Experienced Billings Truck Accident Attorney Fighting for Montana and Wyoming Accident Victims
If you have been seriously injured in a truck accident, it is important to retain experienced legal representation to recover your losses. You need a Billings truck accident attorney who is intimately familiar with the complex factual and legal issues involved truck accident claims and who will not back down if your case goes to trial. At Ragain & Clark, PC, we are aggressive trial lawyers who are committed to securing maximum compensation for our clients. We know what it takes to win, and we will not stop fighting until you have received the financial compensation you deserve.
Truck accidents are unique from other types of motor vehicle collisions; more potential factors are involved and more parties could potentially be liable for your injuries. With over 40 years of combined experience on both the plaintiff and defense side of complex personal injury and wrongful death claims, our lawyers are uniquely positioned to help you secure maximum compensation.
*Truck Accident Verdicts and/or Settlements
- $650K Truck Driver Negligence
- $300K Trucking Accident
- “Ragain and Clark found insurance coverage that applied to my case that I did not even know existed.”
- “Thank you for all of the legal help you have given me over the years. You are so generous and kind.”
- “The brief you filed was readable and easily understood. Polite, yet demanding. I have a new appreciation for the great job you and your team did with our response. Nice work! Please share my appreciation with all who helped.”
Proving Fault After a Truck Accident in Montana or Wyoming
After a truck accident, it is important to conduct an investigation as soon as possible. In order to prevail in your claim, you need to be able to prove what parties were responsible for the accident. Collecting evidence at the scene is the first step. When you retain our firm, we will begin investigating your case immediately and we will use our experience to evaluate the evidence and identify all parties that may be at fault. Liable parties may include:
- The Truck Driver – From braking harshly to texting behind the wheel, truck driver negligence is a leading cause of commercial trucking accidents.
- The Trucking Company – Trucking companies can face direct liability for hiring unlicensed drivers or forcing drivers to drive continuously for too long. They can also be held vicariously liable for truck drivers’ mistakes.
- The Shipping Company – If your accident was the result of a cargo loading error, the shipping company that loaded the cargo may be liable for your losses.
- A Vehicle or Component Manufacturer – Truck and other vehicle defects occur at alarming rates. If you were injured due to a tire, brake, airbag or other component failure, you may have a claim against the manufacturer.
- A Repair Shop or Mobile Maintenance Provider – Negligent service work on trucks and other vehicles can cause and contribute to accidents as well.
- Another Driver Involved in the Accident – Did someone else’s negligence leave the truck driver with no place to go? Truck drivers are not the only ones who can be responsible for commercial truck accidents.
- Another Third Party – Road construction contractors, municipalities and various other third parties can cause and contribute to commercial trucking accidents.
Our Billings Truck Accident Attorney Outlines Common Causes of Accidents in Montana and Wyoming
According to statistics maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA), the number of highway accidents involving “big rigs” or semi-trucks is on the rise. One important factor in this increase tends to be ignored: the fact that when the national economy is booming, as it is in most parts of the country, the number of trucks on the road at any given moment tends to rise. More trucks equates to more accidents. And, as pointed out by a knowledgeable Billings truck accident attorney, personal injuries associated with truck accidents are often severe. Trucker negligence is often the cause in these sorts of accidents. Here are five types of negligence particularly common in the trucking industry.
According to information compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association, speed was a factor in 17 percent of all fatalities involving large commercial trucks in 2016. Large, heavy moving objects (commercial trucks) tend to do greater damage than smaller, lighter objects (passenger cars). Moreover, it takes greater time (and greater distances) to stop fully-laden commercial vehicles. When a truck driver speeds, it adds to the likelihood of injury and even death.
Many experts note that long hours behind the wheel of a big rig can be boring. Truck drivers are particularly likely to turn to cell phones, text message applications, two-way radios and other electronic devices to liven up the driving shift. But just as is the case with auto drivers, distracted driving is dangerous and on the rise. More than 6 percent of all fatal commercial accidents in 2016 were associated with distracted driving.
Although this factor is difficult to measure -- drivers hesitate to admit they neglected to get sufficient rest before setting out on a trip -- driver fatigue is another leading type of negligence that causes vehicular accidents. Medical experts point out that when one is fatigued, one’s reflexes are slowed down. The driver tends to be less attentive to hazards and conditions on the road. This leads to many tragic accidents and serious injuries.
Improper Loading of Cargo
All too often, truck accidents are caused by improper loading of the vehicle’s cargo. When a trailer’s weight is unevenly distributed, the trailer is subject to overturning or “fish-tailing” during turns and other truck maneuvers. While this sort of negligence is not as common as speeding or driver distraction/fatigue, it can be a serious problem. Moreover, sometimes the driver is not fully aware of the improper loading until faced with an emergency. The results can be catastrophic, however, as an experienced Billings truck accident attorney.
Use of Alcohol or Drugs
Recent studies reveal that a larger number of long-haul drivers admit they have used various types of psychoactive substances, such as alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine, and Benzodiazepines while driving. While the effects of these drugs can vary with the driver, they generally tend to slow the reactions of the driver, diminish his or her judgment, and impair the driver’s ability to react to conditions on the highway. Some drivers are subject to random drug testing, but this problem is becoming more serious.
Types of Trucks Involved in Our Accident Cases
In the same way that truck crashes are unique and distinct from passenger vehicle accidents, different types of truck accidents have their own unique considerations. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you need a Billings truck accident lawyer who understands what makes your case unique.
Delivery Truck Accidents
Thanks to the ease of online shopping, delivery truck accidents are a problem that is growing rapidly. Due to increasing growth in online sales, online retailers and other delivery services are struggling to keep up with demand. This leads to the following problems:
- Hiring inexperienced drivers
- Failing to provide drivers with adequate training
- Failing to adequately screen drivers
- Inadequate supervision
Under pressure to make deliveries on time, these drivers speed, run stop signs and stop lights, and otherwise take unreasonable risks. Their negligent driving can easily lead to an accident that results in serious injuries and even death.
Garbage trucks are large, heavy vehicles that can cause tremendous damage even at thirty miles per hour. Drivers are often tired, distracted, under-trained, and under-supervised, which can easily lead to an accident.
If you’ve been injured in an accident with a garbage truck, the first step is to identify who owns and operates the truck. If you happen to have municipal trash service, then pursuing a claim against the town or county is likely more difficult than if you have a private trash service. Regardless, the bottom line is that the entity responsible for your trash service has a legal obligation to ensure that their trucks are being operated safely. A Billings truck accident lawyer can help you build your case.
Accidents involving tanker trucks are unique because tanker trucks are often carrying flammable or otherwise hazardous materials. In the event of an accident, these dangerous materials pose an additional risk to other drivers involved in the incident.
Tanker truck drivers and trucking companies are obligated to ensure that the materials they are transporting are being correctly handled. Also, one could argue that they are under a heightened obligation to drive safely to ensure the safety of others. Unfortunately, drivers are often under-trained or inadequately supervised or simply driving negligently. A Billings truck accident attorney can review your accident’s details and determine whether you have a claim.
Many businesses use lighter trucks in their day-to-day business operations, such as landscapers, construction contractors, and home-repair/improvement services. They may use pick-ups, box trucks, or even vans, but they spend a considerable amount of time on the road, and just like anyone else, their drivers can make mistakes. It’s important to keep in mind that if you are involved in an accident involving a business vehicle of any kind, the fact that it is owned and operated by a corporate entity may complicate your claim.
Our Billings Truck Accident Attorney Outline What to Do After an Accident with a Tractor Trailer or Commercial Vehicle
Given their size and weight, truck accidents can result in catastrophic injuries and even death. Not only are the injuries often more severe than those suffered in a typical passenger vehicle accident, but pursuing a claim can also be extraordinarily difficult. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, the best thing you can do is contact a Billings truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to understand your rights and learn about your options.
Contact the Police
One of the first steps you should take is to contact the police, even if you think you’re uninjured. First, the police can help direct traffic around the accident in order to keep you safe. Second, they will prepare an accident report that identifies the parties involved and any witnesses, as well as a description of the accident. More importantly, the accident report will also record whether the truck driver was issued a traffic citation. The accident report can be critical if you later need to make a claim and prove that the truck driver or the trucking company should be held liable for your injuries.
Seek Medical Attention
The EMTs at the scene will ask you a series of questions and give you a very brief exam. If you think you may be injured, don’t hesitate to accept an ambulance ride to the ER.
That said, you should get a thorough medical exam even if you declined treatment at the scene. Many injuries following truck accidents are not immediately apparent. It is quite common to begin experiencing symptoms several days after your accident. Your doctor can identify any potential issues and prescribe the appropriate course of treatment so that you can make a full recovery.
Get the Truck Driver’s Information
As with any vehicle accident, you want to exchange information with the other driver. In a truck accident case, however, you want to be sure to get the name of the trucking company in addition to the driver’s name, contact information, and insurance information.
Document the Accident and Your Injuries
Even if you aren’t sure you will need to make a claim, it’s a good idea to be prepared. As a result, be certain to compile the following in order to prove your case in the event that you need to move forward with a claim:
- Copies of any and all medical bills, reports, and correspondence related to your injuries
- Photographs of your injuries and the scene of the accident
- Documentation of any lost income
- Copies of any accident reports
- Statements from witnesses
If you’ve been seriously injured, gathering this information may seem overwhelming. If you find yourself in this position, understand that a Billings truck accident attorney can help you gather the evidence you need to build your case.
Contact Your Insurance Company or Let Your Truck Accident Lawyer Do So
You will need to inform your insurance company that you have been in an accident. They will want to know as much detail as possible, but be mindful that they may want to settle your claim as quickly as possible, even before you know the full extent of your injuries. In addition, anything you say may be used against you to reduce the value of your claim. An experienced Billings truck accident attorney can speak with your insurance company on your behalf to help guard against these problems.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation with a Billings Truck Accident Attorney at Ragain & Clark, PC
If you need a truck accident attorney in Montana or Wyoming, contact us promptly to discuss your case. To schedule a free initial consultation with a Billings truck accident attorney, call 406-651-8888 or request a consultation online now.
*Past results should not be construed to create an expectation of result in any other case. The facts and circumstances of your case may be different and must be evaluated on its own merit.