- Why You Need a Truck Accident Lawyer
- Compensation for Truck Accidents in Nebraska
- What Makes Truck Accidents So Dangerous?
- Common Injuries in Omaha Truck Accidents
- Steps to Take After a Commercial Trucking Accident in Omaha
- Your First Consultation With a Commercial Trucking Attorney is Free!
- Commonly Asked Questions About Truck Accidents
Unlike passenger vehicles, large trucks like semis have unique features that make them especially dangerous on the road and in an accident.
If you were hurt or a loved one was killed in a collision with a large truck in Nebraska, it’s advisable to consult an attorney before speaking with an insurance company representative or accepting a settlement offer. The Omaha truck accident lawyers at Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop are dedicated to helping injury victims recover the financial peace of mind they need.
Why You Need an Experienced Nebraska Truck Accident Lawyer
If you have been involved in a truck accident in Omaha, you could be entitled to compensation for the damages you have incurred. Pursuing compensation isn’t easy to do on your own. It helps to have the direction of one of our experienced truck accident lawyers throughout your case. You can trust that we will fight hard for you and your rights against the powerful opposing insurance companies. Our truck accident lawyers will be at your side throughout the entire process and will represent your best interests in scenarios which include:
More Than One Party is Responsible for Your Injuries
One aspect of truck accident cases that differentiate them from other motor vehicle accidents is that multiple parties may be held liable for damages. These parties could include the truck driver, the trucking company, the truck’s manufacturer, contractors and government entities (you can read more about liable parties in a truck accident claim below). Our Nebraska truck accident lawyers have the experience necessary to identify the liable parties in your accident in a timely matter. This will allow us to help you pursue compensation before the statute of limitations for your case runs out.
Negotiating with Multiple Insurance Companies
If your truck accident case involves multiple parties, negotiation with multiple insurance companies will likely be the result. While this could be more than overwhelming for you, leave it to our experienced personal injury lawyers to get the job done. Our attorneys know how to negotiate with multiple insurance companies and will work hard to gather the compensation you deserve from each one of them.
While some truck accident cases need to be resolved in court, others can be settled out of court with the help of skilled and aggressive negotiation by our lawyers. We know what strategies work, and with you at the forefront of our minds, we will weigh the different options given in the mediation process and choose what is best for your case.
The Complicated Nature of the Trucking Industry
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires truck drivers and truck companies to follow strict standards and regulations while on the road. These include recording weight, hours on the road, hours off of the road, and more. Our truck accident attorneys know how to determine if these guidelines were violated leading up to your accident. We will use this information to identify liable parties, as well as use it as evidence to support your case for compensation.
Don’t go about your truck accident case alone. Trust that our Nebraska truck accident attorneys here at Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop can help. We will take on all of your stress and handle the insurance companies while you focus on healing your injuries.
Compensation for Nebraska Truck Accidents
The compensation you receive for your truck accident claim will depend on a variety of factors. Our truck accident lawyers will assess fault in your accident and will take the required steps in valuing your injuries and damages.
What Compensation is Available for a Truck Accident Claim?
After a detailed and thorough review of police reports, eyewitness testimonies, medical records, photographs and more, our Omaha truck accident lawyers may seek compensation for the following damages on your behalf:
- Property damage
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Surgical costs
- Home alterations
- And more
Who is at Fault in a Commercial Truck Accident?
For truck accidents that occur in Nebraska, our truck accident lawyers can determine if one or more of the following parties were responsible for your accident:
- The Truck Driver: Just like the rest of us, truck drivers have a responsibility to maintain their duty of care for those around them. When a truck driver behaves negligently behind the wheel and causes an accident, he or she may be held responsible for damages.
- The Trucking Company: Many trucking companies have been found guilty of making their drivers adhere to unrealistic travel schedules. Because of this, truck drivers experience fatigue, which can result in accidents. If our truck accident lawyers investigate your case and determine that the trucking company was negligent, and consequently caused your accident, we can hold them liable.
- Cargo Loading Company: Overloaded and misloaded cargo are common causes of truck accidents. Based on the circumstances of your accident and our investigation, if we determine that improperly loaded cargo may have caused your accident, we can hold the cargo loading company liable for your damages.
- Truck Manufacturers: If a truck is poorly manufactured, it can be a serious hazard to everyone on the road. This can include faulty axles, trailers, tires and more. Our experienced truck accident lawyers will investigate your accident and determine if an equipment malfunction was the cause of your accident. We aren’t afraid to take on large companies to get you the compensation you deserve.
This list is not exhaustive, and there could be other parties responsible for the truck accident in which you were involved. However, these are the most common. At Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop, P.C., we are committed to serving our clients with aggressive representation and will do everything we can to recover the compensation your case deserves.
What Makes Truck Accidents So Dangerous?
“Large trucks” are commercial motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of greater than 10,000 pounds. These trucks are also commonly known as semis, tractor-trailers, and 18-wheelers.
Other types of large trucks that pose severe injury risks to passenger vehicle occupants in the event of an accident include:
- Charter vans or shuttles
- Construction vehicles
- Delivery trucks
In addition to their size and weight compared with passenger vehicles, many large trucks have other attributes that make them especially dangerous in accident scenarios:
- Tractor-trailers and other big trucks require longer stopping distances
- The air brakes used in many big rigs can fail without proper maintenance
- Freight can shift with sudden movements and affect a truck’s maneuverability
- Cargo may include toxic or otherwise hazardous materials that compound the severity of an accident and resulting injuries
Accidents involving large commercial vehicles result in higher rates of catastrophic injuries and death than crashes involving only passenger vehicles. According to the Nebraska Department of Transportation, passenger vehicles were involved in 28,186 traffic accidents that resulted in 92 fatalities in 2016; conversely, large trucks including semis and buses were involved in fewer than 17,000 crashes that resulted in 99 deaths the same year. Approximately 15 percent of all fatal accidents in Nebraska in 2016 involved a heavy truck.
Common Injuries in Omaha Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can have severe consequences for their victims. Often, if a truck accident does not kill a person, it usually leaves them with lifelong injuries. Injuries that result from trucking accidents include but are not limited to the following:
Neck and Spinal Cord Injuries
Neck and spinal cord injuries can range from minor neck pain to ruptured discs. A person’s neck and back are critical for everyday functionality, so an injury that affects the spinal cord or spinal structure can be debilitating. Serious injuries to the neck and back can lead to symptoms that include the following:
- Partial to complete paralysis
- Numbness in various areas of the body
- Loss of quality of life
- Inability to complete basic daily functions
- Moderate to severe daily pain
- Loss of earning capacity
Broken, Fractured and Shattered Bones
Commercial trucks are massive and powerful machines. The human bone structure stands little chance when a crash occurs. Some bone breaks can be so severe they need surgical repair and extensive rehabilitation. When a person is involved in a truck accident and breaks bones as a result, they may experience symptoms such as:
- Compound fractures
- Severe pain in the affected area
Head Trauma and Traumatic Brain Injuries
Brain injuries are very common in commercial trucking accidents and can have incapacitating effects on their victims. Head injuries often occur when the head is impacted by blunt force. Brain injuries do not always show immediate symptoms, and when symptoms begin to show, victims may experience:
- Blurred vision
- Minor to severe headaches
- Minor to severe vertigo
It is also common in truck accidents for the body to be jostled around violently. Because of this, blunt force trauma to internal organs is very common. This trauma can result in bleeding and ruptured spleens, kidneys, lungs, etc. These injuries are hard to treat and should be taken care of immediately. Anytime you are involved in an accident, call 911 right away and receive medical treatment.
If a loved one has been killed in a truck accident in Nebraska, our experienced truck accident lawyers can help you hold the at-fault party accountable. We will never be able to replace your lost loved one, but we can certainly help your family pursue the compensation necessary to begin moving forward.
Steps to Take After a Commercial Trucking Accident in Omaha
The time after your truck accident can be very traumatic and hectic. While we understand these moments could be some of the scariest of your life, the steps you take after your accident will have a significant impact on your ability to recover compensation for the damages you sustain.
At the Scene of the Truck Accident
If your injuries don’t prohibit you from doing so, call 911 immediately. While you are waiting for emergency responders to arrive:
- Collect the contact, insurance and employment information from the driver of the truck
- Collect the contact information of any eyewitnesses
- Take photographs of the scene
- Contact your insurance provider and report that you have been involved in a truck accident
Once the police and EMTs arrive, make sure that you file a police report and get medical attention for your injuries. Many truck accidents cause serious injuries, which can make following these steps extremely difficult. When this occurs, our experienced truck accident lawyers can obtain all of this information through a detailed investigation into your accident.
Following the Truck Accident
Even if your injuries were cleared at the scene of your accident by EMTs, it’s strongly advised you still set up an appointment with your primary care doctor for further evaluation. Brain injuries and whiplash do not always show symptoms right away but can be detected later during a doctor visit. This examination will be pivotal for identifying injuries that may have gone unnoticed at the scene of your accident. It is important you obtain a copy of the doctor’s findings.
Contact the commercial trucking accident attorneys at Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop, P.C., as soon as you can so we can evaluate your case. Our legal team will gather evidence, determine liability and decide what course of action is best for your case going forward. You will feel comfortable knowing we will work very hard on your behalf so you can get the compensation your case deserves.
Your First Consultation With a Truck Accident Lawyer is Free!
The Omaha lawyers at Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop, P.C. have been helping truck accident injury victims since 1980. We investigate, analyze and diligently prepare truck accident claims to ensure our clients can recover the maximum compensation available.
If you lost a loved one in a large truck accident that was caused by another’s negligence, our attorneys might be able to help you pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim.
If you were hurt or a family member was killed in a Nebraska truck accident, please call Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop today at 402-241-5020 or contact us online. Our experienced injury lawyers offer free initial consultations, and we don’t charge for our services until we win your case.
Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents
Who Is Responsible for Truck Accidents Under Nebraska Law?
Like ordinary drivers, commercial truck drivers have a legal duty to share the road reasonably and responsibly. In other words, truck drivers owe a duty of care to the drivers, passengers, and pedestrians around them.
Any careless, reckless, unreasonable, or unlawful behavior by the truck driver will be considered a breach of the duty of care. The truck driver will then become liable (legally responsible) for the damages they cause.
But the truck drivers aren’t the only ones with a legal duty. The trucking companies have responsibilities too. In many cases, they may be held liable for their employees’ negligence — or for the company’s own negligence (for example, when the company neglects its vehicle maintenance or encourages the driver to spend too much time on the road).
Likewise, the companies that manufacture the trucks and their parts and accessories have a duty to make sure they are safe and operable.
As you can see, it is possible to have a claim against multiple parties relating to the same truck accident. Depending on the circumstances, you could have claims against the driver, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, a tire manufacturer, or even the government for creating dangerous roadway conditions.
In most cases, each liable party will also have a liability insurance policy that provides coverage for your damages.
Our Omaha truck accident lawyers can help you identify the party or parties that might be responsible for compensating you after a truck accident in Nebraska.
How Long Do I Have to File a Truck Accident Claim in Nebraska?
As with many other personal injury claims, Nebraska truck accident claims are subject to a strict statute of limitations (that is, a time limit). Failure to formally file a claim within the appropriate time period will cause you to permanently lose the right to claim compensation in the future.
Generally speaking, the statute of limitations for truck accidents in Nebraska is four years from the date of the accident — a longer time window than exists in many other states.
However, calculating the statute of limitations isn’t always as easy as it may seem. Numerous exceptions, qualifications, limitations, or special circumstances might apply. You may have more or less time to file than you believe.
It is important not to make assumptions and not to delay. Talk to an attorney right away. Even if you do have time left to file, personal injury claims take time to research and prepare. The sooner our Omaha truck accident lawyers can get involved in your claim, the more helpful we can be.
How Long Will My Truck Accident Claim Take to Resolve?
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to estimate exactly how long a truck accident claim will take to resolve. Every accident is different, and the timeframe for resolution depends on several factors, which may include:
- How long it takes you to heal
- How many parties are involved
- How quickly the insurance companies respond to our demand package
- The dollar amounts involved
- The insurance coverage & policy limits available for your claims
- The complexity of your accident and injuries
- The strength of the evidence
- The court’s calendar (if your claim proceeds to trial)
- The time of year
As a general rule, commercial truck accident claims do take longer to resolve than ordinary auto accident claims. It is not uncommon for the claims process to unfold across a period of several months or longer, sometimes requiring more than a year (as may be the case with an especially complicated claim).
To get a better sense of how long your particular claim might take, schedule a free consultation with our Omaha truck accident lawyers as soon as you can. While we are unable to promise a particular timeframe or outcome, we can help you get a sense of how complex your claim might be, relative to others. We can also talk to you about any options you might have for satisfying your medical bills while you wait for your claim to resolve. (Depending on the circumstances, you may have more options than you realize.)
Our office is committed to handling claims as efficiently as possible without ever compromising our clients or their best interests.
What Causes Most Truck Accidents?
As is the case with most other types of auto accidents, commercial truck accidents in Nebraska tend to happen because of preventable negligence — often on the part of the truck driver and/or the carrier company.
Truck accidents sometimes stem from the same kinds of negligence we see in other auto accidents:
- Distracted driving (e.g. texting while driving, using a CB radio, etc.)
- Aggressive driving/tailgating
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Failure to yield
- Failure to use signals
- Other violations of traffic law
But some kinds of negligence are either unique to truck drivers or are especially common among truck accidents. These include:
- Drowsy driving (truck driver fatigue)
- Impaired truck driving (due to alcohol, drugs, prescriptions, or over-the-counter medicines)
- Improper truck maintenance
- Dangerous or excessive cargo / overloaded trailers, truck beds, or vans
- Driving without proper training or the required license
- Negligent hiring of dangerous or unqualified drivers
- Failure to adapt to weather conditions or road conditions
Commercial truck operations are subject to special state and federal regulations, which apply to truck maintenance, the number of hours truckers can spend on the road without sleeping, licensure (CDL licenses, for example), and so on.
The Omaha truck accident lawyers in our office can help you determine what might have caused your accident and which state or federal laws might apply to your claim.
What Kind of Evidence Do I Need for a Truck Accident Claim in Nebraska?
There may be a wide range of relevant evidence available for your truck accident claim — perhaps even more than you realize. Common examples of evidence in Nebraska truck accident claims include:
- Video footage or surveillance/traffic cameras
- Photographs of the accident
- Eyewitness testimony
- Expert witness testimony
- Medical evidence
- Statements by the truck driver or truck company representatives
- Employment records
- Driver logs
- Driver’s travel route/shift schedule
- Vehicle metadata
- Smartphone metadata
- Cell phone records
- “Black box” data (like airplanes, commercial trucks are often equipped with a black box of data)
- Drug test results or BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) readings
- Police reports
- Skid marks/accident reconstruction reports
- Forensic evidence
Don’t worry if you don’t have all of this evidence yourself. Your attorney may be able to help by uncovering highly relevant and credible evidence to support your claim. That said, you must preserve any evidence you might have relating to the accident.
At Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop, P.C., our Omaha truck accident lawyers are committed to building the strongest possible evidentiary foundation for our clients’ claims.
Should I Accept an Insurance Settlement for My Truck Accident Claim?
Please never accept an insurance offer until you’ve discussed the matter with an experienced attorney in your jurisdiction — confidentially and one on one. Insurance companies are for-profit corporations that stay in business by reducing payouts and denying claims.
The insurance company will not act in your best interest and is not on your side. Their settlement offer has likely been carefully calculated to protect their own interests — and once you sign it, you will generally be unable to take further action should you later determine that you were owed much more.
Before you talk to an insurance adjuster, schedule a free and confidential consultation with the Nebraska truck accident lawyers at Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop, P.C.