Elements of a Fairfax Truck Accident Claim

Truck accident cases in Fairfax are handled similarly throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. However, there are unique aspects that can be found in any truck accident case. Trucking cases are unique because the damages are often quite catastrophic. Trucks that hit other vehicles, pedestrians, or bicyclists can cause tremendous amounts of damage even in low-impact or low-speed collisions.

Trucks are inherently dangerous on the roadway and can cause a lot of damage, including serious personal injuries. There are additional considerations for trucking cases that involve trucks being operated by county or city entities as well as commercial trucks. They may have a multitude of different insurance policies or insurance coverage available.

There are many important things to know about truck accidents in Fairfax, which are very important to consider when deciding how to best proceed with a case.

Factors that Determine Liability

General safety considerations, safety rules, rules of the road, driving conditions, and other things are considered when making liability determinations in trucking cases. Some assumptions that could be made in car cases are not quite the same in trucking cases, including the limited abilities to stop. Just because someone is struck from behind by a truck does not necessarily mean the truck was at fault. The person may have pulled out and did not give the truck sufficient stopping distance.

In a motor vehicle case, it is rarely contested that a strike from behind was not the fault of the striking driver. However, in truck cases, it is quite common for the defense to be that the person illegally pulled out in front of the truck and contributed to their own injury.

Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence is always a significant issue in any personal injury case, but is especially so in truck accident cases. It is important to know that Virginia is a contributory negligent state, meaning the doctrine of contributory negligence applies. When someone contributes to their own accident and injury, in other words, when a person is partially at fault for the accident, they are legally barred from making a recovery.

For example, in the trucking accident context, truck A is trying to perform a dangerous and illegal turn such as passing truck B on the shoulder, and truck B swerves into truck A. Although truck B caused the accident, truck A is also partially at fault and may be barred from making a recovery.

Other states are comparative negligent states where the degree of fault is deducted by the individual’s potential recovery. However, Virginia is the opposite. Any degree of fault, including a 1 percent degree of fault, may be a complete bar to making a recovery. Contributory negligence is a very big concern in trucking cases.

Importance Things to Know

An important thing to know about truck accident cases in Fairfax is that they are handled very seriously. Trucking companies have very strong insurance carriers, and these insurance carriers hire investigators, adjusters and experienced defense attorneys to represent them.

This means that the trucking industry is trying to protect themselves from frivolous claims. The insurance industry that backs the trucking industry tries to make sure that they pay out the least amount of claims as possible while taking in the largest premiums. In the trucking context, this is significant because these trucking companies work very aggressively to make sure that cases are handled swiftly, and the amount of recovery is as little as possible.

Importance of an Attorney

It is important to contact an attorney early in a case because there may be important evidence that should be preserved. In a trucking accident case, an individual should make sure that a physical inspection is done of the car, the truck, the cyclist, and/or the person, and that certain records such as a trucking black box are preserved.

In the absence of correct legal procedures, valuable evidence can be lost and unavailable for trial down the road. In addition, trucking insurance adjusters and trucking insurance attorneys will try to take advantage of a favorable climate to obtain statements that may not be in the person’s best interests. The trucking insurance adjusters and attorneys may attempt to leverage a person’s desire to resolve the case quickly into a settlement that is not in their best interests.

For example, when someone is involved in a trucking accident and shortly afterwards receives a call from an insurance company to offer them a certain amount of money, that person should understand that the amount of money is for the entire case regardless of whether their injuries take longer than expected to heal, or they sustained a traumatic brain injury that never truly gets better. A seasoned attorney can help an individual make the best decision based on the facts of their particular case.