Charlottesville Truck Accident Lawyer

A truck accident on the road in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Charlottesville is located on I-64 and less than an hour from I-81, which makes it a popular crossroads and a trucking hub. With all of the added highway traffic from commercial carriers in our region, Charlottesville residents face a greater risk of getting into a collision with one of these vehicles – especially when truck drivers fail to respect the rules of the road. Contact our semi truck accident lawyer in Charlottesville today.

At Marks & Harrison, we know how your life can feel like it is out of control after a semi-truck accident. You may suffer incredible pain. At the same time, your medical bills may be mounting, and you may be unable to earn any income because your injuries prevent you from being able to work. Fortunately, you have rights and options. Contact Marks & Harrison today to learn more and to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Charlottesville

Trucking accidents in Charlottesville can happen for any number of reasons. Common causes for these accidents include:

  • Driver distraction – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) prohibit truckers from texting or using hand-held cell phones while driving. Still, they do it all of the time. Distraction can be highly dangerous when a driving is behind the controls of a massive 18-wheeler.
  • Driver fatigue – Truck drivers are required to obey strict hours-of-service rules that are designed to prevent them from operating their rigs longer than they should. Sadly, while most truck drivers are true professionals who take their commitment to safety seriously, there are those who put the public in danger every day by falsifying their driver logs and driving long past the point where fatigue has set in.
  • Failure to perform inspections – Professional truck drivers must also perform a basic pre-trip inspection before operating a truck on the road. They must check tires, air brakes, brake lines, trailer connections, tandem settings, engine components, lights, signals and more. At the end of each day, a driver must perform a post-trip inspection that is similar to the one performed at the beginning of the day. This helps to ensure that equipment is working properly.
  • Faulty equipment – While driver error is usually to blame for truck accidents, defective or faulty parts or equipment can also be the culprit. In some cases, the manufacturer may be to blame.
  • Poor maintenance – Although it may seem shocking, some mechanics claim to repair brake lines or do other repairs but, instead, they simply skip certain steps to save time. Laziness and carelessness can lead to mechanical failures on the road.
  • Drugs and alcohol – Virginia law sets a lower threshold for blood alcohol concentration than it does for other drivers. Commercial drivers cannot operate a rig with a BAC of 0.04 or higher, while the BAC limit for other drivers is 0.08. Most reputable trucking companies will terminate a truck driver immediately if they learn that they were intoxicated behind the wheel. Still, many other companies will simply look the other way. Impairment can also be caused by use of illegal and prescription drugs.

Common Truck Accident Injuries in Charlottesville

Injuries are usually much worse in Charlottesville semi truck accident cases. The gross combined vehicle weight for a standard tractor-trailer vehicle is 80,000 pounds. That’s 40 tons barreling down the road. When trucks collide with cars or motorcycles, the outcomes can be horrifying. Common injuries include:

Who Can Be Held Liable for Truck Accidents?

If someone else is responsible for causing your injuries in a truck accident in the Charlottesville area, Virginia law requires that party to compensate you for the physical, emotional and financial harm that you have suffered. In a truck accident case, negligent parties often include:

  • Truck drivers
  • Mechanics
  • Trucking companies
  • Truck leasing companies
  • Freight brokers
  • Warehousing companies
  • Lumpers (people the driver pays to load the truck)
  • Vehicle or trailer manufacturers.

What Kind of Damages Can Be Recovered in a Truck Accident Case?

If you have been hurt or lost a loved one in a collision with a tractor-trailer, the Charlottesville truck accident attorneys of Marks & Harrison will fight for all compensation that you deserve. The damages that we pursue for you may include:

  • Medical expenses – You should be entitled to all medical expenses that you have incurred due to your accident-related injuries. If your injuries are severe enough that you will need future care, you may be able to claim compensation for those medical costs as well.
  • Lost income – If you lost weeks or months of work due to a catastrophic injury in a truck accident, or if you are left with a disability that prevents you from earning what you did before the crash, you should be compensated for those losses.
  • Pain and suffering – Simply put, your pain and suffering is as real – and compensable – as any other harm that you suffer in an accident.
  • Punitive damages – In some cases, punitive damages may be appropriate. For instance, a trucking company may have forced or encouraged its drivers to engage in dangerous conduct such as violating hours-of-service regulations.
  • Wrongful death damages – If you have lost a loved one in a truck accident near Charlottesville, you and your close relatives may have the right to claim compensation for your loved one’s wrongful death, including funeral and burial expenses and the loss of financial support and services.

How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After a Truck Crash?

Virginia law gives you only a short amount of time to bring a lawsuit for your injuries after a truck accident. Every state has a different rule, or statute of limitations. In Virginia, you get only two years after the crash to bring your case. If you fail to do so, you will waive your right to recover compensation. The same is true for bringing a wrongful death lawsuit after the loss of a loved one. You have only two years from the date of death to file a claim. For this reason, it is extremely important to contact a tractor-trailer accident attorney in Charlottesville as soon as possible.

How Can a Charlottesville Truck Accident Lawyer Help Me?

Perhaps one of the most important benefits of hiring a Charlottesville truck accident lawyer is knowing that you do not have to speak to the insurance company alone. Beyond that, when you hire Marks & Harrison, you will be working with a dedicated Charlottesville truck accident attorney who can:

  • Investigate the crash – Step one in any trucking accident case is to launch a thorough investigation into what happened. Depending on the situation, we may consult with accident reconstruction experts, forensic engineers and even make site visits to the scene to document the details of the collision. We also speak with witnesses and take statements in order to gather important evidence.
  • Ensure you get medical treatment – Many people fear that they won’t be able to afford medical care, or they may not have adequate health insurance. If the other driver is at fault, we can help you to find medical care for your injuries so you don’t have to suffer without help.
  • Help with property damages – Many of our clients prefer to handle their own property damage claims. However, if you need help getting the insurance company to respond to you and pay for your repairs or vehicle damages, our office has a team who can assist with this as well.
  • Negotiate with claims handlers – Insurance adjusters will look for ways to deny or minimize the amount that you recover after a trucking accident. Our attorneys know how to confront common insurance company tactics and pursue the maximum amount for our clients.
  • Fight for you at trial – If your case must go to court, you can feel confident knowing that you are represented by highly skilled and experienced trial lawyers who know how to present strong cases to juries.

Truck Accident FAQs

What should I do if I am involved in a truck accident?

Keeping a cool head is important after an accident. Here’s what you can do right after an accident to protect your health and your legal rights:

  • Call 911. You may need emergency medical treatment for your injuries, and even if you don’t, there may be others who were injured in the accident who do need it. Calling 911 will also bring law enforcement to the scene so they can begin their accident investigation. Once the investigation is over, the responding officer may issue a citation to the at-fault driver, and you can request a copy of the report as evidence to support your claim.
  • Take as many pictures as you can. Be sure to get photos of the damage to all the vehicles in the crash, the area where the crash happened, your injuries, any roadway hazards or bad weather that might have contributed to the crash, and so on. These photos will serve as important evidence.
  • Get contact information from everyone involved in the crash as well as any witnesses who saw what happened. Be sure to get their names, phone numbers, and email addresses. Get the truck driver’s license number, insurance information, and license plate number. You’ll also want to get the name of the driver’s employer and the employer’s insurance provider.
  • See a doctor as soon as you can. If you aren’t taken to a hospital by emergency medical personnel, be sure to see your own doctor right away. You’ll want a full evaluation to check for any internal injuries, and you want to begin treatment for all your injuries as soon as possible.
  • Speak to a knowledgeable truck accident attorney right away. Critical evidence such as the truck driver’s logs and the truck’s vehicle data recorder can disappear quickly after an accident. Hiring a lawyer as soon as possible ensures evidence is preserved and your rights are protected.

What should I do if an insurance adjuster contacts me?

Ideally, you should hire a truck accident attorney before speaking to any insurance adjuster so your attorney can talk to the adjuster on your behalf. However, if you have not yet hired an attorney by the time an insurance adjuster contacts you, be very cautious about what you say. Your words can be used against you if you’re not careful. Do not agree to having your statement recorded. Keep the conversation as brief as possible and do not answer questions about your injuries. Instead, get the adjuster’s name and contact information so you can have your attorney follow up.

What should I expect in the truck accident insurance claims process?

Virginia law requires that law enforcement be notified anytime an accident results in a serious injury or death. It’s generally advisable to make a written report, so there’s a physical record of you doing so.

Once law enforcement has been notified, your next step is communication with an insurance adjuster, both from your own insurer and from the opposing party’s insurer. In truck accident claims, there may be multiple at-fault parties and a complex web of insurance involved. It is best to have an experienced attorney handle all communication with the insurance companies.

As treatment for your injuries progresses, your attorney will document your losses in detail. This will help determine how much a fair settlement should be. As your claim moves forward, you’ll share whatever evidence you and your legal team have gathered to show how the responsible party is liable for your injuries, along with an initial compensation offer.

Settlement negotiations take time, and they’ll end in one of two ways. If your attorney and the opposing insurer can reach an agreement, you’ll receive your compensation through a truck accident settlement. If the opposing insurer does not make a fair offer, the case will go to trial.

How do I know if I need a Charlottesville truck accident lawyer?

Hiring a lawyer is not strictly required if you’re pursuing a claim for damages after a truck accident. However, if you have been hurt, it’s in your best interest to have an experienced truck accident attorney represent you. Compared to car accidents, truck accidents can be more much more complicated. Trucking companies have significant resources at their disposal, and you want to move as quickly as possible to collect any evidence that supports your case. The longer you wait, the harder it is to get access to information like a truck’s data recorder, which can be invaluable in a truck accident claim.

How much does a truck accident lawyer cost?

At Marks & Harrison, we believe everyone is entitled to high-quality legal representation, no matter how limited their financial resources may be. That’s why we use a contingency-fee system for personal injury cases. This means that we will not charge you attorney’s fees unless and until we collect compensation on your behalf. If we don’t get you the money that you deserve, you won’t owe us anything.

How much is my case worth?

No two truck accidents are the same, so it’s difficult to say what any one accident is “worth” without an individual case review. Your potential damages in a truck accident will depend on the extent of your injuries and other factors. You could potentially be compensated for:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced future earning capacity
  • Damaged or destroyed property
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental distress

How long will it take to resolve my truck accident claim?

It can take weeks or months to gather all the necessary evidence to successfully pursue a truck accident claim. Once the evidence has been gathered, settlement negotiations can take several more months as your lawyer works to get you a fair offer for your injuries. Virginia’s statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is two years. This means you have two years from the date of the injury to file your case in court if a fair settlement cannot be reached.

Get Help from Our Charlottesville Truck Accident Attorneys Today

No attorney can guarantee a specific outcome. This is because no two cases are identical. However, we are proud of our accomplishments at Marks & Harrison. For decades, our attorneys have put our clients first and held negligent truckers and trucking companies accountable for the harm they cause.

If you have been seriously hurt by someone else’s careless or reckless conduct in a truck accident, you deserve just compensation. Protect your rights. Contact Marks & Harrison today for a timely and free consultation.