In the majority of car accidents, there are usually two parties involved, the at-fault driver who caused the crash and the other driver who is the victim. If the victim is injured and suffers damages because of those injuries, Virginia law allows them to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company for financial compensation for both the economic and non-economic losses their injuries have caused (i.e. medical expenses, lost wage, pain, and suffering). If the insurance company refuses to negotiate a fair settlement with the victim’s Virginia personal injury attorney, the attorney can file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court and a jury will decide what amount the victim should receive.
But when it comes to accidents involving commercial trucks, the cases are often much more complex. The following is a brief overview of these differences. A truck accident attorney can provide more details and legal options based on the circumstances of your case.
Although Virginia has set a statute of limitations of two years for how long a victim has to file an accident claim, filing a claim in a truck accident immediately is often critical to the success of the claim. This is because there is often evidence a truck accident attorney will use – such as truck driver logs, vehicle maintenance records, etc. – that could be lost or destroyed following the crash.
One of the major differences between the two types of crashes is that the trucking industry is under the oversight of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This federal agency is in charge of setting rules and regulations that all companies are required to follow. When a trucking company – either through their driver or corporate action – fails to follow any of the standards the FMCSA sets and the result is a truck accident, the stronger a victim’s case is in proving liability for the crash. It is important to keep in mind, however, that when dealing with these regulations, it is crucial to have a truck accident attorney who is well versed in federal trucking regulations handling your case. An attorney who is unfamiliar with these rules may be unaware of critical information that could help or hinder your case.
Truck Driver Licensing Requirements
Another difference between truck and other types of vehicle accidents is that truck drivers are required to obtain a commercial driver’s license, also referred to as a CDL. There are also stringent rules associated with a CDL, including training requirements, random drug testing, and drivers must have physical exams on a regular basis to make sure they are not suffering from any medical conditions which could interfere with the safe operation of their vehicles. This licensing higher standard means that any infraction – such as one which causes a truck accident – could lead to a CDL suspension or revocation.
Multiple Parties with Liability
There is usually more than one at-fault party named in truck accident cases. This can include the truck driver, trucking company, the freight company who loaded the cargo being transported, the company responsible for truck maintenance, or a truck part manufacturing company. Your Virginia truck accident attorney will investigate your case and make the determination of who should be named in your truck accident injury claim or lawsuit.
Contact a Virginia Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, contact a Virginia truck accident attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have against the responsible party or parties. At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, our legal team has successfully advocated for many truck accident victims and their families, and we understand how complex these cases can be. Our attorneys are available to meet and discuss the details of your case and how we may be able to help.
For more information about truck accidents in Virginia, please download our free guide.