Each year in Wyoming, around 400 people are injured in traffic accidents that involve medium or heavy trucks. The massive size of commercial trucks — commonly referred to as tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, or semi-trucks — leads to difficulties with maneuvering and a number of other issues, including significant blind spots on all four sides of the truck and an increased distance needed to bring the heavy truck to a stop. Weighing as much as 20-30 times more than the average passenger vehicle, trucks often result in more severe accidents in which the injured party or fatality is the occupant of another vehicle.
If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck that was caused by someone else’s carelessness or recklessness, you can pursue recovery for the expenses you incurred as a result of your injury as well as the impacts your injury has had to your quality of life through a personal injury lawsuit, which is a legal claim filed in civil court. An experienced Wyoming car accident injury lawyer from Ochs Law Firm can help you understand this process.
Liability in a Wyoming Truck Accident
Truck accidents are complex cases for a number of reasons. One of those reasons involves determining all of the sources of liability and insurance resources that can be accessed to compensate you. Parties who are potentially liable for a truck accident can include:
- The commercial truck driver. Truck drivers are required to undergo special licensing in order to operate the vehicle. Additionally, he or she is subject to federal regulations including regular drug and health screenings. Even with these additional requirements, drivers are often tempted to drive carelessly or recklessly. The common types of driver behavior that can result in a truck accident include speeding, fatigued driving, alcohol impairment, failure to yield, and failure to ensure the travel lane was clear before merging into it, such as what occurs in a blind spot accident.
- The trucking company that the driver works for. The doctrine of respondeat superior holds that if an employee causes physical harm during the normal scope of his or her employment, his or her employer can also be found legally responsible. Trucking companies are required not only to vet their new drivers through background checks and a review of the individual’s driving record, but also must ensure that the driver is properly trained and the truck is regularly maintained.
- Other drivers. Not all truck accidents are the fault of the truck driver. The careless or reckless behaviors of other drivers on the roadway can also be a factor and present another potential channel of liability in a truck accident.
- The individual or entity tasked with providing maintenance and repair services for the truck. Commercial trucks travel far more miles than most passenger vehicles do. Between the excess miles and the additional strain placed on vehicle parts due to the weight of the truck and its cargo, common vehicle parts such as brakes, tires, and engine parts require more frequent maintenance. Failing to maintain the vehicle can result in parts wearing out while the vehicle is in transport, posing a high risk of an accident.
- The manufacturer and distributor of defective parts. Even with regular maintenance, there is not a whole lot a driver can do if a part is defective and fails to work as designed when used according to label instructions. The manufacturers and distributors of the parts that go into a commercial truck or other vehicle are required to ensure their parts are safe when used properly.
The process of filing a lawsuit after a truck accident not only involves proving who was liable for the accident that caused your injury, but also determining what your damages are. The term “damage” in civil court refers to a payment made for harm done. Wyoming allows truck accident claimants to seek economic damages to cover the out-of-pocket expenses that you incurred, such as:
- Medical expenses, including emergency treatment in the hospital or at the scene, transport to the hospital, diagnostic testing, physician and surgical services, prescription medication, hospitalization, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and the provision of mobility assistance such as wheelchairs, crutches, or prosthetic limbs.
- Lost wages due to being too injured to work or missing work in order to attend injury-related medical appointments.
- Loss of future earning capacity if your injuries result in a permanent disability that renders you unable to work or to earn in the same capacity as you did before the accident.
- Property damage, such as the cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle you were driving when the accident occurred.
Non-economic damages refer to a payment made for the harm done to your quality of life. Common impacts included in a non-economic damage claim after a truck accident include:
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of the enjoyment of life, if your injuries result in you being unable to participate in hobbies or activities you previously enjoyed.
- Loss of consortium, which is a damage awarded on behalf of the injured person’s spouse for the loss of physical intimacy and companionship that is often suffered after a serious injury.
Let Us Help
If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, our law firm wants to hear your story to help you obtain maximum justice and recovery. Our car accident injury lawyers serve Wyoming and beyond, with locations in Jackson, Casper, Cheyenne, Laramie, Gillette, Sheridan, Wyoming, Idaho Falls, Idaho, and more. Get your most urgent questions about your personal injury case answered with a free consultation now. Contact us online or by calling 307-739-3959.