In 2019, semi-trucks were involved in 179,509 crashes. Their size and weight make these accidents some of the most severe. Nearly 5,000 people were killed in truck-related crashes in 2019 and thousands more were injured, many of them seriously. Lives are lost and others changed forever when someone is negligent while operating a 40-ton vehicle.
If you have been injured in a crash involving a semi-truck, or if a loved one has been incapacitated or killed, you may be able to sue for damages to help pay for overwhelming medical and funeral expenses or lost income. For nearly 30 years, Syren Law Offices has been representing clients and their families in Anchorage, Alaska, and surrounding communities as they seek compensation for devastating injuries caused by trucking accidents.
In Alaska, there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury or wrongful death claims. That means the injured party has two years from the date of the crash to settle a claim with an insurer or file a lawsuit.
A driver involved in a vehicular crash that results in bodily injury or death of another person, or total property damage of $2,000 or more, must submit a report to the Department of Administration within 10 days of the crash. If the event occurred in a municipality, the report must also be submitted to the local police department. No report is required if the crash is investigated by law enforcement.
Furthermore, Alaska law holds employers vicariously liable for the acts of their employees while operating in the scope of their employment. What this means in trucking accidents is that the company and its insurer can be held liable when an employee causes a crash. For this reason, and because injuries tend to be so severe in truck-involved crashes, companies typically carry high insurance liability limits.
Liability or “fault” for an 18-wheeler accident can lie with more than one person or entity. You can sue any party whose negligence contributed to the crash:
The driver who failed to inspect the semi-truck properly, logged excessive hours on the road and was fatigued, or simply failed to pay attention.
The trucking company that failed to adequately train or supervise the driver, prioritized profit over safety, or put a driver with a poor safety record back on the road.
The manufacturer of the semi-truck or trailer, or of parts used on them, which provided faulty parts, like defective brakes, or a compromised coupling mechanism, which led to the crash.
Maintenance personnel who failed to inspect, repair, and maintain the vehicle.
The person who improperly loaded cargo, if shifting or falling cargo contributed to the crash.
There are other factors considered when determining liability for a crash, including potential negligence or pure comparative fault on the part of drivers of passenger vehicles involved, as well as road and weather conditions at the time of the crash.
If you are able at the scene of the crash, you should do the following:
Call the police
Seek medical treatment when first responders arrive
Never admit fault
Exchange information with the truck driver and any other drivers involved
Record the names and contact information of any witnesses
Take photos of the truck, vehicles, roadway, and any debris
After the crash:
Don’t post any photos or other information about the crash on social media
If anyone representing any potentially liable party or their insurers calls you, do not speak to them
Retain a personal injury attorney with experience in pursuing trucking-related claims
If a loved one was incapacitated or killed in a trucking crash, talk to an attorney right away. Preservation of evidence is critical to establishing liability.
If you have been injured in a crash involving a semi-truck or other commercial vehicle, or if a loved one has been incapacitated or killed, you shouldn’t pursue a claim on your own. You need an experienced personal injury attorney to tackle the complicated task of investigating the circumstances of the crash and proving liability. This might require a crash reconstruction, witness interviews, and vehicle inspections. The federal government requires the trucking industry to comply with rigorous safety standards. You need an attorney who knows those regulations and how to determine if those standards were breached.
Trucking companies have a lot of money at stake in a crash. That means their insurers will have highly compensated attorneys on their side, so it’s important you have a personal injury attorney to negotiate with that insurer on your behalf. Having an attorney who used to defend those companies and their insurers provides you with a tremendous advantage.
Above all, you need someone with the best legal expertise and experience fighting for you to make sure everyone liable for your injuries or your loved one’s death are held accountable.
Syren Law Offices is committed to putting extensive experience to work on behalf of their clients who have been injured by the negligence of the responsible parties in trucking-related crashes. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured as a result of a truck accident in Anchorage, Alaska, reach out today to schedule a free consultation.