Newport News Truck Accident Attorneys
Compassionate Care from A Family-Owned Firm
Many people believe that truck accidents are just like car accidents in terms of filing personal injury law claims, but the truth is that a semi-truck or commercial truck accident involves different regulations and policies that require an experienced lawyer to understand and work through. Since 1973, our truck accident attorneys in Newport News have helped countless Virginia clients recover damages for their personal injuries, including injuries sustained from truck accidents. As a family-owned law firm, Huffman & Huffman Brothers-in-Law, P.L.L.C. cares about your well-being first and prioritizes your health throughout our legal proceedings.
How Truck Accidents Differ from Car Accidents
There are various ways in which truck accident injury claims differ from those involving car accidents, and much of it, as can be assumed, has to do with larger-scale accidents.
Trucks Have Bigger Insurance Policies
Trucks have insurance policies than may be worth 50 times more than the average car’s insurance policy, due to the size and nature of commercial trucks. Large trucks can inflict major damage, which is why there’s a need for a large amount of coverage.
Because truck insurance policies may be worth millions of dollars, the insurance carrier may try their best to avoid taking responsibility for an accident, which can include attempting to hold the injured partly liable for the accident, or simply denying the injury claim altogether. This is why you need a team of experienced lawyers to make sure those responsible for your injuries can’t slip away.
Truck Accidents Result in Greater Injuries & Medical Bills
Because of the sheer size and weight of commercial trucks, injuries are often much more severe in an accident than those resulting from accidents between passenger-sized cars. While many car accidents involve common injuries such as whiplash and bruises or abrasions, truck accidents tend to involve injuries that range from broken bones to brain injuries and sometimes, death.
Common injuries people sustain from a truck accident include:
- Spinal cord and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Psychological trauma
- Permanent scarring
Because of the severity of possible injuries, truck accidents can also involve expensive medical bills. Serious injuries can require more X-rays, longer stays at the hospital, and longer recovery times, especially if the injuries are deemed permanent or long-term. Truck accidents may also result in death, which can place heavy financial burdens on the deceased’s family. If you’ve been seriously injured in a truck accident or have lost a loved one, the right team of attorneys can help you cover your costs. We’ve recovered millions for our clients over the years and can help you next.
Trucks Have Different Regulations
Because commercial trucks are typically making deliveries across states, the drivers and companies are governed by more regulations than a typical car is. Drivers and trucking companies must be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation, which has numerous regulations that may make it complicated to determine liability.
Truck regulations include:
- Special driver’s licenses
- Truck maintenance
- Annual inspections
Different Types of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can occur in one of many different ways, depending on the circumstances surrounding the collision. You do not need to look around for a law firm that can manage the unique details of your truck accident case, though. Huffman & Huffman has an eclectic team of truck accident attorneys who are familiar with all sorts of crashes and incidents involving commercial trucks. If you were hurt by a truck driver in any circumstance, then we can assist you.
Different types of truck accidents include:
- Jackknifes: A semi-truck is comprised of a tractor or cab that pulls a trailer of cargo behind it. When a truck has a hard-braking event (HBE) or swerves suddenly, the weight and momentum difference between the cab and the trailer can cause the cab to stop quickly but the cab continues to move forward. As the truck skids to a halt, the trailer can swing widely into adjacent lanes as the vehicle “folds” at the hinge between the trailer and the cab. The result is called a jackknife accident because the truck looks like a half-folded jackknife.
- Rear-end collisions: Coming to a complete stop while traveling at highway speeds is difficult for semi-trucks because of their immense weights. It is not unusual for a fully loaded truck to need 10 or 20 times as much empty road in front of it to come to a stop when compared to a smaller passenger vehicle. Truck drivers who are not paying attention to traffic in front of them can cause devastating rear-end collisions if they need to brake abruptly but do not have the road space to stop safely.
- Underrides: When a smaller vehicle gets caught under the trailer of a large commercial truck, it is called an underride accident. Underrides are some of the most dangerous types of accidents and often result in violent crashes and severe injuries. Some commercial trucks are required to have underride guards on their trailers to prevent such accidents. If those guards were missing at the time of an underride accident, then it could increase the liability of that truck.
- Cargo-related crashes: Poorly stored and secured cargo can wreak havoc while a commercial truck is in motion. If the cargo falls off or out of the trailer, then it can strike other vehicles on the road behind and around the truck. Overloaded trailers can also make the truck more difficult to control. In an emergency, the truck driver might not have the maneuverability needed to prevent a crash because of the overloaded trailer.
Preserve Your Right to Compensation with Our Help
While the thought of filing a truck accident claim may seem daunting right now, our Newport News truck accident attorneys are ready to make everything simpler for you. We have years of experience handling cases much like yours and going up against nationwide truck insurance companies. Let us help you uncover the path to compensation without adding more stress and responsibilities to yourself.
Trust us to help you recover quickly from your injuries. Call us today for a consultation in English or Spanish at (757) 330-3425 today.
Truck Accident FAQ
How many truck accidents happen each year in the United States?
There are about half a million commercial truck accidents across the United States each year. Tens of thousands of drivers caught in these crashes suffer serious injuries, and another 5,000 or so lose their lives. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has created numerous regulations to help prevent truck accidents, but there is clearly much more work to be done.
Does where my truck accident happened matter?
Yes, the location of your truck accident could be important for how your injury claim progresses later. Many truck accidents happen on freeways because semi-trucks typically only travel from a shipping depot to a commercial property like a retail store receiving a shipment of products. Taking side streets should be kept to a minimum to avoid busy intersections and pedestrians. Therefore, if you were hit by a big rig but weren’t on the highway, for example, then it could impact how we investigate the incident.
Will my truck accident claim take a while to settle?
Ideally, your truck accident claim will reach a settlement and not need to go to court. No one likes going to court because it is time-consuming and adds expenses for both sides of a case. But if your case looks like it will settle, how long will that take? The answer varies noticeably from one case to another due to varying factors like questions of liability, the extent of the damages, etc. If we had to estimate, though, then we could say that a straightforward truck accident claim can still take 6 to 12 months to settle.
Do commercial trucks really have “black box” devices?
You might have heard that commercial trucks have “black boxes” that record important travel data much like the same device in an airplane. This is not always true, though. Only some semi-trucks must be equipped with black boxes. However, if the truck that hit you did have a black box recorder, then our attorneys will know how to access its data, which can show how quickly the truck was traveling, when the truck driver was last on break, and other important information that can be used as evidence.
Can I sue the trucking company, too?
The truck driver who hit you might not be the only party that is liable for your damages and losses. If the trucker’s employer has done anything negligent to contribute to the crash, then you might be able to file against the company’s insurance policy, too. For example, if the company knowingly hired a truck driver who does not have a valid commercial driver's license (CDL), then the company could be partially liable for any crashes that the driver causes. Furthermore, if the driver is an employee and not an independent contractor, then strict employer liability rules could benefit your case.
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