There are commercial trucks all over the road in Maricopa County. Interstate-10, Interstate-17, U.S. Route 60, and many other major thoroughfares run directly through Phoenix. Unfortunately, truck accidents happen. According to data from the Arizona Department of Transportation, there were approximately 2,760 semi-trucks that were involved in collisions in the state in 2022 alone. Due to their immense size—up to 40 tons—commercial trucks can be especially dangerous.
Navigating the aftermath of a semi-truck accident can be challenging. Large trucking companies and their commercial insurance can make the legal process difficult for everyday people. At The Law Office of Paul J. Dombeck, PLLC, we are committed to putting the rights of injured victims and their families first. Here, our Phoenix truck accident lawyer answers five of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about tractor-trailer crash claims in Arizona.
What Should I Do After a Semi-Truck Accident in Arizona?
The scene of a semi-truck accident in Phoenix is often stressful and chaotic. Knowing the right steps to take can make the legal claims process far less challenging. A proactive approach is essential in tractor-trailer accident claims. Trucking companies and their insurers waste little time in building their defense. Here is what you should do after a commercial truck accident in Arizona:
- Stop Your Vehicle and Report the Crash: Following any accident in Arizona, state law requires drivers to stop their vehicles without obstructing traffic. Be sure to report the accident to local law enforcement or the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
- Get Medical Attention for Any Injuries: All truck accident injuries require immediate medical attention. Emergencies take priority over everything else. However, even less serious injuries require professional care. You need medical records to bring a claim.
- Thoroughly Document the Truck Accident: Gathering evidence is vital. Take pictures of the accident scene, damages to vehicles, traffic signs, and other details. Collect the truck driver’s details, license number, trucking company information, and insurance details. The more information that you have, the better position you will be in to get justice.
- Consult With a Lawyer Before an Insurance Adjuster: Neither the truck company, their insurance company, or your own insurance company will look out for your best interests. It is imperative that you have a skilled Phoenix, AZ, semi-truck accident attorney on your side.
What Makes Commercial Truck Accident Claims Different?
While truck accident claims share some commonalities with other types of motor vehicle accident cases, there are also some notable differences. You need a lawyer with experience handling semi-truck accident cases. Here are key things that make these crashes different:
- Magnitude of Damages: Based on their size and weight, commercial trucks often cause greater damage upon impact. There can be more severe injuries and greater damages.
- Complex Liability: Unlike passenger vehicle accidents where fault might lie with one or two drivers, truck accidents can involve multiple parties: the driver, trucking company, maintenance crew, cargo loaders, and even truck manufacturers.
- Federal Regulations: Commercial trucks are governed by specific federal and state regulations. A violation of these safety regulations—such as exceeding the maximum service hours or neglecting maintenance—could play a factor in the case.
- Sophisticated Defense Team: Trucking companies often have powerful legal teams and insurance companies backing them, prepared to reduce or negate claims. The negotiation process can be especially challenging for victims and their families.
Who Can Be Held Legally Liable for a Tractor Trailer Accident?
Arizona is a fault-based commercial truck accident state. Determining legal liability can be a complex process. There are multiple parties involved in the operation of large commercial trucks—and any of these parties may bear fault for the crash. Examples include:
- Truck Driver: If the driver’s negligence (fatigue, distraction, reckless driving, etc.) contributed to the accident, they can be held liable.
- Trucking Company: Companies can be accountable for their drivers’ actions, poor training practices, or pressuring drivers to ignore safety regulations.
- Cargo Loaders: Incorrectly loaded cargo can compromise truck stability. Those responsible for loading can be accountable if this leads to an accident.
- Truck Manufacturers: If a defect in the truck’s design or manufacturing caused the accident, the manufacturer might be legally responsible.
What Types of Compensation Can Be Recovered After a Semi-Truck Crash?
After a semi-truck crash, victims may face a daunting journey of recovery. In Arizona, injured victims have the legal right to pursue compensation for both economic losses and non-economic damages. Typically, economic damages that can be recovered include vehicle repairs, medical expenses, lost wages, and reduced earning capacity in the future. Beyond that, victims may seek compensation for non-economic damages. The most notable example is pain and suffering. Unfortunately, trucking companies and their insurers try to resolve these cases for less, even when liability is clear. Our Phoenix, AZ, truck accident lawyer fights to help injured victims maximize their settlement or verdict.
How Long Do I Have to File a Commercial Truck Accident Injury Claim in Arizona?
You do not have an indefinite amount of time to bring a semi-truck accident injury claim after a crash in Arizona. Under state law, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims stemming from commercial truck accidents is typically two years from the date of the accident. What happens if you wait too long to file a truck accident injury claim? You could be denied an opportunity to recover financial compensation at all. Do not wait to take action: Consult with a Phoenix tractor-trailer crash attorney as soon as possible after a serious collision.
Contact Our Phoenix, AZ, Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation
At The Law Office of Paul J. Dombeck, PLLC, our Phoenix truck accident attorney is a strong and reliable advocate for justice. If you or your family member was hurt in a crash with a large commercial truck, you need an experienced legal advocate on your side. Contact us immediately to set up your free, no-obligation consultation. From our Phoenix office, we fight for the rights of semi-truck accident victims across Maricopa County and throughout Arizona.