Bridgeport Truck Accidents Attorneys
Most Connecticut communities depend exclusively on trucks to move their goods. Trucks transport almost all manufactured tonnage in the state, amounting to over 62,000 tons per day.
That means there are a lot of trucks on the road. Most of the time, they transport their goods safely, but sometimes, accidents happen. No matter whose fault it is, a truck accident can be catastrophic for all involved, but particularly for passenger vehicles. The standard fully loaded 18-wheeler weighs 20-30 times what a standard passenger car weighs, and a collision can cause life-changing injuries.
If you or a loved one was hurt in an accident involving a semi-truck in Bridgeport, Connecticut, consider getting a truck accident lawyer on your side. The insurance companies involved care more about their bottom lines than they do your welfare. A skilled Bridgeport truck lawyer can help you through the arduous process of recovering from the accident while making sure that you receive all the compensation you deserve.
The Bridgeport truck accident attorneys at Chaffin Luhana represent individuals who are injured in truck accidents. Call us today to schedule a complimentary consultation at 1-888-480-1123.
Truck Accidents By the Numbers in Connecticut
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) states that in 2021—the last year for which they have complete data—4,714 people died in large truck crashes, which was an increase compared to 2020. Sixteen percent of these deaths were truck occupants, while 68 percent were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles. Another 15 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.
TruckInfo.net, a leading online portal for the trucking industry, states that there were 168,320 truck accidents in 2022. A total of 4,766 of these were fatal for one or more people involved. That year, Texas had the most truck accidents, followed by California, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Illinois.
Over 76,000 people were injured in a truck accident in 2022, with roughly 71 percent being occupants in other vehicles, 27 percent occupants in large trucks, and 2 percent pedestrians and bicyclists.
In Connecticut alone, there were 1,513 truck accidents in 2022, with 27 fatalities and 416 serious injuries.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that truck braking capability can be a factor in truck crashes: “Loaded tractor-trailers require 20-40 percent more distance than cars to stop, and the discrepancy is greater on wet and slippery roads or with poorly maintained brakes.”
Truck driver fatigue is another known crash risk. Truckers often work long and hard hours, and though they are required to take breaks at certain times, surveys indicate many drivers violate the regulations and work longer than permitted, often because they feel pressured to complete their routes.
Types of Truck Accidents
At Chaffin Luhana, we have experience dealing with a wide variety of accidents involving a large truck. These include:
Rear-end crashes: These may be caused by tailgating, driver fatigue, distraction, intoxication, or speeding.
Head-on collisions: A passenger car may be driving the wrong way on a highway and crash into a large truck, or a large truck may drift over the center line into oncoming traffic.
Underride accidents: These are unique to large trucks, as they occur when a passenger vehicle gets caught underneath the trailer or rear overhang of a tractor-trailer.
Runaway accidents: The brakes on the large truck fail, leaving the truck with no means to stop.
Cargo accidents: These may occur if the cargo is overloaded or imbalanced, or if the truck spills the cargo onto the roadway.
Sideswipe accidents: These can occur when the large truck unsafely changes lanes or merges.
Common Injuries from Trucking Accidents in Bridgeport
Unfortunately, if you’re involved in an accident with a large truck, you’re more at risk for severe injuries that can significantly affect your life. The Bridgeport, CT truck accident lawyers at Chaffin Luhana LLP have handled many cases where clients suffered significant losses in truck accidents.
Examples of truck accident injuries include:
- Amputation injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Crushing injuries
- Facial fractures
- Severe lacerations
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Wrongful death
If you have been in a truck accident and have suffered any of the injuries listed or any other type of injury, we are here to help you.
Potential Defendants in a Truck Accident Case
In most auto accidents, it’s other drivers who are at fault for causing the accident. But in accidents involving a large truck, there can be multiple negligent parties. These may include:
- The driver of the truck
- The driver’s employer—the company he or she was driving for
- The loading company—sometimes overloaded cargo causes an accident
- The manufacturer of the truck
- Third-party contractors, such as the construction company that was working on the road or a passenger car driver who veered into the trucker’s lane
Steps to Follow After a Bridgeport Trucking Accident
An accident can leave you stressed, frightened, and disoriented. If you are seriously injured, you may not have the presence of mind to do anything but accept assistance. If you can, however, it helps to take the following steps to protect yourself and your future interests. A friend or loved one may be able to help if they are present.
1. Call the Police
No matter where the accident took place, it’s always best to call law enforcement. A police officer will observe the scene and make a report of the accident, which could end up being useful to you later on when you need evidence to support your case.
2. Take Photos
Evidence gathered at the scene of the accident can prove critical in proving your case to an insurance company. If you can, take photos of every vehicle involved in the crash, any physical injuries, tire/skid marks, and road signs. If you can’t do it yourself, ask a friend or family member if possible.
3. Write Down What Happened
While the accident is still fresh in your mind, take a moment to write everything you can remember. This should include what happened before, during, and after the crash. Memories can easily fade, so be sure to either write your notes down with a pen and paper, type or speak them into your cell phone, or send yourself an email.
4. See a Doctor Soon
If you’re seriously injured, call for medical attention right away. Even if you think you’re fine, seeing a doctor and having a written medical record from the accident can help you with future injury claims.
It’s very common to go days after an accident involving a large truck without noticing an injury. Back and neck injuries, soft tissue injuries (strains and sprains), and even head injuries and trauma can take time to show up.
5. Call a Bridgeport Truck Accident Attorney as Soon as Possible
Most times, truck accidents are more complex than car accidents. They involve not only the drivers of the vehicles, but the company the truck driver was working for, and possibly the company that loaded the freight that the driver was carrying. There may be other parties involved too, such as the manufacturer of the large truck, or the construction company that was working on the road where the accident took place.
An experienced Bridgeport truck accident attorney can help you with the process of filing your claim and getting the compensation you deserve. An attorney understands that evidence—such as maintenance records and driver logs—is not available indefinitely.
The faster you obtain the services of an attorney, the better off you will be in preserving evidence for your case.
6. Don’t Sign Any Paperwork from The Insurance Company
Always remember that when it comes to negotiating compensation, the insurance company is more concerned with their bottom line than they are with your welfare. Their representatives typically want to settle your claim quickly and for as little as possible, to generate larger profits for their companies.
That means they may approach you early in the negotiations to sign paperwork or make a recorded statement that is not in your best interests. Decline to comply with these requests until after you speak to your truck accident attorney.
Our Bridgeport trucking accident attorneys are experienced in the complexities of car crashes involving semi-trucks. We understand what it takes to build a case to ensure that you receive all the compensation you are entitled to under the law. We are diligent in gathering all the evidence needed to prove that you deserve to have your medical bills, wage/job loss, and pain and suffering reimbursed for as long as necessary.
We offer a free case review for injury victims. See how our legal team can help you receive the compensation that you deserve.
Why You Need a Bridgeport, CT Truck Accident Lawyer
When you hire a Bridgeport truck accident lawyer to represent you, that person will step in to help negotiate with the negligent party’s insurance company or their legal representation. You gain that person’s education, experience, and expertise in dealing with these insurance companies in cases similar to yours.
Victims of truck accidents and their families frequently suffer devastating impacts to their lives, including skyrocketing medical bills, lost wages, declines in quality of life, and sometimes, death. Insurance companies have teams of lawyers on their side. They may take advantage of your struggle to push you to sign a settlement agreement that is lower than what you deserve.
If you have an experienced Bridgeport truck accident lawyer on your side, the insurance company will have to “play fair,” so to speak, as your lawyer will do everything possible to fight for your rights and obtain every bit of compensation that you deserve.
Tips for Choosing a Truck Accident Attorney in Bridgeport
When it’s time to choose a truck accident attorney to represent you, it can be overwhelming. There are a lot of attorneys out there. Where do you start?
We have four tips that may help:
1. Look for Local Experience
Going with a local Bridgeport truck accident attorney is important, as this person will know the area and will have a thorough understanding of state and local laws that may affect your case. Look for someone with a lot of experience handling truck accident injury cases like yours, and who can easily navigate the complex legal landscape.
Make sure the attorney you choose has trial experience. Some attorneys focus exclusively on negotiating settlements and will not be prepared to go to court should it become necessary to do so. You want someone who has the resources to fight for your rights, no matter how far you need to go.
2. Check Their Reputation and Track Record
Check online reviews on the attorneys you’re considering. What do their clients have to say? Though every attorney will probably have a negative review or two, you want someone who, overall, has an excellent reputation among their clients and peers. Legal awards can also provide some insight into the attorney’s character.
3. Ask About Resources
To adequately investigate your case and represent you in negotiations, your attorney will need to have certain resources at hand. These include connections to accident reconstruction specialists, medical experts, and professional investigators. Ask questions about what resources your attorney has to build a strong case on your behalf.
4. Observe Communication
Effective communication is essential throughout the legal process. You need a law firm that responds to your needs, and individual attorneys who listen to your concerns and keep you updated on the progress of your case. You should also feel comfortable talking to your attorney and feel like the person is genuinely interested in your well-being.
Call to discuss your case with our truck accident attorneys. Most truck accident attorneys will provide a free initial consultation, during which you can ask questions and observe how the attorney and their staff interact with you.
The Chaffin Luhana team has the resources, experience with complex cases, and passion to carefully investigate and zealously litigate and try your trucking accident case.
What Our Clients Have to Say About Chaffin Luhana
Below is a small sampling of the testimonials we have received from our clients:
Auto Personal Injury Recovery
“It’s a shame that the insurance companies put you through this…I’m glad there are people like you out there because the insurance companies would walk all over victims otherwise.”
– Mark S., Personal Injury Client
Automobile Accident Victim
“[The firm has] done right [by] me. You did everything right. Informing me and keeping me up to date. You did a fine job. I appreciate you very much.”
– Roger J., Personal Injury Client
Automobile Accident Victim
“I didn’t know what to expect since I never needed an attorney before. You took care of everything and were there for me.”
– Vicki B., Personal Injury Client
Find more testimonials here.
Dedication to Community
Law partners Eric Chaffin and Roopal Luhana, along with their families, established The Chaffin Luhana Foundation in 2010.
A not-for-profit organization, the Foundation encourages the development of human potential and supports community empowerment through the following activities:
- Scholarships: The Chaffin Luhana Foundation awards an annual scholarship to a student who helps us in the fight against distracted driving by submitting an inspiring personal essay.
- Financial gifts: The Foundation awards periodic financial gifts to institutions of higher learning to support scientific research and funds educational scholarships for students.
- Stephanie Victor Legacy Award: The Chaffin Luhana Foundation awards an annual financial gift to one deserving individual who overcame significant challenges and achieved significant milestones in his or her life or career.
- Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation: Chaffin Luhana has partnered with this organization to benefit those living with spinal cord injuries and paralysis.
- Najee Harris Partnership: We have partnered with Pittsburgh Running Back, Najee Harris, and his Da’ Bigger Picture Foundation to support those in need in the Greater Pittsburgh area.
The founding partners of Chaffin Luhana have extensive experience in fighting for plaintiffs’ rights:
- Founder Eric Chaffin: Chaffin has handled a wide array of cases against various types of manufacturers, with dozens of multimillion-dollar recoveries.
- Founder Roopal Luhana: Luhana manages the firm’s mass torts division. Throughout her career, she has served on committees in MDLs involving over-the-counter consumer products and defective pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
- Partner Patrick Booth: Booth enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help his clients obtain the best results possible in their personal injury cases.
Chaffin Luhana lawyers have also been named to the prestigious “Super Lawyers” list several years in a row.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Compensation Can I Get After a Truck Accident in Bridgeport, CT?
Under Connecticut law, victims of a truck accident are eligible for compensation against the negligent party or parties. Compensation may cover economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include the following. They are all easily tied to a monetary total.
- Medical costs
- Lost income
- Cost of vehicle repair
- Property damage
- Legal costs
- Funeral and burial costs (in the case of wrongful death)
- Out-of-pocket expenses
Non-economic damages include those that are harder to quantify in terms of dollar amounts.
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium, etc.
Sometimes, you may also be eligible for punitive damages. These are assessed specifically to punish the negligent parties for their behavior, and to prevent them or any other entities from repeating that behavior. Insurance companies do not pay punitive damages. You must take your case to court to file for them.
Do I Have a Case for My Trucking Accident?
If you were severely injured after a truck accident, it may be pretty clear to you that you have a case. But sometimes, it’s not so clear-cut.
The easiest way to determine whether you should pursue a truck accident lawsuit is to talk to an attorney. Most will offer a free initial consultation.
It’s also important that you have the evidence you need to prove negligence on the part of the other party or parties involved. The evidence may include the truck company’s safety record, the driver’s safety record, the company’s maintenance record on their vehicles, the driver’s history and logs, the police report, video evidence, and more.
Another way to know if you have a valid case is to consider your injuries. If they are serious or even severe, and you are facing extensive medical treatment and/or ongoing therapies, you most likely have a case that will be worthwhile to pursue.
Finally, you can consider how the insurance company is treating you. If they are being difficult to deal with, creating delays, or refusing to compensate you for your damages, it’s always best to consult with an attorney about a possible legal case.
Why Use Chaffin Luhana for My Trucking Accident Case?
At Chaffin Luhana, we have extensive experience handling truck accident cases. We focus on important and sometimes overlooked questions such as:
- Was the black box recovered from the truck?
- Were the vehicles involved in the accident preserved?
- When was the semi-truck last serviced?
- How many hours did the driver work that day or over the course of several days?
The comprehensive approach of our attorneys at Chaffin Luhana embodies the following principles:
1. Sound Advice
Chaffin Luhana Bridgeport truck accident lawyers take the time to understand all the issues that surround your case. We take in all the facts, review your medical situation, evaluate the relevant claims available to you, marshal all the evidence needed to successfully litigate a case, and prepare the best presentation possible before the court.
Only after understanding your case and your background can we formulate the legal advice you need to make informed strategic decisions. This individualized approach is something that we believe distinguishes us from the competition.
Unlike a lot of truck accident lawyers who see the world through the prism of legal claims and damages, we understand our clients have complicated lives that have been made far more complicated because of unexpected and often serious injuries.
Before we give technical legal opinions, we listen to you first, and ensure that your concerns are heard and addressed.
3. Our Legal Team
While strive to understand every client’s situation, that does not take away from the fact that the Chaffin Luhana team includes Bridgeport truck accident lawyers with a proven track record of expertise in handling truck accident cases. That legal prowess, ultimately, leads to great results for our clients.
4. The Benefit of Experience
Our legal team has a wealth of experience with truck accident cases and complex litigation to draw from when approaching your case. Nothing serves a client better than having an attorney who has already learned the ropes from representing trucking accident victims.
This four-part commitment to excellence is the quality legal service that gives Chaffin Luhana an edge as a go-to trucking accident plaintiffs firm in the Bridgeport region. When you come to Chaffin Luhana, you can expect personalized, experienced, and quality legal representation.
What Fees or Costs Will I Need to Pay?
Chaffin Luhana operates on a contingency fee basis. That means you only pay us if we’re able to recover payment for you. In the unfortunate event that our Bridgeport truck accident lawyers cannot recover damages for you, you will owe us nothing.
During our initial consultation, our firm will help you understand our attorney fees and how they affect your potential recovery.
What Should I Do If the Trucking Company Contacts Me Before Retaining an Attorney?
The most important thing to remember is that the insurance company is not looking out for your best interests. It’s always best to ask for time to consider anything they propose. Never agree to anything right away. Instead, talk to your Bridgeport truck accident attorney first, or better yet, simply allow your attorney to deal with the insurance company for you.
Should I Accept the Initial Settlement Offered by the Trucking Company?
The trucking company has an incentive to end the case quickly and cheaply. They will probably make an offer that will not make you whole, particularly when a full investigation has not been completed.
The only way to be sure that a settlement offer is worthy of consideration is to consult a trucking accident attorney with complex litigation experience.
What Is the Average Semi-Truck Accident Settlement Amount?
Every truck accident case is unique, so it’s nearly impossible to come up with an “average” settlement amount. The value will depend on many factors, including:
- The severity of damages—how badly you were injured
- Your ability to go back to work (if applicable)
- Your pain and suffering
- The extent of the property damage
- Who was at fault
Because the law requires trucking companies to carry more insurance than those who drive smaller, private vehicles, truck accident claims are typically worth more than regular car or motorcycle accident claims.
How is Fault Determined in a Truck Accident?
Connecticut is an at-fault state, which means that someone is almost always considered responsible for the crash. Fault will be established under a comparative negligence standard.
In a crash with two parties involved, the total fault adds up to 100 percent. Whoever is determined to have been over 50 percent of the fault will be responsible for the crash. That means the at-fault driver cannot recover any damages.
But what if you were partly at fault? In Connecticut, parties are penalized in proportion to their amount of assigned fault. So if you are found to be 25 percent at fault, your compensation will be docked by 25 percent. You will receive 75 percent of the settlement amount.
The insurance company will use the following evidence to determine fault:
- Police reports: These establish the basic facts in the accident, and may also shed light on whether anyone was acting negligently.
- Visual evidence: Photos and videos from the scene can also help establish fault. Video evidence can show the accident taking place, while photos can show vehicle damage, skid marks, and damage to other nearby objects.
- Witness statements: Eyewitness accounts can provide additional details about the accident.
- Truck logs: Truck logs show whether the truck driver was following regulations in terms of time on the road, or may have been driving for longer than allowed.
- Maintenance records: Trucking companies are required to regularly maintain their vehicles. They should have reports that show whether or not they kept up with their responsibilities.
- Hiring practices: Examining the company’s hiring practices may also shed light on whether the trucking company conducted the appropriate background checks on a driver before hiring them.
How Do I Prevent Fault Redistribution?
You can take steps to limit the percentage of fault that the insurance company ultimately assigns you. Some good precautions to take include:
Avoid recorded statements. If the insurance company alerts you that a call is being recorded, be very cautious about what you say. Ultimately, it’s best to have an attorney present.
Don’t post on social media. You may want to inform your friends and family of the accident and how you’re doing, but don’t do it on social media. Anything you post there can be used against you in a case.
Follow your doctor’s instructions. Keep all your doctor’s appointments, take your medications, and observe your doctor’s recommendations for working or exerting yourself. If you’re found doing something too strenuous too soon, the insurance company could use that to prove that you’re not as injured as you say you are.
How Are Truck Accident Investigations Conducted?
After a truck accident, various parties, including the insurance company and your truck accident attorney, will investigate the accident to determine what happened and who was at fault.
Investigators must work quickly following a crash to preserve crucial evidence. Steps in a trucking accident investigation include:
- Collect evidence: Take photos of the crash site, damage, and debris, and seek video evidence from traffic cameras or nearby business cameras.
- Examine records: Analyze the driver’s logbooks, driving record, and personnel file looking for potential safety violations. Examine the company’s records in terms of their drivers’ safety, delivery schedules, maintenance schedules, hiring practices, and more.
- Gather witness information: Identify and interview any potential witnesses. These may include other drivers involved, first responders, bystanders, and more.
- Analyze the truck’s data recorder: Most commercial big trucks have a “black box” or data recorder onboard. This is tied to the truck’s computer system and may capture information like the truck’s speed, travel time, tire pressure, engine oil, whether the brakes were used, whether the steering wheel was turned, and more.
- Consult with experts: It can help to ask experts in traffic accidents to analyze the data and give their opinions. Crash reconstruction experts, medical providers, life care providers, and forensic toxicologists can all provide helpful evidence.
- Check out the truck: The truck itself may contain important evidence that will help in your case. Maybe there is defective equipment on it, or it’s in poor mechanical condition.
How Long Does a Truck Accident Lawsuit Take?
How long it takes to resolve your truck accident claim depends on many factors. Sometimes the commercial company’s insurance company will offer a settlement in a short amount of time, but it’s often best to refuse this first offer. It’s likely to be lower than the amount you deserve, as the insurance company wants to save money.
In general, these claims take longer than regular car accident claims because there are more parties involved. Besides you and the other driver, there is the company the driver was working for, and potentially other drivers in other vehicles if more than one vehicle was hit (which often occurs).
Other factors may also delay the resolution of your case. These include:
The FMCSA: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires a thorough investigation of most major truck accidents, which takes time.
The Investigation: Investigators must determine several things, including whether the truck driver followed all the rules and regulations, who was at fault if the trucking company properly maintained the vehicle and followed all regulations, and whether any other parties may share in liability.
The Severity of the Accident: Trucking accidents are typically much more destructive than passenger car accidents. There may be more severe injuries and even death, as well as more vehicle damage. These additional factors can delay a claim.
Medical Treatment: Medical treatment for more severe injuries takes longer to complete. Usually, it’s best to wait until you recover so you gain compensation for all of your medical expenses.
Settlement Negotiation: With all these factors in play, it can take several rounds of negotiation between all the parties involved to come up with an agreeable settlement.
Giving your claim the time it needs is likely to help you reach a settlement that truly reflects the value of the damages you incurred.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Truck Accident Lawsuit in Connecticut?
You have two years from the date of the collision to file a lawsuit arising from a truck accident in Connecticut. This is the statute of limitations as set by state law. If you try to file after that time has passed, your case will be dismissed.
There are some potential exceptions to this rule.
You were injured by a drunk driver. If you want to sue the entity that provided or sold the alcohol to the driver, you have one year from the date of service to do so.
You are suing for wrongful death. If a loved one died in a truck accident, you have two years from the date of that individual’s death to file a lawsuit.
A defective product was involved. If a defective product was involved, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. An explosive airbag may have caused the accident, for instance, or perhaps the brakes on the truck were defectively manufactured.
You have claims against the government. Sometimes, the negligent action or inaction from a government employee, official, or entity, may have had a part to play in the accident. In that case, you must file a claim much sooner—typically within three months. Check with your attorney for more information.
The defendant leaves the state. If the defendant tries to avoid liability by leaving the state, the time they are away will be excluded from your two-year allotment.
You don’t discover your injuries until later. You may feel fine after the accident, but then realize a few months later that you sustained a serious injury such as a back or neck injury. In that case, your attorney can argue that your statute of limitations started when you discovered the injury.
If the accident involved a minor who was injured, the minor has until his or her 18th birthday to file a lawsuit for damages.
These periods can give you the feeling that you have lots of time to file a lawsuit. Keep in mind, however, that witnesses’ memories fade as time goes by. It’s always best to file as soon as you can to increase your odds of obtaining all the evidence you need to present a strong case. It is important to consult with an attorney right now to determine the statute of limitations period applicable to your case. You should never rely on exceptions to the statute of limitations. Every day could be the last day you are able to file a lawsuit to preserve your claims.