Truck accidents happen regularly in and around Scottsdale, Arizona. These kinds of accidents almost always (98%) result in more injuries and deaths to the other car than injuries and deaths to the truck driver. At the same time, in most incidents, it is the truck driver who is at-fault for the accident. If you are involved in a truck-related accident, it is important that you know your rights and attain legal representation to ensure your rights are upheld.
Who is responsible for a truck accident in Scottsdale, AZ?
Determining who are the responsible party or parties is dependent on the cause or causes of the accident.
CAUSES OF TRUCK ACCIDENTS
Some trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds; the mere weight and size of the truck can cause serious and life-threatening accidents. Maneuvering these monsters on the road can be difficult, which poses a threat to drivers in Scottsdale and throughout Arizona. Some common causes of truck accidents can include any one or combination of the below:
- Insufficiently trained or inexperienced drivers
- Tire blowouts
- Airbrake failure
- Too-wide load
- Unsecured load
- Unbalanced load
- Blind spots
- Driving while drowsy
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failure to adhere to traffic lights, signs and signals
- Reckless driving.
Responsible parties will be dependent on who caused the accident. For instance, if the driver was speeding, but his load was unsecured, and the combination caused the accident, then the driver and the entity loading the trailer are responsible. The reality is, when it comes to truck accidents, there is a high probability that there are multiple responsible parties. What if, in the latter scenario, the driver was speeding because his employer was pressuring him to make the shipment before the scheduled deadline? That employer may then also be held accountable in part for the accident.
Using the same scenario, what if you, as the victim, were sleeping when the accident happened, then you, too, could be responsible in part. Your truck accident lawyer will work through the details with you and conduct a thorough investigation to unmask all responsible parties. The more responsible parties there are, the more there are to share the burden of your compensation. That, however, can make a case more difficult, too. Your Scottsdale truck accident attorney will discuss with you all likely scenarios and paths to a full and fair compensation package.
In the end, there are multiple parties who can be found liable, and these include:
- The Truck Driver
- The Truck Owner (if different than the driver)
- The Trucking Company/Employer
- The Trailer Owner (if different than the driver)
- The Truck Leasing Company
- Cargo Shipper
- Truck Loaders
- Truck & Truck Parts Manufacturers
- You (if you contributed at all to the accident).
Again, the responsible party or parties will depend on the cause of the accident as well as the fine details and circumstances of the crash.
What kind of damages can I claim in a truck accident in Scottsdale, AZ?
If you have been in a truck accident due to the negligence of another party, you have a right to seek compensation for accident-related expenses. Arizona has no cap or limit on the amount of compensation you can recover. Compensation will likely include economic damages, and, if you have been injured, it could also include non-economic damages. Your Scottsdale, AZ trucking accident lawyer will know how to identify and calculate the damages you should be able to recover.
These damages, also known as special damages, usually have a monetary value attached to them already. They include:
- Medical bills
- Ambulance transport bills
- Property damage
- Loss of income
- Income replacement
- Loss of employment
- Earning capacity.
These damages do not have a monetary value attached to them, and usually only apply if you were injured from the accident. These kinds of injuries must be calculated to determine an estimate of what the monetary value is so that you can be compensated. Your Scottsdale truck accident lawyer will know if any non-economic damages and apply, and if so, how to calculate them to determine a number value. Non-economic damages include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental or psychological pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium.
There are two basic ways that trucking accident lawyers and claims adjusters use to determine a number value for non-economic damages: (1) the multiplier method; and (2) the per diem method.
Before using either of these methods, your truck accident lawyers will assess your quality of life before and after the truck accident. Determining the before and after assessment could include any of the below questions, or others, depending on the situation:
- Is your injury permanent, and, if so, how severe is it?
- Did the accident cause any obvious scars or deformities?
- Do you have chronic pain that stems from the injury you sustained from the accident?
- Have you suffered any mental or psychological trauma?
- Are you more depressed than usual?
- Can you perform everyday tasks, and if not, to what extent can’t you perform them?
- Are you able to enjoy hobbies or recreational activities as you once did?
Non-economic damages are supposed address the change in your quality of life as a consequence of the accident. You will need evidence, to the extent possible, to prove your pain and suffering. The more evidence you have, the more damages you can likely recover. Your truck accident attorney will help you know what precisely you need in the way of evidence.
As mentioned, there are two basic methods to calculate damages for pain and suffering: the multiplier method and the per diem method.
The multiplier method adds up all medical and healthcare expenses and multiplies that number by a number between 1.5 and 5. The number to use depends on:
- Seriousness of injuries;
- Prospects for complete recovery;
- Impact on daily life; and
- Percentage of fault.
The per diem method considers pain that has been suffered daily, and as such, uses a multiplier number that represents your daily earnings. You would compute your daily wage (divide your annual salary by 365 days), total the number of days you suffered, and multiply it by daily earning rate. For example, you make $35,000 a year, so your daily earnings equal roughly $96.00. You have suffered for a total of 72 days. Your estimated non-economic value is, therefore, $6,912. This method becomes more precarious for long-term or permanent damage injuries.
Both methods have their good and bad points. Sometimes truck accident attorneys or claims adjusters will use both methods to help identify the best, most reasonable amount.
SUM OF COMPENSATION
To determine the estimate that you will demand from the insurance company(s), you will add together (1) the sum of all economic damages; and (2) the calculated value of non-economic damages. The result will be what you use in your demand letter for a claims process, or complaint for a lawsuit.
What are some injuries that could result from a truck accident in Scottsdale, AZ?
Truck accidents can result in some of the worst accidents. Typically, the truck collides with a smaller passenger car, and it is the driver and passengers of the smaller car who are most likely to sustain serious or life-threatening injuries. Examples of common truck collision injuries are as follows:
- Back and neck trauma
- Cracked jaw
- Crushed vertebrae
- Fractured bones
- Facial disfigurement
- Head injures
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Lacerations or cuts
- Abdominal injuries
- Internal injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Seatbelt injuries
- Wrongful death.
Any of the above injuries, regardless how little or big, can cause pain and suffering. Of course, some injuries will exacerbate the pain and suffering you endure, which is all the more reason you need an experienced truck accident lawyer in Scottsdale to help you with the process. By hiring an attorney, you let him deal with the legal aspect as you cope with your pain.
What do I look for when searching for a truck accident attorney?
The legal industry is saturated with tractor-trailer accident attorneys, and trying to find the better ones is like a needle in a haystack. But it doesn’t have to be if you know what exactly you are looking for. The following are some suggestions for you to consider when you choose your truck accident attorney in Scottsdale, Arizona.
- Find at attorney who does both truck accident and personal injury law.
Oftentimes you will find an attorney who specializes in one or the other, and other times you will find truck accident lawyers in Scottsdale, AZ who do just about everything, from personal injury to divorce to bankruptcy. You don’t need an attorney who does a bit of everything because in doing so, he doesn’t specialize in anything. You want your attorney, however, to have experience both in truck accident and personal injury law. A truck accident attorney will have experience with truck accidents specifically and how to deal with truckers, their employers, truck manufacturers, etc. Having experience with truck accidents means the attorney should have a working understanding of the nuances that that practice entails, including federal and state laws that govern the trucking industry. He should also have experience in personal injury, which will ensure he knows all about compensation calculations. You want a truck accident lawyer well-versed in this area so that you obtain the compensation you deserve. The truck accident experience combined with personal injury experience equal holistic services for your specific case.
- Select an attorney who can take a case to trial, if necessary.
Most settlements are done outside the courtroom, that’s a fact. But sometimes a case requires a trial. You need to know that your tractor-trailer accident attorney is willing to go that far, if necessary. Because if he is not willing, he may then be willing to take whatever settlement is offered so he can avoid the courtroom. This means (1) he’s not in it for you, but himself; and (2) you won’t receive the compensation you deserve according to your particular case.
- Find a truck accident attorney who has a record of high settlements.
Don’t shy away from this qualification. You have every right to inquire into the attorney’s past settlements and verdicts. Regardless if your case is small and simple, or big with multiple injuries, you must make sure the truck accident lawyer can deliver to you a settlement worth your pain.
- Determine if the attorney has sufficient resources.
Truck accident cases require a lot of resources, not limited to time and energy. When you visit the law office for the consultation, look around… what do you see? Does he have a team? Does it look like he is doing well? Does he have a line of credit to use to manage your case properly, such as hiring and paying expert witnesses, crash reconstructionists, biochemists, economists, life care planners, or other potentially necessary specialists. Truck accident cases can be expensive to prepare, so you need to make sure he has the funds to cover it in advance, or else your case will suffer for it.
- Find a truck accident lawyer who will let you speak to former clients.
Even if you do not reach out to former clients, the trucking accident attorney in Scottsdale, AZ should be more than happy to let you speak to them. If the trucking accident attorney refrains from providing a contact’s name and information, alarm bells should immediate go off in your head. Of course, if he needs to contact the client first to ensure it is ok, then that is courtesy more than anything else.
Who should I contact if I’ve been in an accident caused by a truck in Scottsdale, AZ?
If you or a loved one has been involved in a crash caused by a negligent truck driver in Scottsdale, Arizona, you have rights. An experienced truck accident lawyer will help you determine your eligibility to file a claim against the negligent party(s). Nathaniel Preston is an aggressive yet compassionate truck accident attorney in Scottsdale who also has personal injury experience. He provides his legal services to victims in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the greater Phoenix area community. Contact him today to discuss your case.