Minneapolis Truck Accident Lawyers
Truck accident cases are different than typical two-car collision cases, involving unique issues of law which require an experienced personal injury attorney to navigate. Handling truck accident claims is one of our firm’s primary areas of practice.
Our attorneys have extensive experience dealing with the accident reconstruction aspects of this type of litigation and the preparation necessary to bring such cases to trial. As a result of our work in this area, our firm has an excellent track record of obtaining successful results for our clients who have been injured in truck accidents.
Truck Accident Resources
- Truck Accident Damages
- How Common Are Truck Accidents in Minnesota?
- What Factors Contribute to Truck Accidents?
- What Are Common Truck Accident Injuries?
- What Is The Time Limit to File a Claim For Truck Accident Injuries in Minnesota?
- Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Truck Accident in Minnesota?
- What Damages are Available for Truck Accident Victims?
- Contact Us
Truck Accident Damages
The laws applicable to cases involving truck accidents involve state and federal regulations which sometimes allow for negligence per se claims. Such cases usually also involve common law claims based on negligence. (For a discussion of Minnesota’s no fault system and other considerations relevant to standard car accident cases, please visit our car accident page.)
In certain cases punitive damages may be justified where there has been malicious or grossly negligent conduct. Potential defendants generally include, but are certainly not limited to:
- The driver
- The motor carrier
- The safety director for the carrier
- The mechanic
- The vehicle inspector
How Common Are Truck Accidents in Minnesota?
As a result of Minneapolis’ central location in the contiguous United States, trucks are incredibly common on surface streets as well as on highways. Minneapolis is a transportation hub of the Mississippi River.
Minneapolis has expanded its trucking infrastructure in recent decades and trucks and the trucking industry around the northern port of the Mississippi River. As a result of the central location in the country, the proximity to the Mississippi River and the local industry, trucks – and truck accidents – are quite common in Minnesota.
In 2019, there were a total of 5,369 truck accidents that resulted in 1,431 injured individuals and 56 total fatalities in the calendar year. Of the 56 fatal injuries that involved trucks in 2019, 50 of these fatal accidents involved another motor vehicle. The majority of these truck accidents occurred on dry roads and, generally speaking, during periods when clear weather was reported.
What Factors Contribute to Truck Accidents?
It is important to understand that commercial trucks and the accidents associated with them often involve issues that are not common to typical motor-vehicle accidents. A few of these considerations are discussed below:
- Size: Semi trucks can be extremely unwieldy because they are so massive. This fact alone is the cause of many highway trucking accidents.
- Stopping Distance: An important difference between cars and big rigs is the length of the distance it takes to stop. With size comes momentum. Trucks with greater mass have a more difficult time stopping than a typical car. While an average car moving at 65 miles per hour is able to stop in approximately 162 feet, it takes a semi truck about 420 feet.
- Braking Systems: Tractor-trailers utilize braking systems that are completely different than regular cars. Generally, commercial trucks use an air brake system, in which pressure is used to increase the braking force, and the compressed air can multiply the force of mechanical braking several times. An experienced driver can sometimes use the air brakes to help keep a truck from sliding and jack-knifing. Truckers have to be cautious while driving downhill long distances, as their brakes can overheat and fail. Moreover, an unbalanced brake system can play an integral role in causing a collision — affecting the steering, control, and the stopping distance of the vehicle.
- Jack-Knifing: The configuration of tractor-trailer rigs creates the danger that the trailer may swing out to the side during braking error or malfunction. Such situations are very dangerous for others on the highway.
- Rollovers: Trucks roll over much more easily than typical motor vehicles because of their high center of gravity and high profile. Side impact forces which might not cause a normal vehicle to tip can sometimes cause a big rig to topple.
- Empty Trailer Dynamics: Although it may seem counterintuitive, it is important to note that empty trailers require greater stopping distances than their loaded counterparts. The brakes, tires, springs, and shock absorbers on heavy trucks are designed to operate most efficiently when the trailer is fully loaded. As a result, when the trailer is empty stopping distances can increase.
- Issues Unique to Tanker Trailers: Tanker trailers can greatly affect a truck’s maneuverability. For example, a tanker may experience significant sideways forces caused by the sloshing of the liquids it carries. Although a tank with internal dividers may reduce the sloshing effect, certain tankers, such as milk carriers, cannot have such dividers due to health regulations, and the danger of rollover increases with such tanker trailers.
What Are Common Truck Accident Injuries?
After a truck accident occurs, an individual’s adrenaline kicks in and one may experience a large increase in adrenaline, that can temporarily minimize the amount of pain a victim may show. In certain situations, injuries can be delayed in victims involved in accidents.
Injuries resulting from truck accidents and auto accidents can vary drastically from minor to life-altering. In the most extreme scenarios, individuals involved in a truck accident may suffer fatal injuries.
Below are some common injuries associated with truck accidents:
- Lacerations & Bruises – Some common injuries involved in truck accidents are lacerations and bruising. While bruises tend to generally heal on their own, lacerations may result in painful, long-lasting scars.
- Back and Neck Injuries – Back and neck injuries in auto accidents are quite common. While some back and neck injuries subside over time, others are more serious and can cause long-lasting injuries. From injuries like dislocated discs and whiplash to broken backs and, in extreme cases, broken necks.
- Internal Injuries – When blunt trauma from a truck accident occurs, it can cause internal bleeding and injuries to an injured victim. Internal injuries result in bleeding internal organs. Internal injuries can be difficult to treat and require immediate medical attention.
- Broken Bones – Broken bones or fractures can occur during a truck accident. Compound fractures – when the bone penetrates through the skin – can be especially dangerous and cause infection. All broken bones should be diagnosed by a medical doctor and medical treatment should be sought as soon as possible after an accident occurs.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries – Brain injuries can vary substantially in severity. Mild brain injuries may involve symptoms of headaches, dizziness and nausea. Severe brain injuries can result in loss of consciousness, loss of coordination, unusual behavior and a coma. In severe instances a vegetative state or brain death may occur.
- Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis – Spinal cord injuries can result in severe life-long disabilities. In some scenarios, the injury can result in paralysis.
- Death – In the most extreme scenarios, fatal injuries can occur. If a loved one has lost their life to a truck accident, ensure to contact an experienced wrongful death attorney in Minneapolis.
If you or a loved one were involved in a truck accident, it is imperative to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Medical professionals can tend to the injuries suffered and provide a medical report. This medical report will be a main source for a potential injury claim. Always ensure to see a doctor after an accident occurs. In certain instances the symptoms of an injury can be delayed.
What Is The Time Limit to File a Claim For Truck Accident Injuries in Minnesota?
Minnesota has varying time limits (legally known as statutes of limitations) for the initiation of a claim. Which specific time limit applies depends upon the circumstances of the case. Most often, the time limit for bringing a negligence claim arising out of a truck accident is 6 years from the date of injury. Importantly though the applicable time limit can be much shorter depending on the circumstances of the truck accident. For all civil personal injury cases, the plaintiff’s side must begin suit before the statute of limitations period expires.
After a truck accident injury, it is advisable to contact an experienced attorney early in the process. The longer an individual waits to file a claim, the less details that person may remember. Contact an attorney to ensure no deadlines are missed and the facts are recorded.
What Happens If I Miss the Statute of Limitations in a Truck Accident Case?
If a civil suit is filed after the Statute of Limitations deadline, the defendant’s legal counsel will likely file a motion to dismiss the case. In the event that the motion is filed, and the court grants the dismissal, the plaintiff’s side has all but lost the right for legal action for the damage that occurred to person or property.
There are certain situations when an extension to the statute of limitations can be granted. In 2020 , due to the COVID-19 pandemic H.F. No. 4556 Sec. 16 declared that “any statutes of limitations or other time periods prescribed by statute, is suspended during the peacetime emergency declared on March 13, 2020, in governor’s Executive Order 20-01”.
Although an extension may exist for the devastating impacts of COVID-19, the best way to avoid any potential issues regarding time limits, is to file these claims and appropriate documents as early from the date of the accident as possible. An experienced attorney can help injured victims file all of the necessary paperwork to avoid any potential Statute of Limitations issues.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Truck Accident in Minnesota?
After a truck accident occurs, an individual involved in the accident may wonder who can be held responsible for the injuries and property damage suffered. In truck accident cases in Minnesota, there are several parties that can be held responsible for the damages suffered.
The truck company, truck owner, truck driver, trailer leasing companies, truck manufacturer and potential other parties, can be named as a defendant(s) during a civil trial.
If the truck driver was operating in the big rig in an unsafe manner, under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol or engaging in distracted driving or negligent behavior – the drivers can be named as defendants in the case. Truck drivers have strict federal trucking guidelines to follow. In the event that these guidelines are not followed, drivers can be liable for the damages suffered by a plaintiff.
What Damages are Available for Truck Accident Victims?
In Minnesota, there are several types of damages available for truck accident victims. A truck accident victim that suffered injury may recover compensation for:
- Past & future medical expense
- Lost wages
- Lost future wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Loss of consortium
An experienced attorney that understands truck accidents can help outline the damages victims can expect to recover.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, call the attorneys at Hall Law or reach out to us via our online contact form. We have more than 35 years of experience in truck accident litigation and representing people who have been injured in accidents involving motor vehicles of all kinds.
Truck Accident Reference Materials
Preserve Your Rights
Where you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, it is important to act swiftly in order to preserve evidence and to ensure other key aspects of your case are not neglected. If you or one of your loved ones has a potential truck accident claim, please call today for a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.