Can U-Haul be sued when a U-Haul truck causes an accident involving personal injury or wrongful death?
This question came up recently when a U-Haul truck rented by a Yale undergraduate ran over three women at the Harvard-Yale tailgate party on Saturday, November 19th. The truck allegedly swerved and accelerated before hitting the women, two of whom were injured and one of whom was killed.
The Yale Daily News asked me if U-Haul could be held liable (sued and held accountable to pay personal injury and wrongful death claims). Here is an excerpt from the article:
Eric Hageman, a Minneapolis-based personal injury attorney who handles cases involving truck accidents, said U-Haul could only be held liable for an accident like Saturday’s if it were proven that the company “did something wrong.” If, for instance, Ross [the driver of the U-Haul] was given the vehicle despite being unqualified to drive it, or if it could be shown that the vehicle was put on the road despite a known need for repair, a case could be brought against U-Haul, Hageman said. . . .
[Hageman] added that the Graves Amendment, a federal statute, substantially limits the liability car- and truck-rental companies face in the event of accidents if their vehicles are shown to have been properly maintained and loaned.
However, even if it turns out that U-Haul is not responsible for the tragedy at the Yale game, the driver of the U-Haul truck could be sued. And if the accident was caused, even in part, by a defective part on the U-Haul truck, the manufacturer of that part could also be sued.
Eric Hageman represents accident victims and their families throughout the United States. He can be reached for a free consultation at 1-888-377-8900 (toll free) or by submitting our free consultation form.
Can a child bring a claim for damages (or a lawsuit) if he or she was injured in an accident caused by the child’s parent?
Yes. Generally, when children are injured in accidents caused by their parents, the child has to, in effect, sue their own parent. Our civil justice system is designed to hold accountable those who have caused harm to another, even if the harm was caused by a parent (or a spouse or a sibling or any type of relative). Of course, in cases like these, the claim is really against the insurance company, but overcoming the hurdle of suing a parent or family member is a difficult one for many people. The goal, however, is simply to obtain necessary compensation for medical expenses, cost of care, pain and suffering and other damages caused by the accident.
Obviously, these can be extremely emotional cases, and if you are in a situation like this, I am available for a free, confidential consultation. Because I have five children myself, I understand the anguish parents feel in situations like this. I also know that, if at all possible, these feelings of guilt and anger need to be put aside for the good of the child, and the at-fault parent needs to understand that the lawsuit is not a personal assault, but a necessity to obtain the compensation necessary to take care of the child’s needs.
In situations like these, after the lawsuit is filed against the parent, the parent’s insurance company takes care of all litigation matters and negotiations for the at-fault parent. As your child’s attorney, I would negotiate with the insurance company on behalf of the child and take the case to trial if necessary.
Attorney Eric Hageman helps families get back on their feet after life-changing accidents. He can be reached at 1-888-377-8900 (toll free) or by submitting our free consultation form. Eric has been given the highest rating by Martindale-Hubbell for an attorney, AV Preeminent. An AV® certification mark is a significant rating accomplishment – a testament to the fact that a lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence.
If a semi truck accident happens at work, can an injured victim sue for more money than is recoverable under workers’ compensation?
To recover money beyond what is available under workers’ compensation in a workplace accident, the accident had to be caused, at least in part, by a third party (i.e., not the worker’s employer). These are called third-party claims. If the accident victim survives, the claim will be for bodily injuries, including pain and suffering. If the accident victim does not survive, the family can sue under state wrongful death laws.
The following are some examples of third party claims for personal injury or wrongful death resulting from an accident with a semi truck:
- The semi truck driver worked for a company that did not employ the person injured or killed in the accident. In that case, there could be third-party claims against the semi truck driver, his or her employer, the shipper of the freight being hauled by the semi trailer, and possibly others.
- The accident was caused by poor maintenance on the semi truck done by a third-party maintenance company. The maintenance company could be sued.
- The accident was caused by a defective or poorly designed truck part. In that case, the manufacturer of the defective part and the manufacturer of the semi tractor or trailer could be held responsible.
These cases almost always require an independent investigation by the attorney for the accident victim or family. Accident reconstruction experts, engineers and others generally need to be hired to determine what caused the accident and who was at fault. In addition, an analysis of the facts and special laws governing semi trucks needs to be done.
I have helped many accident victims and families obtain compensation from negligent truck drivers, trucking companies, manufacturers and others. An initial consultation is free, and if you decide to hire me, you don’t have to pay for my legal services unless you win. To contact me, call 1-888-377-8900 (toll free) or submit our free consultation form.
Attorney Eric Hageman has won millions for accident victims and is a member of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Interstate Trucking Litigation Group. He has been given the highest rating by Martindale-Hubbell for an attorney, AV Preeminent. An AV® certification mark is a significant rating accomplishment – a testament to the fact that a lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence.
If you have been in an accident with a semi truck and the truck driver was at fault, you may have a claim against the truck driver and possibly others (e.g., the trucking company, the shipper, the truck manufacturer, etc.). In nearly all cases, these parties will have insurance, although there might be insurance limits which are less than the value of your claim.
Because of the existence of insurance policy limits, it is best to explore every possible party that may bear responsibility for the accident. This takes experience and sometimes an enormous amount of digging, which is one of the best reasons to hire an attorney who is experienced in litigating semi truck accident cases.
The following is an example of a case where having multiple parties to sue would be necessary to ensure full and adequate compensation:
A semi truck rear ends a car that has stopped to turn left. The driver of the car, a 40-year-old surgeon who makes $500,000 per year, sustains a head injury that results in permanent, severe brain damage. The surgeon will never work again. The semi truck driver was texting a friend at the time of the accident and was clearly at fault, so there are no issues of causation (what caused the accident). Full and adequate compensation would include amounts for past and future medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, disability and other amounts. In this case, lost income alone could be well over $10,000,000. However, in this case, the bodily injury claim limit on the truck driver’s insurance policy is $1,000,000. The only way for the surgeon to recover adequate compensation is to find other potentially liable parties to sue.
If you have been in an accident, I would recommend that you not talk to any insurance company other than your own (and, even then, to simply report the accident). You should not discuss your injuries (or anything else) with any insurance company representative because, unfortunately, everything you say can be used against you. Instead, you should hire an attorney who will communicate with the insurance companies on your behalf.
If you would like a free consultation regarding an accident with a semi truck resulting in personal injury or wrongful death, contact me at 1-888-377-8900 (toll free) or submit our law firm’s free consultation form.
If my leg is crushed in an accident with a semi truck and needs to be amputated later, how do I get compensation for the loss of my leg?
We have handled a number of cases in which a crushing injury to an arm or leg leads to amputation. If the semi truck driver was at fault for the accident which caused such an injury, the driver, trucking company and others can all be held liable for your injuries, including all of the complications that stem from an initial injury, such as amputation. This is the case even if the amputation happens months or even years after the accident, if it can be proved that the amputation was a result of the injuries sustained in the accident.
Generally, the at-fault semi truck driver and trucking company can be sued for past and future:
- medical expenses
- lost wages and other income
- pain and suffering
- emotional distress
- other damages.
An inexperienced attorney may not know to wait to go forward with your claim until the extent of the damage done is known or can be persuasively estimated. This can leave amputation victims without enough money to get adequate medical treatment and the best prosthetics.
Please feel free to talk to me about your case, and together we can determine the best course of action to make sure you are fully compensated for your amputation.
In recognition of his achievements, Eric Hageman was selected as a “Super Lawyer” by Law & Politics magazine. According to Super Lawyers, “The objective is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource to assist attorneys and consumers in the search for legal counsel.” Contact Eric for a free consultation.
In the case of a death resulting from a semi truck accident, a wrongful death trustee acts on behalf of the family of the deceased person for purposes of filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the truck driver and trucking company. The trustee is appointed by the court based on a written petition filed by the surviving spouse or one of the next of kin. While every state is slightly different, in general, family members who may seek the appointment of a wrongful death trustee may include the following:
- surviving husband or wife
In general, when money is recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit in Minnesota, the trustee files a petition seeking distribution to the family members in pre-determined amounts and the court has to sign off on the petition, either after a hearing or after all of the beneficiaries have agreed to the distribution amounts. The trustee then ensures the money is distributed according to the court’s order.
A trustee does not act as the family’s attorney. Generally, one or more family members contacts a wrongful death attorney to represent the family, who will then assist the family in appointing the trustee.
Is a trucking company responsible for the negligence of a semi driver that results in bodily injury or wrongful death?
Generally, yes, a trucking company is legally responsible for the negligence of its drivers when such negligence results in bodily injury or wrongful death. There are several legal theories that would support liability on behalf of the trucking company, including the law of agency, which holds that he who acts through another is deemed in law to do it himself. This is true whether the truck driver was an employee or an independent contractor because in both cases the driver was acting on behalf of the trucking company.
In addition, the shipper and others may be legally responsible. This is one reason why it is important to hire an attorney who has successfully handled trucking cases.
Some of the federal regulations governing commercial truck drivers and trucking companies (49 CFR Part 392) specifically address the responsibility of a trucking company (or “motor carrier”) in regard to the acts and omissions of the driver. These regulations include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Whenever a duty is prescribed for a driver or a prohibition is imposed upon the driver in the regulations, it shall be the duty of the motor carrier to require observance of such duty or prohibition (§390.11).
- No motor carrier shall require or permit a driver to violate §392.5(a) (above) or be on duty or operate a commercial motor vehicle if, by the driver’s general appearance or conduct or by other substantiating evidence, the driver appears to have used alcohol within the preceding four hours (§392.5(b)).
- No motor carrier shall schedule a run nor permit nor require the operation of any commercial motor vehicle between points in such period of time as would necessitate the commercial motor vehicle being operated at speeds greater than those prescribed by the jurisdictions in or through which the commercial motor vehicle is being operated (§392.6).
Attorney Eric Hageman has recovered money for our clients in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against trucking companies. He can be reached for a free consultation at 1-888-377-8900 (toll free) or by submitting our free consultation form.