Minneapolis Truck Accident Attorneys Fighting For You
It is safer than ever to hit the road in a car or truck in the Twin Cities. Automotive design, safety features and traffic control systems have all made vast improvements in recent decades. Unfortunately, this is cold comfort for truck accident victims or the loved ones of people who have lost their lives in collisions with semi trucks and other commercial vehicles.
Trucks are big enough, are heavy enough and move fast enough to overcome even the best safety equipment today’s cars offer. Entire families can be torn apart in mere seconds in a truck accident. The people left behind with catastrophic injuries and medical expenses face an uphill climb to get the financial compensation they need to put their lives back together.
If you or a loved one in Minneapolis or Twin Cities suburbs has been hurt in a truck accident, it is in your best interest to seek the advice and representation of a proven Minneapolis truck accident lawyer.
You can rely on the attorneys of Nicolet Law to stand up for your rights and to make sure the insurance companies don’t injure you for a second time as you seek compensation for damages such as medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
One Of The Midwest’s Trucking Hubs
Minneapolis’s location at the intersection of the Mississippi River and two major interstates makes it a natural transportation hub. That means there are plenty of trucks making stops in and passing through Minneapolis on their way to and from ports, shipping centers, and warehouses in the Midwest and around the country. Some of the routes most traveled by 18-wheelers in the Minneapolis area include:
- Interstate 35W
- Interstate 94
- Interstate 394
- Interstate 694
- MN 55
- MN 77 (Cedar Avenue)
- Your health or auto insurance
- The state or local government (typically in the event of poor road maintenance)
- Another third party at fault for the accident
Who Pays For Expenses After a Minneapolis Truck Accident?
A small vehicle is no match for a large truck. And even low-speed accidents with a truck can result in serious injuries. If the accident was not your fault, the expense of dealing with these injuries shouldn’t fall on you. When another person causes your injuries, they may bear financial liability for your associated costs. In Minneapolis large truck accidents, there are potentially many parties your attorney may pursue to recover economic damages.
These may include:
- The truck driver’s insurance: In an accident where you are not at fault, it is common for the truck driver to be the responsible party. It is up to the driver and their insurance company to prove the driver was not to blame, to avoid liability.
- The trucking company or their insurance: The majority of truck drivers are employees of a larger company. In Minneapolis, the trucking company is legally responsible for the actions of its employees. Your damages may exceed the coverage the driver maintains on their vehicle. In this case, you may be able to recover excess damages from the company itself or its insurance policy. Furthermore, the truck driver’s employer may be largely responsible for the accident. This may happen if the employer pressured the driver to work beyond hours allowed by federal regulations, failed to conduct a background check on the truck driver, or did failed to comply with vehicle maintenance requirements.
- The vehicle or parts manufacturer: If there is a mechanical issue with the truck, the driver and the trucking company generally have responsibility for identifying and correcting the problem. However, if the accident is the result of a defective part, the manufacturer may hold 100 percent liability. In such cases, the defect could have been undetectable even if the trucker and the employer conducted regular maintenance.
Particularly if the aforementioned parties do not have the funds to cover your damages, other parties that may also bear some of the costs include:
What Costs Does the Insurance Company Cover in a Minneapolis Truck Accident Case?
There are a lot of potential expenses you can incur after a Minneapolis truck accident. The medical bills tend to be higher than most can pay out of pocket, and if you have to take time off from work to heal from your injuries, you may feel like you are in an impossible situation. The good news is, if the accident was not your fault, you can recover compensation for these bills and other costs through a legal claim for damages. Every case is different and the insurance company will look at the unique circumstances of your case to determine what damages it is willing to agree to in a settlement.
Some common damages include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
For more serious injuries that involve long-term expenses, the insurance company will take into account the degree of your injuries and your prognosis. In this case, your attorney will look into your anticipated future medical costs and wages. Your attorney will also help calculate the value of other impacts, such as loss of companionship, loss of enjoyment in life, and emotional distress. If someone you loved was killed in a Minneapolis truck accident, you or a member of your family may have a claim for wrongful death.
Common Causes Of Truck Accidents In Minneapolis
Truck accidents frequently result in catastrophic spinal cord and brain injuries regardless of the cause. Sadly, many truck accidents are the result of negligence and therefore entirely preventable. Driving while drowsy is the most prominent cause of truck accidents, heading up a list of factors, including:
- Inadequate maintenance
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Distracted driving
- Overweight trailers
- Unsecured cargo
- Reckless driving
You can rely on the experienced Minneapolis personal injury lawyers at our firm to thoroughly investigate your accident to determine the cause. Once the cause has been identified, we will get to work fighting for the settlement or jury award you deserve. We handle all truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means there will be no fees unless we recover compensation for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Minneapolis Truck Accidents
There is no shortage of commercial trucks in Minneapolis. You’re likely to come across a large truck any time you get on the road. We rely on trucks to make our deliveries, pick up the garbage, and supply our stores. Trucks are important to keep things going; you just don’t want to end up on the other end of a wreck with one.
To reduce the number of deadly truck accidents, the Minnesota and federal governments have passed certain laws designed to address the unique hazards posed by trucks. Unfortunately, these laws are not always enough. Large truck accidents continue to happen at an alarming rate. If you or someone you love has been injured in Minneapolis in a large truck accident due to someone else’s wrongdoing, you have a right to seek compensation from the responsible parties.
To learn more about how to protect your rights, contact an experienced Minneapolis truck accident attorney at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers for a free case review. And read on for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Minneapolis truck accidents.
What are the most common causes of Minneapolis truck accidents?
After a truck accident, your lawyer and others will investigate the accident to determine all the causes. This will identify the responsible parties and how to proceed with your case. In some cases, the cause is simple, such as when you can trace the cause to the simple negligence of the truck driver. In other cases, your attorney may need to do some more digging to see if other parties might be liable too. Common causes of large truck accidents include:
Speeding. Speeding is a serious problem that affects all drivers on the road. But the risk of severe injury is even greater in the case of a large truck. Speeding not only reduces reaction time but also increases the amount of time it takes a vehicle to come to a complete stop.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, (FMCSA), a large truck traveling at 65 miles per hour takes the length of two football fields to stop. Speeding also increases the risk of rollover. In a thorough investigation into the causes of large truck accidents, the FMCSA found in 23 percent of all accidents, the truck driver was driving too fast for conditions.
Distracted driving. Distracted driving occurs whenever the driver takes their attention off the road. The distraction can come from inside or outside the vehicle. Just a few seconds is enough time to cause a serious accident. In this day and age, cell phone use is a common source of distracted driving. Other distractions include using navigation systems, adjusting the radio, eating, or animals or vehicles on the side of the road. FMCSA reports that one study found an astounding 71 percent of all large truck crashes occurred when the driver was doing something other than driving the truck.
Failure to yield the right of way. Right-of-way laws exist to help drivers know when to move and when to allow traffic to go ahead of them. When we all follow these rules, we dramatically reduce the likelihood of a serious accident. Unfortunately, when a driver goes out of turn, it can result in deadly consequences.
Many times, these types of accidents happen at intersections. However, they can also happen when a driver is changing lanes or merging onto the freeway. Because of their design and large size, a truck’s blind spots can contribute to right-of-way accidents. In a rush to make their deliveries on time, trucks may also ignore a right-of-way, hoping to avoid further delay in their drive, only to end up getting stuck in an accident, often resulting in serious and even fatal injuries.
Driver fatigue. It’s never a good idea to get on the road when you are feeling fatigued. But many truck drivers feel they have no choice. Truck drivers are placed on tight schedules, and some may feel that rest will put them behind. When a truck driver gets behind the wheel without enough rest, they put everyone in jeopardy. Fatigue can cause many of the same symptoms as drunk driving—slower reaction time, poor decision-making, and difficulty concentrating. Driver fatigue is not always due to of lack of sleep.
Other causes include:
- Physical exertion
- Driving during the night
- Use of prescription, over-the-counter, or recreational drugs
Dangerous conditions. All drivers are aware that there are times when the weather is such that it is just not safe to be on the road. Unfortunately, the demands of the trucking industry compel so many drivers to work in hazardous weather. In Minneapolis, snow and ice can significantly increase the odds of an accident. While preventative measures, safety devices, and vehicle enhancements (e.g. winter tires) can help reduce these odds, they are not 100 percent effective at preventing all weather-related accidents.
Mechanical problems. The idea of a truck’s parts failing on the road is frightening. What’s even scarier—truck mechanical issues arise all the time. FMCSA finds that brake issues are a significant cause of many accidents. Other mechanical issues that can contribute to an accident include:
- Broken safety equipment, including headlights, brake lights, and windshield wipers
- Steering wheel problems
- Shifting cargo
- Tire issues
- Transmission failure
How do you prove fault after a Minneapolis large truck accident?
One of the first questions you will hear from an attorney or insurance company in a Minneapolis truck accident case is “who was at fault?” While fault may seem clear to you, it is often highly disputed; and the insurance company on the other side will almost certainly find any way to pin the blame on you. Your attorney’s job is to evaluate the evidence and identify the responsible parties.
Some tools your attorney may use to prove fault include:
- Witness testimony
- Video or photo evidence
- Traffic records
- Employment records
- Vehicle damage
- Expert witnesses
Will I have to pay for any costs out of pocket?
A recent report from CNBC found only 39 percent of Americans could pay for a $1,000 emergency expense out of pocket. A common concern for truck accident victims is whether they have to pay for any expenses out of pocket while waiting for their claim to be resolved. Unfortunately, you may have to. If you go to the doctor before you talk to an attorney, the healthcare facility will often bill you before you’ve had a chance to resolve your claim and receive compensation. You may be able to deal with some of these bills with your own health or auto insurance.
Once you talk to an attorney, they can contact any of your healthcare providers and work out a promise to pay, which may delay your obligation to pay your medical bills, allowing you time to process your claim. If you incur any costs before you talk to an attorney, be sure to keep your receipts so your attorney can build them into your damages demand.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit after a Minneapolis truck accident?
Under Minnesota law, Minneapolis truck accident victims have a limited time to file a claim for damages. For most truck accidents, this deadline is as little as two years and up to six years from the date of the accident. That said, the value of your case might diminish the longer you wait to file a claim against the other party. The insurance company will likely question the legitimacy of your injuries if you wait too long. Or the evidence to support your claim may disappear. For this reason, it is best to talk to an experienced Minneapolis truck accident attorney as soon as possible.
How do I choose a Minneapolis truck accident lawyer that’s right for me?
Do you need an attorney to bring a Minneapolis truck accident case? Absolutely. Truck accidents are complicated, and a lot is on the line. You need good representation to give yourself the best chance of recovering all the compensation you deserve.
So how do you find an attorney that is right for you? Most truck accident attorneys offer a free initial consultation, so the best option is to choose a few to interview and, after meeting with all of them, choose the attorney that feels right. It’s always a good idea to have a list of questions you want to ask before you go into your initial consultation.
Some good questions include are:
- How long have you been practicing law?
- What is your experience with Minneapolis truck accident cases?
- How much of your practice deals with personal injury cases?
- Have you worked on many cases similar to mine?
- What do you think of my case?
- Are you willing to take my case to court? What type of trial experience do you have?
- What is your fee arrangement?
- Who will be primarily in charge of handling my case?
- What is my role in the case?
Once you sign with your attorney, they will begin to work on your case and work towards securing a settlement and preparing for trial, should it be necessary. At this point, your attorney will reach out to the insurance company and have all future communications routed through them.
If you are a victim of a truck accident that is not your fault, the law may entitle you to financial compensation for your injuries. Contact an experienced truck accident attorney at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers today.
Let Our Minneapolis Truck Accident Lawyers Help You
We know the games the insurance companies play, and we know how important it is for you to have the financial resources you need to be made whole again. Call our Minneapolis office today at 612-688-4459 or contact us via email to arrange your free initial consultation.
"I've hired Ben Nicolet for close to 2 years and I have to say that Nicolet was very nice and wonderful to work with. He was very caring and handled my case with respect and always kepted me up to date. I highly recommend Nicolet and his team, they will stand by your side every step of the way." - Kevin K.
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43 SE Main St
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Phone: (612) 688-4459