Las Vegas Truck Accident Attorney Serving Clients Throughout Nevada
Did you know that almost any serious Las Vegas truck accident results in severe and fatal injuries? While many car accidents in Las Vegas are debilitating, a truck accident is often worse due to the sheer size and weight of the vehicle. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), large trucks—which are also known big rigs, 18-wheelers, and semi-trucks—often weigh in excess of 10,000 pounds, and they have a very high ground clearance. Given that large trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds with cargo, these vehicles can weigh as much as 40 times as a passenger car. All of this means that a collision with a smaller passenger vehicle can be devastating.
Recovering from any personal injury can be difficult, but it can be especially tough to find a way to cover your extensive medical bills after a truck accident, especially when your injuries are so severe that you are unable to return to work. While some accident victims ultimately are able to return to a job in a limited capacity, many live the rest of their lives with permanent partial or total disabilities. You should know that you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. An aggressive Las Vegas truck accident attorney can assist with your case.
Common Causes of Big Rig, Semi, Truck & 18 Wheeler Accidents in Vegas
Many truck & motorcycle accidents happen on highways or other major roads around Las Vegas. What causes a serious truck accident? There are many different reasons that truck crashes occur, according to a crash causation study from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), including but not limited to the following:
Truck drivers have a duty to be careful when they are behind the wheel. Even if inclement weather plays a role in a truck accident, the driver may have been going too fast for the conditions and still may be liable for the accident. Unlike many car accidents in the Las Vegas area, these accident claims may have many different responsible parties. This is typically good for plaintiffs, since trucking companies or truck manufacturers tend to have deeper pockets than the truck driver. Examples of individuals who may bear some responsibility for a truck accident include but are not limited to:
Company responsible for loading the truck;
Employee of the loading company;
Trucking company dealer that employs the mechanic;
Truck part designer; and/or
Truck part manufacturer.
Depending on the specific facts of your case, you may be able to hold multiple parties liable for a truck accident. For example, if the truck owner or trucking company failed to have the truck properly maintained, that poor maintenance could have played a role in causing the crash. Or, for example, if the mechanic was negligent, the company that does the maintenance on the truck may be liable. Moreover, if the truck accident results from a defect in the design or manufacture of the truck or one of its parts, the designer or manufacturer may be held responsible through a product liability claim.
When a truck driver’s negligence causes the crash, some of the most common reasons include but are not limited to:
Aggressive driving, which can include speeding, running a red light, running a stop sign, tailgating or following too closely, weaving between traffic, and passing on the right;
Drowsy driving, which can happen whenever a driver fails to get enough sleep and is too fatigued to be safely behind the wheel;
Impaired driving, which can include having a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher or driving under the influence of drugs; and
Distracted driving, which can involve taking your eyes, hands, or mind off the road and often results from using a cell phone or smartphone behind the wheel.
A dedicated Las Vegas truck accident lawyer can help you to determine the responsible parties in the crash who should be named in your claim, and we can get started on your case immediately.
Serious Injuries in Las Vegas Trucking Collisions
As we mentioned, trucking collisions typically result in severe and life-threatening injuries. In many cases, truck crashes prove to be fatal. Some of the most common injuries in a large truck collision include the following:
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs);
Spinal cord injuries (SCIs);
Broken bones or fractures;
Internal organ damage;
Loss of limb or amputation; and
Psychological trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Seeking Compensation: Compensatory Damage in a Nevada Personal Injury Case
What type of damages can you seek if you file a personal injury claim after being injured in a trucking collision? Under Nevada law (NRS 42.001), a plaintiff may be able to recover two types of compensatory damages, both of which are designed to compensate the victim for her injuries and losses in the accident:
Economic damages: any direct, financial losses like ambulance ride cost, hospital bills, surgery bills, prescription medication costs, follow-up doctor’s visit fees, physical therapy, and lost wages fall into this category. Non-economic damages: any subjective, indirect losses on which you cannot put an objective dollar figure, like pain and suffering or the loss of enjoyment of life, fall into this category.
What about punitive damages?
In some cases, it may be possible to seek what are known as exemplary or punitive damages under Nevada law (NRS 42.005). Punitive damages are designed solely to punish the defendant (or defendants) for very bad acts. Typically, in order for a truck crash claim to result in a punitive damages award, the plaintiff would need to show that a product designer or manufacturer knew of a defect and engaged in fraud, or that another defendant acted with malice, which is defined as “conduct which is intended to injure a person or despicable conduct which is engaged in with a conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others.”
If a plaintiff is awarded exemplary or punitive damages, they are capped at three times the amount of the compensatory damages award if that award is $100,000 or more, or at $300,000 if the compensatory damages award is less than $100,000. A Las Vegas truck accident attorney can discuss possible damages with you.
Statute of Limitations for Your Truck Accident Claim
When you are injured in a trucking collision, it is extremely important to be aware of the statute of limitations. This is a law that specifies the amount of time you have to file your claim. If you do not file your lawsuit within the specific period of time that is outlined in the statute of limitations, you will be barred from filing a lawsuit.
Nevada law (NRS 11.190) says that the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is two years. This means that anyone injured in a trucking crash must file a lawsuit within two years from the date of the collision or else be barred from filing a claim. Two years might sound like a lot of time immediately after the crash, especially when you are dealing with the physical and psychological toll of the accident. However, the sooner you contact a personal injury lawyer, the sooner we can begin investigating your claim and gathering valuable evidence to prove the defendant’s liability.
How Comparative Fault Affects Las Vegas Personal Injury Cases
What will happen if you were partially to blame for the truck crash? For example, what if you were going five or ten miles over the speed limit when a truck driver crashed into your vehicle? Nevada law (NRS 41.141) follows what is known as a “modified comparative negligence” rule. This rule says that as long as a plaintiff’s negligence or fault is not greater than the negligence of the defendant(s), the plaintiff can still recover damages. However, her award will be reduced by her percentage of the negligence.
To be clear, as long as a plaintiff is 50 percent or less responsible, she can recover. Once she is 51 percent or more responsible, she cannot recover damages.
To explain how the damages award is reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of the negligence, imagine a plaintiff is 30 percent negligent. She receives an initial damages award of $100,000. However, that award will need to be reduced by her percentage of the negligence, which is 30 percent or $30,000. In this scenario, the plaintiff ultimately would recover $70,000.
FAQ: What Do You Need to Know About Filing Your Truck Accident Lawsuit?
We often receive similar questions from injury victims about filing trucking accident claims, and we want to help by addressing some of our most frequently asked questions.
What Should I Do Immediately After the Truck Accident?
Document the scene as best as you are able. This means taking photos and collecting contact information for anyone else involved in the crash or anyone who witnessed the accident.
Do I Need to Visit a Doctor?
You should see a healthcare provider as soon as possible after the crash. You will need detailed medical records about your injuries when you file a claim. Failing to seek immediate medical attention could result in your injuries worsening, which could lead the defendant to argue that you are partially responsible for the severity of your injuries. In addition, many injuries do not appear immediately, but a doctor can identify signs and symptoms quickly to ensure that you receive proper treatment.
How Much Information Should I Give to My Insurance Company?
Only give the facts to your insurance company. You will need to report the accident as soon as possible, but never offer your opinion to the insurance company, and always remember that the insurance company—even your own insurer—is not on your side.
Should I Contact the Truck Insurance Company Myself?
While you will need to let your own insurance company know about the collision as quickly as you can, you should not speak to the truck insurance company without the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
How Long Will My Truck Accident Case Take Before I Receive Compensation?
Every case is different—these cases can take anywhere from weeks to many months. Sometimes we are able to settle your claim quickly, while sometimes it is essential to take your case to court. Regardless, our team will be with you every step of the way, advocating for your right to compensation.
Contact a Las Vegas Trucking Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a crash, a Las Vegas truck accident lawyer can speak with you today about your case. Contact Ladah Law at 702-252-0055 to learn more about our results from other truck accident cases and to get started on your claim with the help of an aggressive personal injury attorney.