Losing a loved one in a trucking accident can be one of life’s most difficult experiences. If the accident was the result of the negligence of the truck driver, trucking company, or truck manufacturer, the pain may be even harder to deal with. In some cases, the crash could even be due to defective truck parts. The family members may want to bring the liable party to justice, but may be emotionally unprepared for all that is involved with bringing a lawsuit.
The trucking company will protect their own financial interests, and may even take advantage of the family’s mourning period. In fact, it is extremely rare that trucking companies agree to pay victims a full and fair settlement—even when their negligence has resulted in another person’s death. The company may even try to deny liability altogether, always looking out for their financial bottom line. Most trucking companies have plenty of attorneys and specialists on hand. These experts may even use underhanded tactics to try and get plaintiffs to make mistakes, jeopardizing their potential claim.
Types of Damages Which May Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Suit
There are three basic types of damages, which can be recovered in a wrongful death suit:
- Economic damages include such things as the cost of the funeral, lost wages, medical expenses, loss of benefits and even loss of inheritance.
- Noneconomic damages include more intangible losses such as loss of care and protection, loss of consortium, loss of companionship, pain and suffering and mental anguish.
- Punitive damages are possible if the death was caused through gross negligence.
Factors Involved in Fatal Trucking Accidents
Common reasons of truck accident wrongful deaths include:
- Fatigued truck drivers
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Poor road conditions
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Distracted driving
- Defective truck parts
- Inadequate truck driver training
- Improperly maintained trucks
- Improperly secured cargo
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 500,000 trucking accidents occur each year, resulting in at least 5,000 fatalities. Twelve percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States are the result of a truck accident. In nearly 100% of these accidents, the passengers in the smaller vehicle are killed, while the truck driver usually walks away with few or no injuries.
Preserving Evidence from the Trucking Accident
Evidence which demonstrates the liability of the trucking company or the truck driver can be lost if the family of the lost loved one does not have a trucking accident attorney by their side to uncover and preserve the evidence. Most major trucking companies now use engine control module boxes, also known as “black boxes,” which generate significant information. The black box could be an invaluable tool when building a case against the defendants. If the information from the black box is not immediately gathered, the information could be “lost” or modified before a court order is issued to preserve the information. The attorney can also review the truck driver’s record for any past history of traffic violations, accidents or drug or alcohol use as well as subpoena the driver’s log books.
Truck accident wrongful death suits involve complex legal issues associated with liability and damages. The attorney for the plaintiff must prove liability, whether that liability lies with the truck driver, the trucking company, the loading company or maintenance company. The decedent’s death must be a direct result of negligent or intentional wrongdoing. Once the liability is established, there will be legal issues regarding appropriate levels of compensation which will be awarded the loved ones as damages.
Contact Compassionate Trucking Accident Lawyers
At Patrick Malone & Associates, our trucking accident lawyers have helped numerous families in the Washington, DC metro area, Virginia, and throughout the State of Maryland after a loved one has been killed in a trucking accident. We work tirelessly for the families of trucking accident victims and build a case that is designed to maximize compensation and hold the negligent trucking companies responsible for their actions. Call us at 1-202-742-1500 or 1-888-625-6635 or fill out our confidential contact form for a FREE Consultation and review of your case.
The trucking accident attorneys at Patrick Malone & Associates have successfully represented injured individuals in Washington, DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Annapolis, Rockville, Baltimore, Richmond, Fairfax, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and other locations throughout Maryland and Virginia.