Albuquerque Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents are among the most dangerous motor vehicle collisions that occur on the roads every day. In fact, it’s not uncommon for victims of truck accidents to be left with severe, lifelong injuries that require long-term medical treatment, rehabilitative services, and significant adjustments to their day-to-day lives. If you believe someone else was at fault for the accident, a skilled personal injury lawyer may be able to recover the compensation you deserve for any damages related to the accident, including property damage, lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
When another person or entity is responsible for your injuries, they should bear the costs of your burden. That’s why it’s crucial that you seek experienced legal counsel just after your accident. Fortunately, help is right around the corner at Dominguez Law. Attorney Paul Dominguez is a strong advocate for his clients, and he offers compassionate and personalized legal representation aimed to ensure that your rights are asserted. If you’ve been hurt in a trucking accident, contact our Albuquerque truck accident lawyers to find out more about your legal options.
When Truckers Break Regulations
Unlike a standard-sized car, the size and weight of a tractor-trailer greatly increases the potential for severe injury or death when involved in a crash. As such, it’s crucial that truck drivers be properly trained to operate such a massive vehicle. Likewise, they’re responsible for ensuring that the truck is properly maintained and inspected at regular intervals.
When these responsibilities aren’t met, the driver or their employer should be held liable for the harm they cause. State and federal regulations govern a driver’s actions and set minimum requirements regarding the trucking industry, such as a truck driver’s permissible hours and mandated drug and alcohol testing before commercial licenses can be issued.
If these regulations aren’t met, you may be able to retain compensation for the ensuing property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and psychological effects experienced as a result of the negligent driver or trucking company.
How Are Accidents with Trucks Different from Passenger Vehicles?
Even without considering the increased chance of severe injuries, truck accidents are sometimes trickier to handle than a standard car accident, especially when it comes to determining liability. In a regular passenger vehicle crash, while there are exceptions, liability will either sit with you or the other driver. Accidents with commercial vehicles, on the other hand, can involve a multitude of at-fault parties. Depending on the distinct circumstances involved, any of the following groups may be held responsible for a commercial vehicle accident:
- The commercial vehicle driver
- The company that leases or owns the vehicle
- The driver’s employer
- The truck’s manufacturer or the manufacturer of a particular vehicle part
- The company responsible for the truck’s maintenance
Deciding which of these stakeholders is at fault can be tricky, but a few general rules may help you make an informed decision. For example, suppose a driver is acting on behalf of a trucking company and the accident occurs within the scope of employment. In that case, that company may be held liable for the accident. If the truck driver’s negligent actions were the direct reason for the crash—such as breaking a traffic law, exceeding the hours-of-service regulations, or driving while intoxicated—they’d likely be responsible.
However, if the driver acted within the scope of their duties and the accident instead occurred because of failed safety regulations, the employer may be held responsible. Additionally, the truck’s cargo loaders may be held responsible if the vehicle wasn’t loaded appropriately, causing the vehicle to be unstable. Similarly, the truck’s manufacturer could be at fault if a defect in the vehicle was the reason for the accident, such as a tire blowout, mechanical failure, or brake failure.
Fortunately, this isn’t something you have to determine on your own. A top-of-the-line Albuquerque truck accident lawyer may be able to help you determine fault and put together a concrete plan of attack against the negligent party.
Steps to Take after an Albuquerque Truck Accident
If you’ve been involved in any type of motor vehicle accident, you know how stressful and overwhelming it can feel, especially if you’re injured. Truck accidents are perhaps even more traumatic considering the number of moving parts. First, there’s a good chance there are severe injuries when you consider that semi-trucks are nearly 20 times bigger than the average vehicle and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, which puts the average car at a distinct disadvantage if involved in an accident. Likewise, as mentioned, liability can be tricky to pin down.
The aftershock of a truck accident can be as confusing as it is destructive. Understanding the steps you should take after a crash can be instrumental in helping you protect yourself and a future claim to financial recovery. Here’s what you need to know:
Seek Medical Attention
Before anything else, it’s important to take note of any injuries you or others have sustained. Even if no one appears to be hurt in a significant way, it’s still considered a best practice to visit your doctor. You may have an injury like internal bleeding, which may be hard for you to know, but a doctor will be able to diagnose. If you do require medical attention later for an injury, it might be hard to show that it resulted from the accident. In that same vein, seeing a doctor will help your attorney know how much compensation to ask for your injuries, and your visit will authoritatively provide a record of your injuries if your case goes to court.
Call the Police
Once emergency vehicles are on their way, make sure to get a police report. In most situations, this is 911. When the police arrive on the scene, they can file an official report detailing the events leading up to the collision. Request a copy of the accident report to keep for your records and to present as evidence if you need to go to court over the accident.
Exchange Information with the Other Party
At this point, it’s important that you communicate with the truck driver and any other involved parties. Gather information such as their name, address, phone number, email address, insurance company information, driver’s license number, and employer’s name and contact information. If you don’t get this data now, it can be hard to track down at a later point. Nevertheless, if you miss this step, tell your lawyer and they may be able to get ahold of the driver.
Check for Witnesses
It’s also important, if possible, to find any witnesses who may have seen the events of the crash unfold. If you’re not at fault, a witness may be able to corroborate what occurred in a court of law. You can collect a witness statement yourself or simply ask for their contact information if more details about the accident are needed. You may also want to check the accident report to see if the responding officer interviewed any witnesses.
Document the Scene
At this point, try to take photos of the scene using your phone. Take pictures of your injury, the property damage, marks on the street, stop signs, or anything else that your attorney may be able to use to prove that you weren’t at fault. Remember, it’s always better to take more pictures than less; your attorney can help narrow down what will be useful in court. In addition, documenting the scene can also include writing down what you remember about the events of the crash. It’s easy to forget what actually happened, so putting it in writing immediately after the accident can be helpful.
Don’t Give a Statement or Speak the Insurance Company
It’s not uncommon for insurance adjusters to contact you or show up at the scene of the wreck to try and gather information. While they may seem friendly, they’re likely just looking out for their own bottom line. In general, it’s best to keep conversations to a minimum and to say as little as possible, even to your own insurance company. You can state the facts, but don’t elaborate on details, as anything you say may later be used against you. This also applies to the truck driver or any witnesses to the accident. Leave it all to your lawyer, who’s trained and experienced in this avenue.
Contact an Experienced Albuquerque Truck Accident Lawyer
Finally, it’s critical that you get in touch with a knowledgeable 18-wheeler accident lawyer in Albuquerque as soon as possible. A top-of-the-line lawyer, like those at Dominguez Law, will walk you through the required steps and may be able to retain the compensation you deserve following the accident.
The Most Common Types of Truck Accidents in Albuquerque
Truck accidents can occur for many reasons, including improper vehicle maintenance, careless truck drivers, and the failure of passenger cars to maneuver around larger vehicles. Here are some of the most common types of truck accidents you may encounter:
- Jackknife: The term “jackknifing” refers to an event that happens to an articulated truck—which means one with a cab, attached trailer, and a pivot point between them— when it folds in on itself.
- Wide turn collisions: Large commercial trucks can’t make turns or maneuver as easily as other types of vehicles due to their size. As a result, accidents are relatively common. For instance, a vehicle may get wedged between the cab and the trailer, or a truck may strike a car sitting at a traffic light.
- Truck rollovers: When a truck travels along a curved path, centrifugal force causes it to lean away from the direction of the curve. The result can be a rollover in which the truck overturns.
- T-bone accidents: A “T-bone” truck accident happens when the front end of one vehicle crashes into the side of another, usually at a 90-degree angle, resulting in the namesake “T” shape.
- Tire blowout: Motorists sharing the road with truck drivers are vulnerable to big-rig tire failure. Tire blowouts occur when a tire doesn’t deflate but blows out.
- Underride accidents: An underride truck accident occurs when a passenger vehicle collides with a truck and runs under the truck. It’s not uncommon for both straight bed and large commercial trucks to be high enough off the ground for part of a vehicle to fit underneath while taking off the roof of a passenger vehicle.
- Rear-end crashes: While not the most common type of accident between trucks and passenger vehicles, rear-end collisions can be deadly. These accidents often occur on highways or rural roads where trucks and passenger vehicles are going at faster speeds.
No matter the reason for your truck accident, it’s important that you hire an experienced truck accident attorney in Albuquerque who can help you gain the compensation you need to pay for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, psychological trauma, and any other damages associated with the crash.
Speak An Experienced Truck Accident Attorney in Albuquerque
Injured truck accident victims who prevail in their case may be awarded compensation in the form of past and future medical expenses, lost income, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other damages. For assistance in avoiding many of the common pitfalls that plague injured victims in your shoes, look no further than the Albuquerque personal injury attorneys at Dominguez Law. Our team vigilantly protects victims after a truck wreck. We know the devastation these accidents cause, and we’ve successfully secured compensation for many clients through our top-of-the-line courtroom strategies.
Our trusted and compassionate team has represented clients in the Los Ranchos and Albuquerque areas with a wide range of claims. We understand the specifics of New Mexico truck accident laws and will help you achieve the best results possible based on the circumstances of your injury. Determine your next legal steps by calling our team of commercial truck accident lawyers today at 505-317-9837 or by contacting us online to set up a free appointment.