If you are involved in a truck accident, you want to know who the liable parties are. When a trailer hits you while driving on Nevada roads or as a pedestrian, the damage could be substantial because of the large truck’s impact. You want to hire a lawyer with knowledge of liability in trucking accidents to understand the truck accident cause. The financial damages and injuries you sustain following a truck accident need medical treatment.
Pursuing damages from the responsible party is complicated. However, a lawyer from Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm can help you with your claim. Our lawyers have extensive experience and understand the common causes of truck accidents. Additionally, we understand the relationship between the various entities in the truck to determine the validity of your case.
Liable Parties in Truck Accidents
The state of Nevada is a fault state. This means the party liable or responsible for an accident takes responsibility for the damages that arise. When you get hit by a truck, establishing liability may be challenging without an attorney representing you. Although you can still pursue your losses on your own, the complications because of the many parties involved may cause challenges. Additionally, the insurance company’s lawyers for the truck or driver can frustrate you owing to your vulnerability.
When it comes to trucks, there are multiple players involved, who might be liable for your damages. In establishing the party responsible, the cause of the accident must be established first. Some of these players include:
The Truck Driver
Truck drivers like other commercial vehicle drivers are held in high regard in Nevada. With this regard, truck drivers are issued with special licenses by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Drivers are supposed to exercise extra caution on the roads to avoid accidents, resulting in severe injuries and fatalities. A truck driver can be liable for the damages you incur if they hit you. Drivers must hold insurance coverage to pay for costs when they are found responsible for accidents.
There are many ways a truck driver can be found liable for your accident. Some of these include:
- Drunk or intoxicated driving – It is against the law for motorists, including truck drivers to operate their vehicles intoxicated by drugs or alcohol in Nevada. If a truck hits you, causing an accident, the police are deployed to the accident scene to manage it and determine the cause of the accident. One of the things police lookout for is the impairment of the drivers involved. The police will subject you and the truck driver that hit you to intoxication testing to eliminate alcohol or drugs as the cause of the accident or determine if they are. If it is established the truck driver was impaired, and their impairment caused the accident, they are held accountable for the damages.
- Reckless driving – A truck driver can also operate their trucks recklessly. In this case, reckless behavior may involve disregarding traffic rules, speeding, or using their phone while driving. Reckless conduct is, in most cases, the result of negligent driving. While pursuing your damages, your lawyer will have to show the truck driver was negligent. This happens through showing the truck driver owed you a duty of care, which they violated, and the violation resulted in an accident that caused your damages.
- Driver error – Truck drivers also make mistakes on the road that would result in them hitting you. An inexperienced driver and experienced ones can miscalculate their position and size while navigating at certain places or on the highway and causing an accident.
Trailer or Truck Owner
Owners of a trailer or truck can also be held accountable for damages caused by their truck if it hits you. The owner of the truck company has a responsibility to keep their trucks and trailers in roadworthy conditions. There are set guidelines for maintaining a truck in good condition to avoid breaking down on the road and causing accidents. For instance, if a company or a person buys a vehicle in excellent condition, they have a responsibility to keep it in that same condition.
Some truck companies or owners cut corners and avoid the regular maintenance of their trucks resulting in its malfunction or malfunctioning of some parts. If the truck brakes fail due to poor maintenance and hit you, the truck owner is held liable for your damages.
The Company or Person Leasing the Truck
As earlier stated, the truck business has multiple players making pursuing damages more complex. Most companies or people that use trucks to transport their wares hire them from their owners. Some people have invested in buying trucks and leasing them to those that want them. Leasing differs from one company to another, and it depends on the nature of the job the lessee wants.
Some entities lease trucks on short terms while others on a long term basis. The lessor and lessee’s responsibility are outlined in the lease contract, making it easier to know the party responsible for your accident. However, many people may not understand the mode of the truck business. When an accident occurs, it becomes frustrating to pursue your claims. Fortunately, an experienced attorney can make the process easier because they understand the roles played by various players and can interpret contracts.
The Truck or Part Manufacturer
When a truck is manufactured and released to the market, it is expected to be in excellent condition. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The design and engineering of the truck can be the reason for the truck hitting you. Establishing the cause of the accident in such a situation is complicated, but with an experienced lawyer working with experts, it becomes easier.
Parts of the truck like the tires or brakes can be faulty and cause the accident. If this is established, the party responsible for the accident becomes the manufacturer of the truck or parts.
The Loader or Shipper of the Cargo
Trucks are typically for carrying wares or cargo from one location to another. Loading of the trucks is technical, and how it is loaded can be the cause of an accident. If the cargo carried is not balanced in the vehicle, it can cause the driver to lose control of the truck because the weight is not evenly distributed. Additionally, the volume of the cargo loaded matters. Overloading a truck or trailer can result in accidents. If a truck hits you and it is established that the accident’s cause was the improper loading of cargo or overload, the loader or shipper is liable for the accident. This means you will pursue your claim from the insurance provider for the loader or from the loader directly.
Earlier, we stated that not all truck accidents result from a driver error or negligence by any truck players. In some cases, a state agency can be held accountable for damages when a truck hits you. In Nevada, establishing the cause of an accident is crucial in determining the party responsible for your losses. The state has the mandate to ensure an excellent road network that maximizes the safety of road users. A truck can hit a pothole on the road and lose control and hit you. If the pothole were not there, the truck would not have caused the accident.
In such a case, you cannot blame the truck driver, trucking company, truck owner, or the loader or owner of the cargo. The state agency responsible for road maintenance and ensuring the roads are in excellent condition, are well marked and designed can be held accountable for your losses.
What You Should do to Help Establish the Liable Parties in Truck Accidents
Finding yourself in an accident is traumatic, shocking, and can result in you not thinking clearly. However, as a victim of the accident, you must take various steps following the crash that go into helping you with your claim. The things that you do immediately following the crash can also help determine the party responsible for the accident. Some of the things you are required to do are:
- If you are hit by a truck, you must stop and exchange your contacts and insurance details with the truck driver. This is important because you will know where to pursue your claims, and the other party can also claim you were entirely responsible or partially accountable for the accident.
- Another crucial thing to do is to assist any other person in the crash that got injured. The truck driver, conductor, your passengers, or pedestrians that may have been a victim must also be assisted.
- Calling for help is critical following an accident. Because of the size of a truck, among other factors, the accident may have caused significant injuries, even fatality in some cases. Calling the emergency personnel to report the accident and ask for assistance for yourself and others injured is crucial.
- As you wait for help, you can gather evidence from the accident to help with your claim and establish the party liable for it. If you can, take pictures of the accident, the vehicles involved, the surroundings, and the people involved. These pictures should be taken from various angles because they assist in piecing together the cause of the accident and the party liable.
- Reporting the accident to the police is also a requirement in Nevada, especially when injuries are sustained or a person gets killed. The police arriving at the scene will carry out their investigation into the reason for the accident and produce a report. One of the crucial documents while pursuing your claims is the police report. Insurance providers highly depend on the police report to determine if to pay or deny your request.
Comparative Negligence Rule in Nevada
Nevada being a fault state means that the entity responsible for your accident pays for your damages. If you get hit by a truck, you may feel one of the players discussed above is liable for your costs. With your attorney’s help, you can pursue a claim to get compensated for your damages from their insurance provider. The insurance provider on receiving your demand can accept it and pay you the amount asked, offer a lesser amount or deny your claim entirely.
If you and your lawyer are dissatisfied with the insurance company’s response, you can move to court to seek your expenses. Unfortunately, the other party may claim you are also to blame for the accident. In this case, the court allows both sides to present their arguments before a jury. At the end of the presentations, the jury will decide if the fault is shared and to what degree.
The state of Nevada adheres to the modified comparative negligence rule. This means, if you were partially responsible for the accident, you could still recover damages. However, the recoverable damages depend on the degree of your blame. If your degree of fault is more than that of the other party, you will not recover damages. The party sharing the most significant percentage of blame pays the other party to the level of their responsibility in the accident.
Statute of Limitations while Seeking Damages from Liable Parties in Truck Accidents
Even when you are sure the other party in a truck business is responsible for your damages following an accident, you can lose your right to sue them if you do not do it within the legally stipulated time. The state has put up a law known as the statute of limitations that puts a strict timeline on when you can sue the other party for damages. However, this limitation does not apply to your insurance claim, meaning you can still pursue your application through the insurance provider even when the time to file a lawsuit lapse.
There are different statutes of limitations that can apply to you following an accident with a truck in Nevada. If you got injured or a person died when the trailer hit you, you have two years to file your lawsuit for damages from the date the accident occurred. If the two years lapse before you file a lawsuit, you can still seek your costs directly from the party liable or their insurance provider.
If following the accident, your vehicle was severely damaged or the truck hit and damaged your property, you have three years to petition the court for your damages. If this time expires, you cannot bring a lawsuit against the liable party, but have an out of court settlement for the costs.
Avoiding Liability by Trucking Companies
With the many players in a trucking business, many trucking companies have avoided liability in the past. These companies do this by distancing themselves from the drivers, the truck, or the equipment. One of the common questions is how this is possible, but this is how they do it:
A trucking company will ensure to obtain the required permits by the law to operate a truck. Despite having the licenses, the company does not own the truck in most cases or the equipment used in loading the cargo. Instead, the company rents the trailers, tractors, equipment, and truck from its owner or operator.
Further, the truck owner’s owner is issued a placard with the name of the leasing company and the number for its permit. The truck owner then places the poster on the truck’s door, making it look like it belongs to the trucking company whose name appears on the placard. This also makes it seem like the truck driver is also an employee of the company, which is not the case in many instances.
If you get hit by this truck and sue the trucking company for damages, the company can argue:
- The equipment or vehicle does not belong to them making them not responsible for its inspections, maintenance or repair
- The truck driver was not their employee, and if the accident was as a result of an error by the driver, the company is not liable for the damages
With this kind of argument, it would be difficult for you to receive damages when a truck hits you. Fortunately, the federal government has put an end to this type of argument by redefining the law and the regulations governing trucking business. The revised statute indicates that a company owning a permit for trucking business is responsible for damages incurred when the truck causes an accident, and their name is on the truck.
When you get hit by a truck, the entity responsible for your losses is the one whose name or placard appears on the truck. The argument that the lease agreement between the truck owner and the company absorbs it from blame is no longer acceptable. Equally, if the accident was because of an error by the driver, the company is still responsible for the damages even when the driver is an independent contractor.
Compensable Damages from Liable Parties in Truck Accidents
When you get hit by a truck or a loved one is, you are likely to incur many expenses. Fortunately, you can seek compensation for your costs from the truck company or their insurance provider or any party found to be liable for the accident.
Your attorney experienced in personal injury law will raise a claim for the damages incurred with the truck company or their insurance provider. As earlier stated, if an out of court settlement is not achievable, you can sue to receive damages as long as you adhere to the statute of limitations. Some of the costs you can seek, or your loved ones can follow an accident by a truck:
- Medical costs – Trucks are large vehicles, and any accident caused by them can result in significant injuries. Most of these injuries require treatment and, in some cases, extended medical care and rehabilitation. The cost of seeking treatment for the injuries currently and in the future is compensable under the law. Your lawyer, while presenting your claim, must include a comprehensive medical report that outlines your injuries, their treatment, and the cost of the procedure.
- Lost income – Recovering from the injuries can take some time, depending on their severity. The time you take off your work to focus on recovery will cost you earnings. The lost income during the period of recovery is compensable under the law.
- Lost earning ability – Some injuries sustained following a truck accident can be substantial, leaving you unable to earn a living. If the truck that hit you left you with incapacitating injuries, you could not support yourself financially. The lost capacity to earn a living was compensable damage in Nevada when the negligence of another party caused it.
- Lost body parts – As earlier stated, most truck accidents cause catastrophic injuries, with some of them being amputations or lost limbs. If you lose your limb or use it because of a collision with a truck, you can seek damages for your loss.
- Property damage – In most cases, the property involved in a traffic accident is vehicles. If a truck hits your car, you can seek damages for its repair or replacement. Equally, if the truck hits your building or other property, the cost of damage caused is compensable under the law.
- Pain and suffering – Injuries will cause you a lot of pain, inconveniences, and suffering. Although the cost of this is not quantifiable, it is compensable, depending on the severity of the injuries you sustain.
- Wrongful death – The impact following a truck accident can result in your death or that of a loved one. If your relative dies following a collision with a truck, you can receive compensation for their wrongful death.
- Funeral and burial costs – The cost of burying a loved one who died due to an accident with a truck is compensable. Presenting the invoice for the charges as part of your claim will see you receive the costs back.
Find a Truck Accident Lawyer Near Me
A truck accident is devastating to the victims. Although you can receive damages, you incur as a result of an accident, when you are hit by a truck, seeking damages can be complicated. However, with an experienced attorney, you could know the liable party and fight for your deserved compensation.
At Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm, we understand the various issues around truck accidents and the complications in recovering damages. We have helped many victims recover their losses, and we can help you as well. Call us for an appointment at 702-996-1224, and we will gladly discuss your case.