Wrongful Death Truck Accident Attorney
Did someone close to you pass away in a Utah truck accident? Losing a loved one is always painful, but it can be incredibly overwhelming when someone else’s carelessness is to blame. Whether a truck driver, a trucking company, or some other party was at fault for the fatal collision, the legal team at Swenson & Shelley can help you seek justice for your family member through a wrongful death claim.
Let us support you through this tragic time. Our wrongful death attorneys can investigate and prepare your case for you, giving your family the space you need to mourn and plan for the future. Call or contact us today for a private and free consultation.
What is Wrongful Death?
In Utah, a wrongful death occurs when someone dies due to the wrongful act or neglect of another party. In a wrongful death claim, surviving family members and beneficiaries seek compensation for the losses they and their loved one suffered from the party(s) responsible for their relative’s death.
Utah Truck Accident Fatality Statistics
According to the most current data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatal crashes involving at least one truck recently increased by 13 percent in a recent year. And unfortunately, Utah is not immune to these disturbing trends. A local news station recently reported that the state recently experienced its deadliest year for traffic accidents in two decades, with the majority of deaths involving cars or trucks.
Additional truck accident statistics from the Utah Department of Public Safety show that:
- There were 5,650 total large truck crashes in Utah in a single recent year.
- Forty-one of those crashes were fatal, resulting in 52 total fatalities.
- Truck accidents represented 14 percent of all fatal crashes in Utah that year.
- Truck crash fatalities accounted for nearly 16 percent of all Utah traffic deaths.
How Do Utah Truck Accidents Result in Fatalities?
One of the main reasons for the disproportionate number of fatal accidents involving large trucks is the massive size of these colossal rigs. A fully loaded commercial truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, far heavier than the standard passenger car or SUV.
Large trucks are also more challenging to maneuver, require longer stopping distances, and are more prone to roll over than other vehicles. And when a large truck collides with a smaller vehicle, any occupants of the smaller vehicle absorb the brunt of the impact. This violent force can lead to serious injuries in commercial truck accidents, many of which turn deadly.
According to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, most fatalities in large truck crashes are passenger vehicle occupant deaths. In one recent year, 68 percent of those who died in large truck accidents were occupants of smaller vehicles, and 16 percent were pedestrians, cyclists, or motorcyclists.
Who May Be Liable for a Semi-Truck Accident?
Determining liability in semi-truck crashes can be challenging. The trucking industry is comprised of many different entities, not just the driver and their employer. That means several parties could be responsible for a wrongful death truck accident, including:
- The truck driver – Truckers may be liable if they were tired, distracted, intoxicated, or careless behind the wheel in another way.
- Another road user – Drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians could share fault for a commercial vehicle accident, depending on the facts of the case.
- A trucking company – The company that hired the driver may be liable if it encouraged unsafe driving practices or failed to maintain its vehicles.
- A truck repair shop – A repair company or mechanic could be responsible if they failed to properly inspect or fix a problem that contributed to the truck accident.
- A cargo loading crew – A cargo loading team is responsible for properly securing the truck’s freight. The cargo company could be at fault if unbalanced, unsecured, or overloaded cargo led to the collision.
- A manufacturer – A truck parts manufacturer or retailer might be liable if careless design or manufacturing flaw led to a failure and caused the crash.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Utah
Each state places time limits on your ability to take certain types of legal action. This deadline is called the statute of limitations. In Utah, you have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The time limit shortens to one year if you are filing suit against a government agency.
It’s critical to file your claim within the statute of limitations. If you fail to file on time, you could lose your right to compensation. Working with a skilled truck accident lawyer can keep your wrongful death case on track.
Tips for Protecting Your Rights After a Fatal Truck Accident in Utah
Taking legal action can feel overwhelming in the midst of your grief. But at Swenson & Shelley, we have seen how a successful wrongful death claim can keep families financially secure after a fatal truck accident. When you’re able, take these steps to protect your legal claim:
- Get advice from a skilled truck accident lawyer – Demanding justice for your family member can start immediately. An attorney can advise on what you will need to build a strong case for maximum compensation.
- Don’t talk to the insurance company – You are not obligated to speak to the insurance company about your family member’s accident or injuries. Don’t share details with them until you’ve consulted with an attorney.
- Keep all accident-related records – Police reports, photos from the accident scene, witness statements, medical bills, medical records, and other evidence can help your attorney build a solid wrongful death case for you.
- Watch what you say to others or post on social media while your case is pending – You’re angry, and you’re mourning. We know you want to let it out. But limit your comments to your lawyer, a therapist, or a trusted friend. Social media posts could hurt your case.
Why You Should Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer
An experienced truck accident attorney will stand by your side throughout the wrongful death process. At Swenson & Shelley, you can count on us to:
- Answer your questions and evaluate your case in a free consultation
- Conduct an independent investigation into the cause of the fatal truck accident
- Communicate with trucking companies, insurers, and others on your behalf
- Obtain crash reports, truck driver records, and other valuable evidence to support your claim for maximum compensation
- Interview eyewitnesses and experts for compelling supporting testimony
- Negotiate aggressively to maximize the value of your wrongful death settlement
- Take your case to trial, if that’s what it takes to get the wrongful death damages you deserve
Contact a Utah Truck Accident Attorney Today
The sympathetic attorneys at Swenson & Shelley can help you find the justice your loved one deserves and the accountability your family needs after a fatal truck accident. Contact us today for your free case review.