Truck Accidents

Bozeman Truck Accident Attorneys

Taking on Big Truck Companies

Truck accidents can result in serious injuries and serious complications when seeking compensation. If you need to file a claim after a truck accident in Bozeman, Montana, start by working with the law firm that locals trust: Hoyt & Blewett PLLC. Our truck accident lawyers will take your case seriously, show you the respect you deserve, and prepare to challenge any defendant in court, including truck companies with nationwide presences. With more than 100 years of total experience, you know that our team will be ready to go above and beyond your expectations.

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Negligence That Causes Truck Accidents

Truck driver and trucking company negligence can result in severe accidents involving commercial trucks and big rigs. Both truck drivers and the companies they work for have a responsibility to follow the rules and regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as well as state laws to ensure the safe operation of their vehicles. When either party fails to meet these obligations, the risk of accidents increases dramatically, and liability for any crash could fall on those parties.

Types of negligence that can contribute to truck accidents can include:

  • Driver fatigue: Truck drivers are required to adhere to hours-of-service regulations that limit their driving time and mandate rest periods. However, some drivers may violate these rules or be encouraged by their employers to break the rules to meet tight deadlines. Fatigued driving can lead to slower reaction times, impaired judgment, and an increased risk of accidents.
  • Improper vehicle maintenance: Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring that their vehicles are well-maintained and safe for the road. If a truck is owned by an independently contracted driver, then the maintenance responsibilities will rest on the truck driver. Neglecting routine inspections, ignoring necessary repairs, or using substandard parts can result in mechanical failures, such as brake malfunctions or tire blowouts.
  • Distracted driving: Just like any other driver, truck drivers can become distracted behind the wheel. Texting, using a phone, adjusting the radio, or engaging in other distracting activities while driving can significantly increase the risk of an accident by taking the driver's focus away from the road.
  • Inadequate training and supervision: Trucking companies must ensure that their drivers are properly trained and licensed to operate large commercial vehicles. Failing to provide adequate training, hiring inexperienced drivers, or neglecting to monitor and address safety violations are all forms of negligence.
  • Speeding: Exceeding the posted speed limit or driving too fast for road conditions reduces a driver's ability to react to hazards and increases stopping distances. Speeding is a significant contributor to accidents involving trucks, as their large size and weight require longer distances to come to a stop.
  • Driving Under the Influence: Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs significantly impairs a driver's ability to operate the vehicle safely. Commercial truck drivers are subject to strict regulations regarding alcohol and drug use, but violations still occur and can have catastrophic consequences.
  • Aggressive Driving: Behaviors such as tailgating, frequent lane changes, or weaving in and out of traffic not only increase the risk of accidents but also escalate dangerous situations on the road. In the case of trucks, their size and weight amplify the potential damage caused by aggressive driving maneuvers.
  • Failure to Obey Traffic Laws: Ignoring traffic signals, running red lights, failing to yield, or making illegal turns are all examples of driver errors that can lead to accidents. Commercial truck drivers must adhere to the same traffic laws as other motorists, but the consequences of their mistakes can be more severe due to the size and weight of their vehicles.
  • Unsafe Driving Practices: Tailgating, improper lane changes, failure to yield, and other aggressive driving behaviors can increase the risk of accidents involving trucks.
  • Inexperienced Drivers: Inexperienced or poorly trained drivers may not have the skills or knowledge to safely operate a commercial truck in various conditions.

Who Can Be Liable for a Truck Accident?

In truck accident cases, determining liability can be a complex process due to the involvement of multiple parties in the operation, maintenance, and overall functioning of commercial trucks. Each party has a specific role and responsibility, and any negligence or failure on their part can contribute to an accident. As a result, more than one party can be found liable for damages in a truck accident case.

Parties that could potentially be held responsible include:

  • Truck driver: If the driver was speeding, driving under the influence, violating safety regulations, or engaging in any other negligent behavior at the time of the accident, they can be held liable for the resulting damages.
  • Trucking company: Trucking companies have a duty to ensure that their drivers are properly trained, licensed, and supervised. They must also maintain their vehicles in a safe condition. If the company fails to meet these responsibilities or encourages unsafe practices, such as pushing drivers to meet unrealistic deadlines, they can be held liable for accidents that occur as a result.
  • Company that loaded the truck: Improperly loaded cargo can cause a truck to become unstable, increasing the risk of an accident. If the company responsible for loading the truck failed to secure the cargo properly or overloaded the vehicle, they may be held liable for any accidents related to the poorly loaded cargo.
  • Company that manufactured parts of the truck: If a defective part, such as faulty brakes or tires, contributed to the accident, the manufacturer of that part may be held liable for damages.
  • Maintenance or Repair Providers: If negligent maintenance or repairs were performed on the truck, the company or individual responsible for these services may be held liable if the negligence contributed to the accident. This could include issues such as faulty brakes, worn tires, or other mechanical failures.
  • Government Entities: In some cases, government entities responsible for designing, constructing, or maintaining roads may be held liable if road defects or hazards contributed to the accident. This could include issues such as potholes, inadequate signage, or poorly designed intersections.
  • Other Drivers or Third Parties: If the actions of another driver or third party contributed to the accident, they may also be held liable. For example, if a passenger vehicle driver caused the accident by cutting off the truck or engaging in reckless driving behavior, they could be held responsible for damages.

Common Truck Accident Injuries

At Hoyt & Blewett PLLC, we understand that the injuries sustained in truck accidents can be severe and life-altering. We can work closely with medical experts to accurately assess the extent of your injuries and determine the necessary treatments and care you will need. We can also work with financial experts who can determine the cost of future medical care and necessary life adjustments. By collaborating with these professionals, we can build an even stronger injury claim.

Serious injuries suffered in truck accidents vary, such as:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs): A significant impact during a truck accident can result in traumatic brain injuries. TBIs can lead to long-term cognitive impairment, memory loss, and other life-changing issues.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries can occur when the force of a truck collision damages the vertebrae, discs, or spinal cord itself. These injuries can lead to partial or complete paralysis, chronic pain, and loss of sensation or function in the affected areas.
  • Broken bones and fractures: Due to the force involved in truck accidents, broken bones and fractures are common. These injuries can be painful and may require surgery, extensive rehabilitation, and a lengthy recovery period.
  • Whiplash and Neck Injuries: Whiplash is a common injury in rear-end collisions, where the sudden impact causes the head to snap forward and then backward rapidly. This can result in soft tissue damage to the neck muscles and ligaments, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion.
  • Internal Injuries: Blunt force trauma from a truck accident can cause internal injuries to organs such as the lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys, or intestines. Internal injuries may not be immediately apparent following an accident but can lead to life-threatening complications if left untreated.
  • Burns: Truck accidents involving fires or explosions can result in burns to the skin and underlying tissues. Burns can cause severe pain, disfigurement, and long-term physical and psychological effects. Treatment for burns may involve skin grafting, wound care, and rehabilitation.
  • Emotional Trauma: In addition to physical injuries, truck accidents can also cause emotional trauma such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other psychological conditions. Emotional trauma may require counseling or therapy to address and may have long-lasting effects on the victim's quality of life.

Unfortunately, fatalities are also common. If you lost a loved one in a truck accident, we can help you seek justice and fair compensation through a wrongful death claim.

Damages in a Truck Accident Claim

If you were in a truck accident that you didn’t cause, you have the right to seek compensation for damages caused by the negligence of the liable party or parties. It is only fair that the responsible individuals or entities bear the financial burden of the consequences of their actions, rather than you, who did nothing wrong. Damages in a truck accident claim can be categorized into two main types: economic damages and non-economic damages, each addressing different aspects of the losses incurred by the injured party.

  • Economic damages: These are quantifiable financial losses resulting from the accident, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Economic damages aim to compensate you for the tangible costs you have incurred or will incur in the future due to your injuries. This may include ongoing medical treatments, rehabilitation costs, and loss of earning capacity if you can’t return to work or must change careers.
  • Non-economic damages: These damages cover intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Non-economic damages can be more difficult to quantify, as they involve subjective assessments of your personal experiences and the impact of the accident on your overall well-being.

Bozeman Truck Accident FAQ

How much is the average truck accident claim worth?

It is difficult to pinpoint an exact average value for truck accident claims, as each case is unique and depends on numerous factors, such as the severity of the injuries sustained and the cooperation of the defendant. Be wary of a law firm that promises to win you any amount because this is not a promise that any legal professional can make. You should work with our honest attorneys, who will provide realistic and transparent legal counsel.

What kind of evidence can a truck accident lawyer help you collect?

Our Bozeman truck accident lawyers can gather various types of evidence to build a strong claim. Photographs of the damaged vehicles, skid marks on the road, and debris may indicate the cause of the collision. Documentation related to the accident, including police reports, witness statements, and medical records, can provide crucial information about the circumstances surrounding the incident and the extent of the injuries sustained. We can even analyze data from electronic devices, such as the truck's electronic onboard recorder (EOBR), which can reveal important details about the driver's actions and the vehicle's performance leading up to the accident.

Are truck accidents more complex than regular car accidents?

Truck accidents can be more complex than car accidents for several reasons. First, the size and weight of commercial trucks often result in more severe injuries and property damage, making the determination of liability and the assessment of damages more challenging. Second, multiple parties may be involved in the operation, maintenance, and regulation of a commercial truck, which can make it more difficult to identify all responsible parties and hold them accountable for their negligence. Third, truck accidents are subject to a unique set of federal and state regulations, such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules, which govern various aspects unique to the trucking industry.

How long does it usually take to resolve a truck accident lawsuit?

The time it takes to resolve a truck accident lawsuit can vary greatly depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Factors that can influence the timeline include the complexity of the case, the number of parties involved, the level of cooperation between the parties, and whether the case goes to trial or settles out of court. Generally, simpler cases with clear liability and fewer parties may be resolved more quickly, potentially within a few months. However, more complex cases involving multiple parties, severe injuries, or disputes over liability can take a year or more to reach a resolution.

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Call Our Nationally Recognized Law Firm Today

Call Our Office Today!

After a serious accident, you should hire serious legal counsel to help you demand compensation. Many of our Bozeman truck accident attorneys have been nationally recognized for their achievements and case successes. 

For example, Attorney-Partners Anders Blewett, Drew Blewett, Joseph Cosgrove, and Alexander Blewett III are the only Montana lawyers named to the Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers in America for 2022

With a case as important as yours, you should only leave it in the hands of a team as capable as ours. Call (406) 233-1302 now.