The Answers You Need for the Questions You’re Forced to Ask
One of the worst aspects of pursuing a case—whether you’re fighting for injury compensation or trying to settle a divorce—is not knowing what to expect. Before you get yourself knee deep in the details of your case allow us to answer some of your questions first. We’ll help you be more fully prepared and more confident as you move forward.
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Why can accidents with small trucks be as serious as those with a semi truck?
Big rigs traveling at highway speeds aren’t the only source of truck accidents. In fact, pedestrians and motorists may have a higher risk of being struck by box trucks or utility vehicles, especially while traveling on city streets. Although these trucks are often smaller than semis, accidents involving these types of trucks can cause serious injuries. Because owners and drivers are bound by the same federal regulations that govern other commercial trucks, victims in these accidents may hold the owners liable for their injuries.
Small Trucks Can Still Cause Big Injuries
Box trucks, dump trucks, and other heavy-use vehicles may be smaller than tractor-trailers, but all can be difficult to maneuver and may be overloaded with cargo. Additionally, operators of these vehicles are just as likely as semi truck drivers to make deadly truck driver mistakes that can have fatal consequences for other drivers and passengers.
Many Rhode Islanders are injured each year by:
- Delivery trucks. Speeding is a major contributor to delivery truck crashes, as drivers are put under pressure to meet tight deadlines. Delivery truck accidents are especially common on city streets and in parking lots, as a truck driver may not see pedestrians crossing in front or behind the vehicle.
- Ambulances. Ambulances must travel at high speeds in order to save lives, but drivers still have a duty to drive safely and obey traffic laws. A driver who takes a corner too quickly can roll the vehicle, causing injuries to those inside and to other drivers.
- Dump trucks. Because dump truck drivers are often paid by the weight of their load, there is a tendency to overload the trucks. This makes it more difficult for the truck to stop, more likely to roll over, and more apt to release hazardous debris onto the roads. Additionally, drivers may try to increase their pay by making more runs than is safe, which can lead to speeding and driving recklessly.
- Utility trucks. Utility and service trucks may be outfitted with equipment that can affect the balance and maneuverability of the vehicle (such as cranes and lifts). Drivers who are not properly trained in the operation of these vehicles may accidentally strike nearby cars or even cause traffic backups by colliding with low bridges.
The attorneys at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum can help you get payment for your medical bills, lost income, and other expenses after an injury with a small truck, and we do not charge for our services until your case is resolved. Contact us today via our online form to schedule your initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer.
How long do I have to file my truck accident lawsuit?
If a negligent truck driver caused your truck accident, it is important to understand the basics of how to file your claim for compensation against the trucker and the trucking company’s insurance company. One of the most important laws you need to understand is the statute of limitations.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing Your Truck Crash Lawsuit?
The statute of limitations is the time period you have to file your civil lawsuit against the trucker and trucking company. Every state has its own law setting this deadline. In Rhode Island, how long you have to do so depends on what type of compensation you are asking for. Here are the time periods that could be applicable in your case:
- Personal injury. If you are suing for compensation because you suffered personal injuries, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of your truck accident.
- Wrongful death. You may file a wrongful death action if a loved one died in a truck collision. You must file your lawsuit within three years of the date of death—not the date of the crash.
- Property damage. The statute of limitations is 10 years from the date of the accident if you are filing a civil suit for property damages. This could include the cost of repairing your vehicle.
What Happens If the Statute of Limitations Expires?
If you file a truck accident lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired, the penalty is harsh. The trucker and trucking company will most likely raise this as a defense, and the judge will dismiss your case.
You can avoid this by retaining an experienced truck accident attorney soon after your collision. Even if you have time before the statute of limitations expires, you want to hire an attorney as soon as possible to build a strong claim of negligence and protect your legal rights. Start an online chat to schedule your free consultation today to find out how we can assist you.
Could another driver be at fault for my truck accident injury?
Just as dangerous truck driving behavior can cause a crash, the actions of drivers of smaller vehicles can cause accidents, too. In some cases, drivers of passenger vehicles can be liable for causing accidents, even if they were not even injured.
How Passenger Vehicle Drivers Can Cause Truck Accidents
All drivers should take extra care when traveling next to semi-trucks. It’s never a good idea to break the law by speeding, texting, or driving under the influence, but those actions can be especially dangerous near trucks. Additionally, you might be found liable in a truck accident if you perform the following risky and unsafe maneuvers:
- Traveling in a blind spot. Trucks have a number of blind spots along the front, back, and sides, and any vehicles in these areas are at risk of injury. For example, a trucker who swerves to avoid a car that suddenly appears out of a
- blind spot may strike another car nearby.
- Tight merging. Smaller cars may be able to squeeze between each other in traffic, but large trucks need far more stopping distance to accommodate a merging vehicle. If a trucker is forced to slam on his brakes to let someone in, a vehicle traveling behind the truck may hit the back of the trailer.
- Improper passing. Passing a truck is significantly more difficult than passing a smaller vehicle. If a driver passes a truck on a curve, both oncoming and following traffic may be run off the road or suffer collisions when the pass is not completed.
- Unsafe turns. Drivers often do not accommodate trucks that need to travel on city streets. Smaller cars may attempt to overtake or turn in front of a slow-moving truck, denying the trucker the time and space he needs to complete the turn safely (and placing pedestrians and other road users at risk).
If you suffered injuries after an accident involving a commercial truck, you should discuss your rights with a qualified attorney. Fill out our online contact form to set up your initial consultation with a truck crash lawyer.