Tractor-trailers and other trucks on I-64, I-81, and other Charlottesville roads can cause devastating injuries when they collide with smaller vehicles. The heavy weight and cumbersome operation of trucks make them a dangerous neighbor, particularly on the highway.

While there is no doubt that collisions with these massive vehicles can cause life-altering injuries, it is only possible to collect compensation if you can prove two things. First, you must demonstrate that a trucker was entirely to blame for the incident. Second, you must connect your losses and traumas to the incident. A member of The Warren Firm may be able to help prove the legal requirements of your case to collect the compensation that you deserve.

All too often, people are harmed by truck accidents that could have been prevented if drivers had fulfilled the responsibility they owe to others. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a collision with a truck, a Charlottesville truck accident lawyer may be able to help obtain compensation to cover expenses and make up for some of the losses you have endured. A personal injury lawyer who understands the unique aspects of truck accident cases could review the circumstances and explain your options for seeking relief.

Common Scenarios that Lead to Truck Collisions

Truck collisions on the roads and highways in the area are unfortunately common, especially on the I-81. Many of these incidents are a product of the attributes of large trucks and commercial vehicles. Their weight makes them slow to stop in an emergency, even if their drivers are paying attention to the road and appear to be driving within the limits of the law. Nevertheless, a trucker may be liable if he or she is tailgating or not giving enough space to other vehicles around the truck.

The large size of trucks also makes them susceptible to rollovers and jackknifes. These occur when a trucker must come to a sudden stop, and his or her trailer swings out to the side of the cab. In some situations, this can leave the drivers of other vehicles with little chance to avoid a crash.

Finally, the nature of the trucking industry itself contributes to many incidents. Strict deadlines mean that truckers may be on the road for a dozen hours a day or more—despite federal regulations limiting their legal drive times. The resulting fatigue or drowsiness decreases a driver’s ability to remain aware of his or her surroundings or make the necessary adjustments to avoid a collision with another vehicle. A Charlottesville, Virginia, truck accident lawyer could provide more information about the common causes of truck accidents and take the lead in investigating your specific case.

Establishing Liability for a Truck Accident

Before a truck accident victim can recover compensation, the injured person must prove that another person’s wrongful actions caused the accident and led to the injuries. Most of the time, the misconduct involved is not deliberate. However, even if someone does not intend to cause an accident, if he or she fails to meet obligations and that failure causes harm, that person may be held liable for the result.

Proof of failure to fulfill a duty and the resulting damage, often referred to as negligence, is accomplished through providing evidence. A Charlottesville truck accident attorney could investigate and locate evidence to craft sound arguments linking the causation of the collision and the resulting harm.

Proving Fault After a Trucker Receives a Ticket

The most straightforward way to prove liability following a truck accident is to show that a trucker was violating a rule of the road in the moments leading up to the collision. This could include violations of speed limits, a failure to yield, or an overweight truck.

If the police officer who responds to the accident issues a ticket to the truck driver, it is vital to track that ticket through traffic or criminal court. This is because of a concept of law called negligence per se. The concept means that a civil court can use a conviction in criminal court as proof that a party was to blame for an accident. A tractor-trailer accident lawyer could work to follow a traffic ticket as it moves through the court system and use proof of a conviction as evidence of fault for an accident.

Who Could Be At Fault in a Collision?

Trucks are usually operated as commercial vehicles, and that means that many people bear responsibility for the safe operation of a truck. Accordingly, a truck accident on roads, such as Interstates 64 and 81, could be traced to the irresponsibility of many different individuals or companies. These negligent parties may include the truck driver, maintenance company, retailer, trucking company, or vehicle manufacturer.

For instance, a truck crash could be caused by:

  • A retailer loading a trailer with too much weight at the top
  • A maintenance company failing to perform proper inspections on brakes
  • A driver distracted by a phone call
  • A trucking company that sets policies or deadlines that require drivers to take unnecessary risks
  • Debris on the road left by a third party
  • Reckless actions by the driver of another vehicle
  • The manufacturer of a failed component on the truck

Sometimes more than one person may be at fault, so a lawsuit could name several individuals or companies.

Using a Holistic Approach When Investigating Truck Accidents

Regardless of the precise facts that led up to a collision, an injured person must always move forward with the same goal in mind: he or she must prove that a trucker caused an accident and link that accident to his or her losses. To this end, a truck wreck lawyer could take the lead to discover every scrap of relevant evidence that may point to reckless driving, violations of trucker regulations, and unsafe trucking company practices.

Each of these steps is vital when considering the Commonwealth’s laws concerning contributory negligence. As a contributory negligence state, courts in the area must evaluate the actions of all parties involved in a crash. If that court believes that an injured person did not act reasonably to protect him or herself, the court cannot award any compensation. A Charlottesville, Virginia truck accident attorney strives to build cases against negligent defendants that leave no doubt as to which party is liable for a collision.

An experienced local lawyer could also take the lead in gathering evidence concerning how the event has impacted your life. This includes obtaining medical bills and reports and talking with your employer to evaluate your time missed on the job. In addition, The Warren Firm could help gather information about the state of your mental health and connect reductions in your quality of life to an accident.

What Compensation May Be Available After a Tractor-Trailer Wreck?

An individual injured in a truck accident could receive compensation to make up for a number of different effects. This compensation is often referred to as damages. An accident victim could be awarded damages for both tangible and intangible losses regardless of whether a case settles in advance or proceeds to trial.

Economic and Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages for intangible losses include pain, suffering, and emotional anguish. Economic damages for tangible losses would consist of elements such as medical bills, reduced earning potential, and anticipated future expenses. If a truck accident results in death, compensation may be provided through a wrongful death claim.

Is There a Time Limit to Pursue a Truck Accident Case?

Every personal injury case in Charlottesville comes with a time limit, called the state’s statute of limitations. The purpose of these laws is to allow potential defendants to put their minds at ease if an injured person does not come forward within the allowable period of time.

For all truck accident cases, the Code of Virginia § 8.01-243 applies. This statute states that people who suffer personal injuries have no more than two years to bring a case to court. Notably, this does not mean that the case must conclude within the time limit. Instead, it is the deadline to file a complaint against a truck driver or other defendant. Because truck accident claims can be exceedingly complex, it is essential to begin the pursuit of your case as soon as you are able, and a dedicated local attorney familiar with the Commonwealth’s regulations could help you get the claim prepared and filed in a timely manner.

Contact a Charlottesville Truck Accident Attorney

A truck accident can have tragic results. While a legal claim cannot reverse the damage, an attorney could help hold the responsible parties accountable and seek justice for the victims.

It is a good idea to consult a dedicated Charlottesville truck accident lawyer as soon as possible for a collision to allow your legal advocate the best opportunity to collect and preserve evidence to support the claim. For a consultation to learn more about the advantages a truck accident attorney could provide in your case, call The Warren Firm now.