Las Vegas Truck Accidents Lawyer
How a Las Vegas Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
Las Vegas Truck Accidents
With a combined 50+ years of experience, D.R. Patti & Associates | Car Accident & Injury Lawyers have seen our fair share of truck accidents in Las Vegas or involving Las Vegas residents. Truck accidents are not unusual in Las Vegas, as many commercial freight trucks pass come into or pass through town. Nor is it unusual for a Las Vegas resident to be hit by a commercial truck in Nevada or other states. Semi-trucks are everywhere, and the need for them have increased as our population has relied more on deliveries of online purchases.
Las Vegas Truck Accident Statistics
For the purpose of tracking truck accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines a large truck as one with a gross vehicle weight rating of greater than 10,000 pounds. A commercial truck, however, can have a maximum gross vehicle weight of 80,000 pounds. To put that weight into perspective, the average weight of a car is 2,871 pounds.
Liability for a Las Vegas Truck Accident
When you and your Las Vegas truck accident lawyer begin preparing for your case, one of the first considerations you need to take is liability for your case. In many cases, your first instinct may be to blame the truck driver, who may have caused the accident.
While truck drivers do cause many trucking accidents through various situations, the fault may not lie on the driver. They may be subject to vicarious liability, meaning their employer, the trucking company, may take the financial burden of compensating you.
Semi-truck accidents may be the fault of their employer because their employer is responsible for everything that happens within the scope of their employment. If you are struggling to determine who is liable for your specific case, your truck accident attorney will take action and help you identify the best path forward for your case.
What Happens if I Am Accused of Partial Fault?
When the at-fault party does not want to pay your medical bills, they may try to saddle you with the blame. They may state you were driving recklessly or even caused the accident.
If they try to place the blame on you, do not accept. Nevada's comparative negligence law will reduce your claim by the percentage of fault you accept. You can instead talk with your truck accident attorney to determine the best defense for your case and get compensated fairly.
Do I Need A Personal Injury Attorney Experienced In Commercial Truck Accidents?
A personal injury claim involving a commercial truck can be complicated for several reasons as discussed more in detail below. In general, however, truck accident cases can involve wrongful death claims or claims involving catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries and spinal injuries. The more devastating the injury is, the more money is at stake. And large trucking companies and their insurance companies can afford to compensate the victims due to the nature of their work. However, it also means that they have the money to fight truck accident claims. Because of the complexity of truck accident cases, an accident victim should retain a personal injury attorney with extensive experience in commercial truck accident cases.
An experienced accident lawyer knows that a commercial truck accident claim will involve detailed investigation of the crash, preserving the necessary evidence, hiring the right experts, and knowing the rules and regulations governing commercial trucks. With deep pockets, you can bet that the trucking company and its insurance company will hire a lot of expensive experts.
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Catastrophic Consequences of Commercial Truck Accidents
Commercial truck accidents mostly involve a big truck and a passenger vehicle. Given that a big truck can outweigh the passenger vehicle by 20 to 30 times, it’s not surprising that the occupants of the passenger vehicles may suffer greater injuries than in a car accident. If a person is involved in an accident with a tractor trailer or other big truck, they are lucky if they only walk away with injuries to their knees or shoulders. Unfortunately, not everyone is this lucky. Big truck accidents often cause traumatic brain injuries and even death. The personal injury lawyers at D.R. Patti & Associates have worked with victims and victims’ family members who have been involved in accidents caused by negligent truck drivers.
Given the size of commercial trucks, a crash involving one pose a significant risk of death, not only to the occupants of a passenger vehicle involved but also for the truck driver. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimated a total of 3,852 people died in crashes involving large trucks in 2015, an increase of 22 percent since 2009. The number of fatalities increased to 4,136 in 2018, representing a 31% increase since 2009.
Common Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can be caused by a number of factors, including driver-related and truck-related factors. A 2007 study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which governs interstate commercial carriers, studied 963 crashes involving large trucks and listed the following as the top 10 factors causing the crash:
One of the most common is driver fatigue. Trucking companies have delivery deadlines to meet, and to meet those deadlines, their drivers are on the road for longer than 8 hours. Truck drivers have been known to drive all night, with little rest, to meet those deadlines. And trucking companies are known to incentivize drivers to drive longer. Truck drivers are generally paid by the mile, and so they tend to earn more money by driving more for a shorter period of time. A result of longer driving time is fatigue. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that 13 percent of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers were considered to have been fatigued at the time of their crash.
Failing To Properly Secure Load
Another common reason for trucking accidents is the failure of the driver to properly secure their load. Many drivers do not put their loads on the back of their truck themselves, but it is their responsibility to make sure the load is secure before they hit the road. Even closed-in trailers whose loads are not secure present a danger to other drivers on the road.
If a truck driver has to slam on their breaks or swerve suddenly, an unsecured load is not going to move with the truck. Its force will continue carrying it in a separate direction. This can cause trucks to jackknife or even turnovers. Also, tractor-trailers with loads take 20-40 percent farther than cars to stop, and the discrepancy on wet and slippery roads or with poorly maintained brakes. These accidents are due to the negligence of the driver. Anyone injured due to these accidents should seek a lawyer and report their injury in a timely manner.
Accidents happen, and in some cases, few things can prevent motor vehicle accidents. However, distracted driving can be avoided. Unfortunately, it is the cause of many tractor-trailer accidents that lead to common injuries that can devastate the involved parties. Truck crashes can even be deadly, especially if the driver is speeding and not paying attention to the road.
Keeping one's attention on the road is vital for those who drive semi-trucks. When seeking out a commercial driver's license, this is one of the major concerns for drivers. If their attention is not focused on the road, it can lead to dangerous situations, including a head-on collision. If you believe a driver hit you because they were not paying attention to the road, reach out to our team for the help you need.
Las Vegas Truck Accident FAQ
As you prepare to file a truck accident lawsuit, keep in mind that truck accident claims have a time limit. To get the maximum financial compensation you are due, you may need to take action as soon as possible.
When a truck driver loses control and hits you, one of the first things you may think of after a semi-truck accident is the cost of your legal services. Even with a free consultation, you may be worried about the costs of hiring a personal injury law firm as you seek compensation. The good news is that we make it as affordable as possible when you are in an accident with commercial vehicles.
First, our Truck accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. That means, when we take action for your Las Vegas accident, you only have to pay if we win. If we win, you still do not pay out of pocket for your injuries. You instead will pay out of the compensation awarded to you for the injuries you suffered because of driver negligence. To get started with our team, reach out to learn more about how we can help after truck collisions.
While we help many injured clients receive compensation for their medical care and other damages following an accident, we also find many grieving families seeking our services. Losing a loved one in a truck accident can be a devastating experience. Fortunately, we are here to help.
If you have lost a loved one in a truck accident, you may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. This lawsuit will allow certain members of a family to take action on behalf of their deceased loved one. Talk to us to determine whether you are eligible to file a claim.
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Some Common Questions About Auto Accident Claims
In most car accident cases, a victim can make a claim without an attorney. An accident victim may even get a settlement offer from the responsible party. However, to make sure that the accident victim obtains a fair settlement offer, the accident should hire an experienced personal injury attorney. Also, an accident victim should hire an attorney to make sure that all sources of compensation have been looked at.
For example, we had clients severely injured in a bad car wreck just outside of Las Vegas. The insurance company of the other car involved in the accident offered to pay its insurance policy limits. That insurance money was not enough to pay the medical bills, let alone their other damages. After the clients came to us, we were able to locate other insurance policies that covered the clients’ medical bills and their other damages.
Many people wonder if they have a legitimate claim for compensation after a car accident. There are two criteria that usually must be met for a claimant to be rewarded compensation for their injuries. First, the injury sustained must have directly resulted from the car accident. Secondly, the other driver must have caused the accident due to their negligence.
A person who caused their own accident cannot be rewarded compensation. It is important to speak to a lawyer about this issue. The line between the victim being at fault and the negligent driver being at fault can sometimes be very blurry. This is why it is important for an injured victim to file an injury claim after any accident that was not their fault.
Compensation for an injury sustained due to a negligent driver can be far reaching. Any money that is lost due to the injury should be reimbursed to the victim. This includes current and future wages, current and future medical expenses related to the accident, lost enjoyment in life, and physical pain, emotional pain caused due to the accident. Only a personal injury lawyer will know what the full extent of damages should be, so it is important for a person to have one on their side.
A car crash can be stressful for everyone involved, even the person who caused the accident. People injured in a car accident may be in shock and unable to take the necessary steps to protect their rights. Thus, it’s a good idea to call the police if you get into an accident. If you need immediate medical assistance, definitely call 9-1-1. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) officers and Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) troopers have some training in accident reconstruction. They know the essential information that needs to be documented, such as length of skid marks. The LVMPD’s policy regarding calling 9-1-1 or 3-1-1 can be found here.
Tensions between the people involved in the crash. A police can de-escalate the tense situation and facilitate the exchange of insurance information.
Car accidents do happen even if you are a good driver and did everything you could to avoid one. If you are involved in a car accident, do not panic. First, check if anyone needs immediate medical attention and call an ambulance if necessary. Second, exchange insurance and driver’s license information. It’s a good idea to call 911 or your local police station to document the car accident, even if no one is injured. With cameras on most cell phones these days, exchanging insurance and driver’s information is as easy as snapping a photo of their insurance card and driver’s license. Third, take photos of the scene and the cars involved. If the cars have been moved after the collision, take photos of the area where the impact occurred. When you are taking photos, make sure to take them at a safe area. Fourth, if you feel it is not safe to drive your car, call a tow company and someone to pick you up. If you have the tow company store your car on their lot, they will charge a daily fee for that. Fifth, if you are feeling any pain, seek medical attention. Sixth, notify your insurance company. Finally, call a Las Vegas personal injury attorney to assist you further.
Car Accident Lawyers are generally paid on a contingency basis. This means that the attorney doesn’t get paid unless the attorney obtains a settlement or award. The accident attorneys will get a percentage of the settlement or award. The amount of the percentage depends on when the case settles or if it goes into litigation or trial.
For most car accident cases, D.R. Patti & Associates usually charges a percentage of 33.33% if the case settles without filing a lawsuit. If the car accident case ends up in a lawsuit, D.R. Patti & Associates’ attorney fees is 40% of the total settlement or award.
The insurance company for the person who caused the car crash is responsible for paying to repair your vehicle. However, it may take the at fault party’s insurance company about a week or so to agree to pay for the repairs. Usually, the at fault party’s insurance company needs to do an investigation and confirm that their insured is at fault.
The insurance company often relies on the Traffic Crash Report and statements from their insured. If there is an independent witness, they will want that too. Any delays in obtaining the Traffic Crash Report or statements from their insured or witnesses can delay the insurance company agreeing to repair your car. If there is a dispute in who caused the accident, the other party’s insurance may not agree to pay for the repairs to your car.
In that event, you will need an experienced car accident attorney to handle your case. If you don’t want to wait for the other party’s insurance to pay, you can get your car repaired under your own auto insurance policy. Your own insurance policy will cover the repairs if you have comprehensive coverage. Be sure to check with your insurance agent to see if you do.
You still have a claim if you were injured in a crash involving a driver without any car insurance. The real issue, however, is whether the at fault party can afford to pay for your damages and injuries. The primary purpose of car insurance is to provide compensation for those a driver injures in a crash. Without car insurance, most people can’t afford to pay your medical bills or to repair your car.
To protect yourself from drivers without car insurance, you should purchase uninsured motorist (UM) insurance policies. UM insurance policy aims to protect you if you were injured by an uninsured driver. Nevada requires insurance companies to offer UM coverage to their customers. See Nev.Rev.Stat. § 690B.020. The limits of the insurance offered must be at least equivalent to the Nevada minimum liability limit of $25,000 per person and $50,000.00 per accident. Many people opt to purchase higher UM/UIM limits for their protection, up to an amount equal to their liability insurance limits.
Even persons injured in a hit-and-run accident may be able to get compensation. If you or a witness were able to take down the license plate of the hit-and-run driver, the police or our investigators would be able to look for the driver.
D.R. Patti & Associates have handled many hit-and-run accident claims and have been able to obtain compensation for the victims of those accidents. We hire licensed private investigators to search for the at fault party.
In some cases, the hit-and-run driver cannot be found. If that happens, those injured in the car accident may still be able to obtain compensation through their uninsured motorist (UM) insurance coverage. UM insurance policy aims to protect you if you were injured by an uninsured driver.