Alexandria Truck Accident Lawyer
A truck accident can leave victims with catastrophic injuries. While compensation may be available to cover your injuries and other related losses, it can seem impossible to recover the compensation you need because truck accident claims require in-depth knowledge of the trucking industry, immediate attention, and the ability to negotiate with a large insurance company.
This is where a truck accident lawyer in Alexandria, VA can help. Jim Parrish started Parrish Law Firm, PLLC to protect vulnerable accident victims from the tactics many insurance companies use to devalue or deny claims.
Schedule your free meeting with Parrish Law Firm, PLLC.
Truck Accident Claims Are Complex. A Lawyer Can Help You Navigate the Process
Truck accident cases tend to be more fact-intensive than other motor vehicle cases due to the number of issues and potential volume of available data.
Because freight transportation often involves layers of relationships, pinpointing the responsible party (or parties) is the first challenge. It is possible that more than just the driver could be liable for the accident.
In fact, even if the driver is 100 percent responsible for the accident, he will likely not be your only liable party. This is due to vicarious liability laws which hold that employers are liable for their employee’s actions, so long as those actions occur in the scope of the employee’s duties.
Defective tires, brakes, and transmissions can also be culprits in an accident. Mechanical failures can render manufacturers or suppliers liable in cases where the injury was a direct result of the failure.
Once we have determined who might be liable, we must establish how that party caused the accident.
While truck drivers must follow all typical traffic laws (e.g., speeding, obeying signs, etc.), they must also contend with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). We are very familiar with these laws and regulations and how they affect a truck accident case. Some common violations that could leave a truck driver or trucking company liable for an accident include:
- Hours of service violations: Truck drivers can only drive for a certain number of hours before they must take a break. If a driver violated this law and caused an accident, he may be liable for any losses you suffered.
- Cell phone use: Truck drivers cannot text behind the wheel or engage in cell phone use that requires holding a cell phone or pressing more than one button. If a driver was texting or otherwise engaging in prohibited cell phone use when your accident occurred, we can use that as evidence of negligence.
- Alcohol use: If a truck driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 or more, he is not permitted to drive. If he caused an accident, the driver and the trucking company may be liable.
We must gather various forms of evidence to prove the trucking company is liable for the accident. This may include:
- Hours of service logs
- Data from the truck’s electronic control module or event data recorder
- Camera footage (if the truck had a camera installed)
- Red light or surveillance camera footage
- Eyewitness testimony
- Drug and alcohol test results
- The accident report
Much of this evidence is in the hands of the trucking company that can legally destroy much of it after a given period. To ensure the preservation of this evidence, we will send the trucking a spoliation letter. This notifies it of impending litigation and requires it to preserve all listed material.
Recovering the Damages You Deserve
To recover compensation, we must prove, based upon a preponderance of admissible evidence, that another party was liable. To hold another party liable, we must establish the following:
- The party in question owed you a duty. For example, a truck driver owes all road users a duty to drive safely. A maintenance company has a duty to perform satisfactory maintenance. A manufacturer has a duty to produce safe products.
- The party breached that duty, e.g., the truck driver was texting behind the wheel, a manufacturer put faulty brakes on the market, or a maintenance company did not replace an obviously worn tire.
- This breach caused your accident and injuries, e.g., the texting driver swerved into your lane and sideswiped you, causing you to suffer a traumatic brain injury.
- You suffered damages, e.g., medical bills, lost wages, “pain and suffering,” etc.
The term “special damages” refers to those losses that relate to a precise dollar amount. Medical bills and other out-of-pocket expenses that followed directly from the accident are included. A fair settlement should also provide compensation for expenses related to emotional trauma.
Lost wages and loss of earning potential are other examples of special damages. Again, a victim can establish these losses with specific numbers.
Even future losses constitute special damages. Though they may require an expert witness to establish, the expert will describe them in terms of specific dollar amounts.
Both the loss of future income and future medical expenses are important factors in arriving at a special damages figure. There are ways a lawyer can establish these losses, even without invoices or receipts.
Unlike special damages, there are some damages that neither a victim nor a witness can place a specific dollar on. These are “general damages.”
General damages can be past or future physical “pain and suffering” and mental anguish. General damages also compensate victims for the inconvenience (past and future) and the embarrassment or humiliation that may accompany permanent scarring or other physical disfigurement.
You may also be wondering whether you can collect punitive damages in your Alexandria truck accident lawsuit. While an award of punitive damages could dramatically increase the amount of your compensation, it is important to keep in mind that punitive damages are only awarded in instances where the judge finds the actions of the defendant to be egregious or reprehensible in some way. Gross negligence may also warrant an award of punitive damages.
However, punitive damages are not an entitlement. They are awarded when the court finds it necessary to punish the defendant and send a message to the public that similar actions will not be tolerated by the Alexandria civil court system.
Damages for a Wrongful Death
In wrongful death cases, an administrator or executor can file a lawsuit to recover damages that the decedent would have been entitled to receive had he or she lived. Additionally, surviving family members can pursue claims for losses they have suffered because of their loved one’s death.
Liability for Truck Accidents in Alexandria
Establishing fault in your Alexandria truck accident claim will be instrumental if you hope to recover compensation for your damages.
A number of parties could be responsible for causing your truck accident injuries. In many truck accident cases, the truck driver is found liable. This is especially true in instances where they were engaging in some type of unsafe driving practice, such as:
- Following too closely
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Drugged driving
- Failure to stop
- Failure to use a turn signal
- Failure to yield
- Drowsy driving
However, there are also other parties that could be at fault for your truck accident. For example, if the truck driver was drunk at the time of the accident, dram shops and the trucking company could share fault.
The trucking company could also share liability if drowsy driving caused the accident when the truck driver was working more hours than they are legally allowed under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations (FMCSR). Additional parties that could share liability for your truck accident injuries include:
- Truck parts manufacturers
- Truck parts distributors
- Commercial truck dealerships
- The owner of the truck
- Government agencies
- Safety inspectors
- Cargo loaders
- Other third parties
An in-depth investigation into the cause of your truck accident will determine who is responsible for your injuries and compensate you for your damages accordingly.
Statute of Limitations for Truck Accidents in Alexandria
If you are hoping to obtain maximum compensation in a truck accident lawsuit, you need to take action before the statute of limitations expires. Under Virginia law, personal injury claims, including truck accident lawsuits, must be filed before the two-year statute of limitations runs out. If the statute of limitations deadline passes and your claim has not been filed, you will no longer have the opportunity to have your case heard in the Alexandria civil court system.
Fortunately, you can avoid issues like this by retaining a powerful legal advocate who will ensure your claim is filed in a timely manner. The sooner you get a truck accident lawyer on your case, the sooner we can gather the time-sensitive evidence needed to prove liability in your truck accident claim.
Help Is a Phone Call Away
The best time to start this process is now. Learn more about your case, and find out how we can help you get the results you deserve. Call Parrish Law Firm, PLLC to schedule your free consultation. And because we handle cases on a contingency basis, you do not pay us until you win compensation.