While you may expect truck crashes to be among the most serious types of motor vehicle collisions, you may still be surprised by how many people die from these collisions every year. According to data compiled by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), there were 45 fatal truck collisions in 2017 and 49 such incidents in 2016. Though these figures may seem low compared to the total number of crashes, it is difficult to quantify the pain and suffering of surviving loved ones. You may have rights if you?ve experienced such a horrific tragedy, and a Roanoke fatal truck accident lawyer can help.
At Lugar Law PC, we understand that deadly truck collisions carry emotional and financial implications for entire families. Though legal action cannot bring your loved one back, it is possible to seek monetary damages to ease some of the strain on your life. To schedule a free consultation with a truck accident lawyer call us today at (540) 384-0348, or reach out through our online form.
Virginia Fatal Truck Accidents Statistics
Data from the Virginia DMV demonstrates how many people die from truck accidents every year, but examining the numbers reveals even more. The majority of fatal truck crashes in the state occur on interstates, which is not surprising considering that highways tend to be the preferred route for truck operators.
Other notable U.S. fatal truck accidents statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety include:
- In 2017, 11 percent of all deadly motor vehicle accidents were crashes involving large trucks
- Half of fatal truck crashes occur during daylight hours, between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
- The middle of the week is the riskiest time to be on the road
What Can be Done Following a Deadly Truck Collision?
Just as Virginia law provides remedies for victims of personal injury accidents, some statutes protect family members when a loved one dies in such an incident. If someone you love was killed in a truck accident, you might have rights through a wrongful death claim. There are similarities to other motor vehicle crashes which are based upon negligence, and a Roanoke fatal truck accident lawyer can explain your specific situation in more detail.
Generally, you must prove that the truck operator breached a legal duty to drive safely, and that your loved one died from fatal truck accident injuries caused by this breach. For example, negligence may be a cause of fatal truck accidents when:
- The driver was speeding or taking curves too quickly
- Cargo was not properly loaded or secured on the trailer
- The trucking company failed to inspect or properly maintain the truck
- The operator failed to yield or was following too closely
- The truck driver didn?t comply with regulations
- The operator was texting or using a phone
Factors in a Wrongful Death Claim
Even when you establish the essential elements of negligence in different types of fatal truck accidents, there are additional requirements in a Virginia wrongful death case, including:
- Only the decedent?s personal representative can file a claim for wrongful death.
- Any proceeds from a wrongful death case must be distributed to certain individuals under VA law.
Compensation for Wrongful Death Truck Accident Cases
If you can prove truck driver negligence and the above factors, you may be entitled to compensation in a wrongful death case. With the help of a fatal truck accident attorney, it?s possible to recover monetary damages for:
- Grief and emotional anguish
- Loss of society, comfort, guidance, and support
- Loss of the victim?s income, services, and related contributions
- Medical bills associated with various types of fatal truck accident injuries
- Funeral and burial costs
With most fatal truck crash claims, you?ll pursue a case with the insurance company that provides coverage for the truck driver or another negligent party. The process can be complicated, especially since insurers will fight a wrongful death claim at every possible opportunity. The employee assigned to your matter may try to blame the crash on the deceased victim, which could prevent you from recovering compensation. Under Virginia?s contributory negligence law, you may not have rights in a wrongful death case if the decedent was responsible for the collision in any way.
Other complications in fatal truck crash cases include:
- Multiple Potential Parties – There may be other entities to pursue beyond the driver, such as an employer, business partner, truck owner, loading company, or others.
- High Insurance Coverage – Truck drivers and trucking companies must carry mandatory minimum insurance coverage, which can reach into the millions. With such high stakes, the insurer will assign your claim to the most experienced, aggressive employees.
- Insurance Company Legal Departments – Along with skilled claims agents, insurers also have large legal departments with large budgets. These individuals represent the company, so they don?t have your best interests in mind.
For these reasons, it?s wise to retain a lawyer in a fatal truck accident case. A dedicated wrongful death and truck crash attorney in Roanoke will put your needs first and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Trust a Roanoke Fatal Truck Accident Lawyer
Even as you?re grieving the loss of a loved one, it?s important to protect your own interests after a fatal truck crash. Wrongful death cases can be highly complex, but our fatal truck accident attorneys at Lugar Law PC are prepared to shoulder the legal burdens. To set up an initial case evaluation, contact us today at (540) 384-0348.