Fully loaded large trucks can weigh up to 17,000 kg in British Columbia – nearly five times the weight of the average car. Add momentum, and large trucks can make impacts similar to that of a freight train. It is no wonder that car occupants who experience large truck accidents are frequently severely and even fatally injured.
The aftermath of a truck accident is often more complicated due to the number of parties that could be responsible for the crash. The truck driver, the trucking company, the owner of the goods being transported, the cargo-loader, a third-party maintenance company, and others could all bear or share liability for the crash. These entities will likely seek to shift blame onto one another following a catastrophic crash, which can make it a challenge to hold them accountable.
Not only do truck accidents involve numerous parties, but they also involve a sizeable amount of evidence to secure and review. Along with the normal evidence involved in any accident claim, truck accidents also require you to sift through and understand trucking industry evidence. You will likely have to interpret evidence from the truck’s black box, employer records, maintenance and driver logbooks, and more.
It takes the skill of an experienced truck accident lawyer to ensure that you, as the victim, get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. At Warnett Hallen LLP, we have successfully handled many truck accident cases and we can assist you through all aspects of yours.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident?
There are many potentially liable parties in a truck accident. Think about all of the people who come into contact with a large truck. For example:
- Truck Driver – The driver of a large truck is the most obvious party when it comes to accident liability. Any number of factors may have inhibited their ability to properly operate or maneuver their truck. However, the driver may have experienced mechanical difficulties causing them to lose control or have been influenced by others to drive in an unsafe manner. If this is the case, they may share liability, or even be found entirely not responsible for the accident.
- Owner of Truck – Often, trucks are owned by a third party – not the driver, and sometimes not the trucking company responsible for the load – who can be responsible for the maintenance and safe operation of the truck. If the truck malfunctioned due to inadequate maintenance, liability may lie with the truck owner instead of the driver.
- Trucking Company – The trucking company responsible for giving dispatch assignments to drivers may be liable for the accident if they push drivers to drive beyond the rules and requirements set by British Columbia and the other provinces. These companies make money by delivering more loads to destinations, and often pressure drivers to push through the night, sometimes in violation of rest requirements. Trucking companies may sometimes hire incompetent drivers or fail to properly train their drivers, resulting in serious accidents that may be both their fault and the driver’s fault.
- Cargo Loaders – Loaders are the people responsible for putting freight onto a truck. They must do so in a way that evenly and properly distributes the weight in the truck based on the specs of the cargo-hold. Accidents can be caused if loaders improperly distributed the cargo, improperly secured the cargo to the trailer, and other negligent acts.
- Mechanics – Mechanics responsible for servicing vehicles make mistakes all the time. Nearly every driver has had a time when they have needed to bring their car back to the shop for poor or incomplete work. The same goes for large trucks, but mistakes in their repair and maintenance can cause more serious results.
- Truck or Parts Manufacturers – In some cases, all of the above parties may have done everything right, but a defect in the truck itself – or truck parts – can result in a malfunction that causes an accident.
If these parties or others who came into contact with the truck could have had anything to do with your accident, then they may be held liable. A knowledgeable Vancouver truck accident lawyer can review the information available about your accident to identify every potentially liable party.
Evidence We May Use in a Truck Accident Claim
Another reason truck accidents are so complex is because they involve a huge amount of evidence. Relevant evidence in your claim could include:
- Accident report from police
- Driver’s report of accident to their company
- Statements from witnesses of the accident
- Driver’s logs
- Accident photos
- Tire marks on the road or in soft ground
- Driving records
- Truck inspection records
- Truck loading manifests
- Medical history of all drivers involved
- Onboard Recording Device (black box) data
- Cell phone records
- Trucking company history and compliance background
- Vehicle wreckage
The experienced truck accident lawyers at Warnett Hallen LLP know how to sift through and gain access to this evidence and more, as needed for your case.
Damages in a Truck Accident Claim
Through a truck accident claim, you may be able to recover financial compensation for:
- Past medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation and costs of other therapeutic treatment
- Lost wages
- Loss of earnings potential
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Homemaker benefits
- Wrongful death damages
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Vancouver
Vancouver truck accidents are frequently caused by:
- Improper lane changes
- Improper turning
- Reckless driving
- Texting while driving
- Other forms of distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Equipment failures
- Design defects
- Driver error
- Employer negligence
- Failure to obey traffic laws
A lawyer can conduct an independent investigation into your accident to determine the cause and identify the liable parties.
Catastrophic Injuries Caused by Truck Accidents
When truck accidents happen, injuries can be extreme. Catastrophic injuries due to truck accidents often include:
These injuries and others can result in massive damages, forever altering the quality of your life.
Wrongful Death Claims Arising from Truck Accidents
When you lose a family member due to a truck accident, you may be entitled to bring a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death occurs when a life is lost due to the negligence or recklessness of another person.
A truck accident can qualify for a wrongful death claim, but you must prove that the act causing the accident was negligent, and the surviving family members must have suffered damages due to the loss of their loved one. This type of claim can be incredibly sensitive, and the lawyers at Warnett Hallen LLP will handle your case with compassion and respect.
According to BC law, wrongful death claims are meant to compensate family member for their loss. Spouses, unmarried partners (within certain parameters), children, and some parents may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Damages in a wrongful death claim are generally made available by ICBC and may also be pursued as an individual personal injury claim.
Compensation can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of income
- Loss of future income
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of inheritance
- Cost of medical care
- Damages to compensate service providers
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of companionship
- Other damages
Our Vancouver wrongful death lawyers can help you explore all of your legal options. We will do everything in our power to make this process as simple and straightforward as possible, taking on the legal burden so your family can focus on grieving and being with those you love.