Commercial motor vehicles such as trucks are the giants of the road in Ontario. These large trucks can weigh more than 60,000 kilograms and still travel at great speeds (over 100 kilometres per hour). These massive vehicles travel with such momentum and force that the risk of serious injury or fatality is high when they are involved in any accidents.
Although trucks make up about four per cent of all registered vehicles in Canada, they travel twice the distance of the average passenger vehicle each year. More time spent on the road unfortunately means that trucks account for a disproportionate number of motor vehicle collisions on Ontario roads - especially highways.
Although some research suggests commercial drivers tend to be safer than the average driver, the consequences can still be severe even when truck drivers are not at fault or are not completely at fault for collisions. Recent statistics have shown that truck-related fatalities have increased. It is little wonder that studies on driver attitudes find that the mere presence of a commercial truck on the road prompts other drivers to think they are more likely to be in danger while driving.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a truck accident, you may be eligible to receive accident benefits and/or other compensation you deserve. Truck accident cases can be very challenging and complex. Consulting a knowledgeable and skilled motor vehicle accident lawyer with extensive experience in handling these claims can be in your best interest as you seek the funds you deserve for your injuries and other losses.
Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers’ truck accident team has a track record for getting our clients results and a reputation for skillful case management. Trust us to advocate for you and your loved ones when you need it the most.
Common truck accidents.
Types of truck accidents.
From big rigs to smaller commercial trucks, accidents involving these commercial vehicles can occur in a variety of ways. Among the more common types of accident are:
- Head-on collisions - often occur if a vehicle drifts across the median. Fatalities are high in these accidents, particularly for drivers and passengers of smaller vehicles.
- Rear-end collisions and under-rides - if a large vehicle does not have adequate time and space to slow down, especially at high speeds, rear-ending accidents can occur. Similarly, if vehicles behind these trucks are unable to stop in time, they may become lodged underneath the commercial trucks.
- Blown tires - a tire blowout can not only cause the driver of a vehicle to lose control and possibly collide with other vehicles or stationary objects, but other vehicles may swerve to avoid tire shreds or break suddenly and cause rear-ending or pile ups.
- Jackknifing - often occurring when a driver must brake suddenly or breaks too hard, a big rig’s trailer may continue momentum against the traction of the cab and force it to fold into a 90-degree angle.
- Rollovers - when a driver has lost control of the truck at higher speeds, the vehicle can slide and roll on the road.
- Wide turns and blind spots - if a truck driver fails to check blind spots when changing lanes or while swinging wide to turn, other motorists or pedestrians may be struck, crushed or forced off the road.
- Lost loads - trucks carrying freight must have their cargo properly secured and balanced to avoid losing items. Cargo that falls onto the road can be a serious hazard.
- T-Bone accidents - if any motorist runs a red light or fails to stop at a marked crossing, vehicles can hit each other at a perpendicular angle. This can be especially dangerous if a smaller vehicle collides into or under a long transport truck.
Why and how do these accidents happen?
Many factors can contribute to the risk of an auto accident involving a large commercial truck:
- Driver distraction - texting, fiddling with the radio or dashboard controls, listening to music or otherwise not paying attention to the road can all cause accidents or limit a driver’s ability to react quickly to a situation.
- Driver fatigue - although there are rules for professional truck drivers that limit driving time and mandate rest, other drivers on the road may be fatigued. Some truck drivers may not follow the rules if they have a delivery schedule to follow.
- Speeding - excessive speed contributes to driver error and can dramatically increase the severity of injuries when there are accidents.
- Following too closely - large vehicles need more room to maneuver and adequate space to slow down or come to a stop.
- Poor road conditions - hazards on the road, including pot holes and debris, and inclement weather causing slick, slippery or snow-covered roads can contribute to vehicles losing control, veering out of their lane or across the median.
- Intoxication - despite years of public health campaigns against drinking and driving or driving while under the influence of marijuana or other drugs, impaired drivers continue to cause a significant proportion of accidents on the roads.
Injuries from truck accidents.
In addition to fatal injuries, motor vehicle accidents involving trucks often result in serious injury and severe disability. High-speed collisions and truck crashes involving these heavy vehicles and other cars, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, e-scooters, e-bikes and pedestrians, can result in:
- Traumatic brain injuries - severely disabling brain damage can be caused from either blunt force trauma or unexpected acceleration or deceleration.
- Neck injuries - whiplash and neck pain.
- Back and spinal injuries - dislocated discs, nerve damage or paralysis.
- Broken bones and fractures.
- Lacerations - both superficial and deep cuts that damage nerves or arteries.
- Internal Injuries and organ damage.
While Ontario’s public health care system will cover some expenses related to these injuries, accessing accident benefits, other health insurance, and making a tort claim for damages can be significant factors in your recovery.
Truck accident claims.
Anyone who is injured in a motor vehicle accident in Ontario - even if they were at fault - is eligible to apply for benefits under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, also known as ("SABS"). These benefits include funding to cover medical and rehabilitation expenses, attendant care, income replacement, non-earner benefits, caregiver expenses, housekeeping expenses, and death and funeral benefits.
You must notify your motor vehicle insurer, or the insurer of another vehicle if you do not have automobile insurance, within seven days of the accident that you plan to make a claim. Complete paperwork must be filed within 30 days. Additional benefits may be available through private insurance or an employer-paid policy.
If you were not at fault for the accident or only partially at fault, you may also be able to file a tort claim for damages against a negligent person who caused or contributed to the accident that caused your injuries.
Tort claims are not only made to recoup calculable losses, such as loss of income, health care expenses, and housekeeping and home maintenance expenses; they are also designed to provide monetary compensation for things you can’t put a price on, such as your pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life.
Tort claims, which must be launched within two years of the accident, require that your injuries result in impairments or disfigurement that meet a certain threshold of severity and permanence.
How an experienced truck accident lawyer can help.
You may think accident benefits and tort claims for legitimate injuries are relatively straight forward. However, there are several reasons why truck accident cases can often be more complex and challenging.
First, many trucks are registered and insured in other Canadian provinces or American states. Jurisdictional issues can sometimes complicate an otherwise routine case.
Second, the seriousness of many injuries from truck accidents means that insurance companies may be obligated to pay significant sums for long-term disability benefits, lost income, and medical expenses. They may be more likely to challenge medical reports and provide lowball offers to settle.
The truck accident team at Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers have the knowledge, skill and track record for results to help you seek the benefits and compensation you rightfully deserve. As one of the country’s top personal injury law firms, we know how to handle even the most challenging cases. Insurance companies know we have a strong reputation for getting results for our clients. As skillful negotiators and fierce advocates at court, you can trust that you are in good hands with legal representation by Gluckstein’s truck accident lawyers.
In the aftermath of a serious injury-causing truck accident, your life might feel turned upside down. As you contemplate all the changes and challenges, remember that you are not alone. While you may first contact us for legal advice, Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers’ commitment to full-circle care means we are here to assist and support you at every stage of your journey.
When you contact us for a no cost, no obligation consultation, we will listen with empathy, explain your rights and options in clear and understandable language, and outline how we may be able to help. If you choose us to represent you, our client liaisons will be there to support you throughout the case and as you move toward a recovery that helps you live your best possible life.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, tell us about it. Our truck accident lawyers in Toronto, Ottawa, Niagara, and Barrie are here to help.
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