Large commercial trucks are a common sight on Alaska's highways, and each year there are numerous accidents involving 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, tankers, and other commercial trucks statewide. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a commercial truck accident, what are your legal rights? In this article, Alaska truck accident lawyer Eric Derleth explains what you need to know:
Numerous Factors Can Cause and Contribute to Large Commercial Truck Accidents
In order to recover financial compensation for losses sustained in a commercial truck accident, one of the first steps is to determine what factor(s) caused the accident. Determining the cause or causes of the accident is necessary for determining liability, as various companies can potentially be liable depending on what exactly went wrong.
Numerous different factors can play a role in causing a commercial truck accident. While weather and road conditions are often at play here in Alaska, these are by no means the only factors to be considered. Additionally, even if weather or road conditions were a factor, it is still very possible that you or your family could be entitled to just compensation.
Along with weather and road conditions, some of the most common factors involved in commercial truck accidents include:
- Truck driver negligence (i.e. speeding, tailgating, driving while distracted, and driving while intoxicated)
- Trucking company negligence (i.e. hiring inexperienced drivers, forcing drivers to log long hours, and failing to conduct necessary truck maintenance)
- Shipping company negligence (i.e. overloading trucks and failing to properly secure or pressurize truck cargo)
- Truck defects and maintenance issues (i.e. faulty brakes and brake jobs, defective truck tires, and electrical and mechanical issues)
- Road defects and maintenance issues (i.e. potholes, crumbling shoulders, and other issues that create hazards for truck drivers and other motorists)
Various Companies Can Be Held Liable for Truck Accident Victims' Injuries and Families Losses
Depending on the specific issue(s) that lead to a commercial truck accident, various companies can potentially face liability for victims' injuries and families' losses. As referenced above, these include the trucking company, the shipping company, the truck manufacturer, a maintenance shop or dealership, and the contractor that was responsible for constructing or maintaining the road.
Unlike the majority of states, Alaska does not follow the rule of “joint and several liabilities.” This rule allows an accident victim or grieving family to recover full compensation from any company that shares partial responsibility for causing a commercial truck accident. As a result, if multiple factors played a role in causing your (or your loved one's) accident, it will be necessary to pursue a claim against each at-fault party in order to recover full compensation.
Dealing with the Aftermath of a Truck Accident is Unlike Filing an Insurance Claim After an “Ordinary” Collision
Due to the complexity of the legal issues involved (and the complexity of large trucks themselves), dealing with the aftermath of a truck accident is unlike seeking insurance coverage after a collision between two passenger vehicles. While it is important to hire an attorney after any type of accident, when dealing with a commercial truck accident, hiring an experienced attorney is the only way to recover the financial compensation you deserve.
From investigating the cause of the accident to filing all necessary claims and proving the financial and non-financial costs of your injuries or your loved one's death, all aspects of recovering after a truck accident require experienced legal representation. As you move forward, it will be important for you to make informed decisions based on the advice of counsel as well.
You Have Up to Two Years to File Your Claim (But You Shouldn't Wait for Longer Than Necessary)
Under Alaska law, you have two years to file all available claims after a commercial truck accident. This “statute of limitations” applies to both personal injury claims and claims for wrongful death. However, while you can wait to assert your legal rights, this does not mean that you should delay in seeking just compensation.
In fact, after a commercial truck accident, there are several reasons why you will want to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. These include:
- After a commercial truck accident, it is important to investigate the accident as soon as possible. Your attorney will need to be able to collect and preserve evidence before it disappears.
- It takes time to thoroughly prepare all available claims arising out of a commercial truck accident. The closer the statute of limitations gets to expiring, the less time your attorney will have to prepare your claims for filing.
- When seeking financial compensation after a commercial truck accident, there are mistakes you need to avoid. By consulting with an attorney promptly, you can make sure you know what you need to do in order to protect your legal rights.
With Help, You Can Recover the Financial Compensation You and Your Family Deserve
While recovering your losses after a commercial truck accident is not easy, it also is not impossible. With help from an experienced Alaska truck accident attorney, you can recover the financial compensation you and your family deserve. This includes not only financial compensation for your out-of-pocket costs and loss of income, but financial compensation for your pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and other losses as well.
If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a commercial truck accident in Alaska, the most important thing you can do is to gather the information you need in order to make informed decisions. Speaking with an experienced attorney is a good place to start. To discuss your legal rights in confidence, schedule a free consultation today.
Schedule a Free, No-Obligation Consultation about Your Alaska Truck Accident Case Today
Would you like to speak with an Anchorage accident lawyer about seeking to recover your losses after a commercial truck accident in Alaska? For a free, no-obligation consultation, call 907-262-9164 now. With offices in Anchorage and Soldotna, our firm handles commercial truck accident cases statewide.