Truck Accidents and Wrongful Death Claims
Just two years ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 4,067 fatal truck accidents across the nation. These fatalities were up by 4% from the previous year. It is more likely for a fatality to occur from a truck accident than in a multiple car accident.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety even reported that large commercial trucks have a higher fatality rate per mile than any other type of motor vehicle. The average 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, while the average passenger vehicle can weigh around 3,000 pounds – 4% of what the semi-truck weighs. If the large truck crashes into the smaller vehicle, the occupants of the smaller vehicle will most likely suffer catastrophic injuries and might not even survive their injuries. In fact, the NHTSA said there are around 4,000 individuals who die from commercial truck accidents each year in the United States.
A truck driver’s duty is to operate their truck in a safe manner. The driver, their company, and the truck’s manufacturer must also comply with a number of state and federal regulations. If any of these parties don’t meet the regulations and an accident results in death, they might be liable in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Sadly, many employers push their drivers to deliver as many loads as they can in a short amount of time. In order to meet their employer’s expectations, they often drive for long hours – exceeding the number of safe hours designated by law. Many times, a driver’s negligence is due to distracted driving, drug or alcohol use, fatigue, exceeding hours of service requirements, speeding, poor weather conditions, or disobeying traffic safety rules.
However, a trucking company can also be liable if they fail to maintain their trucks, if they engage in negligent hiring, if they fail to discipline or terminate dangerous drivers, and more. The truck manufacturer can also be liable if there is a malfunction from the vehicle that caused a collision.
Many family members will feel shocked or helpless after losing their loved one in a truck accident, and they may seek justice later. It is usually the family members of the deceased victim who file wrongful death lawsuits. According to Texas law, the spouse, children, and parents of the deceased victim are each eligible to file a claim within two years following the death of their loved one – but brothers and sisters of victims are not eligible.
Wrongful death damages are intended to compensate the survivors for any losses that may have occurred from the accident.
Some of the damages from a wrongful death might include the following:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses incurred by the victim prior to death
- Loss of future income
- Punitive damages
- Pain and suffering
- Of the victim before death
- For the survivors
Wrongful death is a very complex case, and the plaintiffs must prove that the defendant was negligent and remains liable for their wrongdoing. This is why it is essential to hire a qualified attorney. An attorney understands the law and can gather evidence that can help your case. The attorney may be able to obtain crash reports, dash cams, and 911 recordings from the scene of the accident. They might also do an open records request to get any other material that the police may have collected during their investigation. In some cases, hiring an investigator may be necessary.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations requires trucking companies to have a minimum commercial insurance policy of $750,000. Generally, the motor carrier carries a minimum of one million dollars of coverage. Even in commercial trucking accidents, insurance companies want to give the victims the lowest amount possible. By hiring an attorney, you won’t have to worry about spending long hours on the phone with insurance companies because the attorney will handle all that work for you.
Filing a lawsuit is a big step, and there are many other factors that must be discussed before filing. Hiring a qualified attorney can ensure that everything that needs to be done for a successful case has been done.
Contact Personal Injury Attorney Ryan Orsatti
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a truck accident, you may be able to recover monetary damages. Contact Ryan Orsatti Law to speak to a personal injury attorney who understands the pain, suffering, stress, and financial struggles that come with losing a loved one. You deserve to be compensated for the wrongful death of your loved one. Ryan Orsatti will do everything it takes to get your family the help you deserve. Call Ryan for a free consultation at 210-525-1200.