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By: Murphy & Murphy Law Offices

Las Vegas Truck Accident Guide

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If you were severely injured due to a truck accident, the Las Vegas Truck Accident Guide was created by personal injury attorney Craig Murphy to answer your questions and provide helpful legal advice.

Sharing the road with a huge truck can be extremely nerve-racking especially when you get caught in its blind spot. Collisions with these enormous vehicles can cause serious injuries that could potentially change your life forever. After the crash, you need to make your health the priority. Seeking help from an emergency medical professional should be the first thing you do.

Once your injuries have been addressed, you can begin to explore your legal options. Do not hesitate to seek legal representation. These truck accidents can be tough legal battles, so getting an experienced Las Vegas Truck Accident Attorney familiar with these unique cases might be the best thing you do after getting medical care.

Truck/Commercial Vehicle Accidents

Despite Nevada’s famous large cities like Las Vegas, Reno, and Henderson, the state is mostly rural. People from across Nevada rely on trucks and commercial vehicles to keep necessities such as food and gasoline readily available.  Without daily freight transport via semi-trailers, it would be impossible to sustain the tourism industry that keeps Las Vegas flourishing. Additionally, Nevada is a major thoroughfare for transporting goods from the West Coast across the United States. Though it may be nerve-wracking to share the road with large semi’s and trailers, the economic benefits of shipping by truck far outweigh the roadway inconvenience. However, when a semi-truck causes a crash, the results are often disastrous.

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A lawsuit for a truck accident, although such an accident is still considered a motor vehicle collision, is substantially different from lawsuits involving car accidents. Unlike cars and motorcycles, semi-trucks and 18 wheelers have multiple parties responsible for their maintenance and usage: the drivers, the manufacturers, and the companies that manage the trucks. Each of these individuals or organizations, or some combination of all three, can be held accountable for a semi-truck accident. Additionally, other parties can also be responsible. Early investigation is absolutely critical in semi-truck accident cases. If you have any concerns or questions about your legal rights in a commercial truck accident in the Las Vegas area we will gladly answer your questions.

How Do Semi-Truck and 18 Wheeler Accident Usually Happen?

One of the most sobering facts about truck accidents is that, when injuries occur, the semi-truck drivers are usually not injured. The sheer size of semi-trucks makes them ideal for carrying large loads from coast-to-coast, but the size also comes at a cost. The weight and dimensions of an average semi-truck and trailer mean that it can easily impact a car and continue on its way with little to no damage. When a car shares the road with a truck, whether it be a pickup truck or an 18 wheeler, the driver of the car and passengers face a higher risk of sustaining injuries in a collision. When semi-trucks are involved in a wreck, often many vehicles are involved. Frequently, semi-truck wrecks cause very severe injuries and deaths.

A major cause of motor vehicle crashes is distracted driving, that is, when drivers are deliberately not focusing on the road and nearby traffic. The Nevada Department of Transportation reports that reaching for a moving object while driving makes an accident nine times likelier to happen. Driving while tired is also a deadly choice, as it quadruples the risk of an accident. Other actions such as reading, applying makeup, and dialing the phone also dramatically elevate the likelihood that an accident will occur, and truck drivers engaging in any of these behaviors are knowingly putting the safety of everyone else on the road at risk. Nevada has placed bans on the use of handheld devices, on sending text messages, and on accessing the Internet while driving. Truck drivers passing through the Las Vegas area can expect to face fines and demerits for breaking the law. Unfortunately, the risk of fines, demerits, and deadly crashes does not stop truckers from breaking the law and driving distracted.

Even when truck drivers are taking appropriate precautions behind the wheel, the actions of another driver can create a dangerous situation. Because semi-truck drivers cannot see you through their rear windows, they have an additional and far greater blind spot than drivers of passenger vehicles. The large blind spot can lead to wrecks if the semi-truck swerves or suddenly slows down and collides with a car or other vehicles. This impact often results in significant damage to the car and injuries to the driver and all passengers.

Drivers in the Las Vegas area are relatively lucky since weather is less likely to play a role in truck accidents than it is in other parts of the United States. The summers in Las Vegas may be scorching, but because rain is rare, the adverse conditions that would normally play a role in affecting highway safety are mostly absent. Other factors like fatigued drivers, excessive speed, following too close, and other dangerous driving are the most common causes of semi-truck wrecks. Failure to properly maintain the semi-trucks, trailers, and tires and brakes is another frequent cause of serious truck and commercial vehicle accidents.

Could I Be Considered At-Fault for a Truck Accident Even If I Was Driving a Car?

More than 500,000 truck accidents occur in the United States every year. Fatalities in these accidents are uncommon with about 1% of truck accidents causing deaths. In Nevada there were over 1,400 truck accidents in 2010, the most recent year for which data is available. That means there was an average of almost four 18 Wheeler and commercial truck wrecks per day in Nevada.

Although truck drivers receive training specifically regarding how to weave in and out of lanes without affecting other cars and motorcycles, car drivers who are unaware of how to accommodate trucks on the road can make poor decisions. Because of their size and weight, trucks require extra time to accelerate and decelerate, and if a car tries to abruptly change lanes in front of the truck, the truck driver may not have enough advanced warning to slow down. When faced with this type of situation, an undertrained, inexperienced, or fatigued truck driver may panic or overreact and cause a terrible crash involving many vehicles.

A common question we often receive from our clients is whether truck accident cases are treated differently than the car accident cases. Though many of the factors at play are the same in both types of accidents, one key difference lies in the at fault party. Unlike accidents involving two cars, in which at least one of the two drivers are typically at fault, there are at least three parties who can be responsible for a truck accident: the driver, the manufacturer, and the company contracting the truck. In these cases, the driver of the car and the truck may both be completely innocent. The fault may lie instead with the truck’s manufacturer for improperly or incompletely assembling the vehicle. The responsibility may be that of the company that owns the 18 Wheeler or the contractor that commissioned shipment for failing to properly maintain the truck and trailer. They all could be responsible for requiring the driver to exceed allowable driving hours, breaking federal law and regulations, or by overloading the semi and trailer.

The bottom line is that semi-truck, 18 Wheeler and commercial truck accident cases are very complicated. Your future is too important to risk on just any attorney. Put our skill and experience to work for you to secure your future. Call Murphy & Murphy Law Offices today.

Frequently Asked Questions | Las Vegas Truck Accident Guide

Do I Need a Commercial Truck Accident Lawyer?

When someone has been involved in a commercial vehicle crash, they want to know how soon they should contact a Las Vegas Truck Accident attorney to talk to them about that case. My advice in these types of cases is that you do not delay. You should call a skilled attorney who deals with semi-truck cases right away. They may need to get an investigator out there to investigate the scene, talk to witnesses and gather information that is going to be absolutely critical to your case.

In a lot of car crash cases, it might not be critical that you get an attorney right away, but when you’re dealing with a semi-truck crash and there’s serious injuries involved, you need to get in touch with an attorney right away. These are the types of cases where you can’t delay. You need to take quick action.

Commercial Truck Injuries

If you’ve been driving for any amount of time here in Nevada, you know that there are a lot of commercial trucks that are out on our highways, and they’re often involved in crashes. If you’re involved in a crash with a commercial truck, the damages and your injuries can be very significant. It is critically important that you talk to an attorney who has the skill and experience in dealing with commercial truck cases because it is an area of law that is completely different from car crashes.

There are federal regulations that regulate these trucks, and oftentimes there are multiple entities that are involved in the ownership and the insurance and just various aspects of big rig truck crashes. In addition to that, you need someone to get out there and make sure that the investigation of that crash is complete and accurate, so that all of the facts are adequately developed because the insurers will come in and do everything they can to avoid having any responsibility for it, including saying that they don’t have coverage or that some other entity is to be responsible for it and not them.

You must have an attorney who has been through these types of cases before. This is not something that you can just go to anybody who has a billboard or a TV commercial. You don’t want to risk your case with somebody who’s just learning on your case. What you want is a board certified personal injury specialist who is a trial attorney and who can go out and fully develop your case.

Big Rig Commercial Truck Crash Cases

In these big rig commercial truck cases, there are often multiple parties and people that have been injured. When a big rig has an accident, they don’t just hit one car. They involve lots of cars. There are going to be lots of claimants and many layers of insurance. There are federal regulations that are involved and because of that, the majority of commercial truck cases go into litigation. In other words, it’s going to be necessary to file lawsuits.

If you have an attorney who has the skill and the experience in building your case, they will be able to get it ready to take to trial. The majority of those cases will, in fact, settle before they go to trial, but if your case is not adequately prepared, it is also very likely that the insurance carriers for that big rig truck company will know that your lawyer is not prepared, and that they’re not a real trial attorney. In these case, the insurance company would force the case to go to trial.

To make sure that you’re adequately protected, you need to get a board certified personal injury specialist who is a trial attorney and who will do the hard work that’s required to build your case so that the insurance company for these big rig truckers will know that you’re ready, willing and able to go to trial. When they know that, they will come to the bargaining table.

Talking to the Big Rig Insurance Company

My answer to that question is fairly consistent whether it’s a car crash or a big rig crash that you’ve been involved in. The company investigators, insurance adjusters, and risk managers have years of training and experience and you don’t. You’re a normal person. They are out there to get information from you that is not going to help you; it is going to help them reduce their exposure to this claim. Oftentimes, when you’re dealing with a big rig truck crash, the injuries and damages are very significant, so they’re going to be out there early on, trying to avoid their responsibility to you.

You shouldn’t deal with them because you’re not on equal footing. The only way that you can get on equal footing is by having an attorney who has the skill and experience of dealing with big rig truck crashes, the company investigators, and the federal regulations.

Before you ever talk to an investigator, a risk manager or an insurance company claims adjuster, make sure that you talk to an attorney first.

Choosing a Truck Accident Attorney

You need to have a Las Vegas Truck Accident Attorney who has specific skill and experience in dealing with commercial truck claims and with big rig truck accident claims. In addition to that, you need someone who is board certified by the State Bar of Nevada and the Nevada Justice Association as a Board Certified Personal Injury Specialist.

There are a number of attorneys that have the board certification, but you should not hire the first attorney that you talk to. You can call an office and they will talk to you and say you need to come in right away and sign up. Then they get you in and you’ll meet with an intake person, they’ll sign you up, you may meet with a lawyer for two minutes, then they shuffle you out the door.

You need to call a number of attorneys to find out who is willing to spend the time to get to know you and to answer the questions and give you the information that you want before you even hire an attorney. You’re going to have to have a very close relationship with that attorney, and in a big rig commercial truck accident claim, your claim could go on for a number of years. You need to have an attorney that you can have a close working relationship with and that you can trust, and who will be there over the long haul with you. If you don’t have an attorney who can spend the time with you and answer your questions up front before you’re even a client, are they going to do that once you’ve signed up? It’s doubtful.

To protect yourself, call a number of attorneys. Find out who is willing to give you the level of service that you expect, not only at the beginning, but all the way through your case. Once you do that, I am confident that you will find that the best attorney for your big rig claim or any other type of claim is Murphy and Murphy Law Offices. When you and I work together on this, we spend a lot of time. We get to know you, and we go about building your case to protect your needs and your interests. The only way that we can do that is by spending the time to get to know you and to know how this crash has affected your life and your future.

How Much is My Truck Accident Case Worth?

When someone is seriously injured in a big rig truck crash by a commercial vehicle, people will often want to know how we go about evaluating what the value is of that claim. That is a natural question for people to ask, but not an easy answer.

Oftentimes, when there is a big rig truck crash on the highways in Nevada, it’s not just with one car; it’s multiple vehicles with multiple claimants. The big rig will have multiple layers of insurance coverage. The main thing in determining the value of your claim is really what the full extent of your injuries and damages are. This is why it’s very important for you to make sure that you get all of the medical care and treatment that is required. That is going to impact at least a portion of the evaluation of the value of your claim. You need to find out what your injuries are, what it will take to get you better, or at least as good as you can get, and what the damages are going to be to you for the rest of your life. Until you know what that is, we can’t value your claim.

What you need to do is hire an attorney who has specific skill and experience in big rig truck crashes. You need a board certified personal injury trial attorney because these claims are very complex. You need someone who will make sure that your rights are fully protected.

The Differences Between Commercial Truck Accident Claims and Car Accident Claims

There is a lot of investigation that goes into these types of claims. It involves a lot of federal regulations. You need an attorney that understands these federal regulations. In addition to that, you need someone who can go into and fully investigate the ownership interests that are involved with these semi-trucks. Unlike a car, where one person has insurance on their vehicle, in a semi-truck case, there can be multiple parties that have layers of coverage. If your attorney doesn’t know how to properly investigate the claim and the ownership, there may be levels of insurance that are not even investigated or put on notice of the claim.

If you have serious and significant injuries from a wreck with a big rig semi, you very likely will need every layer of insurance that’s available. You have to have someone who has the know-how and the experience of dealing with them and fully investigating it. You should contact an attorney as soon as possible because they will need to get to work on these claims right away.

Suing A Commercial Truck Company

In a commercial truck accident, people will often want to know who is responsible for all their injuries and damages. Big rig truck crashes are a unique type of collision because there are many more people with insurance that could be involved in the truck crash than there would be involved in a car crash.

For example, the driver of the truck will often have insurance, and the truck itself could be owned by a separate entity that will also have insurance. The trailer could be owned by someone else who has a different layer of insurance. In addition to that, there could be various brokers or companies that have arranged for the transportation of the goods in that trailer. Each and every one of them could have a level or layer of responsibility. If you don’t have an attorney who deals with these types of cases on a regular basis, you could be giving up layers of protection and won’t be fully compensated for all of your damages.

When you’re in a crash with a big rig semi, you could have very significant injuries. You are entitled to all the money that it is going to take to get you back into the condition that you were in before, and to make sure that you have enough money so that your future is secure.

What are the Time Limits for Filing a Commercial Trucking Claim?

You have two years under the statute of limitations in Nevada to file your case, but the real question is, how soon after the crash should you contact an attorney? You need to contact an attorney right away, especially if you’ve been seriously injured. That is because you need to get a Las Vegas truck accident attorney to get out there and start an investigation right away. There is a lot of evidence that needs to be collected right from the beginning, and a lot of it could disappear.

Even though you have two years to file your case, you need to get somebody involved right away because there is a lot of groundwork that needs to be done and a lot of investigation that needs to be done early on. If it’s not done right away, your case and your future could be at risk. Don’t hesitate. Call Craig Murphy of Murphy & Murphy Law Offices to fight for your recovery.