Truck accidents can cause life-threatening injuries and leave victims with long-term or permanent injuries and disabilities.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a Virginia commercial trucking accident, you need help from a Richmond truck accident attorney—and quickly.
You need comprehensive medical treatment and care and a way to pay your bills while you recover.
Having a Richmond truck accident lawyer on your side can help you recover the compensation you need to get through this challenging time.
Your lawyer will help protect your rights and fight to get you the fair financial settlement you deserve for your injuries and other damages.
The Richmond, VA truck accident attorneys at River Run Law invite you to call (804) 889-0500 or contact us online today for a free consultation. You deserve to know your options so that you can make the best possible decision about your future.
Do You Need a Lawyer for a Richmond, VA Truck Accident Claim?
Although you are not legally obligated to hire an attorney to represent you in a truck accident claim, there are several reasons why you should consider it.
Most personal injury law firms, including River Run Law, offer free consultations for injury accident victims. Although you won’t be obligated to work with us in any way, we can evaluate your case and provide you with information about how to recover the compensation you deserve.
What you might not know is that commercial trucking claims are significantly more complex than car accident cases and other claims for personal injuries that occur between individuals.
These are some of the reasons why.
Multiple Parties May Be Involved
When you get into a car accident, the matter typically involves you, the other driver, and their insurance company.
In a semi-truck or 18-wheeler accident, you won’t just be dealing with the driver.
You might also have to involve the truck’s owner, shipping company, freight broker(s), shippers, equipment manufacturers, maintenance providers, etc., and each of their insurance carriers.
Determining which party or parties had fault can prove to be a significant challenge after a Virginia tractor-trailer accident. This is why it’s essential to have a skilled truck accident lawyer in Richmond, VA, on your side.
Involved Parties Have Extensive Resources
You will likely be dealing with large corporations and insurers.
These companies have virtually limitless resources, and they won’t hesitate to use them if it will help reduce their legal and financial liability.
Investigating Truck Accidents Is Challenging
To prove fault and build a well-documented case, trucking accidents require exhaustive investigation.
Knowing what evidence is key—and understanding where and how to obtain that evidence—is critical. Because trucking companies have so much to lose in a serious injury accident, they can be especially difficult to get information and evidence from.
When you have an experienced Richmond truck accident attorney on your side, they will help level the playing field between you and the resource-rich parties on the other side. Your attorney can issue legal notices for the preservation of evidence, gather critical details from the accident scene, and use their network of resources to build a persuasive case.
While your attorney handles all the details, you are free to get the treatment you need so you can get back on your feet.
What Is The Liability Law In Virginia?
Proving liability is extremely important in Richmond truck accident claims. Virginia is one of the few remaining states that follow the legal theory of contributory negligence.
This archaic law says that you are barred from any recovery if you are even 1% at fault for the accident. This is quite different than other states that allow you to collect a percentage of your damages even if you have a small percentage of fault.
Because of contributory negligence, the defendant’s insurance company will be looking for any opportunity to place blame on you. If they can attribute any liability to you, it extinguishes their liability, and they won’t pay out any money.
Considering defendants can include the trucking companies, you can guarantee they will be using all possible resources. That is one reason why having a legal advocate is crucial. You need an experienced attorney who can protect your rights and ensure the defendant’s insurance company doesn’t unfairly deny your claim.
What Are Some of the Most Common Types of Truck Accident Injuries in Virginia?
The weight and bulk of commercial trucks—particularly big-rigs, 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, dump trucks, etc.—make them difficult to maneuver or stop in an emergency situation.
For these reasons, trucking accident victims tend to sustain more severe and life-threatening injuries than victims of other motor vehicle collisions.
Some of the most common types of truck crash injuries that we encounter include:
- Broken or crushed bones,
- Dislocated joints,
- Nerve injuries,
- Neck and spine injuries,
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI),
- Internal organ damage, and
- Severed limbs or digits.
Victims may require months or years of intensive medical treatment, care, and rehabilitation. Some go into a coma or become paralyzed.
Truck accident victims often suffer permanent scarring (including on the face) and disability.
What Compensation is Available to Injured Trucking Accident Victims?
Depending on your injuries, you could be eligible to recover compensation for your medical care and treatment costs to date and for your future needs. Likewise, your attorney will include the value of your lost income to date as well as the projected value of your future lost income.
You could also recover financial compensation for pain and suffering, emotional trauma, diminished earning capacity, and other types of damages that may apply in your case.
Recovering compensation may be critical for ensuring you will get the treatment and care you need and have the resources necessary to cover your bills and expenses until you can return to work.
The best way to determine the potential value of your Richmond truck accident settlement is to discuss your case with one of our attorneys.
The River Run Law team will fight to ensure you get the care you need and recover the compensation you deserve for your physical, emotional, and financial damages.
What Are The Most Common Types Of Richmond Trucking Accidents?
There are many kinds of truck accidents; however, we see certain types more frequently.
One of the most common ones is the jackknife accident. This occurs when the trailer skids independently from the cab and leaves the truck driver with no control. The trailer swings alongside the cab, creating a 90-degree-angle. The out-of-control trailer becomes dangerous to nearby cars, pedestrians, and other structures.
Another common type of large truck accident is the rollover. Large trucks are especially prone to rollovers because they are high-profile and high center of gravity. They are some of the deadliest accidents. While many of these accidents are single truck accidents, other times, the truck collides with another vehicle or pedestrian when it rolls.
Overloaded or improperly loaded trucks also account for a number of Richmond truck accident types. When a truck exceeds the maximum weight allowed, it can lead to a greater chance of an accident.
There are federally mandated truck weight limits depending on the truck’s length and permit. Virginia law has a standard calculation for a truck’s weight and number of axels. The improper load usually refers to a truck that has unsecured cargo. Unsecured loads can easily lead to jackknife or rollover accidents.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Virginia Trucking Accidents?
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), commercial vehicle and large truck crashes cause thousands of injury accidents every year.
The DMV data lists the following as the most common causes of driver-caused big-rig crashes.
- Improper lane changes,
- Failure to yield,
- Improper passing,
- Improper backing,
- Improper turns,
- Speeding, and
- Ignoring traffic signs.
Other common causes of semi-truck crashes include driver fatigue, driver impairment, and insufficient driver training. Road hazards, poorly maintained roadways, and highway construction can lead to accidents involving 18-wheelers and other large commercial vehicles. Equipment failure also leads to injury accidents. This could result from manufacturing defects in the truck or trailer as well as neglected repairs and maintenance.
Negligent maintenance is another issue that we see in truck accidents. Truck drivers are in a hurry to get their loads delivered, which leads to taking dangerous shortcuts.
Truck companies may not perform the necessary safety checks, and drivers may fail to conduct mandatory maintenance. Trucking companies and drivers are required to conduct regular inspections of lights, brakes, tires, trailer couplings, and more. Failure to do so can lead to dangerous consequences.
It’s not always obvious what caused a major truck accident. That’s another good reason for consulting with an experienced Richmond truck accident lawyer about your case. It’s not uncommon to have more than one cause in a large truck accident. For example, the truck driver may have been speeding, and when they tried to stop, the defective brakes did not work.
Getting to the bottom of what caused a crash will help ensure that you have a strong case to take to the insurance company or, if necessary, to court.
Will I Have to Go to Court for a Richmond, VA Truck Accident Claim?
Although some semi-truck accident cases do end up in court, our goal is to negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Commercial trucks are required to have specialty insurance coverage specifically for this reason. Once we get your case built, we present a demand to the insurance company and begin the negotiation process.
Although it can take a little time to convince the insurer that we won’t settle for less than you deserve, we can reach an equitable settlement for most of our clients, sparing them the time and trouble of a trial.
If necessary, however, we will be ready to file a civil suit and take your case to court. We aren’t afraid to take on any insurance company or large corporation and fight to get you justice.
How Long Do I Have to Take Legal Action for a Truck Injury?
The Virginia statute of limitations provides you with only two years after a truck accident in which you can file a lawsuit. Although the law does provide some exceptions to this deadline, moving quickly is the best approach after you or a loved one is injured by a commercial truck.
The sooner our injury attorneys and legal team can get to work and start investigating your accident, the sooner we can get our hands on the critical evidence we need to support your claim. Interviewing witnesses while their memories are still fresh and capturing the accident scene before it changes drastically can be especially helpful.
After a truck accident, it’s critical that you move quickly on pursuing legal action against those who were responsible for your injuries.
What Should I Do After an 18-Wheeler Accident in Richmond?
The most important thing to do after any motor vehicle collision or injury accident is to get to a safe place. Get well off the roadway, and if possible, do not move your vehicle. Call 911 and request officers and emergency medical technicians. Even if you don’t think you were seriously hurt, getting checked out on the scene is imperative. You could have internal injuries or be in shock and not feel pain.
While you wait for first responders, take pictures of the scene with your phone if you can. If you’re unable to take photos due to an injury, ask someone else on-scene to do it for you, if possible. Collect contact information from witnesses and note as much information as you can about the truck—including numbers or codes that might be located on the truck or trailer.
If you aren’t taken to the hospital by ambulance, go immediately to the emergency room or an urgent care facility for a full medical evaluation. This helps ensure you get appropriate treatment and provides the documentation you need to build your injury case.
Do not provide any statement to the insurance company until you speak to a Richmond truck accident attorney. If you provide a statement, the insurer can use anything you say to help deny your claim or diminish its value. Likewise, do not discuss any potential settlement offers with the insurance company. Any settlement they offer right after an accident will be only a fraction of what your claim is likely worth.
To help protect your legal rights to recover full compensation for your damages, talk to a Virginia truck accident injury lawyer as quickly as possible.