(844) 815-9632

dump truck

Truck Accident Damages: How Much Can You Collect?

People often wonder how much they can get in truck accident damages. Every case is different, so there is no "one size fits all" approach to calculating damages in truck accident cases. To determine your specific damages award, courts will examine a variety of factors. Here are seven factors that can potentially shape the amount you can collect in a truck accident case: Medical bills. Arguably the most important of award considerations, a court will take into account bills and expenses for medical services such as doctors, hospital stays, emergency room treatment, ambulance fees, physical therapy, accessories (such as crutches), and in-home services. A plaintiff must show that the expenses resulted from his or her truck accident injury. Property damage. A court may factor in the extent of damage caused to your car and other property. Keep in mind that you will often need photographs or other types of evidence to prove of the extent of damage to your vehicle. Lost wages. These damages represent the amount of money a plaintiff would have earned from the time of the injury to the date of settlement or judgment. The court might also consider lost future earning capacity from the injury, depending on age, occupation, and other factors. Pain and suffering. In some cases, a court will award damages for past, present, and future physical pain in connection with an accident or injury. To place a monetary value on pain and suffering, a court considers a variety of factors. Emotional distress. A court might consider emotional distress associated with a truck accident or injury, depending on many factors, including intensity, duration, related bodily harm, and underlying cause. Punitive damages. In particularly egregious cases, you may also be able to seek punitive damages, which are meant to punish a malicious defendant. Comparative/contributory negligence laws. The degree of your own fault can impact how much you collect in truck accident damages. Many states' comparative and contributory negligence laws can reduce or even bar damage awards depending on how much you are at fault. An experienced truck accident attorney can help you determine how much your specific case is worth under your local laws, after performing a careful analysis of the case. Related Resources: Five Things to Research Before Meeting a Truck Accident Attorney (FindLaw) Truck Accident Injuries Up 18%: NHTSA Report (FindLaw's Injured) Dump Truck Hits, Kills Mom Putting Kid in Van (FindLaw's Injured) Proving Fault in a Truck Accident: A Legal Checklist (FindLaw)
continue reading

After a Truck Accident, 5 Questions to Ask a Lawyer

After you're involved in a truck accident, choosing the right lawyer to handle your case is important. So what questions should you ask a truck accident attorney to make sure he or she is the right one for you? Truck accident injuries and fatalities are on the rise, according to the latest government data. But unlike "regular" car crashes, pursuing a truck accident lawsuit often requires particular knowledge in areas such as vehicle codes, individual and employer liability issues, and how to deal with the trucking company's lawyers and insurance agents. There are many factors to consider in a truck accident case, so here are five questions you may want to ask your prospective lawyer: Where are you licensed to practice law? In order to legally practice law in the state where your truck accident occurred, attorneys must be licensed by that state's bar association. So be sure to find an attorney who's licensed in the state where you live in or the state where the accident occurred. Keep in mind that national law firms will often have local attorneys who can help. What are your legal fees? Depending on the complexity of your case, attorneys will either charge a contingency fee, a flat fee, or an hourly rate. Contingency fees are based on a percentage of the amount awarded in the case, so if you don't win, the lawyer doesn't collect the fee -- but you'll still have to pay some expenses. Flat fees are usually offered in more simple cases, while hourly fees will accrue as the case goes on. You should find an attorney whose fees work with your budget and expectations. Have you handled truck accident cases before? Finding an attorney who's experienced in dealing with truck accident claims is essential because these claims often involve multiple parties including the truck driver and the trucking company. Truck accident cases can also require a lot of technical evidence such as truck maintenance reports, training records, and employment handbooks. So make sure your attorney knows the ins and outs of successfully litigating a truck accident case. Is a truck accident lawsuit worth the effort? One question to ask a truck accident attorney is you even have a case that's worth pursuing. For example, in states that have pure contributory negligence laws, injured parties may not be able to collect any damages even if they're found to be just 1 percent at fault. So if you live in one of those states and may have contributed to the accident (for example, by following the truck too closely), you may have a hard time winning your case. Your lawyer will be able to help you analyze your situation from both a legal and a practical standpoint. What documents should I bring to my initial consultation? You should bring all documents relevant to your accident to your initial consultation. This may include medical records, pictures of the damage, and any details you may have collected from other drivers and witnesses at the scene. If you're ready to meet with an attorney to discuss your potential truck accident case, head over to FindLaw's Truck Accident Lawyer Directory to connect with one today. Related Resources: Top 10 States for Fatal Truck Crashes (FindLaw's Injured) Interviewing a Lawyer (FindLaw) Truck Accidents: 3 Potential Ways to Sue (FindLaw's Injured) Dump Truck Hits, Kills Mom Putting Kid in Van (FindLaw's Injured)
continue reading

GM Recall Spurs DOJ, Congressional Probes

The DOJ is investigating General Motors for allegedly failing to address dangerous safety problems for years before issuing a recall. Federal prosecutors have been joined by members of Congress, who are beginning their own investigation and will conduct hearings on GM's culpability in allegedly waiting a decade to recall 1.6 million vehicles, reports The New York Times. With so much federal scrutiny, this may be a rough year for GM. Recall, Defect Investigation It isn't uncommon or unseemly for auto manufacturers to issue recalls when a safety issue or defect is discovered. In fact, auto companies are required to issue a recall for any vehicle or part that fails the minimum performance standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or whenever a safety-related defect is discovered. According to the Times, federal prosecutors are reviewing whether GM failed to disclose defects to federal regulators like NHTSA -- or even intentionally misled them. At the center of this investigation is a safety defect in the ignition switch in more than 1 million GM vehicles from model years 2003 to 2007. This defect, which put more than three-quarters of a million American cars at risk, could cause engines to turn off while vehicles are in motion. The defect has been linked to at least six deaths, and prompted a massive recall by GM. Investigators will attempt to figure out why GM allegedly failed to fix this defect for so long. The company may have known about the problem as early as 2004, reports the Times. Criminal and Civil Charges Ahead You may not think that executives can charged under criminal law for failing to issue a recall, but that's exactly what the top brass at GM could potentially be facing. Under the TREAD Act -- one made famous by the Firestone tire disaster -- any person who intentionally misleads federal regulators with respect to dangerous or deadly car defects can face up to 15 years in prison. Anyone at GM who intentionally misled government officials regarding the ignition switch defect could be facing serious federal prison time. Aside from that possibility, the company could also be held liable for millions in civil damages, if lawsuits are successful. However, anyone wishing to sue GM for defect-related injuries will likely need the charges approved by a bankruptcy court. According to Automotive News, when GM emerged from bankruptcy in 2009, it agreed to leave all pre-2009 defect issues with "Old GM" in a bankruptcy court. Related Resources: Congress, Justice Department open probes in GM recall (Detroit Free Press) 'New' GM Wants Vehicle Liability Claims to Stay with 'Old' GM (FindLaw's Injured) GM Recall Expands to 1.6M Vehicles; 13 Deaths Reported (FindLaw's Common Law) Browse Motor Vehicle Defects Lawyers by Location (FindLaw)
continue reading

Truck Accident Brain-Damage Suit Settles for $22M

A New York City woman who suffered brain damage after a hit-and-run truck crash has settled with the truck driver and his employer, Duane Reade. The 2008 accident left Shirley Miller, 37, with brain damage, blindness, and very limited communications skills. The parties intend to settle the lawsuit for $22 million, according to Brooklyn Daily Eagle. If approved, it would be the largest personal injury settlement in New York state history, the New York Daily News reports. Even though Miller was the only one injured in the truck accident, her parents are also a party to the lawsuit. Vicarious Liability Miller and her parents were able to sue Duane Reade, an NYC-based drug store chain owned by the Walgreen Company, under the theory of vicarious liability. While truck drivers are usually liable for the accident they've caused, it may be difficult to also hold the trucking company liable unless the driver was acting within the scope of his employment. However, under the theory of vicarious liability, an employer can be held legally responsible for an employee's negligence if: The injury occurred when the employee was on the clock, The injury was caused by an activity that the employee was hired to perform, or The employee benefited in some way from the activity that the employee was performing at the time the injury occurred. Though lawyers for Miller and Duane Reade have agreed on a settlement, it's now up to the court to approve it. Aside from the record-setting proposed dollar amount -- $22 million -- details of the settlement have not been made public. Parents as Co-Plaintiffs One interesting fact about Miller's lawsuit is that her parents are also plaintiffs, though they weren't directly involved in the accident. Although reports don't indicate why Miller's parents are a party to the lawsuit, they may have joined to recover damages to pay for their daughter's future medical expenses and care. According to Brooklyn Eagle, Miller suffered serious brain damage and has very limited communication skills as a result of the accident. Her injuries likely require her parents to take care of her for the rest of her life, so the settlement award can help manage the healthcare costs. As this settlement proves, truck accident lawsuits can be complex and take years to resolve. That's why it's best to consult an experienced truck accident attorney if you've been injured in a truck crash and need more legal help. Related Resources: Brooklyn woman who was hit by Duane Reade truck receives $22M settlement (New York Daily News) Truck Accident Injuries Up 18%: NHTSA Report (FindLaw's Injured) Dump Truck Hits, Kills Mom Putting Kid in Van (FindLaw's Injured) Top 10 States for Fatal Truck Crashes (FindLaw's Injured)
continue reading

Top 10 States for Fatal Truck Crashes

The latest NHTSA report on truck accidents reveals the Top 10 states where large trucks were involved in fatal crashes. The data also shows that in some states, large trucks made up a significantly higher proportion of vehicles involved in fatal crashes than the national average. Of the 45,637 vehicles involved in fatal crashes on U.S. roadways in 2012 (the latest year for which statistics are available), 3,802 -- or 8.3 percent -- were large trucks, according to NHTSA. So where did most of the fatal crashes involving trucks take place? Top 10 States by Number of Trucks Involved in Fatal Crashes Looking at NHTSA's raw numbers, the Top 10 states where large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2012 were: Texas, where 543 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes (that's 14.3 percent of the nationwide total); California, where 244 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes (6.4 percent of the nationwide total); Florida, where 194 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes (5.1 percent of the nationwide total); Pennsylvania, 175 (4.6 percent); Georgia, 149 (3.9 percent); Ohio, 146 (3.8 percent); North Carolina, 132 (3.5 percent); Oklahoma, 124 (3.3 percent); and Illinois and Indiana, both of which saw 115 large trucks involved in fatal crashes (3.0 percent of the nationwide total). Top 10 States by Percentage of Trucks Involved in Fatal Crashes Along with showing where the most truck accidents occurred, NHTSA's report also revealed what percentage of vehicles involved in fatal crashes in each state were large trucks. The Top 10 states where trucks comprised the largest proportion of vehicles involved in fatal crashes in 2012 were: North Dakota, where 20.2 percent of vehicles involved in fatal crashes were large trucks; Wyoming, 16.8 percent; Nebraska, 14.7 percent; Iowa, 13.2 percent; Oklahoma, 13.1 percent; Texas, 11.8 percent; Arkansas, 11.5 percent; Kansas, 11.0 percent; Louisiana, 10.7 percent; and West Virginia, 10.4 percent. Liability for Fatal Truck Accidents Because there are many causes of fatal truck accidents, questions are often raised about issues such as: the truck driver's actions, whether the truck driver's employer or the truck's owner can be held liable, and how the actions of other drivers may have contributed to the crash. For truck crash victims, receiving compensation after an accident can be a complicated and time-consuming process. That's why, if you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a truck accident, it's best to consult with an experienced truck accident attorney to learn more about your legal options. Related Resources: State Traffic Safety Information For Year 2012 (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) Truck Accident Injuries Up 18%: NHTSA Report (FindLaw's Injured) NHTSA Examines Role of Antilock Brake Systems in Reducing Truck Accidents (FindLaw's KnowledgeBase) Proving Fault in a Truck Accident: A Legal Checklist (FindLaw)
continue reading

Truck Accident Injuries Up 18%: NHTSA Report

Truck accident injuries are more common than you might think, with 104,000 people injured in truck crashes in 2012, according to the latest report by the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration. That's an 18 percent increase in the number of injuries compared to 2011, when 88,000 people were hurt in truck crashes, according to NHTSA. Truck accident fatalities also increased by 4 percent, from 3,781 in 2011 to 3,921 in 2012, the latest year for which data were available. So who fares worse in truck accidents: truck drivers or occupants of other vehicles? Truck Accident Injury, Fatality Rates When cars and trucks collide, the chances for a serious injury or fatality increase significantly. And while this often can mean bad news for the truck's driver, it more likely means injury or death for car drivers and passengers. Of the 104,000 truck-crash injuries in 2012: 76,000, or 73 percent of those hurt, were occupants of other vehicles; 25,000, or 24 percent, were occupants of large trucks; and 3,000, or 3 percent, were non-occupants of vehicles -- meaning bystanders, pedestrians, and cyclists. NHTSA also found that of the 3,971 fatal truck crashes in 2012: 2,843, or 73 percent of those killed, were occupants of other vehicles; 697, or 18 percent, were occupants of large trucks; and 381, or 10 percent, were non-occupants of vehicles. These figures show that when it comes to truck crashes, drivers and passengers of other vehicles are nearly three times more likely to be injured than truck drivers and truck occupants. Those in other vehicles are also four times more likely to be killed in a truck crash, as compared to occupants of large trucks. Other Notable Findings In addition, the NHTSA report also found that: In fatal two-vehicle collisions, trucks were rear-ended more than three times as often as a non-truck vehicle. Most states have made it illegal to follow any vehicle too closely -- and it seems that when rear-ending a truck, the consequences are often deadly. While the number of truck-occupant injuries increased 8.7 percent between 2011 and 2012, the number of injuries to occupants of other vehicles and nonoccupants (bystanders, pedestrians, and cyclists) together jumped nearly 20 percent. This may seem inconsequential to some, but non-truck drivers can avoid most of the common causes of truck accidents by changing their on-the-road habits. For those involved in a truck accident, statistically you're not alone. As there are many ways to sue for truck accident injuries, your best bet is to call an experienced truck accident attorney today to discuss your legal options. Related Resources: Truck Accidents (FindLaw) Five Things to Research Before Meeting a Truck Accident Attorney (FindLaw) Dump Truck Hits, Kills Mom Putting Kid in Van (FindLaw's Injured) NHTSA: Distracted Driving Deaths at 'Epidemic' Level (FindLaw's Injured)
continue reading

‘Hot Convict’ Sues Website Over Mugshot Ad

A Florida woman is suing a background check website for using her mugshot in a "hot convict" ad that went viral. Meagan Simmons, 28, of Zephyrhills, has filed a lawsuit accusing InstantCheckmate.com of using her image for financial gain without her permission -- and especially without giving her a cut of the profits, reports the Tampa Bay Times. Does this "hot convict" have a case? Mugshot Turns Into Meme Although Simmons is suing InstantCheckmate.com for the use of her mugshot in its advert, the mother of four wasn't ignorant of the photo before this suit. In an interview with The Huffington Post in April, Simmons was described as "making the most of her newfound fame," and even reposting the meme versions of her mugshot on her Facebook page. According to the Times, the photo came from a July 2010 booking photo of Simmons, taken when she had been arrested for DUI. Despite its use as a meme, Simmons' suit alleges that her mugshot's use in an InstantCheckmate.com ad caused her anguish and invaded her privacy. Invasion of Privacy Like someone who uses a celebrity's picture in an ad without permission, InstantCheckmate.com may be guilty of appropriating Simmons' likeness without her permission -- an invasion of her privacy. Although Simmons is not a famous actor or celebrity, InstantCheckmate.com likely did take advantage of her Internet fame in order to make a buck using her image -- without paying Simmons a dime. Simmons attorney explained to the Times that the issue of commercial profits is what separates InstantCheckmate.com from the thousands of "hot convict" memes propagated with Simmons' mugshot. Those meme-creators weren't using Simmons' face to make money, but InstantCheckmate.com was. Getting a Mugshot Taken Down In addition to monetary damages, Simmons is seeking an injunction to prevent further use of her mugshot by InstantCheckmate.com. Other arrestees have had to travel down long legal roads to get their mugshots taken down by similar websites -- with some sites charging huge "takedown" fees to remove a mugshot photo. If you find your mugshot online, you can choose to contact the website and request the photo be removed. However, you may wish to take a page out of Simmons' book and contact an attorney first. Related Resources: Florida Woman Meagan Simmons Sues Website Over "Hot Convict" Mug Shot (The Associated Press) Mugshot Websites Sued Over Takedown Fees (FindLaw's Injured) Samantha Ronson' DUI Mugshot: Lohan's Ex Arrested at 10 am (FindLaw's Celebrity Justice) Patrick Tribett Sues Those Turning Gold Mugshot into Mugshot Gold (FindLaw's Legally Weird)
continue reading

Can Adults Sue Over a Parent’s Wrongful Death?

For an adult child, filing a lawsuit over the wrongful death of a parent can be a tricky matter. Generally, surviving members of a victim's family can sue for wrongful death when the victim dies from the negligence or misconduct of another. But because of the way damages are calculated, recovery for a parent's wrongful death can get complicated when adult children file suit. Here's why: Who Can File for Wrongful Death? The vast majority of wrongful death suits are filed by immediate family members such as spouses, parents, and children. Some states have laws that specify exactly who can file a wrongful death suit and limit it to those people listed. But others allow a more pragmatic approach. That would permit non-traditional families or large extended families to file wrongful death suits as well. For adult children, the more pressing issue is the way wrongful death damages are calculated. Will Adult Children Be Awarded Damages? Wrongful death claims are designed to help plaintiffs deal with current and future financial losses resulting from the victim's death. To win a wrongful death suit, surviving relatives must demonstrate they suffered a cognizable monetary injury as a result of their loved one's passing. That can be a difficult burden to meet for adult children who are no longer financially dependent on their parents. That being said, adult children might be able to recover damages for the loss of his or her relationship with the parent. Because the surviving spouse typically has a stronger wrongful death claim, a better option might be to split the surviving spouse's wrongful death damages with the children. Depending on state law, each adult child may have a right to equally share in the recovery that results from a wrongful death claim. But that's not the rule of thumb in every state. For example, a Wisconsin appeals court ruled in 2012 that a surviving spouse cannot pass ownership of a wrongful death claim to a decedent's adult children. In addition, the court ruled the state's wrongful death statute bars a decedent's adult children from recovering for loss of society and companionship if the wrongful death claim belongs to a surviving spouse, The State Bar of Wisconsin reports. Because the state rules vary significantly when it comes to adult children and wrongful death lawsuits, you'll want to consult an experienced wrongful death attorney in your area for additional guidance. Related Resources: How Do Survival Statutes Affect Injury Lawsuits? (FindLaw's Injured) Bullied Girl's Mom Files Wrongful Death Suits (FindLaw's Injured) Girl, 13, Wins $150M Wrongful Death Verdict (FindLaw's Injured) Dump Truck Hits, Kills Mom Putting Kid in Van (FindLaw's Injured)
continue reading

Dump Truck Hits, Kills Mom Putting Kid in Van

A mother of three was struck and killed by a dump truck near a suburban middle school outside Washington, D.C., on Monday. The tragedy highlights a few factors that are common in truck accident cases. Jennifer Lawson, 39, of Arlington, Virginia, was placing her child into a car seat when a dump truck struck her and her van, The Washington Post reports. Fortunately, her child wasn't hurt. As the investigation into the fatal dump truck accident continues, several factors will be key in determining potential civil liability. Ownership of the Truck Identifying who owns the truck is essential when considering a potential truck accident lawsuit. In this case, the dump truck is a privately owned commercial vehicle, and investigators plan to conduct a "full commercial-vehicle inspection," according to The Washington Post. The issue of ownership is important, because had the dump truck been owned by a government entity, the victim's relatives would likely have to first file a notice of claim before filing a lawsuit. Potential Employer Liability If the dump truck driver was working for someone else, his employer could potentially be held liable for the accident if the driver was acting within the scope of his employment. Under the theory of respondeat superior, employers can be liable for their employee's actions if the employee was following orders from the boss when the accident occurred. On the other hand, if the truck driver was running personal errands unrelated to his job at the time of the accident, the employer may be able to avoid liability. Similarly, if the driver is an independent contractor who didn't receive directions from his employer on which route to take, then the employer may not be held accountable either. What Caused the Crash? Drivers have a duty to exercise a reasonable degree of care to avoid hurting or killing other people on the road. However, people parked on the side of road also have to meet the "reasonable person" standard. Right now, police haven't determined who was at fault. Identifying who's at fault in this case could be important because Virginia is a contributory negligence state. This means that if the mother was even 1 percent at fault, her relatives may be barred from recovering any damages in a possible lawsuit. As you can see, even a seemingly straightforward truck accident can raise many legal questions. That's why it's best to consult an experienced truck accident lawyer who can help with your particular case. Related Resources: Woman killed by dump-truck in Arlington (Washington, D.C.'s WUSA-TV) Truck Accidents: 3 Potential Ways to Sue (FindLaw's Injured) What is Truck Accident Law? (FindLaw) Recycling Truck Causes Multi-Car Crash, Explosion (FindLaw's Injured)
continue reading