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Truck accidents are a significant concern on roadways due to the massive size and weight of commercial trucks compared to passenger vehicles. The consequences of these accidents are often severe, resulting in extensive property damage, life-altering injuries, and fatalities. Oftentimes, truck accidents result from factors such as driver fatigue, mechanical failure, speeding, impaired driving, and complex road conditions. And although truck accidents invoke many of the same issues as car and motor vehicle accidents, certain unique complexities and disputes can arise that makes speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer critical.

Several types of claims can arise following a truck accident. These include:

  • Personal injury: Individuals injured in a truck accident can seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  • Property damage claims: Victims can recover costs related to damage to their vehicles or personal property.
  • Wrongful death claims: Families of those killed in truck accidents can pursue claims for funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and the financial support the deceased would have provided.
  • Product liability claims: If an accident results from a defective vehicle part or improper truck maintenance, victims can file claims against the truck manufacturer or maintenance company.
  • Negligence claims: Truck drivers or trucking companies can be held liable for negligence, such as violating safety regulations or improper training.

What should I do if I’m injured in a truck accident?

If you are injured in a truck accident, whether as a pedestrian or motorist, first ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. Move to a safe area if possible, away from oncoming traffic and potential hazards and turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers. Check yourself for any injuries and, if possible, call the police to report the accident, especially if there are injuries or significant property damage. The police will create an official report, which will be crucial should you pursue insurance and legal claims.

Ensure that you exchange names, contact information, insurance details and license plate numbers with the truck driver and other drivers involved, and document the scene as best you can, taking photographs of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and any visible injuries. Notice road conditions, traffic signals, witnesses, and other important details. Even if you don’t feel injured, get a medical evaluation, as some injuries might not be immediately apparent.

When you are able to, notify your insurance company to report the accident and consult with an experienced injury lawyer who can help you navigate complex insurance claims. Remember that it is important to avoid admitting fault or making statements to insurance or trucking company representatives without legal advice.

Should I sue after a truck accident?

Filing a lawsuit after a truck accident can be a necessary step to receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages, especially if the accident was caused by the negligence of the truck driver or trucking company. Experienced lawyers will consider these factors when assessing your case:

  1. The extent of your injuries: If an accident resulted in significant injuries requiring long term medical treatment or leading to disability, a lawsuit may be needed to cover the cost of medical bills and lost wages.
  2. Multiple parties at fault: Truck accidents often involve multiple parties, such as the driver or trucking company. An experienced lawyer can help you assess your case to determine which party/parties may be liable.
  3. Statute of Limitations: As a general rule, an injured party in Atlantic Canada has two years to file a car accident claim. Notwithstanding, this two year general rule may be subject to exemptions.
  4. Fault Determination and Insurance Coverage: If the at fault parties’ insurance company denies a claim or is insufficient to cover damages, suit may be necessary.

Consulting with a personal injury lawyer with experience handling truck and car accident claims can help you break down your options, assess the specific facts of your case, help negotiate with insurance companies to ensure your best interests are represented. Filing suit may be the most effective route to achieve proper compensation, especially in cases of severe injury, negligence, or insurance disputes.

What if I am partly at fault?

If you are partly at fault for a truck accident, your ability to recover might be reduced, but it doesn’t mean you will receive nothing. For example, in Nova Scotia, if damage is caused by more than one party in an accident, liability for recovery will be proportionate to the extent each person is at fault. Fault is typically determined by assessing the facts of the case and investing the conduct of each involved individual prior to and during the accident. If it is impossible to establish degrees of fault, liability will be shared equally.

A lawyer can help determine the extent of your fault, if any, and how it may affect your claim as well as advocate on your before to minimize your share of fault.

What can I recover?

A party injured as the result of a truck accident can be awarded damages including the cost of future care, pain and suffering, lost income, loss of future earning potential, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and any out-of-pocket expenses. When a truck accident results in a fatality, the family of the deceased can claim incurred medical expenses for the deceased, funeral expenses, or compensation for grief counselling.

What is Section B insurance?

Section B benefits are referred to as “no fault” insurance, and are included in every automobile insurance policy in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. The purpose of Section B is to provide coverage for individuals that require treatment as a result of motor vehicle accidents, inclusive of medical expenses, loss of income, housekeeping, funeral expenses, and death benefits. In Newfoundland and Labrador, Section B benefits are an optional addition to your already existing auto insurance coverage.

Because of the nuances of Section B, it is advisable to seek legal advice in order to ascertain whether it applies and if your injuries fall under its coverage.

Should I seek legal advice?

Truck accident cases can be highly complex due to the interplay of federal/provincial regulations, insurance issues, and various liable parties (the driver, trucking company, or manufacturer). Moreover, gathering evidence can be more challenging than in regular car accidents. Relevant data may include the truck’s electronic logging device, driver logs, maintenance records, and dash cams. This evidence is often controlled by trucking companies who may be reluctant to share it. Truck accidents often require detailed investigations by independent experts, such as accident reconstruction specialists, engineers, and medical experts. This input is often crucial for understanding the crash dynamics and determining fault.

Legal counsel can help determine the responsible parties and hold them accountable; investigate any federal and/or provincial regulations that may have been violated; negotiate with insurers; and help navigate the legal system.

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MacGillivray Law is a personal injury law firm with offices in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador. We serve clients all across Canada.

If you cannot travel to one of our offices, we will accommodate your circumstances and travel needs. We can provide a consultation by phone, Zoom, or FaceTime, or travel to meet you in your home when required.

If you would like to learn your legal options at no obligation, contact us today to set up a free consultation.

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