Love them or hate them, trucks are everywhere on Alberta roads. With thousands of Albertans employed in jobs that require extensive highway travel, rural or field work, or transport all year around, trucks are a top vehicle choice for many Alberta drivers both in terms of size and practicality. And when Albertans aren’t at work, we enjoy the amazing natural beauty our province has to offer, often off-roading or camping with a truck. With all that hauling, it might surprise you to know that Albertans are less likely to be in a truck accident, but that when truck accidents happen, they are often more severe. Road reports show that while trucks are statistically involved in fewer collisions than other types of vehicles (i.e. cars, SUVs, and mini-vans), the fatality rates in the province for truck accidents are high at 29.3% . It comes as no surprise that collisions involving a truck are more likely to result in catastrophic injury, due to the sheer size and weight of the vehicle. This is especially true for motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) involving commercial trucks such as semi-trailers.
If you have been injured in a truck accident in Alberta, you may feel like you have lost control of a lot of important aspects of your life. You may be forced to take time off work, replace your vehicle, and deal with endless paperwork – all while recovering from the pain and suffering of injuries you don’t deserve. We’ll help you take control of the situation, and get your life back. Let us take care of the paperwork and the legal work, so you can take care of yourself, your health, and your family. If you were injured in an accident you may have grounds to make a claim, to collect accident benefits you are entitled to, and to access additional supports for you or your family. Whether you are up against an insurance company or a large trucking company, or both, having an experienced Personal Injury lawyer on your side can make all the difference. At Litwiniuk & Company, it won’t cost you anything to talk to one of our experienced truck accident lawyers, and you won’t have to pay us any fees until we win your claim.
Injured in a truck accident? Here’s what our lawyers have to say…
- Your health comes first – if you have been involved in an accident, get medical treatment right away (even if you feel fine). Internal injuries can be silent but serious and you might not feel pain from your injuries while adrenaline is running high or you are in a state of shock. Even if you were assessed by emergency service personnel on scene, go see your family doctor. Some injuries may go unnoticed for hours or even days. A medical specialist will be able to thoroughly assess your health and document any injuries you might have sustained from the accident – these assessments can be pivotal to getting you the compensation you deserve. Don’t have a family doctor? Find one conveniently located near you at Alberta Find a Doctor. The longer you wait, the more difficult it is to prove that your injuries are a result of the motor vehicle accident (rather than having slipped on your staircase at home, for instance). Delaying treatment also allows the insurance company of the at-fault party more grounds to suggest that your injuries weren’t that serious or painful.
- Gathering evidence after the fact – the standard procedure for a motor vehicle accident usually includes exchanging contact information and insurance details between drivers, talking to eyewitnesses, taking pictures, and filing a police report. But if you were unable to gather these details at the time of the accident, there’s no need to worry. It is common for someone who has been involved in a truck accident to be injured or in such shock at the scene that they are unable gather any information. With an experienced truck accident lawyer, you can still make an injury claim; personal injury lawyers are skilled at gathering this information after the fact. As a general rule, the sooner you speak with an experienced truck accident lawyer, the better. It is a lot easier to gather evidence and locate witnesses in the days following an accident.
- A guide to insurance companies – it is important to report the collision to your insurance company right away in order to get full access your benefits. Regardless of who is at fault, if you were involved in a truck accident in Alberta, you are automatically entitled to receive Section B benefits in most cases[link to section B article]. However, in the days and weeks following an accident there are important deadlines which, if missed, may give your insurance company grounds to deny you certain benefits. When it comes to the insurance company of the person who injured you, their adjuster will likely contact you to ask questions about the accident or offer you a settlement before you have even fully recovered from your injuries. You are under no obligation to speak with them and, if you do, it is very important that you refrain from providing any additional information about the accident or accept any offers. We’ll discuss settlements and offers more in-depth later in this article. Make sure you find a personal injury lawyer who understands how truck accident claims really work. At Litwiniuk & Company, it won’t cost a thing to speak with a lawyer.
It is equally important to know what NOT to do after a truck accident…
- Never agree to just “let the accident go”. Even minor accidents can cause physical injuries that may not be felt until the next day or later. Similarly, your vehicle may have sustained structural damage that is not immediately visible.
- Never take responsibility (even partially) for the accident or sign anything regarding who is at fault for the collision.
- Never agree to pay for damages at the scene of the accident.
- Never accept money from the driver at the scene of the collision.
What if the accident involved a commercial truck?
There are numerous factors that might contribute to a commercial accident; some are standard for all drivers who share the road and others are more specific to the trucking industry. The causes or contributing factors to a commercial truck accident might include:
- Driver fatigue;
- Driving while distracted;
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Drifting between lanes;
- Passing other vehicles unsafely;
- Parking unsafely on the side of the road;
- Not leaving enough distance from other vehicles;
- Taking dangerous wide turns;
- Cargo that is overweight for the truck’s capacity;
- Speeding or not driving according to road conditions;
- Poor maintenance of the vehicle;
- Failing to use reflective markings or lights; or,
- Cargo that is not properly secured.
These are just a few examples of factors involving commercial trucks that can result in collisions with other drivers on the road, or accidents involving cyclists or pedestrians. In this type of truck accident, the injuries can be very serious or even deadly. If you, or someone you love, was seriously injured in an accident with a commercial truck, you can pursue a claim against the driver of the truck, the trucking company, and in some cases both. In Canada, drivers of commercial trucks are required to keep detailed logs of when they sleep, take breaks, maintain their vehicle, pick up and drop off cargo, any issues they might have such as blowing a tire, and so on. They are also subject to random drug tests. Because the industry is so highly regulated, there is usually a lot more evidence of driver behavior and vehicle maintenance. Commercial trucks also normally have much larger insurance policies, which are more likely to cover the full value of any accident claims. While this may be good news for your claim, it can also mean a lot more paperwork, regulations, and protocols to navigate. A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer understands the rules and regulations for commercial trucking and know what evidence to look for. They also have a keen eye as to which protocols might have been missed. At Litwiniuk & Company, our truck accident lawyers will investigate your case thoroughly to ensure that the negligent driver is brought to justice.
What are Section B benefits?
All vehicle insurance policies in Alberta offer something known as no-fault Section B Benefits. This means that regardless of who was at fault, all persons injured in the accident may receive certain benefits, provided that the driver of the car not at-fault had valid Alberta insurance. And even if the driver was uninsured, there may be other ways to access these accident benefits. If you were involved in a collision and you were injured, you are automatically entitled to have a portion of your medical treatments paid for (including expenses for disability or death) provided that you meet certain deadlines and criteria. You can access up to $50,000 per person in coverage for medical treatment through Alberta’s Section B Benefits, with certain key exceptions, but you must notify the Section B insurance company within 30 days of the accident. Did you miss the deadline? Perhaps you were in hospital during this time, or otherwise unable to make the call. Or perhaps you were injured while walking or riding a bicycle. If so, we may be able to help you get access to these benefits; call us now for more information. Your health is the number one priority. And getting access to your benefits will help you get on the road to recovery. If you want to download the Section B forms, you can access them here. If you have questions or need assistance with the forms, we can help. The laws surrounding Section B Benefits are complex, even for insurance adjusters. A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer will be able to answer your questions and guide you through the process. Don’t stress, just give us a call or send us an email.
What is my truck accident claim worth?
When it comes to any accident involving a vehicle, there a couple of key rules that could mean the difference of thousands of dollars in your pocket:
- Do NOT accept any offers or sign any documents related to settlement until you have spoken to a personal injury lawyer to find out the maximum compensation you deserve.
- Do NOT accept any offers or agree to settle your claim before seeking proper medical evaluation to determine the full extent and possible long-term implications of your injuries.
Following a truck accident, you will likely receive a phone call or email from the insurance company of person who hit you. They may ask you sign various releases or liability documents or make you a settlement offer. Although you might feel pressured, you are under no obligation to sign anything or settle. Always speak to a personal injury lawyer before you sign anything. Insurance companies are known to be quick to offer settlements in the early days and weeks following your accidents in the hopes of:
- Settling your claim quickly and for the lowest possible amount,
- Getting you to accept their offer before you consult an accident lawyer and realize the full compensation you are entitled to, and
- Convincing you to settle before you understand the full extent of your injuries or possible long-term implications of the accident.
Every case is unique, and the specifics of your case are important in determining the value of your claim. An experienced personal injury lawyer will consider the complete picture; from the severity of your injuries to how they impact your daily life and ability to work, along with Alberta’s laws. At Litwiniuk & Company, we will always work tirelessly to pursue the maximum compensation for your claim.
In most cases, Alberta legislation limits Personal Injury Claims to a two-year window from the date of the accident to make a claim, or your right to claim is lost forever. But that does not mean you should put off making your claim. It’s important to pursue your claim quickly, as there are other important deadlines or possible circumstances that could affect your claim and the extent of compensation you will receive. What if you are reading this after the two-year mark? Give us a call. There are certain very specific exceptions to the 2-year deadline. If you have questions, call or email us to set up a free consultation with one of our truck accident lawyers today.
Worried about legal fees? It won’t cost you a thing to hire our Calgary Truck Accident lawyers.
If you choose to pursue a claim, we’ll cover all the costs of collecting evidence until your case is resolved, meaning we don’t get paid until you get paid. And if we don’t recover money for you, you won’t owe us anything. By speaking with a truck accident lawyer you may learn that you are legally entitled to accident benefits and compensation for lost wages, physical therapy, medical bills, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, or disability.
Our Calgary Truck Accident Lawyers Are Here For You.
We hope that by creating this article, we’ve provided answers to some of the questions you might have had about truck accident claims in Alberta. While it’s not possible to cover all the ins-and-outs of truck accidents in a few paragraphs, you can get all your questions answered through the personalized legal advice of an accident injury lawyer. It won’t cost you a thing to speak to a lawyer. We’re honoured to be Alberta’s Personal Injury law firm for over 44 years, voted Calgary’s Top Choice Personal Injury Law Firm by our clients for the past six years. At Litwiniuk & Company, we have an outstanding track record of bringing negligent drivers to justice and getting injured Albertans the compensation they deserve. Let our team work to get you the maximum compensation for your claim AND ensure you get the benefits and treatment you’re entitled to. We’ll handle the insurance companies and the law, while you focus on getting your life back. If you are looking for a truck accident lawyer in Calgary, call or email us today for a free consultation.