If you’ve been hurt in a truck or 18 wheeler accident it’s important that you speak to an experienced truck accident lawyer to learn your rights. Large commercial trucks account for a disproportionate percentage of the injuries and deaths occurring on Canadian roadways. A single average highway in Canada has about 1100 trucks a day travelling on it. In Ontario, the number goes up significantly. The average km of highway has about 2300 trucks a day, 10000 a day in Southern Ontario and up to 40000 trucks a day near Toronto. When trucking accidents happen, there is no doubt that truck accidents (including big rigs, 18-wheelers, tractor trailer, commercial vehicles) often cause very serious injuries to those involved, and in some instances, results in fatalities. Trucking accident can be very complex and difficult to handle, which is why you need to retain an experienced trucking accident lawyer to prosecute your case. Last year in Ontario, large truck collisions represented approximately 19% of road fatalities, while large trucks were involved in approximately 2011 reported cases of personal injury.
Our Hamilton truck accident lawyers have been helping trucking accident victims who have suffered serious injuries since 2003. We have the experience to assist victims who have been involved in accidents with large trucks, cargo trucks, courier trucks, courier vans, cargo trucks, large buses, commercial buses, 18 wheelers, big rigs, semi trucks, tractor-trailers, delivery vans and fuel trucks.
Our trucking lawyers cannot undo the fact that you have been involved in an accident, but we can fight to put you in the place that you were the day before you are hurt. More often than not, victims involved in commercial truck accidents are so badly hurt that they suffer permanent disability and pain for the rest of their life. It’s not uncommon for trucking accident victims to suffer from paralysis and other very serious personal injuries.
Asides from compensation for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, your loss of income, loss of economic opportunity, the loss of the ability to care for your home, compensation for your family members – it’s also not uncommon for victims to requirefunding for your life time care for such things as long-term rehabilitation, physical therapy, occupational therapy, vocational retraining, psychological therapy etc. If you been involved in a trucking accident, it’s important that you hire the right lawyer with specialized knowledge of trucking accident compensation, the long-term effects of catastrophic injuries and the associated economic damages that will need to be paid to you and your family.
In serious trucking cases, our Hamilton truck accident lawyers will retain an accident reconstructionists to investigate the accident scene, photograph and document the physical evidence and discover as much information as possible from investigating officers. It’s important to do this sooner rather than later, because skidmarks and other physical evidence begin to disappear and fade within days after the accident, particularly in Canada with harsh weather conditions. It’s important that we start our trucking accident investigation as soon as possible in order to collect and organize any evidence required in determining liability. Typically our Hamilton truckaccident lawyers in a trucking accident case will not only want to see the truck in person, but also will want:
Access to the Trucking Black Box – Most trucks are equipped with a “black box” which can provide valuable information in case of a truck accident.
Access to Daily Travel Logs – legislation and the HTA provided mandated hours of service for commercial vehicles, including trucks and truck drivers. Driver’s are mandated to keep daily logs that account for on-duty and off-duty time.
Access to any Information About the Truck, Cargo and Weight – The HTA mandates restrictions on the size and weight of tractor trailers
Access to Information about Trip Inspections – Trip inspections are mandatory by the HTA – every 24 hours that a tractor trailer is in use in order to ensure that it is in good operating condition. The inspection must be done according to specific regulations.
Access to Annual Inspection Certificates – The Highway Traffic Act has requirements and component performance standards that the tractor trailer must satisfy. If they are satisfied, a mechanic will fill out an annual inspection certificate.
Our Hamilton Truck Accident Lawyers and personal injury lawyers represent victims who have suffered serious injuries and families of those who have lost loved ones in truck accidents. We represented victims who have suffered brain injuries, orthopedic injuries, spinal cord injuries.
The goal of our Hamilton truck accident lawyers is to seek justice for our clients and help put them in the place they were before they were hurt or in the case of fatalities – make sure that families and loved ones, whether spouses or children, are well protected financially.
Common causes of trucking accidents in Canada can include:
-Product liability and equipment failure
-Driver Error – i.e. misjudging speed and distance
-Over driving headlights in the dark or rain
– Alcohol or drugs
– Inadequate surveillance
– Faulty equipment
– Poor road conditions
– Following too close
– Insecure or tire blowouts
– Improper or overloaded cargo
– Accidents resulting from skipped maintenance checks
– Overloaded trucks
– Brake problems
– Defective roadways
After determining fault or liability your trucking accident our Hamilton truck accident lawyers will need to valuate your damages, or compensation that might be owned to you if the accident was the fault of the truck driver or trucking company.
Your claim will typically consist of seeking compensation for your pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of amenities, loss of interdependent relationship, loss of housekeeping capacity and future health care costs. Future care, in the case of spinal cord injury, will usually consist of valuating annual costs. The average annual expenses and lifetime costs that are directly attributable to spinal cord injury vary greatly based on education, neurological impairment – i.e. whether the spinal cord injury is incomplete tetraplegia, incomplete paraplegia, complete paraplegia or complete tetraplegia.
In the context of a wrongful death or fatality, you would want to seek legal advice from a Hamilton truck accident lawyer if you have suffered a loss of care, guidance and companionship, an economic loss or, if you are a surviving dependent left without financial support or the financial contribution that your deceased love one made to the family unit. Fatality claims in Ontario are complicated and should only be prosecuted by an experienced wrongful death or personal injury lawyer that will work with economists who will assist in calculating the loss of financial support suffered by the family of the deceased, either by sole dependency, cross dependency approach or a modified sole dependency approach.
Matt Lalande is an experienced Hamilton truck lawyer that has represented many victims in trucking accident cases. Over the past 15 years he has handled many trucking accident victims recover full compensation for:
Spinal cord injuries are common in serious truck-vs-vehicle crashes. The spinal cord is surrounded and protected by 29 vertebrae—the small back bones that make up the spinal column. The vertebrae are stacked one on top of another and each has a hole, creating a canal through which the spinal cord passes. The vertebrae are cushioned from one another by spongy material called disks. Ligaments (very tough and strong ropes) hold the vertebrae in the proper alignment. Your spinal cord emerges from the base of the skull and ends at the lower part of the back. The peripheral nerves (also called spinal nerves) are paired and travel to various parts of the body. There are 31 pairs of spinal nerves, which are numbered according to sections of the spinal column
The spinal cord is one of the most fragile organs of the body. That’s why there are so many bones and ligaments that protect it. When an injury to the back or neck causes a vertebra to break or a ligament to tear, the backbone can pinch the spinal cord. This pinching or pressure may cause bruising, swelling, or bleeding of the spinal cord.
The higher on the spinal cord your injury occurs, the greater the effect on movement, sensation, and other body functions. Tetraplegia (formerly called quadriplegia) refers to an injury to the cervical (neck) section of the spinal cord. It can involve either partial or complete loss of movement and/or feeling in the head, neck, shoulders, upper chest, arms, and legs. Paraplegia refers to an injury in the thoracic, lumbar, or sacral sections of the spinal cord. It can involve either partial or complete loss of movement or feeling in the chest, stomach, hips, legs, and feet. Tetraplegia is slightly more common than paraplegia.
Commercial trucking accidents are often the prevalent cause of traumatic spinal cord injuries. It’s important that if your loved one has suffered a trucking related spinal cord injury that you retain our Hamilton truck accident lawyers without delay to assist in not only the investigation, but also with making sure to assist with ensuring proper funding is put into place, housing modificaitons are completed and any and all assistive devices are installed prior to your loved one returning home. Spinal cord injury rehabilitation and care after a trucking related spinal cord injury can cost millions of dollars, depending on the location of injury on the spine, the type and the age of the victim. For more information abour your rights after a spinal cord trucking accident, please request your free consultation today.
The following is a short explanation of a truck accident litigation timeline and what you could expect when you retain our Hamilton truck accident lawyers. It is important to understand that, based on the severity and seriousness of the accident and injuries, settlement can occur at any time during the noted process below. For example, many insurance companies will understand the requirements of a paraplegic victim that was hurt by a driver and pay the policy limits on that claim sooner rather than later, assuming the accident is the truckers’ fault.
Below are some common causes of trucking accidents in Ontario often seen by our Hamilton truck accident lawyer, which often result in serious property damage, catastrophic injury or fatality. In Ontario, trucking accidents are only responsible for a small percentage of overall motor vehicle accidents – but when accidents do happen, major damage and losses can occur to property and human life due to the massive size and weight of the vehicles, which no doubt have propensity of causing much greater harm.
Speeding – some truck drivers get paid by the load instead of by the hour. For that reason, there is incentive to deliver a load faster so that they will obviously make more money. Obviously the faster the trucks are travelling during a collision, the more devastating the damage.
Underrides – under rides or when a car ends up sliding underneath the truck. This typically happens when a truck makes a turn or blocks the roadway of the passenger vehicle who is unable to stop and rides under the trailer.
Overloading – trucking accidents are often caused by trucks being overloaded or of an excessive weight, which causes an imbalance and increases the risk of trucking rollovers, jackknifing or tipping etc. Cargo shifts are common causes of accidents.
Inadequate driver training – sometimes accidents are caused by drivers who unfortunately do not have the necessary knowledge or experience for lack of preparation and training behind the wheel, to avoid an impending collision.
Left turns – many times truck drivers are in a hurry and want to drop off loads quickly so that they could move on to the next job. Truck drivers are supposed to proceed cautiously and patiently in high traffic areas, but sometimes they turn left in a hurry and before the turn can actually be safely made. Approaching drivers that have no time to stop and avoid the collision to no doubt suffer extremely serious injuries or in some cases, death. Often times, drivers that are distracted or inattentive or at issue with left turn cases.
Distracted driving – like automobile drivers, truckers can also be distracted while driving. In fact, the US, distracted driving has surpassed impaired driving is the number one cause of fatal accidents. Any type of behaviour that takes your attention from the road can be considered distraction, including using a CB, phone, texting, eating, drinking, daydreaming, falling asleep etc.
Intoxication – after a long road trip, or well eating dinner, truckers might presume that it’s acceptable to have a beer or two. Unfortunately being tipsy or even intoxicated, or being under the influence of any substance, can cause a major accident.
Maintenance problems – believe it or not, many carriers do not properly maintain their trucks. In fact, trucks are among the least maintained vehicles on the road. There’s no doubt that according to the Ministry of transportation, both drivers and truck owners have a responsibility to maintain the vehicles and ensure they are safe and roadworthy.
Fatigue – fatigue is a well-known cause of trucking accidents throughout North America. Fatigue is normally caused by driving too many hours, or over the published regulation limit of ours that drivers can operate. There are times when drivers do not take adequate rest between shifts, which increases the risk of accidents.
Trucks that are stopped – when truck stop in the middle of the roadway could be a potential hazard to other motorists approaching from the rear. We are represented drivers in the past two failed to see the truck stopped before was too late to avoid a collision. Also, warning markers should be placed behind a stopped vehicle to alleviate the risk of a rear end collision but often times truckers fail to do this.
If you or a family member has been involved in a trucking accident or 18 wheeler accident and suffered serious injuries, then you need to speak to an experience truck accident specialist in order to determine your options and best recourse. Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers will meet you at your convenience and are more than happy to discuss your case with you. We never charge for consultation and if we agree to work together, we will never ask for fees upfront. Call us from anywhere in Ontario at 1-844-LALANDE or local in the GTA/ Hamilton area at 905-333-8888
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We know that after your 18 wheeler accident you asking lots of questions – some of which common questions include:
In Ontario, you have two years to file a trucking accident claim.
You are entitled to a maximum of approximately $366,000 (2018) which understandably is terribly low, but unfortunately is the law.
Our Hamilton truck accident lawyers would need to review your situation but there is probably a good chance that you still have a valid claim, although you might be contributory negligent for the accident – which means that if you are paid compensation, that compensation is reduced in accordance to your proportionate share of contribution. The defendant trucker has the onus of proving this, not you.
You might, or you might not. It depends. Every case and every insurer is different. You would most likely, at some point before going to Court be provided with an offer to settle your case, just as you would provide to the trucker that caused your injuries. If you and the defendant cannot agree on a mutually acceptable resolution or settlement, then you have the option of putting your facts in front of a Judge or Jury. This is your complete right to do.