A damaged car is pictured after a truck accident. First responders are on the scene. Utah as a state depends greatly on the trucking industry for revenues. And much of the country, in turn, depends on Utah’s roads. According to UDOT data, over 38 million trucks pass over its state highways each day. That figure doesn’t even include traffic from the four major interstates crossing through the region.

“Utah’s central location in the western U.S. allows for easy access to all west coast ports, inland states, Canada, and Mexico,” observes industry news site The Trucker, which notes how “some of the top U.S. carriers maintain their headquarters or began their operations out of Utah.”

Trucking in Utah presents big business, but it also presents big risks to others on the road. Because of their massive size, trucks are likely to cause serious, and often fatal, injuries in the event of a collision.

Working with a Utah truck accident lawyer is often the crash victims’ best chance at fully recovering the costs of injury treatment, as well as compensation for other damages they have suffered. Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers want to fight for your rights to seek this compensation. We are not afraid to stand up to big motor carrier and insurance companies in order to go after 100% of the damages you have suffered.

Learn more about your legal options and what your claim could be worth during a free, no-obligation case review. Schedule your free consultation with a Utah truck accident lawyer near you today when you call (801) 810-9999 or contact us online.

When Can a Utah Truck Accident Attorney Help Me?

Any time you have been injured — or have lost a loved one — in an accident involving a truck, we are available to assist you. Hiring an attorney is especially beneficial in cases with high levels of damages. These include injuries involving hospitalization, dismemberment, paralysis, or other loss of use of a bodily appendage or organ. Fatal truck accident cases certainly qualify, as well.

In high-value truck accident cases, there’s two major risks. First, the affected party (e.g. injury victim) is more likely to overlook certain costs of their injury. In particular, they may not fully comprehend the lifetime costs of treating their injury, which may require ongoing physical therapy, follow-up physician appointments, or the need for medical equipment and home modifications. By failing to estimate the full costs, and accepting the first offer the insurance company sends them, accident victims could leave significant amounts of damages on the table when they sign.

Second, trucking companies and insurance companies are much more likely to fight liability when the damages in a case are high. These organizations operate to earn a profit, so minimizing their exposure to risk is highly important to them when an accident occurs. They may attempt to withhold evidence, skew narratives in their favor, and search for factors that could enable them to chip away at the value of the injury victim’s claim.

The Utah truck accident lawyers at Valley Law are fully prepared for these tactics. We work hard to investigate your crash, consult with experts, and come up with an accurate, complete number for all of the damages you have suffered and will suffer. We also refuse to become intimidated or frustrated in the face of others’ efforts to undervalue your claim. We have experience fighting with these companies to protect our clients’ rights to a full, fair claim. We know the tactics they’ll attempt to undermine your own confidence in your claim — as well as the tactics needed to get them to take your case seriously.

Going up against a big insurer and big trucking company at the same time is never easy, but you can at very least have professional help at your side. By working with our attorneys at Valley Law, you can gain the confidence and peace of mind you need to focus on healing, while we take care of the rest.

What Damages Are Available in a Truck Accident Case?

Utah uses a “no-fault” car accident claims system, which means that every vehicle owner is expected to cover their vehicle with a personal injury protection (PIP) policy. When anyone operating or riding in the vehicle is hurt, they are eligible to file a claim under the policy’s benefits.

Typical benefits for a PIP policy in Utah include:

  • Coverage for medical treatments up to the policy limit (minimum of $3,000)
  • 85% of lost wages, up to $250 per week
  • Up to $20 a day to pay for domestic services the injured party would normally have provided to the household (e.g. laundry, transport)
  • Funeral and burial costs, in the event of a fatality

When there is a serious injury that meets Utah’s “injury threshold,” the accident victim is eligible to file a second claim under the liability insurance policy of any driver considered at fault for the accident. In truck accident cases, this can mean that you are able to seek damages under the trucking company’s commercial policy. Freight-hauling companies are required to carry a minimum of $300,000 per-accident liability coverage for the transport of household goods, and $750,000 for other general freight. Trucks transporting oil and other hazardous materials are expected to carry between $1 million and $5 million in total accident coverage.

A qualifying medical condition that meets the injury threshold can include any injury where there is a:

  • Permanent disability or impairment
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Dismemberment (amputation)

Note that your case may qualify for a liability claim, even if on face value it may not seem to. Utah’s “no-fault” laws serve to protect insurance companies and big commercial businesses, which is why they appear to discourage liability claims. Rest assured that we will consult with medical experts and other professionals in order to rule out every possibility that your case can qualify for the needed threshold of injury severity.

How Common Are Truck Accidents?

Utah’s Department of Public Safety does not maintain separate statistics for accidents involving semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles. However, national data from the U.S. DOT’s Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) shows that there were 5,788 fatalities resulting from large truck crashes in 2021. 72% of people killed were occupants in vehicles other than the large truck.

An analysis by the National Safety Council also noted that there were 117,300 injury crashes involving at least one large commercial truck in 2021, a 12% increase from the year before.

FARS data for Utah showed a high percentage of fatal large truck accidents relative to the number of total fatal road accidents in the state: 13.3%, enough to put it as the fifth-worst state for fatal truck accidents.

Common Truck Accident Scenarios

There are a number of different types of truck accidents that can occur. Some are more consistently deadly than others, but all have the capacity to cause serious injury or death, especially when the vehicles are traveling at highway speeds.

Head-on Collisions

A head-on collision is one of the worst types of scenarios for a truck accident because trucks often weigh several times more than other passenger vehicles. This difference in mass can translate to severe impact forces for occupants of the vehicle colliding with the truck. Fortunately, these situations are rare, as they most often require a vehicle to cross a median or other traffic barrier in order to occur.

Rear-End Collisions

Trucks can take the length of several football fields to come to a stop from highway speeds. Any time there is a traffic slowdown or the truck is not prepared to stop at an intersection, they can plow into the vehicles in front of them. Because of this risk, truck drivers are expected to maintain a substantial distance between them and the vehicles in front of them. But, as anyone in traffic knows, commercial drivers’ time constraints and impatience in traffic can mean following much closer than is safe.

Carriage Underride

In many types of truck accidents, the affected vehicle will slide under the rear or sides of the trailer. This scenario is extremely dangerous, risking sheering the top of the passenger vehicle off and leading to major head and upper body injuries. Carriers are supposed to maintain safety equipment to prevent these accidents per federal law, but records of fines and inspections show that these rear guards often aren’t present or are in too poor of condition to actually prevent an underride.

While vehicles at the front of a rear-end accident often aren’t found at fault for the collision, a failure to maintain proper safety equipment can become cause for a claim arguing that the damages would have been far less had the carrier properly maintained their underride guard.

Left Turn Truck Accidents

Trucks must make wide left turns when dragging a trailer. These maneuvers can take quite a bit of time, and they risk impeding traffic in the oncoming lane. When drivers don’t have time to react to a truck making a dangerous turn in front of them — often blocking all or most lanes available to them — they have little time to react. The result is that these vehicles may collide with the truck, potentially riding underneath the sides of the trailer where federal law does not (but definitely should) require guards.

Rollover Accidents

Despite their huge size, big trucks are still subject to the forces of physics like the rest of us. When they are involved in an accident, their trailers can often sway heavily to the side, tipping across their center of gravity and risking a “rollover” along the long axis of the trailer. Overturn and rollover accidents are incredibly dangerous, especially for vehicles caught in the path of the tumbling trailer. They are, fortunately, a low percentage of overall accidents, but when they happen they can inflict serious damage.

Jackknife Accidents

A “jackknife” accident refers to a situation where the semi-truck trailer’s brakes are unable to stop at the same speeds as the cab, causing the trailer to lilt to the side in the shape of an unfolding pocket knife. Like rollovers, these accidents involve out-of-control forces that can easily top 3-4 tons. They also tend to catch up multiple vehicles, leading to complicated accident scenarios that are difficult to litigate.

Sideswipe Accidents

Trucks have difficulty maintaining visibility along their sides, so when they change lanes without due caution, they can easily bump into other traffic. These accidents can be quite serious, leading to multi-car pileups and other scenarios listed above, like rollovers.

T-Bone (Side Impact) Accidents

Truck drivers who run red lights or otherwise disregard traffic signals can speed right into the path of a vehicle crossing or turning in front of them, leading to a devastating side-impact upon the smaller vehicle. These types of accidents can also lead to small front overlap scenarios, which are particularly dangerous for SUVs, hatchbacks, and other similarly designed types of passenger vehicles.

What Should I Do When I Am Involved in a Truck Accident?

There are several steps you should always take in the wake of a crash involving a semi-truck or other type of large commercial vehicle.

  1. Remain at the scene, or move your vehicle to the nearest safe area.
  2. Call for emergency assistance, especially if anyone is hurt. Request a police respondent to come to the scene and file a report.
  3. Accept any emergency assistance that is offered. You want an on-site evaluation, and if EMTs recommend evacuation to a nearby Emergency Department, comply.
  4. Gather any evidence you can at the scene if you are able to do so, including photos of the wreckage, the overall scene, damage to your vehicle, ID numbers for the truck’s cab and trailer, and contact information for any witnesses who come to assist.
  5. Get the truck driver’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) number. They may refuse to give it directly to you, in which case you absolutely need the responding officer to provide it.
  6. Get prompt medical attention. If you weren’t evac-ed to a nearby ED, go to the doctor or an urgent care facility as soon as possible, even if you don’t feel hurt. Get all tests needed to rule out any injuries.
  7. Reach out to an attorney, ideally before you talk to insurers. You will want to file notice of a claim promptly with your PIP insurer and the liability insurer of any at-fault drivers involved in your crash. However, to protect your rights, you will ideally obtain legal representation at the earlier possible moment.
  8. Don’t accept the first offer without a professional’s input. If you filed a claim without an attorney, you still have the chance to get their opinion on the damages you are eligible to claim. Never assume the first settlement offer you receive is fair. Reach out to professional and experienced attorneys who know how much your case should be worth.

Get Help From an Experienced, Dedicated Utah Truck Accident Law Firm

Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers are prepared to fight for you when going head-to-head with big motor carriers and insurers. We strive to get all available evidence and project the full value of damages that you have suffered, negotiating tirelessly to give your case the highest possible chances of successful damages recovery.

Best of all, our services are rendered at no up-front charge to you, meaning that there is no risk involved in getting a lawyer as opposed to handling it all yourself. We only get paid if and when you do, so we are highly motivated to do whatever it takes to get you the maximum compensation available.

Find out more about your legal options and how you can claim as much as possible for your losses during a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Call (801) 810-9999 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.

Additional Questions?

We have helped many clients recover from injuries resulting from car accidents in West Valley, Salt Lake City, and the greater Utah area. We are here to help you recover after an accident. If you've been injured, don't hesitate to call Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. We have recovered millions for our clients and we are ready to fight for you.

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