Feb 07 2020

Answering Common Questions on Truck Accidents and Liability

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, one area we’re proud to assist clients with is any kind of truck accident injury. As former insurance defense lawyers and adjusters, we know all the ins and outs of such cases and precisely how to get you your just compensation if you’ve been injured in such an accident through the fault of another party.

While truck accidents are rarer than normal car accidents, their results can be significantly more significant and damaging – and as such, we regularly get questions from truck drivers or others in the field about important legal areas, both for general driving and for instances where accidents have taken place. For today’s blog, we’ll lay out some of these most common questions, plus some of their basic answers for your information.

common questions truck accidents liability

What Makes Truck Accidents Serious?

We mentioned that truck accidents are often more serious than corresponding car accidents, and the primary reason behind this is the simple reality of the weight and loads involved. A roughly average passenger vehicle on today’s market tends to weigh in the neighborhood of 3,000 pounds – larger truck rigs weigh in excess of 70,000 pounds, and this difference simply makes major damage or injuries more likely in accidents.

This theme is even more significant if you’re dealing with a semi-truck, which is over 50 feet long and will often be carrying all sorts of potentially heavy, movable materials. These vehicles often do not drive or stop in the same ways as others, making potential collisions riskier.

Are There Special Laws or Regulations for Truck Drivers?

Truck drivers for bigger rigs are required to hold commercial driver’s licenses, for one. These must be updated regularly, including through tests.

In addition, truck drivers must abide by specific regulations such as rest periods, load capacity and even often designated speed limits while on the road. Failure to do so could leave truck drivers liable if an accident takes place.

How is Fault Determined in Truck Accidents?

While some of the details for truck accidents may be different than other car accidents, determining fault is generally done in the same ways. Witness statements and other documentation formats of the scene are taken, and a police report is made. In some cases, attorneys for potential victims will investigate both the driver and the company they work for.

In some cases, companies may try to avoid liability by claiming a driver does not work for them or is only an independent contractor. Our attorneys will help you sift through these kinds of claims if you’re involved in such a case.

How Do I Respond After a Truck Accident?

Your first step in any vehicle accident is to ensure you and others in your vehicle are safe and healthy. If you or anyone else has any injuries, immediate medical assistance should be sought.

If you are physically capable, you should also spend this immediate aftermath collecting as much evidence and information as you can. Take pictures, ask for witness names and contact information, and be sure to take down all available info for the other driver(s) involved in the accident. Finally, call our personal injury attorneys right away to get us on the case and assisting you.

For more on trucking accidents, or to learn about any of our personal injury lawyer services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

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Dec 13 2019

Coverage for Vehicle Repairs During Accident Liability Cases

If you’ve been involved in a vehicle accident where you believe another party was at fault, there are multiple types of damages you could be seeking. These could be to pay for medical bills and other results of your pain and suffering, they could relate to emotional distress, or they might speak to paying for repairs to damage to your vehicle.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, our auto accident injury attorneys are here to help you get your just compensation if this has happened to you. We’ll help you understand all the ins and outs of a car accident case, including vital information on how repairs will be covered and handled depending on the fault in the case. Here are some basics you might need to know about this area moving forward.

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No-Fault Insurance and Collision Coverage

For starters, it’s important to know that Utah is a no-fault state when it comes to auto accidents and resulting damages. This means that your own vehicle insurance covers your economic damages all the way up to its policy limits – in cases where you believe someone else is at fault, however, you file a lawsuit against that driver.

Because there is not necessarily a guarantee of winning such a lawsuit, however, we highly recommend purchasing collision coverage in addition to your own basic car insurance policy. In situations where your claim is not successful, your basic no-fault insurance does not apply to vehicle damages, rather only to economic ones.

If you do not have collision insurance in this case, you could be on the hook for the entire cost of the repairs. And on the flip side, if you happen to be at fault in an accident at any point, collision coverage will also pay for your repairs in this case.

At-Fault Drivers and Liability

In cases where fault can be proven in another party, the at-fault driver will be responsible for paying for the repairs of any innocent party’s vehicle. This is generally done using the insurance of the at-fault driver, which can range up the policy limits. If this policy comes up short, a claim will be filed against the driver’s insurance company to help cover the difference.

Total Loss Situations

If the estimate for repairs needed on your damaged vehicle exceeds the Blue Book value of the vehicle itself, it’s likely the vehicle will be declared a total loss. In these cases, rather than insurance covering repairs, it will pay you out the Blue Book value on your vehicle from the time of the accident.

For more on how to handle vehicle repairs in auto accident liability cases, or to learn about any of our personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at William Rawlings & Associates today.

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Oct 18 2019

Assessing Liability in Ride-Sharing Vehicle Accidents

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates LLC, one of the most common needs for our attorney services is in the realm of car and truck accidents. Sadly, there are tens of thousands of vehicle accidents, injuries and even deaths per year, many of which are caused by negligence or other factors that necessitate a personal injury claim.

One area here that’s on a major rise over the last several years is incidents that take place involving a ride-sharing company such as Uber or Lyft. More and more Americans are utilizing these services every year, but the legal field is still catching up in terms of liability when accidents take place involving ride-sharing drivers. Let’s go over some basic numbers here, the role insurance plays and the limited likelihood of successfully bringing suit against these companies directly.

liability ride-sharing vehicle accidents

Ride-Sharing Usage and Increasing Accident Deaths

While there is not necessarily direct proof to link these two trends, traffic incidents and fatalities have gone up over the last few years – at a similar rate to the increase in ride-sharing services, per several area of research. This has led some to speculate that more ride-sharing drivers are clogging the roads and helping contribute to a greater number of traffic incidents. And whether or not this is the case, the fact remains that many people utilize these services and need to be prepared in case an incident takes place during such a ride.

Which Insurance Applies?

In cases where you’re injured as the passenger of a ride-sharing service and your driver is at fault, the insurance coverage of the individual driver is the first place to check. If this person has a commercial insurance policy or a personal policy that includes a ride-sharing provision, you’ll be covered. The problem: Most Uber and Lyft drivers do not have this kind of insurance.

Luckily, Uber and Lyft carry third-party liability insurance coverage up to $1 million for personal and property injuries. These kick in after the driver’s own policy is used up, if applicable, so you’re covered in these cases regardless.

What about situations where your driver is not at fault and the incident was caused by another motorist? In these circumstances, you’d seek coverage from the at-fault driver’s insurance via an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. In rare cases where this third party does not have car insurance that will cover your injuries, ride-sharing companies also offer a $1 million policy for uninsured or underinsured cases.

Suits Against Ride-Sharing Companies

Uber and Lyft list their drivers as independent contractors, not employees, in large part so they don’t have to be legally responsible for driver negligence. For this reason, it’s generally very difficult to bring and win a personal injury suit directly against these companies. While you’ll generally be able to take advantage of their $1 million policies for negligence issues, suing them directly usually isn’t a viable option.

For more on who is responsible for damages in a ride-sharing vehicle accident, or to learn about any of our auto accident attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates LLC today.

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May 03 2019

Understanding Common Forms of Distracted Driving

There are several potential causes to vehicle accidents on the road, and one of the most common and dangerous is distracted driving. Distracted driving is a broad category that can refer to several specific types of distraction, from visual ones to manual or even cognitive issues.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, we’re here to tell you that regardless of which type of distraction was the cause, you could be owed damages if you were injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver. Here are some basics on defining this term, how an auto accident injury attorney can help, plus an investigation into a few specific examples of distracted driving – including a couple that some people mistakenly think don’t put them at risk for liability if they cause an accident.

common forms distracted driving

Defining Distracted Driving

Simply put, the law defines distracted driving as any behavior or activity that turns the driver’s attention away from the task of driving. Many of the basics here come back to simple science: Even a single second spent looking away from the road in front of you will cause you to be unaware for a huge amount of ground covered, particularly if your vehicle is traveling at a high rate of speed.
For this reason, anything that causes this sort of diversion of attention could be considered a distraction. While we’re about to lay out a few specific examples of the most common forms of distracted driving, know that a far greater number of potential actions or distractions could also fit the bill, and you should be aware of them at all times when operating a vehicle.

Cell Phones and Texting

In today’s modern day, texting on cell phones is considered the single most dangerous type of distracted driving facing US drivers. It is responsible for literally thousands of deaths on the road every year, plus untold additional thousands of injuries. This is extremely straightforward: Not only does texting require a driver to move their eyes from the road to a phone, it takes at least one hand off the wheel and uses it for another purpose.
In addition, several other phone behaviors outside texting may cause distraction. Talking on the phone can apply if you aren’t using fully hands-free devices, and even voice commands may distract the brain. Those looking to fully avoid distractions will not use their phones at all while driving.

Daydreaming or Preoccupation

This is a bit more of a nebulous category, but distraction can also be easily caused by our own mental picture. Daydreaming or distraction are particularly common for tired drivers, part of the reason you often see reminders to pull over and rest if you feel tired while driving.

Rubbernecking

It’s often used as the butt of jokes due to it’s silly-sounding name, but rubbernecking – or slowing down and losing focus on driving so as to view accidents or other things happening on the side of the road – is extremely dangerous. It’s the cause of numerous additional accidents, in fact, and is a form of distracted driving that is not viewed favorably by courts.

For more on the common types of distracted driving, or to learn about any of our car accident or personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

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Nov 05 2018

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

As some of the biggest vehicles on the road, accidents involving trucks and other big rigs can be some of the largest and most complex. This is particularly true if you’re injured in an accident involving a truck or commercial vehicle of any kind, which is generally defined as any vehicle with a gross weight of 26,000 pounds or greater.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, we’re here to help if you’ve been in a truck accident and need an attorney to represent your interests. Our truck accident lawyers have been helping clients get their just compensation for over 35 years, whether the accident involved a semi-truck, 18-wheeler, tractor-trailer or some other type of commercial vehicle. Let’s look at three of the most common causes of these accidents, and whether or not you’re likely to have a good claim if you’re involved in an accident with one of these causes.

causes truck accidents

Driver Errors

The most common cause of an accident involving a truck or larger commercial vehicle is a driver error of some kind, and there are several different possible areas here. Some of these relate to the truck’s far larger turning radius, which makes it a very different type of vehicle to drive than a passenger sedan or even an SUV. This is exacerbated if trucks have trailers attacked to them.

In addition, some trucking companies subject their drivers to long hours – there have been some cases where those injured by a truck in an accident have actually been able to recover damages from the parent trucking company, rather than the driver themselves, when it was found that unreasonable driving expectations led to driver fatigue that may have caused the accident. But in other cases, aggressive or distracted driving by the driver themselves will leave them liable for your damages.

Weather Issues

Just like other vehicle types, bad weather can impact driving safety and can even cause accidents in some cases. But once again, this can be exacerbated for larger trucks, which don’t handle as well and are more prone to slipping and sliding once they lose control.

Whether or not you’ll be due damages if you’re injured in a truck accident caused by weather can be a bit more complex than other accident causes. If you can prove that the driver should have known the risks of extreme weather and should never have been driving to begin with, you might have a good case. But this isn’t always possible – contact our experts to find out what your options are here.

Mechanical Problems

In other situations, mechanical failures of some kind – such as a flat tire or worn brakes – may contribute to a truck-related accident. Liability here will generally come down to whether you can prove that the driver or trucking company should reasonably have known about these issues beforehand and taken steps to correct them; once again, our attorneys can inform you of whether you have a good case based on your specifics.

To learn more about this or any of our other personal injury or car accident attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

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Mar 20 2017

Drive Defensively Around Semi-Trucks

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Trucking accidents are usually much more severe than any other auto accidents. This could be due to the fact that semi-trucks weigh about 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. Since other cars usually weigh significantly less, their damage is much more severe. William Rawlings & Associates has handled hundreds of injury cases involving semi-trucks.  We know the laws that govern these truck drivers and their responsibility while on the road.  Put our experienced Semi-truck accident lawyers on your side.

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Feb 13 2017

We Are The Right Semi Truck Accident Attorneys For You

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William R Rawlings and Associates are your best choice for experienced Utah semi-truck accident attorneys. When you team up with us you can expect the best.  We’ll answer your questions and address your concerns throughout the entire process.

We’ll pull together the information needed to build your case, including examining the accident scene and vehicles involved, gathering and evaluating physical evidence and eyewitness testimony, etc. Our experts will stand up to the trucking company’s experts.  We’ll make sure the trucking and insurance companies play by the rules and treat you fairly.  We’ll help you get what you need to recover your old life or adapt to a new one.

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Jan 23 2017

Commercial Truck Lawyers

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Commercial vehicle accidents involve vehicles that are owned and/or operated by a business, frequently semi-trucks, delivery trucks, dump trucks, or similar large vehicles. Let our award winning, experienced lawyers help you protect your rights and get what you deserve so you can rebuild your life and move forward.

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Dec 22 2016

Making the Record:  Car, Truck and Motorcycle Accidents.

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In a previous post we began the discussion of how to ensure your medical record helps you following a catastrophic injury.  When presented to a judge or jury, your medical record should “tell the story” of how your injury was inflicted and what steps you undertook to obtain restoration and healing.

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Dec 15 2016

Catastrophic Injuries : Auto, Truck or Motorcycle Accident

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Following a catastrophic personal injury, it is so important that your medical record tells the story of your injury accident.  Your catastrophic injury medical record begins to be created the moment you first seek treatment following an accident. (If you have a preexisting condition that is exacerbated by the injury accident, then your medical record should encompass all treatment you received for this preexisting condition, as well.) One of the tasks of the injury victim is to build as thorough of a record as possible. The more complete the medical record, the greater the likelihood is that the victim will be able to recover compensation.

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