Truck accidents in Virginia, on highways or on downtown streets in Richmond, can be devastating. In many trucking collisions, the truck driver is at fault for the crash due to drowsy driving, distracted driving, or other careless behavior. In some truck accident lawsuits, it may be possible to file a claim against more than one responsible party. For example, if the owner of the truck or the trucking company may also be liable for your injuries, you could be eligible to obtain a larger payout from a big company with deeper pockets. One of the experienced Richmond truck accident lawyers at our firm can evaluate your case today. In the meantime, the following are some of the top things to know about Virginia trucking accidents.
- Trucking Accidents Often Result in Severe and Fatal Injuries
Unlike collisions involving two or more smaller passenger vehicles, a majority of crashes involving a large truck and a smaller passenger car result in life-threatening and fatal injuries. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), large trucks frequently weigh anywhere from 20 to 30 times as much as a smaller passenger car, and they also have higher ground clearance that can lead to underriding collisions. Accordingly, when a large truck is involved in a collision with a passenger vehicle, the occupants of the passenger vehicle frequently suffer serious or deadly injuries.
- Truck Crashes Often Happen When a Truck Driver is At Fault
In many truck accident cases, the truck driver’s negligence causes the crash. The IIHS emphasizes that drowsy driving is a major cause for trucking collisions, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has enacted hours-of-service regulations to prevent truckers from driving without enough rest of sleep.
Beyond truck driver negligence, other parties may also be liable in a crash, such as:
- Truck owner;
- Driver of another passenger vehicle;
- Employer of the truck driver;
- Loader of the truck;
- Mechanic who worked on the trucked;
- Designer of the truck or one of its parts;
- Manufacturer of the truck or one of its parts; or
- Owner of the property where the accident occurred.
- Majority of Fatalities Involve Passengers of Passenger Vehicles or Pedestrians
According to the IIHS and the HLDI, in 2018, more than 4,100 people died in collisions involving big rigs, and more than 80 percent of those fatality victims were occupants of passenger vehicles or pedestrians. In two-vehicle truck crashes involving an 18-wheeler and a passenger car, about 96 percent of fatalities are occupants of the passenger car.
- Injury Victims (or Their Families) Only Have a Limited Amount of Time to File a Lawsuit
For most trucking accident lawsuits, Virginia law says that a plaintiff has only two years from the date of the trucking accident to file a lawsuit. In the event of a trucking accident fatality, a wrongful death claim still has a two-year statute of limitations, but the clock starts to tick on the date of the deceased’s death instead of the date of the trucking accident.
- Virginia’s Contributory Negligence Law Can Bar a Plaintiff from Recovering Damages
Virginia follows a “pure contributory negligence” rule, which means that a plaintiff will be entirely barred from recovery if she is even 1 percent at fault for a trucking accident. As such, it is critical to hire a lawyer who can prove that you are not at fault in any way for the collision and that you are entitled to full compensation.
Seek Advice from a Richmond Trucking Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love got hurt in a truck crash in or around Richmond, it is more important than ever to discuss your options with a Virginia trucking accident attorney. Beyond filing an insurance claim, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the truck driver or other at-fault parties. One of our dedicated personal injury lawyers can speak with you today about your case. Contact Hundley & Johnson for more information about the services we provide to plaintiffs in and around Richmond, VA.