Weighing as much as 62,500 kg, semi-trucks barrel down highways throughout Nova Scotia as they haul freight from ports and make deliveries across the province. Due to their immense size, commercial trucks cause some of the most devastating accidents on our highways.
Trucking accidents often cause serious injuries, and sometimes even death – especially for the occupants of smaller vehicles involved in the accident. The losses of a truck accident victim can extend far beyond physical injuries. Accident victims often suffer emotional distress, decreased earning potential, loss of enjoyment of life, and many other problems.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident due to another driver’s negligent or reckless behavior, the experienced truck accident lawyers of Valent Legal are here to help you recover the compensation you are legally entitled to.
Although no amount of money could ever truly make up for what you have suffered, a financial settlement ensures that you are able to pay for your treatment needs and take time off from work to heal, without worrying about your family’s finances. To find out what our lawyers can do for you, contact our Halifax office today for a free truck accident claim review and discussion about your legal options.
Why Are Truck Accident Cases More Complicated?
Truck accident claims are often much more complicated than accidents involving only cars for reasons such as:
- Severity of injuries. People who are involved in truck accidents are at higher risk of suffering severe or fatal injuries than those who are involved in accidents that involve only passenger cars, SUVs, or pickups. The more serious the injury, the more complex the recovery is likely to be. The reason for this is twofold. First, when a serious injury is sustained, the injured person often seeks compensation for future losses that can be hard to calculate – for example, future anticipated medical expenses, or lost earning capacity. Second, the more money that is at stake, the harder insurance companies and defendants will fight to avoid payment or minimize what they have to payout.
- Proving fault. Proving fault in a truck accident case generally requires the plaintiff’s lawyers to conduct a significant amount of investigative work in order to build their case. For example, it can take quite a lot of investigative work to show that a truck was improperly loaded, that its brakes were not properly maintained, or that its driver was overworked or fatigued.
- Multiple potential sources for recovery. Truck accident injury lawsuits often name more than one defendant. This fact alone makes these cases much more complex, legally speaking, than an ordinary auto accident in which only one defendant is likely to be named. The reason that multiple defendants are often named in truck accident injury cases is discussed in the following section.
Determining Truck Accident Liability in Nova Scotia
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, a person injured in a truck accident may be able to hold any of the following parties liable in a court of law:
- The truck driver. All drivers, both private and commercial, are legally obligated to drive in a safe and responsible manner. However, commercial drivers (such as truck drivers) are often held to an even higher standard of care, given that they are professional drivers. Therefore, if the trucker’s reckless or negligent behavior caused the accident that injured you, then you may be able to hold the trucker liable for your injuries.
- The trucking company. The trucking company that employed the truck driver at the time of the accident can often be held liable for the negligent or reckless actions of their employee if that employee was working within their scope of employment at the time of the accident. In some cases, a trucking company may be liable for hiring or continuing to employ a driver with an unsafe record, or for requiring a trucker to keep driving past the point of exhaustion, for example.
- The owner of the truck and trailer. In some situations, the truck and trailer are owned by different individuals or companies. If the equipment has not been properly maintained, for example, the owner could be held responsible for the accident.
- The owner of the cargo. A cargo owner might be liable in a truck accident, particularly when the cargo was hazardous and not properly secured.
- The cargo loading company. If a separate cargo loading company improperly loaded the truck, and as a result, the truck crashed, the cargo loading company could be held legally liable for any resulting injuries.
- The truck manufacturer. A manufacturer could be held liable if a defective part is found to have been responsible for causing the accident or for making injuries worse than they otherwise would have been.
Evidence We May Use in a Truck Accident Case
In the aftermath of a truck accident, an injured individual is faced with the task of gathering evidence proving both the cause of the accident and the extent of their injuries. In order to accomplish this task, the Halifax truck accident lawyers at Valent Legal can launch an investigation to gather as much pertinent evidence as possible.
Evidence frequently used in truck accident injury cases may include the following:
- Police reports
- Cell phone records
- The trucking company’s compliance history
- Medical bills
- Data from the truck’s “black box” electronic data recorder
- Documentation about the cargo
- The trucker’s driving record
- Truck inspection reports
- The trucker’s qualifications
- Photos of the accident scene
- Photos of any resulting injuries
- The measurements of any skid or gouge marks left on the road
- Company driver logs
Compensation in a Semi-Truck Accident Claim
To a large degree, the amount of compensation that an injured individual can recover after a truck accident depends on the extent of the losses they have incurred as a result of their injuries. The amount of insurance coverage available also frequently plays a role.
The compensation (legally known as damages) that a truck accident victim in Nova Scotia is awarded often includes compensation for the following losses:
- Cost of future care
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Loss of valuable services
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Out of pocket expenses
When a family files a wrongful death lawsuit because they lost a loved one in a truck accident, they are often able to recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses for the deceased before their passing
- Funeral expenses
- Fees paid for grief counseling
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Nova Scotia
The truck accident lawyers at Valent Legal have unfortunately seen many examples of how truck accident injury cases are handled. We have seen time and time again, the following common causes of truck accidents in Nova Scotia:
- Fatigue. Truckers are often expected to meet nearly impossible deadlines and, as a result, they often drive while overly fatigued. Driving while extremely tired can be very dangerous, as tired drivers tend to have much slower reaction times and run the risk of dozing off while behind the wheel.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, far too many truck accidents are caused by drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Trucking across the country all alone can be very isolating, and this challenging lifestyle sometimes leads drivers to indulge in drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism while on the clock. Truckers may also abuse legal drugs in an effort to stay awake.
- Distracted driving. Long road trips can be boring, and this boredom sometimes causes truck drivers to keep themselves entertained in unsafe ways. Distracted driving is any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the road. It can be something as simple as changing the radio station or something as obviously dangerous as watching a video. Like all drivers, truckers face distractions from cell phones and other technology.
- Speeding. Since truckers are often on tight schedules, it can make speeding seem like an attractive option. However, trucks are massive and need a significant distance to come to a full stop, a distance made even greater when they are speeding. Excess speed coupled with the weight of a tractor-trailer can cause serious damage when an impact occurs.
- Unsafe lane changes. Most trucks have huge blind spots, some of which are so large that entire cars can be hidden in them. Because of these blind spots, truck drivers who make unsafe lane changes can easily cause accidents.
- Tailgating. Following too closely behind the vehicle in front of you is a common cause of rear-end collisions. Tailgating accidents can be particularly dangerous when a truck is involved, as their massive size can wreak havoc on smaller vehicles.
- Improperly loaded trucks. When a truck is improperly loaded, its cargo can shift. This can cause the truck to swerve or even topple over. Improperly loaded cargo can fall off the truck and strike cars, even if they are a safe distance behind the truck.
- Delayed truck maintenance. Trucks that are not timely and properly maintained can malfunction and cause accidents. This is particularly true of a truck’s brakes.
- Poorly trained drivers. Safely operating a long-haul truck is serious business. If a driver is not properly trained before taking to the road, their inexperience could cause an accident.
Catastrophic Injuries Caused by Truck Accidents
Truck accidents are frequently devastating and often cause much more extensive damage than ordinary motor vehicle accidents.
Some catastrophic injuries that are often caused by truck accidents include:
- Crush injuries. These injuries occur when excessive pressure or force is applied to a body part. Truck accidents often cause crush injuries, especially when a semi-truck rear ends or broadsides a smaller vehicle.
- Traumatic brain injuries. TBIs most frequently occur when the head strikes another object. TBIs can also occur when the brain strikes the inside of the skull. Both situations often occur during truck accidents.
- Lacerations. Lacerations caused by shattered glass or jagged metal can be extremely serious and frequently occur in truck accidents.
- Spinal injuries and paralysis. The trauma endured during a truck accident can cause a victim’s spinal cord to stretch or be severed. This type of spinal injury can cause permanent paralysis.
- Wrongful death. Truck accidents are more likely to cause fatalities than other types of accidents on the road.
How Our Semi-Truck Accident Lawyers in Halifax, NS Can Help
Truck accidents differ from car accidents in a number of important ways that make them much more legally complex. This is why it is critical that anyone who has been seriously injured in a truck accident retains the services of an experienced truck accident lawyer immediately.
At Valent Legal, our lawyers handle many truck accident injury cases. We know what it takes to secure full compensation for accident victims.
When a truck accident victim reaches out to us, we first review their case during a free initial consultation. During this meeting, we listen to the story of what happened, discuss legal options with the clients, and give advice about the best legal course of action.
If the client decides to retain our services, our legal team gets the right to work gathering evidence and building a case. We will negotiate with the at-fault party or parties, as well as their insurance providers, and advocate for our client’s best interests. If a favorable settlement cannot be reached outside the courtroom, then we will put our firm’s extensive litigation experience to work in front of a judge.
Talk a Nova Scotia Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Interested in filing a truck accident claim, but unsure if you have a case? The knowledgeable Nova Scotia truck accident lawyers at Valent Legal would be happy to review your claim and discuss the most beneficial course of action given your unique circumstances.
Our firm works on a contingency-fee-basis. This means you won’t owe us anything for our services unless and until we recover compensation for you. Contact us now for a free case discussion. Our lawyers are easy to talk to and ready to hear about your situation.