-term or permanent issues.
Injuries sustained in truck accidents often require significant medical procedures and rehabilitation to heal properly.
Unfortunately, medical expenses pile up quickly in these cases.
Semi-Truck Accidents in Virginia
Virginia traffic statistics indicate that 2,484 traffic collisions involving large trucks occurred in 2019. Forty-eight of the accidents involving large trucks resulted in a fatality.
The majority of Virginia’s large truck collisions occurred in Fairfax County.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
A semi-truck pulling an empty trailer weighs approximately 35,000 lbs. Passenger vehicles, on the other hand, weigh between 2,750 lbs and 4,000 lbs.
The weight discrepancy between the two leads to devastating consequences in the event of a collision.
Common injuries seen in semi-truck accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury,
- Broken bones,
- Spinal cord injuries,
- Nerve injuries,
- Internal organ damage,
- Dislocated joints,
- Paralysis, and
- Loss of limbs.
The size and magnitude of semi-trucks impact every accident that involves one.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Truck Accident Case?
Victims of truck accidents are entitled to seek compensatory damages designed to cover the economic and non-economic losses that you suffered because of the accident.
Recovering damages can help you and your family pay the bills and expenses associated with semi-truck accidents.
Economic damages can include:
- Current and future medical expenses;
- Loss of earning capacity;
- Childcare expenses;
- Property damage to your vehicle; and
- Rehabilitation costs.
The court requires proof of these damages for compensation to be awarded.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering,
- Physical disfigurement,
- Loss of consortium, and
- Mental anguish.
Severe accidents can result in significant awards of non-economic damages.
In cases of extreme negligence or wrongdoing, courts award punitive damages that are designed to punish the party responsible for the accident.
The River Run Law team will fight to guarantee you receive the compensation you are owed.
Common Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents in Virginia
Commercial accidents account for 3.8% of all vehicle crashes in Virginia.
Virginia defines a commercial vehicle as a vehicle that:
- Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more;
- Is designed or used to transport nine or more people; or
- Is displaying a hazardous materials placard.
Thus, semi-trucks operating in Virginia are considered commercial vehicles. Overall, 4,922 accidents occurred involving commercial vehicles in Virginia in 2019.
The most common factors contributing to commercial vehicle accidents include:
- Improper lane change,
- Following too closely,
- Failure to yield,
- Distracted driving,
- Driver fatigue,
- Ignoring traffic signs or signals,
- Improper backing,
- Improper turn, and
Truck accidents occur for a multitude of reasons, many of which are purely accidental.
However, when accidents are caused by another person’s negligence, they should be held responsible. The nature of the truck driving business enhances the risk of negligence occurring.
Trucking companies incentivize quick delivery times. Therefore, truck drivers aim to beat deadlines and arrive ahead of schedule. Unfortunately, some drivers place speed over safety.
Virginia Truck Driver Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes hours-of-service regulations on commercial truck drivers in an attempt to curb driver negligence. The regulations include:
- An 11-hour driving limit after 10 consecutive hours off duty for property-carrying drivers;
- A 10-hour driving limit after 10 consecutive hours off duty for passenger-carrying drivers;
- A mandated 30-minute driving break for every 8 hours of driving for property-carrying drivers;
- Property-carrying drivers are prohibited from working more than fourteen consecutive hours; and
- Passenger-carrying drivers are prohibited from working more than fifteen consecutive hours.
Despite these regulations, trucking companies offer bonuses to drivers who meet high mileage quotas and encourage long hours and workweeks.
In accidents involving semi-trucks, multiple factors may exist that contributed to the collision. A semi-truck accident attorney can help you determine which parties should be held liable.
Who Is Liable in Truck Accidents?
Semi-truck accidents present complexities that do not often exist in regular car accident cases, including the possibility that multiple parties are liable for your injuries.
The most obvious party facing liability is the truck driver. Hundreds of thousands of accidents occur every year due to operator error.
Truck drivers make mistakes just like regular drivers, and when those mistakes cause you to suffer injuries, the driver can be held liable.
Semi-trucks and their attached trailers are typically owned by the company that employs the truck driver.
Thus, issues stemming from improper maintenance of the semi-truck itself could fall on the company, rather than the driver.
Proper maintenance of semi-trucks prevents issues like worn tires and defective breaks that lead to hundreds of accidents every year.
Additionally, trucking companies employing drivers must ensure that the drivers meet necessary qualifications.
For example, semi-truck drivers must possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to legally operate a commercial vehicle.
A trucking company allowing an employee without a CDL to operate a commercial vehicle would be considered negligent.
As previously mentioned, the FMCSA passed regulations designed to reduce truck driver fatigue while driving.
Trucking companies are prohibited from disregarding the regulations or encouraging their employees to disobey the regulations.
Proof that a trucking company influenced a driver to go against FMCSA regulations could result in liability for the company in the event of an accident.
Accepting a Settlement Offer After a Truck Accident
Most truck accident cases settle before entering a courtroom.
After investigating your case, we will present a demand to the insurance company for the party liable in the accident.
We will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, convincing them that we will not settle for a penny less than you deserve. In most cases, we reach an equitable settlement to compensate our clients’ for their losses.
Reaching a settlement avoids the cost, time, and stress of going through a trial.
If the insurance company refuses to offer a settlement amount that is adequate to compensate you for your injuries, we will take your case to court.
Contact a Virginia Truck Accident Lawyer
With prior experience as a litigator for insurance companies, attorney Brooke Alexander provides a wealth of experience in negotiating the top settlement offer for our clients.
We offer a free, no-obligation consultation and case evaluation to review your truck accident case and get you the legal assistance you deserve.
In fact, you owe us legal fees only if we recover compensation on your behalf.