What Can I Sue For in a Truck Accident?

May 22, 2024 | Thomas L. Stroble
What Can I Sue For in a Truck Accident?

Being hit by a tractor-trailer is one of the most terrifying accidents we can experience. Suddenly, an 80,000-pound truck slams into you on the highway and seriously injures you. You might not know the full extent of your injuries and losses.

It’s important to seek immediate medical attention to get your injuries diagnosed and begin the necessary treatment to stabilize your physical condition. Then, have a truck accident lawyer promptly review your case so you receive maximum compensation for your medical bills and other losses.

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Why Truck Crashes Regularly Lead to Injury Lawsuits 

Industry cargo freight trucks, involved in transport and logistics, are parked at a warehouse where trailer containers are being loaded with package boxes.

Fully loaded semi-trucks are big and may weigh 15 or 20 times what a regular car does. Trucks weigh tens of thousands of pounds and are up to 72 feet long. When a truck slams into a passenger vehicle, the latter is disadvantaged. In most accidents, the smaller vehicle takes the lion’s share of the damage. For example, in a typical truck crash, a truck can:

  • Roll over and crush your car
  • Rear-end your car and destroy it
  • Squeeze your car between the truck and a concrete barrier or other vehicle
  • Drag your car that is wedged under the trailer

Truck accidents regularly cause severe or fatal injuries to passenger vehicle occupants. Major, costly medical care is common with a high price tag. These accidents may also involve several vehicles with many injured parties. It is not surprising that injury lawsuits regularly follow these devastating events.

Potential Compensation In a Tractor-Trailer Accident

Many truck accident victims don’t know the full extent of their damages or what they can sue for. Hiring a truck accident lawyer is one of the most important things you can do to ensure you are properly compensated. Your attorney will review your case, potential liability, and losses. Some of what you might be entitled to include:

Medical Expenses

Medical bills are one of the most important parts of receiving compensation for a truck accident. Any medical expenses incurred after a truck accident should be reimbursed, including:

  • Doctor visits
  • Ambulance rides
  • Prescription drug expenses
  • Hospitalization
  • Surgeries
  • Rehabilitation 

You may be owed not just money for your current medical needs but future ones. Truck accidents often trigger severe and sometimes permanent injuries: brain injuries, neck and back injuries, internal injuries, burns, broken bones, dislocated joints, and mental trauma. Your truck accident attorney will make exhaustive efforts to understand the full scope of your future medical needs and demand fair compensation.

Property Damage

A truck hitting a passenger vehicle usually causes severe damage. As a truck crash victim, you should receive compensation for your damaged vehicle. It should either be repaired to its pre-crash condition or replaced. Many passenger vehicles are totaled after a truck crash.

Lost Income 

Recovering from a truck accident may mean missing substantial work time. You may not work or do your regular job for months or years, even permanently. Truck accident victims are usually entitled to compensation for their lost work time. Your lawyer will obtain your income and salary information to ensure you are correctly compensated for lost income during your recovery.

Furthermore, if you suffered a severe injury, you may lose the ability to support yourself as you were accustomed to. You can be eligible for income to compensate for this inability. Your truck crash lawyer will rely on economic and vocational experts to show the income you cannot earn in future years.

You may also have lost the ability to earn promotions, bonuses, pensions, and other retirement benefits, which can be compensated for in a truck crash claim.

Pain And Suffering

Close-up of a doctor examining an injured man's hand in a clinic.

Being seriously injured in a truck crash almost always leads to terrible pain and suffering. The pain of your injuries, combined with the discomfort of treatments and rehabilitation, can make life miserable. You can receive compensation for pain and suffering in a truck accident lawsuit.

Pain and suffering compensation can vary widely based on injury severity. Generally, someone with severe injuries, such as crushed limbs or severe burns, will receive more compensation for pain and suffering than a person with minor injuries, such as whiplash.

The truck insurance company may try to reduce what you receive for pain and suffering. However, an experienced personal injury attorney knows how to show the extent of your pain and suffering from truck crashes. They also may note that juries tend to look disfavorably at trucking companies that severely injure innocent people. Consequently, the insurance company may be encouraged to offer a fair settlement for your pain and suffering.

Truck crash victims also usually go through mental trauma and emotional anguish from the experience and injuries. You can receive compensation for the emotional ordeal the accident and your injuries have caused you. This area of compensation may include PTSD, depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide related to the incident.

Quality Of Life Loss

Being severely injured after a truck crash has a devastating impact on your quality of life. You might be unable to dress or feed yourself, go for a walk, enjoy hobbies and regularly exercise, or have an intimate relationship with your spouse. These are subjective losses, but they are often substantial, and a truck accident attorney will ensure they are fully considered.

Truck accident injuries are among the most serious personal injury cases, and compensation for victim losses can be substantial. Every case is different, but your truck accident lawyer will fight for the most appropriate compensation.

Other Property Loss

In addition to a repaired or replaced vehicle, you also may be entitled to compensation for other lost property:

  • Cell phone or computer
  • Clothes and shoes
  • Personal accessories, such as watches, jewelry, purses, backpacks, and sunglasses
  • Stereo and entertainment system in the vehicle
  • Anything of value in the trunk or elsewhere in the vehicle

Who Can You Sue In A Truck Accident? 

Truck accidents are more complicated than most crashes. There are usually several parties you can sue. That’s why reaching a settlement or verdict may take months or even years. However, an advantage of this type of accident is you potentially have more avenues to receive compensation for your serious injuries. Some of the parties your truck accident attorney may sue in your claim include:

The Driver

Many truck accidents happen because of driver error. Whether the driver fell asleep, was speeding, was high, was drunk, or was distracted, the truck driver has a CDL and is held to a higher standard than other drivers. They are required to obey all traffic and commercial driver rules. When they make a mistake in driving, they can be held accountable for injuring others.

If the truck driver caused the accident, they may have to compensate you personally for your losses. However, if a commercial carrier employs the trucker, you may also sue their employer.

The Trucking Company 

The carrier is another common party that can be at fault in a truck crash. Trucking companies are liable for their employees’ behavior and actions on the road. If the driver was negligent and caused you injuries, you may sue the employer for damages, too.

For example, a trucking company can be negligent in a truck crash in these ways:

  • Improper or lack of truck maintenance: Trucks must be regularly maintained to keep them fit for service. However, trucking companies may neglect essential maintenance to reduce costs. Commonly neglected truck maintenance often includes tires, brakes, couplings, engines, transmissions, etc. 
  • Excessive driver hours. Trucking companies may encourage drivers to be on the road longer than hours-of-service rules allow. If the driver was fatigued and caused your injuries, the trucker and the employer can be at fault. 
  • Improper driver hiring and training. Trucking companies must carefully screen and train their drivers. A company that hires a reckless driver or doesn’t fully train them can be held responsible for truck accident injuries. 

Truck Mechanic

A professional truck mechanic working in a vehicle repair service.

The truck mechanic must ensure that the rig meets maintenance standards and has no safety issues. If a mechanical issue causes a crash, a claim against the mechanic or their employer can be filed. State and federal laws require trucks to be maintained and inspected regularly. Your truck accident attorney can obtain the maintenance records for the truck to determine if the mechanic made any mistakes.

Truck Manufacturer

Sometimes, the truck or some of its many components are at fault for a truck crash. If the vehicle or part manufacturer was negligent and caused the accident, you also can sue them. For example, a manufacturing defect with brakes or tires that led to a crash can lead to a lawsuit against that company.

Your commercial truck accident attorney will carefully determine which entities may be liable for the accident. More than one person or entity can be liable, and it’s important to sue all of them to ensure you are properly compensated.

How Long Will It Take To Settle A Truck Accident Case? 

Semi-truck accidents are usually more complicated and severe than other crashes. Consequently, settling your case will take at least several months or up to a year or two. There are usually several liable parties in these accidents, and the legal discovery process can take a year or more. Then come settlement negotiations, potentially followed by mediation or a lawsuit, depending on the situation.

Your truck crash attorney will give you an approximate idea of how long the case will take. Many truck accident claims end in a settlement because both sides would rather have the case resolved sooner for a fixed dollar amount than rely on an expensive and uncertain court case.

Should You Hire A Truck Accident Attorney?

A man's hand touching the "LAWYER" tab on a virtual screen.

In almost every accident claim, yes. Truck accident victims usually suffer extensive damages, and truck accident cases are complicated. Only an experienced truck accident attorney will get you what you deserve. Benefits of hiring a truck accident attorney include:

  • Truck accident complexity: A truck crash usually differs from a two-passenger car accident. Truck accidents involve complex determinations of fault, obtaining evidence from commercial entities, and fully valuing often expensive medical bills and other losses. An experienced tractor-trailer accident attorney is the best resource to obtain fair compensation for you. 
  • Possible large payout: Truck crashes cause major injuries, so you can be entitled to a large recovery. However, truck insurance companies will fight vigorously when a lot of money is on the line. You need an experienced legal negotiator and litigator fighting for you. 
  • Major physical and mental demands of truck crash recovery:You can be overwhelmed with injuries and medical treatments, including hospital and rehabilitation visits. You don’t need the stress and worry of the legal process when recovering. Your attorney is the best person to handle the case while you focus on getting better. 
  • Experienced settlement negotiator: Truck accident attorneys are skilled in insurance company settlement negotiations. These skills are even more critical when the defendant is a truck carrier and a commercial insurance company. The insurance company wants to limit their liability, even if their driver is fully to blame. Your attorney will negotiate for the most money and threaten a lawsuit if negotiations falter. 
  • Skilled litigator: Many truck accident claims end in an insurance settlement. However, there isn’t any guarantee that the insurance company will settle. It may want to take the case to court, especially if they think you are asking for too much money or liability is questioned. An experienced truck accident attorney knows how to take a case to court and win. 

Contact A Truck Accident Lawyer Now

Truck accidents are usually devastating and terrifying, with severe, life-changing injuries. You need an attorney to support you. If a tractor-trailer hits you, make sure you seek immediate legal assistance. You might have extensive injuries, lost earnings, and pain and suffering, requiring ample compensation for a full recovery.

A truck accident attorney will ensure that rights are respected and you receive the most for your losses. Contact a personal injury lawyer today! Remember, a personal injury attorney doesn’t charge for their services unless they win. Their legal fees come directly from the settlement or verdict award you receive.

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Thomas L. Stroble Author Image

Thomas L. Stroble


Mr. Stroble is a highly accomplished graduate of Michigan State University, with degrees in both science and law. He specializes in commercial lawsuits and personal injury cases. Licensed to practice law in Michigan and even the U.S. Supreme Court, he’s a well-qualified legal expert. Besides his career in law, he loves outdoor activities and volunteers as a part-time police officer in Birmingham.

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