Truck Accident FAQs
Did you or someone close to you sustain serious injuries in a Utah truck accident? Feeling scared and uncertain in the aftermath of a wreck is normal. The experienced attorneys at Swenson & Shelley have straightforward answers to the most pressing legal questions regarding commercial vehicle collisions. Keep reading to learn more, or contact us for a personalized consultation with one of our truck accident lawyers.
What is the Best Thing to Do After a Utah Truck Accident?
Here are some simple steps to protect your rights and well-being in the aftermath of a Utah truck accident:
- Seek prompt medical care to have injuries diagnosed, treated, and documented.
- Follow your doctor’s treatment instructions and attend all follow-up appointments.
- Gather evidence, such as accident scene photos, insurance details from the truck driver, witness statements, and medical records.
- Keep your medical bills, financial records, proof of income, repair estimates, and other documentation of your crash-related injuries, expenses, and losses.
- Watch what you say to others or share online while your injury claim is pending.
- Contact a skilled truck accident lawyer in Utah for dependable legal advice.
What are the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Utah?
Many of the top causes of Utah tractor-trailer accidents are similar to all other traffic accidents. However, because the trucking industry is heavily regulated, some contributing factors are unique to truck crashes.
Factors common to both truck accidents and car accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Texting while driving
- Driving under the influence
- Driver fatigue
- Following too closely
- Failure to check blind spots
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Improper turning
- Unsafe lane changes or merging
- Poor road conditions
Here are some causes specific to truck accidents:
- Truck driver inexperience
- Lack of training
- Hours-of-service violations
- Overloaded or unsecured cargo
- Defective truck parts
- Lack of maintenance and inspections
More than one factor may play a role in causing the crash that injured you. A skilled truck accident lawyer can identify what went wrong and develop a strategy to hold all liable parties accountable.
How Do I Obtain a Crash Report After a Utah Truck Accident?
Crash reports and records are protected information in Utah. Only a party who has suffered a loss in an accident — such as a vehicle owner, driver, passenger, or insurer — can request a copy of the associated crash report.
If you wish to obtain a crash report after a Utah truck accident, you must submit a request through the Department of Public Safety’s Public Records Portal and pay a fee.
What Happens If I’m Partially Liable for a Truck Accident?
Let’s consider a hypothetical. A truck driver makes a left turn in front of your car, which you’re driving about five miles per hour above the speed limit. The two vehicles collide. If you file a personal injury claim, the other side would likely argue that you were partially to blame since you were speeding and did not brake in time to avoid the crash. In this case, Utah’s comparative negligence doctrine would come into play.
Utah’s modified comparative negligence law says you may recover compensation for accident-related losses even if your actions partly contributed to those losses. The amount of money you receive is reduced based on your assigned percentage of fault. However, if an insurance investigator or court determines you are 50 percent or more at fault for a collision, you cannot receive compensation.
Why are Truck Accident Injuries Usually More Serious?
Truck accidents involve multiple unique factors that tend to result in more severe injuries to vehicle occupants, including:
- Greater size and weight – A fully-loaded commercial truck can be dozens of times heavier than the average car, which means a much greater force of impact and more severe crash injuries.
- Top-heavy weight distribution – Trucks are much taller than passenger vehicles, so they are more prone to losing control and dangerous rollovers in an emergency.
- Longer braking distances – Trucks cannot slow or stop as quickly as smaller vehicles. The need for longer braking distances increases the risk of rear-end collisions, override accidents, and other crashes.
- Trailer undercarriage heights – The underside of a commercial trailer is often high enough off the road for smaller cars to become wedged underneath.
How Much Compensation Can I Get for a Truck Accident Claim?
Utah follows a no-fault auto insurance system, in which drivers must file their initial accident claims with their own insurance providers. As a result, crash victims are often limited by the terms of their auto policies. However, if your truck accident-related medical expenses exceed $3,000 or your injuries meet certain severity thresholds, you have the right to seek additional compensation from any at-fault parties.
A successful truck accident injury claim could provide you with compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Incidental, crash-related healthcare expenses
- Lost wages
- Losses in projected earning capacity,
- Subjective losses, such as pain, suffering, and reduced quality of life
Why Should I Hire an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in Utah?
A commercial truck accident is more complex than the average car accident claim. Strict federal regulations and standards govern the trucking industry. States also have their own trucking laws. You need a lawyer who can apply all relevant statutes to your case if you’re hurt.
In addition, trucking companies are represented by big insurance companies and tough corporate lawyers bent on saving as much money as possible. How do they accomplish that? By dismissing valid truck accident claims or offering low settlement amounts in the hopes that claimants won’t realize what their case is truly worth. A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer can put a fair value on your claim and fight for results that account for your past and future losses.
Finally, truck accident attorneys have the legal authority to subpoena valuable evidence that is impossible for private individuals to get on their own, such as cell phone records, company hiring practices, the truck’s black box data, and other trucking records. Because truck accident claims often have high-dollar values, you need clear and convincing proof of negligence to receive maximum compensation. A lawyer can help you get that.
How Can Swenson & Shelley Help Me?
A Utah truck accident attorney from Swenson & Shelley will:
- Explain your rights and legal options in a free case review.
- Launch an immediate investigation into your case to identify all potentially liable parties.
- Collect and organize essential evidence to prove your case.
- Obtain medical records, accident reports, and other useful documents to support your truck accident claim.
- Interview witnesses and reliable experts for supporting testimony.
- Communicate with trucking companies, insurers, and other parties on your behalf.
- Manage important claim documents and filing deadlines.
- Negotiate aggressively to maximize the value of your settlement
- File a truck accident lawsuit and represent you in court if the insurance company refuses to pay.