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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.