In the state of Arizona, and throughout the United States, truck accidents are not only among the most common personal injury incidents (giving rise to a lawsuit), but are also among the most dangerous. Plaintiffs involved in a truck accident may suffer from severe injuries, such as paralysis, brain damage, decapitation, and other trauma, or even death. A quick scan of the statistics reveals the inherent dangerousness of truck accident incidents. In a 2015 study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were approximately 3,598 fatal crashes and 83,000 injury-causing crashes linked to large truck accidents in the United States.
If you have been injured in a truck accident due to the fault of another, Arizona law may entitle you to compensation for your various injuries. Truck accidents — particularly those involving employers and third-party defendants — can be rather challenging to litigate. To improve your prospects, it’s important that you work with an experienced Phoenix truck accident lawyer who has a proven track record. Call (602) 535-1900 today to setup a free initial consultation with one of the skilled attorneys here at Hirsch & Lyon.
Don’t Wait to Pursue Your Claim
If you do not file your lawsuit in a timely manner, you will no longer be eligible to sue and recover damages in a court of law. As such, it’s critical that you seek the consultation of a truck accident attorney soon after your injury so that your claims can be fully assessed and your lawsuit filed before the statutory deadline.
Hirsch & Lyon has helped thousands of truck accident victims in Phoenix and throughout Arizona get the compensation they deserve. Our attorneys handle crashes involving:
- Rear-End Collisions
- Head-On Collisions
- Unsafe Lane Changes
- 18-Wheeler Accidents
- T-Bone or Intersection Accidents
- Fatigue Log Book Irregularities
Once you have consulted with an attorney and your case is taken on, your attorney will investigate the facts (sometimes in conjunction with a professional investigator) and determine potential indications of negligence.
Negligence Leading to Truck Accidents
Large trucks and buses are uniquely dangerous in the accident context, thanks to a number of different factors: a) trucks tend to be heavier than other vehicles, so the impact force is more substantial and can cause more damage to others; b) trucks require a longer distance than smaller vehicles to come to a complete stop, and this difference is further compounded in poor weather conditions; and c) trucks may be improperly loaded, thus leading to a serious rollover risk.
Negligence that may lead to a truck accident includes, but is not necessarily limited, to:
- Failure to drive cautiously given the circumstances of the road
- Failure to adapt driving to poor weather conditions
- Excessive speeding, particularly when turning
- Failure to properly maintain truck (brakes, engine, etc.)
- Failure to load cargo in a safe configuration so as to minimize rollover risk
- Driver under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
- Driving while fatigued
- Violations of federal and state regulation pertaining to truck driver scheduling and maintenance requirements
- Failure to adhere to road signals
- And more
Negligence in the truck accident context can be quite varied, depending on the particular circumstances of the case.
Vicarious Liability in Arizona
In Arizona, as in many other states, employers can be held vicariously liable for the negligence of their employees, so long as the negligent employee committed the acts at-issue within the course and scope of their employment. Vicarious liability can be a bit confusing, so let’s take a look at how it works in the truck accident context.
For example, suppose that you are injured in a truck accident by a commercial trailer truck. The driver negligent at the time of the accident (fatigued, speeding, and disobeying road rules), and as a consequence of this negligence, you were injured. Not only can you hold the truck driver liable for your damages, but Arizona law would also entitle you to sue and recover damages from the employer. You will have to show, however, that the truck driver was acting within the course and scope of their employment at the time of the accident (i.e., by delivering goods in accordance with their job duties).
Vicarious liability is particularly useful in situations where the truck driver defendant does not have the insurance coverage or funds necessary to pay out your total damages. If you have racked up over $1M in total damages, for instance, you may find it easier to get your payout from the employer than from the employee truck driver.
Employers may also be separately liable for their own negligence. For example, imagine that you are injured by a truck driver who was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Further investigation reveals that the driver had a history of alcoholism and drunk driving incidents on their driving record. The employer could therefore be held independently liable for negligently hiring the driver and failing to properly supervise the driver, given the history of alcoholism and drunk driving.
Consult with a Qualified Truck Accident Attorney
Hirsch & Lyon is a firm located in Phoenix, AZ that primarily serves clients in car, truck, and motorcycle accident cases. Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have over six decades of combined experience obtaining successful results for our injury clients, with the track record to prove it — over the years, we have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients.
Unlike many other injury law firms, we are available 24/7 for our clients. If you have any questions or concerns about your case, feel free to call in and speak with one of our staff members. Additionally, we offer our services at a discounted rate. As such, if you litigate a case with us, you are not only benefiting from best-in-class legal advocacy, but the discounted rate means that you take home a larger amount from the total damages award.
To schedule a free consultation with a Phoenix truck accident lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon, call (602) 535-1900 today. We look forward to speaking with you.
Phoenix Truck Accident FAQs
Q: I was speeding at the time of the accident. Can I still recover damages?
A: Yes. First, even if you were speeding, the fact that you were speeding did not necessarily contribute to your injuries. Only if your negligence contributed to your injuries will it affect your ability to recover. Second, Arizona is a pure comparative negligence state. What this means is that you are entitled to recover damages even if you are mostly at-fault for your injuries. For example, if you are deemed 60% at-fault for your injuries, you will still be able to recover 40% of your total damages.
Q: Do punitive damages apply to my case?
A: It depends on the circumstances. Punitive damages are rather uncommon in civil injury lawsuits. Generally speaking, the court will only award punitive damages in cases where the defendant’s conduct is particularly egregious or malicious in nature, as punitive damages are not intended to compensate the injured, but are intended to “punish” the defendant and discourage others from the same type of conduct. For example, if you are involved in truck accident with a driver whose employer was violating federal commercial trucking regulations and requiring that their drivers work extended hours (thus leading to dangerous fatigue levels), then a court may find such behavior egregious enough to justify an award of punitive damages.
Q: What damages can I claim?
A: In a truck accident lawsuit, you can claim a variety of damages for losses that include, but are not necessarily limited, to:
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Wage loss (past and future)
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Property damage
- And more
Q: My insurer has offered to settle — what should I do?
A: In most cases, you should avoid settling with an insurer unless you have consulted with a qualified Phoenix attorney first. Insurance companies are in the business of minimizing their liabilities. Without the aid of a truck accident lawyer, the insurance company will manipulate the situation to their advantage and coax you into a premature settlement that does not take into account their actual liabilities.