A Truck Accident Attorney Can Help Your Case
While accidents involving semi-trucks may be less common than passenger vehicle accidents, they can be far more devastating. Commercial trucks are significantly larger than ordinary vehicles, and can cause much more damage.
Semi-truck accidents often result in serious injuries and vehicle damage. Bills and expenses can pile up quickly, especially if you are unable to work due to your injuries. You may be feeling overwhelmed or unsure of what to do next. If a truck driver’s negligence caused your accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the trucking company and their insurance.
If you choose to attempt to negotiate your settlement on your own, you may end up settling for less than you deserve. A personal injury lawyer can help you understand the next steps in your case.
The Advocates are competent, caring truck accident lawyers who can help you navigate the legal process, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary. The experienced attorneys at The Advocates know the tricks insurance providers use to get out of offering you fair compensation for your losses.
What to Do if You’ve Been Involved in a Trucking Accident in Arizona (The Next Steps in Your Case)
After an accident, your next steps are not always clear. However, with an Advocate by your side, you can feel at ease knowing your case is in good hands.
Your attorney at The Advocates can help you every step of the way throughout your case. We are proud to have helped thousands of accident victims receive compensation for their losses and get back on their feet.
After your injury, your attorney will advise you to seek medical treatment and have the damage to your car assessed. You’ll need to have treatment and repairs completed before you know the full extent of the damage resulting from the accident. Your attorney will help you keep track of all expenses as you build your case. Once treatment is completed, your attorney will send a demand letter to the at-fault party, and negotiations will begin.
A Team of Truck Accident Professionals Assigned to Your Case
For nearly 30 years, The Advocates have been helping victims navigate their truck accident cases, and we are ready to do the same for you. We are a capable, compassionate legal team who make it our mission to help our clients with all aspects of their recovery, not just negotiation and litigation. In addition to providing legal representation, The Advocates are prepared to help you:
- Access necessary medical treatment
- Find body shops in your area for vehicle repairs
- Get a rental car
- Keep track of expenses and paperwork related to your accident
Why Do You Need a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Truck accident victims often have more losses than victims of other accidents. While any car accident can lead to serious injury and vehicle damage, the size of commercial vehicles makes them especially dangerous. A settlement from the at-fault party can help compensate you for your losses.
You can always try and settle on your own, however, the other party’s insurance company will not make it easy for you. They may try to diminish the severity of your injuries, or deny all liability in the accident. Fighting with insurance companies can be stressful, especially during your physical recovery.
A personal injury attorney can take stress off of your plate by being your voice in the legal process. Studies have shown that accident victims who hire an attorney for their case can receive a settlement 3.5 times larger than if they had settled on their own.
An attorney with The Advocates personal injury law firm can take over the most difficult parts of the claims process, so you can focus on feeling better.
What Damages Can You Seek After a Truck Accident?
After an accident, there are a variety of economic and non-economic damages that you can recover in a settlement. The damages you can seek will depend on the nature of your accident and the losses you incurred as a result. Below are some common expenses and losses victims seek compensation for after a truck crash.
Any medical treatment you require after your accident will be billed to you and your health insurance. From ambulance rides and hospital stays to physical therapy and chiropractor visits, your physical recovery after a truck accident will likely be expensive. Your settlement can help reimburse you and your insurance provider for the medical bills you paid during your treatment.
Common truck accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Lacerations and bruising
A collision with a commercial truck is likely to leave your vehicle with significant damage. You may seek compensation for the repairs your car needs after the accident. If your car is totaled, you may receive reimbursement for the current market value of the vehicle.
Lost wages and loss of future earnings
If your injuries have left you unable to work, either permanently or temporarily, you may be entitled to compensation for the wages you have lost, as well as the loss of potential earnings in the future.
Pain and suffering
Not all accident-related losses are economic. Physical pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and other trauma can be included in settlements.
Every personal injury case is different. Your attorney will evaluate your circumstances and help you determine what damages you can seek after your accident.
Trucking Laws in Arizona
In order to keep everyone on the road safe, large trucks operate under different laws than regular motor vehicles. Below are some common questions regarding laws that truckers in Arizona must abide by while driving.
What is required to obtain a CDL?
Truck drivers must be at least 18 years old to hold a Commercial Driver’s License and operate a commercial vehicle in Arizona. In order to drive the truck across state lines, carry hazardous materials, or transport passengers, the driver must be at least 21 years old.
To obtain an Arizona CDL, a potential truck driver must prove residency within the state, speak and read English, and pass a set of written exams.
What condition must a truck be in to drive?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the driver of a tractor-trailer must make sure that his or her truck is in good working order at all times.
“Good working order” means the truck must have properly functioning brakes, steering devices, lights, tires, mirrors, wipers, and horn. If any of these components of the truck are not working correctly or are in poor condition, the truck may not be driven until the issue has been fixed. A failure of any one of these pieces of equipment can cause a major safety hazard for the trucker and others on the road.
How large can a commercial truck be?
Legal trucking loads in Arizona are as follows:
- Length: 65 feet
- Width: 8 feet, 6 inches
- Height: 14 feet
- Weight: 80,000 lbs
Heavy loads require a permit from ADOT, and still must fall under certain size regulations:
- Length: 120 feet
- Width: 14 feet
- Height: 16 feet
- Weight: 250,000 lbs
Anything over these sizes require a Class C permit, and may require one or more escorts.
Can truckers in Arizona use the left lane?
For all drivers, the left lane on Arizona highways is reserved for passing. Truck drivers must consider several factors before entering the left lane.
In most cases, semi-trucks are moving at slower speeds than other motorists on a highway, and therefore will not have as great a need for the left lane. In some places, the highway is three lanes or more, and it is unlikely the trucker will need to use the leftmost lane to pass.
If a truck (or any other vehicle) is traveling in the left lane without passing, they may be cited and required to pay a $250 fine. Officers are especially vigilant about catching violators of this law on busy corridors, such as I-17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff or I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson.
Although there is no state law prohibiting trucks from using the passing lane, Arizona allows municipalities to create their own laws regarding the issue. Some cities have passed ordinances that ban any vehicle over 26,000 lbs or trailers weighing more than 6,000 lbs from the left lane.
What is the speed limit for semi-trucks in Arizona?
Arizona law states that vehicles over 26,000 lbs and those carrying trailers over 6,000 lbs may not travel faster than 65 miles per hour on a highway.
Truck Accident Claims and Time Limits
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, it is best to call an attorney sooner rather than later. All states have a statute of limitations on both criminal and civil matters. The statute of limitations refers to the length of time a plaintiff has to file a claim before they lose their right of action. In Arizona, the statute of limitations for auto accidents is typically two years.
The longer you wait to begin your case, the harder it may be to receive damages. As time goes on, evidence may be lost or forgotten. An eyewitness may forget what they saw, or video footage from a nearby business may be erased. The more quickly you are able to compile evidence, get treated for your injuries, and speak with an attorney, the easier it will be to file a claim.
How Many Hours Are Truckers Allowed to Work?
Truckers are subject to a federal law known as the hours of service rule. This rule states that a truck driver may only operate their vehicle for a maximum of 11 consecutive hours after 10 hours off-duty. The longest amount of time a trucker may be on-duty (driving or not) is 14 hours.
The only exception to this rule is in the case of adverse driving conditions, when traffic may be going slower than usual. Additionally, truck drivers are required to take a 30-minute break every 8 hours.
These laws are in place to prevent driver fatigue, which can be a major safety hazard. It is common in the trucking industry for drivers to be paid by the mile, which means they are motivated to keep driving, even if they may be feeling tired. If the driver of a big rig falls asleep behind the wheel, it could mean disaster for everyone around them on the road.
Truck Accident Facts
What are common causes of truck accidents?
According to the FMCSA, around 33% of fatal truck accidents are caused by truck drivers. When truckers cause an accident, the most common factors are speeding and distracted driving. Other common driver-related factors include driver fatigue, impaired driving, and road rage.
When it comes to fatal accidents that are not caused by truckers, around 70% are caused by another vehicle, person, animal, or object entering the semi-truck’s lane. Tractor-trailers have a much harder time maneuvering around unexpected changes to the roadway, and therefore are more likely to crash when they appear.
Faulty or worn-out tires are the most common vehicle-related factor in truck accidents.
Where do truck accidents often occur?
Most fatal crashes involving commercial trucks happen on rural roads and interstate highways. Around 50% of fatal crashes occur in rural areas.
Most truck accidents occur during the daytime on weekdays (Monday-Friday), although around 35% happen between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am.
The large majority of accidents occur on clear days. Cloudy or rainy conditions account for around 22% of fatal crashes each year.
How many truck accidents occur in Arizona each year?
According to ADOT, more than 2,500 truck accidents happen in Arizona every year. This is a small percentage of the more than 100,000 vehicle accidents that happen on Arizona roads annually, but they account for more injuries and deaths than other auto accidents. Around 10% of truck accidents are fatal. Less than 1% of passenger vehicle accidents are fatal.
Passenger car drivers are far more likely to be injured or killed in a truck accident than the driver of the truck. It is critical that motorists are aware of their surroundings at all times when driving, but especially when around a commercial vehicle. Paying attention and practicing defensive driving are the best ways to remain safe on the road.