Having represented numerous truck accident and personal injury victims throughout Virginia, I understand the devastating impact such accidents can have on victims and their families. Truck accidents often result in severe injuries, huge medical bills, lost wages, and other financial hardships. Devastating truck accidents can also result in tragic long-term consequences, including death.
As an experienced truck accident lawyer serving clients in Smyth County and the surrounding regions, I am committed to pursuing justice and ensuring that clients receive the full and fair compensation to which they are rightfully entitled.
If you or a loved one was injured in a truck crash, I invite you to call The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt to schedule a free consultation. I can listen to the facts of your case, explain your legal options, and fight tirelessly for justice and maximum compensation.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Experienced Smyth County Truck Accident Attorney?
I represent injured victims on a contingency fee basis, meaning that I and my firm are only entitled to a fee if compensation is recovered. At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we also advance litigation expenses while a case is ongoing, such as expert fees, filing costs, and other expenses. As a result, you will not need to pay these expenses as they are incurred (these costs are typically repaid from a successful settlement or jury award).
Importantly, if I don’t secure compensation on your behalf, you won’t be charged for my services, irrespective of the hours invested in your case. Before initiating representation, I will provide you with a fee agreement detailing legal fees and expenses.
Strategies Trucking Companies Use to Reduce Liability
Many trucking firms, backed by their insurance providers, deploy specialized units often referred to as “Go Teams.” These teams are designed to swiftly respond to accident scenes, secure wrecked vehicles, persuade victims to provide statements that may not be in their favor, and employ various tactics to limit liability. In some instances, they might even resort to destroying critical evidence, such as the truck itself or its “black box” event recorders, which frequently hold crucial data pinpointing the cause of the accident.
Should you suffer injuries or, unfortunately, lose a loved one due to a truck crash, the responsible trucking company or its agents might call you shortly after the accident with a settlement offer. Although initially enticing, especially when confronted with escalating medical expenses or the emotional toll of a loss, these offers often undervalue the genuine worth of a claim—typically by a lot. These companies aim to limit their liability, hoping to conclude the matter before the full extent of the harm and damages become evident.
It’s not uncommon for victims of commercial truck accidents to undergo prolonged medical treatments and incur significant medical bills. By accepting a “low-ball” settlement, you risk not getting the full compensation otherwise due should your injuries prove more severe than initially assessed. Worse, you might find yourself bearing medical costs that should have been the company’s responsibility.
For over thirty years, I have championed the rights of truck and vehicle crash victims. With this experience and depth of knowledge of the intricate nature of such cases and familiarity with strategies used by insurance companies in seeking to avoid liability of their clients, I am able to meticulously build a case for liability and full compensation. Our detailed investigative approach, coupled with an unwavering commitment to our clients, positions us as a staunch advocate of victim rights.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Smyth County
On average, approximately fifty individuals in Virginia tragically are killed in truck crashes each year, while close to a thousand more suffer injuries due to accidents involving large trucks. Common causes of commercial truck crashes include:
- Speeding during adverse weather conditions
- Dangerous lane changes
- Evading other vehicles
- Ignoring the right of way
- Hit-and-run incidents
- Mishandled reversals
- Brake malfunctions
- Aggressive driving behaviors and road rage incidents
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
- Overburdened or incorrectly loaded trucks
- Inattention while driving
- Truck rollovers
- “Jackknife” accidents
- Excessive speeding
- Neglected truck maintenance.
- Faulty truck lighting systems
- Unlawful overtaking
- Driver exhaustion
A single truck accident can arise from several contributing factors, implicating multiple parties in the process. As an example, in addition to a driver and trucking company, others may be liable including the manufacturers and sellers of defective products that cause crashes (like tires), those that do not provide adequate vehicle maintenance, and even governmental entities (in some cases). Therefore, it’s crucial to engage an experienced truck accident attorney with expertise in commercial truck accidents. At the Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, our vast experience spanning over thirty years equips us to pinpoint all liable parties and ensure they answer for their actions.
Are Trucking Companies Liable for Commercial Truck Accidents?
In general, trucking companies will be responsible for the negligence or reckless actions of their employees under a legal principle called “vicarious liability,” a trucking company may be responsible for its employees’ actions, such as those of truckers.
However, these companies might argue that the trucker was self-employed in seeking to avoid liability. Determining whether a trucker is an employee or a self-employed contractor may not be as simple as determining how the driver is paid, as many companies try to minimize employment liability by paying individuals as an independent contractor, when in fact they legally will be deemed to be an employee.
In general, courts will consider factors such as the following to determine if an “independent contractor” should be treated as an employee:
- How the transportation firm pays the trucker.
- The trucker’s freedom to accept or decline work.
- Who decides the working hours and driving routes?
- If the trucker works for other transportation companies.
- Where the truck is parked post-work, with the driver or the company.
If the court finds the transportation firm has significant control over the trucker’s routine, they’re more likely to deem the trucker an employee. In this case, the trucking company likely will also be liable for the crash. As an experienced truck accident attorney, I can build a strong and compelling case in seeking to hold negligent employers accountable.
Even if the driver is found to be an independent contractor, the trucking company may still be liable for a crash if they were negligent in some aspect of retaining the driver, such as if they were negligent in:
- Hiring drivers without the right qualifications or training.
- Not properly vetting drivers’ backgrounds.
- Not providing sufficient training or oversight of drivers.
- Pushing drivers to go beyond the stipulated federal driving hours.
- Not ensuring trucks are well-maintained and inspected regularly.
What to Do After a Truck Accident in Smyth County, VA
If you are involved in a truck accident, it’s crucial to:
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Document the accident scene, if possible.
- Avoid discussing the accident or injuries with anyone, especially insurance representatives, without legal counsel.
- Contact an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible.
How Can The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt Assist You?
At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we offer comprehensive legal representation. From gathering evidence to negotiating with insurance companies and representing clients in court (if necessary), I can stand by your side every step of the way. As our interests are aligned with yours in seeking to maximize compensation from all those responsible, you can be assured of our commitment to your case. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.