Trucking Accident Attorneys Serving Las Vegas & All of Nevada
A Las Vegas truck accident lawyer at Burg Simpson can help you seek the compensation you deserve after a crash with an 18-wheeler. Big rig accidents are among the most catastrophic and complex crashes a person can experience. The injuries sustained in these wrecks are often extremely severe and life-changing.
Trucking companies take these cases very seriously. If you were hurt in a crash with a large commercial vehicle, the trucking company is likely already building its case against you. It is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your rights and best interests are protected.
Reasons to choose a truck accident attorney at Burg Simpson include:
- Award-winning lawyers. Several of our attorneys have earned the most illustrious awards in the legal industry. We have been recognized by our peers, our community, and our clients.
- More than $2 billion in results. We have recovered more than $2 billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients. Through hard work and meticulous preparation, we seek the maximum compensation for every client.
- Decades of experience. Burg Simpson was founded in 1977. Since then, we have established a reputation for excellence in matters of personal injury law.
Contact Burg Simpson today online or at 702-668-2070 for a FREE case evaluation. We handle truck accident cases on a contingency basis, meaning you pay nothing unless we achieve a successful outcome in your case. Our firm serves clients in Las Vegas and other Nevada areas.
Who Is at Fault in a Truck Accident?
A key difference between truck accident cases and other motor vehicle claims is the number of parties that may be at fault. Unlike car accidents, which are typically the fault of one or more of the drivers involved, liability for collisions involving semi-trucks can be shared by multiple parties. These may include:
- The truck driver: Many tractor-trailer wrecks are caused by truck driver error, such as speeding, distracted driving, driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol, drowsy driving, etc.
- The trucking company: Trucking companies are required to properly hire and train their drivers. For example, a trucking company must perform a thorough background check and examine a trucker’s driving record before hiring them. Additionally, they must ensure that drivers are adequately trained and do not exceed the hours of service limits.
- The individual or the company that maintains the truck: Routine maintenance is required for the safe operation of large commercial vehicles. If a truck owner and/or the service technician responsible for the truck’s repairs and maintenance is negligent, one or both parties may share fault in a trucking accident claim.
- The party responsible for loading the truck: Heavy cargo must be loaded properly to ensure a safe trip. When cargo is not loaded in a balanced manner or is not secured properly, the contents of a truck’s trailer can shift, potentially causing a rollover accident or another dangerous situation.
- The manufacturer of the truck and its parts: If a defective auto part caused a truck driver to lose control or otherwise cause the accident, the part’s manufacturer can be held liable for the harm it caused.
Other parties, such as another reckless driver or the government entities responsible for road maintenance, can also be held responsible for a crash. Ultimately, the only way to determine liability is to contact an experienced truck accident lawyer.
Common Types of Truck Accidents
Truckers need a substantial amount of training and experience in order to safely operate a large commercial vehicle. In addition to understanding how to maneuver a tractor-trailer, they must also be able to make sound decisions when behind the wheel.
When errors occur – whether on the part of drivers, trucking companies, or parts manufacturers – the results can be catastrophic for everyone involved. A Las Vegas truck accident attorney can help you pursue justice in many types of accidents, the most common of which include:
Rollover and Tip-Over Truck Accidents
While many truck wrecks involve collisions, some crashes happen when 18-wheelers tip over and land on top of a vehicle or person. These are referred to as rollover accidents, and they often result in life-altering injuries or death.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that rollovers were identified as the “most harmful event” in more than 17,000 truck rollover accidents in the United States.
A rollover crash involving an 18-wheeler or other type of large commercial vehicle is typically categorized as either:
- Tripped: When the wheels of a truck lose contact with the road after hitting an object.
- Untripped: When the centrifugal force of a top-heavy tractor-trailer causes the vehicle to tip over.
Blind Spot Truck Accidents
All drivers rely on mirrors (and occasionally backup cameras) to contend with blind spots. Large commercial vehicles, however, have larger blind spots than passenger vehicles. These blind spots include:
- The area directly in front of the cab
- The area to the right and slightly forward of the cab
- A majority of the right side of the truck
- The upper left side of the truck
- The area directly behind the trailer
Big 18-wheelers can have significant blind spots – up to 20 feet in front of the cab and 30 feet behind the truck. Truck drivers who fail to remain vigilant could be unaware of multiple vehicles at any given time.
Right Turn Squeeze Truck Accidents
Truckers often prepare to make tight right turns by initially swinging to the left before turning to the right. This can put vehicles on either side of the truck at risk because even though the rig’s
turn signal indicates a right turn, the initial left swing places the cab in the left lane. This can often result in a side-impact collision with another vehicle.
In other situations, when a driver sees a truck swing to the left, he or she may mistakenly assume that the right lane is clear to proceed and get caught directly in the path of the truck’s right turn, between the right curb and the tractor-trailer. These scenarios can be extremely dangerous for occupants of smaller passenger vehicles.
Underride Truck Accidents
An underride truck crash occurs when smaller passenger vehicles get crushed beneath the trailer of a big rig. There are a number of reasons why this can happen, but truck driver negligence often plays a role.
Jackknife Truck Accidents
A jackknife accident occurs when an 18-wheeler’s trailer pushes the cab to one side or all the way around so that it faces backward.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
A truck wreck can occur for any number of reasons. Your attorney can investigate the accident to determine what – and who – caused it. Some of the most common causes of truck crashes include:
Insufficient Driver Training
Trucking companies have an obligation to make sure their drivers are properly trained and able to adhere to all necessary protocols. Even though truckers are required to pass exams to demonstrate their ability to drive and follow industry rules, inexperienced drivers get behind the wheel without essential training every year.
Drugs and alcohol impair a driver’s reaction time, motor skills, and judgment. The use of stimulants is alarmingly common in the trucking industry. According to a study by the American Addiction Centers, 30 percent of truckers have admitted to using amphetamines to fight fatigue.
A variety of dangerous driving behaviors can constitute aggressive driving, including:
- Failure to signal or yield
- Frequent or unsafe lane changes
- Deliberate obstruction
When aggressive driving is rooted in angry or aggressive behavior, it is considered road rage. Road rage can include rude gestures, verbal insults, and intentionally driving in a threatening or unsafe manner. Although experiencing frustration is normal for any driver, catastrophic wrecks can occur when truckers allow their emotions to override their commitment to safety.
Truck Driver Fatigue
Federal regulations mandate the number of hours truckers may drive between rest cycles. However, in order to deliver cargo faster, many truck drivers feel pressured to exceed the legal working limits. This pressure is often the result of demanding trucking companies. The FMCSA estimates that truck driver fatigue is responsible for 13 percent of all commercial truck accidents.
Improper Truck Maintenance
Federal law requires truck drivers to perform specific safety and equipment checks any time they set out, even if it is just after a short break. When truck drivers fail to maintain the tires, brakes, cab, or trailer of an 18-wheeler, it increases the risk of a serious accident and subsequent injuries.
Semi-trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, making them some of the largest vehicles on Nevada roads. Even when hauling light loads, tractor-trailers can cause significant damage when they are involved in wrecks.
Although federal and state regulations limit the weight 18-wheelers are allowed to carry, these limits are sometimes ignored. In addition to being more likely to cause a crash, overloaded trucks can cause increased damage in the event of an accident.
Improperly Secured Loads
The protocol for loading and securing cargo is governed by specific rules and regulations. No matter who may have loaded a trailer’s cargo, the truck driver must inspect the cargo before starting a trip. Truckers must also inspect their cargo periodically during a long haul. Unbalanced cargo, poorly secured cargo, and overloaded cargo can all lead to a rollover truck accident.
Truck wrecks are not always the result of truck driver error or trucking company negligence. In some cases, wrecks are caused by defective automotive parts. Vehicle defects can lead to tire blowouts, brake failure, electrical issues, and acceleration problems.
Federal Trucking Regulations
Truckers must adhere to both state and federal laws. The trucking industry in the United States is regulated by the FMCSA.
FMCSA regulations govern:
- Driver qualifications: Truck drivers must be 21 years of age, have a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL), and be proficient in English.
- Hours of service: Truckers must drive for only as long as federal regulations deem safe according to the load being carried and the driver’s long-term schedule. Driving hours of service must be consistently recorded by drivers.
- Inspection, repair, and maintenance: Frequent inspections and repairs must be performed regularly on any truck that goes on the road.
- Safety procedures: The FMCSA oversees the safety of trucks. Once the agency has reviewed a truck for safety, the truck is given a rating. The truck is allowed on public roads if it is deemed safe. If the truck is found to be unfit for the road, the FMCSA gives direction to drivers and truck companies to correct the safety issues.
- Minimum insurance coverage: Because truck accidents tend to be more destructive, trucking companies face a higher level of financial responsibility and therefore must carry a higher amount of insurance coverage. Insurance minimums vary depending on certain factors. For example, a truck that is hauling hazardous materials needs a large amount of insurance coverage.
An experienced truck accident lawyer is well-versed in both state and federal trucking regulations. Burg Simpson can help you navigate the complexities of these rules and gather evidence to support your case.
Common Injuries in Las Vegas Truck Accidents
Truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries. Even if a victim isn’t killed in the crash, he or she may face lifelong injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 1% of truck accidents nationwide end up being fatal.
Injuries that stem from truck accidents include, but are not limited to:
Spinal Cord Injuries
While all injuries to the neck and back can be very serious, spinal cord injuries can often have life-altering consequences. Depending on the severity of the damage, a spinal cord injury victim may experience chronic pain, disability, or partial or complete paralysis. These injuries can have a devastating impact on victims, their families, and their financial futures.
Common spinal cord injuries in truck accidents include:
- Herniated discs (bulging discs or ruptured discs)
- Fractured vertebrae
- Spondylolisthesis (slipped vertebra)
- Discogenic pain
- Degenerative spinal disorders (such as degenerative disc disease)
- Full or partial paralysis
A spinal cord injury can affect every part of a victim’s life, including the ability to move independently, work, and enjoy life.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) are a form of acquired brain injury, meaning they are caused by outside forces rather than genetics or birth defects. They are almost always the result of sudden trauma, such as a truck wreck, fall, or blunt force trauma that involves a substantial impact to the head.
Motor vehicle accidents – including large truck accidents – are a leading cause of TBI in the United States. Brain injuries are typically classified as mild, moderate, or severe. However, every traumatic brain injury is a potentially serious medical condition that requires a prompt diagnosis and timely treatment.
Some of the most common TBIs that occur in truck collisions include:
- Coup-contrecoup injuries
- Diffuse axonal injuries (DAI)
- Penetrating TBI
The impact of a TBI on a victim’s life can vary significantly depending on factors such as the severity of the accident and the age of the victim. An attorney will assess every way that a TBI has affected your life to determine the full value of your current and future damages.
In addition to injuries that result from crushing and piercing trauma, burns are very serious and life-changing injuries that often occur in big-rig wrecks.
Burn injuries are categorized by level of severity:
- First-degree burns (mild burns that affect the skin’s outer layer)
- Second-degree burns (more serious burns that harm the outer and second layer of skin)
- Third-degree burns (most severe burns that damage all three layers of skin and underlying tissue)
A serious burn injury can have a lifelong impact on a truck accident victim. Burns often require lengthy medical treatment and leave crash victims with permanent disfigurement and a lifetime of lingering pain and other physical limitations.
Broken or Shattered Bones
Broken and shattered bones are some of the most common injuries sustained in crashes that involve large commercial vehicles. Depending on the severity and location of the injury, a broken bone can temporarily prevent someone from working or cause a lifelong impairment that prevents someone from ever working in the same position or capacity they once did.
A broken bone typically falls in one or more of the following categories:
- Comminuted fracture: When the bone is fractured into many parts
- Open fracture: When the broken bone pushes through the skin
- Closed fracture: When the bone breaks and remains beneath the skin
- Displaced fracture: When the bone breaks in multiple parts and the parts are not in alignment
- Non-displaced fracture: When the bone breaks either part or all of the way through but remains properly aligned
Even minor fractures can be extremely painful and debilitating. A truck accident lawyer will examine the impact the injury has had on your life and pursue compensation on your behalf.
The blunt force trauma often suffered in truck wrecks can cause internal bleeding to vital organs such as the spleen, kidneys, liver, and heart. When one of these organs experiences an extreme force, it is susceptible to heavy internal bleeding, swelling, and accompanied injuries throughout the body.
Common types of internal injuries suffered in truck accidents include:
- Brain bleeds
- Broken ribs
- Pneumothorax (when a rib pierces the lung)
- Abdominal aorta aneurysm
- Organ injury
- Ruptured spleen
- Internal bleeding
An internal injury caused by a tractor-trailer crash can necessitate expensive and extensive medical treatment, leaving an accident victim facing high medical bills and time away from work to recover. Left untreated, internal injuries can lead to death.
According to the NHTSA, 4,965 people were killed in large truck crashes in 2020.
If you lost a loved one due to the recklessness of a truck driver or the carelessness of a trucking company, you may be eligible to pursue damages for medical bills, funeral costs, lost companionship, and more in a wrongful death lawsuit. Although no monetary award can make up for the painful loss of someone dear, compensation in a wrongful death claim can help to keep your family financially afloat during a difficult time.
How Much Is My Truck Accident Case Worth?
Because no two truck wrecks are exactly the same, the amount of compensation awarded in truck crash cases can vary widely. A truck accident lawyer will examine the nature and extent of your injuries to determine the value of your claim. Depending on the details of your case, you may be able to pursue damages for your current and future:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Physical, psychological, and occupational therapy
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Funeral and burial costs (in a wrongful death lawsuit)
An attorney will look at every way the injury has affected your life and well-being. However, it is important to act quickly. If you postpone seeking justice, it could send a message that your injury was not a pressing issue in your life.
Contact a Las Vegas Truck Accident Lawyer for FREE
If you were hurt or lost a loved one in a serious truck wreck, a Las Vegas truck accident lawyer at Burg Simpson can help. With more than $2 billion in verdicts and settlements, we have the resources you need and the results you can trust to achieve the justice you deserve.
Contact Burg Simpson today online or at 702-668-2070 today for a FREE and confidential case evaluation. Our truck accident lawyers serve clients in and around Las Vegas and throughout Nevada.