Norfolk, Virginia Truck Accident Lawyers
Get an attorney with trial experience on your side
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident in Norfolk or any of the surrounding areas in Virginia, know time is of the essence. The aftermath of a truck accident can be overwhelming and confusing, but taking swift action is crucial to protecting your rights and seeking compensation for your injuries.
At Welch & Wright, PLLC we understand the challenges that truck accident victims face. We have the experience and knowledge necessary to help you navigate the legal system and seek the compensation you deserve.
Common types of truck accidents
Truck accidents can result in severe injuries. Different factors such as the types of trucks involved, other vehicles involved, the angle of impact, and other factors, can contribute to the variety of truck accidents that occur on Virginia roads. The most common types include:
- Tractor-trailer accidents: Tractor-trailer accidents, also known as semi-truck accidents, can be particularly dangerous due to the size and weight of the vehicles involved.
- Rollover accidents: These accidents occur when a truck loses control and flips over onto its side or roof. Rollover accidents are often seen as one of the most dangerous types of truck accidents because they have a high fatality rate.
- Rear-end accidents: Rear-end accidents \ occur when one vehicle collides with the back of another vehicle. When a heavy truck rear-ends a smaller vehicle, serious injuries can ensue.
- Head-on collisions: Head-on collisions occur when two cars collide front-to-front. Head-on collisions are particularly dangerous because of the combined force of impact. They can result in serious injuries or fatalities.
- Sideswipe accidents: This type of truck accident involves two vehicles driving parallel to each other that ultimately collide. These accidents are often caused by lane changes or merging errors.
- Jackknife accidents: Jackknife accidents involve a tractor-trailer that folds in on itself. The trailer of the truck can swing out, collide with other vehicles, and block the road.
- Underride accidents: Underride accidents occur when a car collides with the rear or side of a truck and slides underneath it. They can result in serious injuries or fatalities, particularly if the car's roof is crushed or occupants are ejected from the vehicle.
- Fatal accidents: Unfortunately, any type of truck accident has the potential to be fatal. Due to the sheer size and weight of trucks, any collision with them can result in death.
Common causes of truck accidents
Truck accidents put all road users at risk for injury and in some cases death. Truck accidents happen due to many reasons. The leading causes of truck accidents include:
- Driver error: As with car accidents, truck accidents are often caused by driver error. This can include:
- Speeding: Truck drivers may exceed the posted speed limit in order to meet tight delivery schedules, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Distracted driving: Truck drivers may be distracted by their cell phone, GPS, or other electronic devices, as well as by eating, drinking, or engaging in other activities while driving.
- Driving under the influence: Truck drivers may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while on the job, impairing their ability to drive safely.
- Reckless driving: Truck drivers may engage in reckless behavior, such as weaving through traffic or tailgating, putting themselves and others at risk.
- Driver fatigue: Truck drivers often work long hours and may be at risk of fatigue, which can impair their ability to drive safely. According to federal regulations, truck drivers may only work a certain number of hours per day and per week and must take rest breaks at specified intervals. However, some drivers may violate these regulations. If the fatigue is bad enough it can cause a driver to completely fall asleep at the wheel. Some studies suggest that a drowsy driver can be just as dangerous as a drunk driver.
- Improperly loaded cargo: Improperly loaded or overloaded cargo can cause a truck to become unstable, increasing the risk of accidents. Some common examples of cargo-related accidents include:
- Cargo shifting: If cargo is not properly secured, it may shift or fall off the truck during transit, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
- Overloaded cargo: If a truck is carrying too much weight, it may be difficult to maneuver or stop quickly.
- Unevenly distributed cargo: If cargo is not evenly distributed on the truck, it can cause the truck to become unstable or tip over.
- Inexperienced truck drivers: Driving a commercial truck requires specialized training and experience. New drivers may not be prepared for the unique challenges of driving a large vehicle, such as blind spots, turning radiuses, and stopping distances. Inexperienced drivers may also be more likely to make errors while driving, such as taking turns too quickly or failing to check their mirrors before changing lanes.
Trucking laws in Virginia
Trucking is a heavily regulated industry, and there are many laws and regulations that trucking companies and drivers must follow in order to ensure safety on the roads. One of the most important regulations for truck drivers in Virginia is the requirement for a commercial driver's license (CDL). In order to obtain a CDL, drivers must pass a series of tests and meet certain qualifications, including being at least 18 years old (or 21 for interstate driving), having a clean driving record, and passing a medical exam.
Truck drivers in Virginia are also subject to mandatory inspections. These inspections are designed to ensure that trucks are in safe operating condition and are properly maintained. Inspections can take place at any time, and drivers who fail an inspection may be required to take their trucks off the road until the necessary repairs are made.
In addition to the above regulations, there are also rules for driving hours that truck drivers must follow. These rules are designed to prevent driver fatigue, which can be a major factor in truck accidents. In Virginia, truck drivers are subject to the hours-of-service regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”). These regulations limit the number of hours that drivers can spend on the road on a given day or week. For example, a trucker cannot drive if they have been working for 70 hours in seven consecutive days.
Who pays for my truck accident?
After a truck accident, one of the biggest concerns on your mind might be, "Who is going to pay for this?" Fortunately, if you were not at fault for the accident, you have several options for seeking compensation. However, truck accident cases can be complex because there can be multiple at-fault parties, and determining who is responsible for the accident can be challenging.
In general, one of the most common parties to be held responsible for a truck accident is the truck driver. If the driver was negligent, reckless, or violated any traffic laws, they may be held liable for the accident.
Another party that may be held liable is the trucking company that employs the driver. If the company knowingly hired a driver with a history of reckless driving or other infractions, they may be held responsible for the accident. The trucking company may also be held responsible if they fail to properly train the driver or enforce safety regulations.
Improperly loaded cargo can also cause truck accidents. If the contents of the truck were not properly secured, causing the vehicle to tip or roll over, the company that loaded the cargo may be held responsible.
How long do I have to file a truck accident claim?
In Virginia, the statute of limitations, or legal deadline, for filing a truck accident claim is generally two years from the date of the accident. It's crucial to meet this deadline because once it passes, you may lose your right to seek compensation.
An experienced truck accident attorney can help you navigate the filing process and meet these deadlines. They can also gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and fight for the compensation you deserve. Don't hesitate to contact a truck accident attorney today to ensure your claim is filed on time.
We know what to do after your truck accident
If you've been in a truck accident, act quickly and seek the compensation you deserve. The experienced truck accident lawyers at Welch & Wright, PLLC will fight for your rights and hold the at-fault parties accountable. Take action and contact us for a free consultation.