Can I Sue a Trucking Company That’s Located Out of State?

July 5, 2024 | By Riddle & Brantley Accident Injury Lawyers
Can I Sue a Trucking Company That’s Located Out of State?

Commercial trucking accidents typically happen when truck drivers and trucking companies commit various negligent acts. For example, a truck driver may speed or drive recklessly or distractedly. Similarly, a trucking company may violate state or federal motor carrier regulations, including loading and unloading cargo improperly.

Sometimes, a truck accident attorney may sue a trucking company located out of state. In these situations, it’s important to establish jurisdiction by showing that the trucking company conducts business or has significant contacts in the state where the accident happened.

A skilled Goldsboro trucking accident attorney can determine your eligibility for filing a claim or lawsuit against an out-of-state trucking company and handle every step of the process. Your lawyer will work hard to safeguard your interests, advocate on your behalf, and maximize your compensation.

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Common Injuries in a Commercial Truck Collision

Commercial trucking accidents can result in various injuries due to the sheer size and weight of the vehicles involved. These accidents often lead to severe consequences for those involved, including the drivers of smaller vehicles and passengers.

Can I Sue a Trucking Company That’s Located Out of State
  • One of the most common truck accident injuries is whiplash. This occurs when the head and neck are forcefully jerked back and forth upon impact, leading to strain or injury in the neck muscles and ligaments. Whiplash can cause pain, stiffness, and limited mobility, significantly affecting the victim’s daily life.
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are also common in trucking accidents, especially in cases where there is a high-speed collision. TBIs can range from concussions to severe brain damage, depending upon the collision force.
  • Spinal injuries are another serious consequence of truck accidents. The force of a collision can damage the victim’s vertebrae, discs, or spinal cord itself, leading to paralysis or lifelong impairment. Even less severe spinal injuries can cause chronic pain and disability for the victim.
  • Broken bones frequently result from the immense force exerted in truck accidents. Fractures in the arms and legs are common due to the force of the crash or from being crushed inside a vehicle. Complex fractures may require surgery and extensive rehabilitation to regain functionality.
  • Internal injuries are often not immediately apparent but can be life-threatening. Blunt force trauma to organs such as the liver, spleen, kidneys, and lungs can occur from the force of the collision or from being pinned inside the vehicle. Internal bleeding and organ damage require swift medical intervention to prevent more serious complications.

Psychological trauma is another significant outcome of truck accidents, affecting survivors and witnesses alike. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression are not uncommon among those involved, affecting their mental health and quality of life long after their physical injuries have healed.

How do Trucking Accidents Happen, and Who Can be Responsible?

Trucking accidents often occur due to negligence by truck drivers and trucking companies, leading to devastating consequences for all involved.

  • Driver fatigue is a significant issue in trucking accidents. Long hours on the road without adequate rest breaks can lead to drowsiness and delayed reaction times. Despite regulations limiting driving hours and mandating rest periods, some drivers and companies push these limits, increasing the risk of fatigue-related accidents.
  • Another common cause of trucking accidents is distracted driving. This includes activities such as texting or talking on the phone, eating, adjusting GPS devices, or even simply daydreaming. Any distraction can divert a truck driver’s attention from the road, leading to serious collisions.
  • Speeding is a prevalent form of driver negligence in trucking accidents. Due to tight delivery schedules or personal reasons, some drivers may exceed posted speed limits, making it difficult to stop suddenly or maneuver safely. High speeds amplify the effect of collisions, resulting in more severe injuries and damage.
  • Poor vehicle maintenance also contributes to trucking accidents. Neglecting regular inspections, repairs, and maintenance of trucks can lead to brake failures, tire blowouts, or other mechanical issues on the road. These malfunctions may cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles, endangering everyone nearby.
  • Inadequate training and supervision of truck drivers are additional factors in accidents. Some trucking companies fail to properly train drivers to handle large vehicles, navigate challenging road conditions, or understand safety protocols. Without adequate training, drivers may make critical errors that lead to crashes.
  • Improper cargo loading is another form of negligence that can cause trucking accidents. Overloading or unevenly distributing cargo can affect a truck’s stability and handling, especially during turns or sudden stops. Cargo that is not properly secured can also shift during transit, leading to loss of control and accidents.
  • Violations of federal and state motor carrier regulations may contribute to trucking accidents. These regulations govern trucking operations, including driver hours, vehicle maintenance, cargo loading, and safety equipment. Ignoring or bypassing these regulations increases the likelihood of accidents and jeopardizes public safety.

Filing a Lawsuit Against an Out-of-State Trucking Company

Filing a lawsuit against a negligent out-of-state trucking company involves several critical steps and legal considerations. When pursuing legal action, certain elements of proof must be satisfied to build a strong case.

  • First, establishing jurisdiction is crucial. This determines which court has the authority to hear the case. For out-of-state trucking companies, jurisdiction can often be established where the accident occurred, where the company conducts business, or where they have significant contacts related to the case.
  • Next, proving negligence is central to the lawsuit. Negligence in trucking accidents typically involves demonstrating that the trucking company or its driver breached their legal duty of care owed to others on the road. This breach can result from violations of traffic laws, failure to properly train drivers, inadequate vehicle maintenance, or other negligent actions.
  • Evidence is essential to substantiate claims of negligence. This includes police reports, eyewitness testimony, and expert analyses of the accident scene. Documentation showing the trucking company’s safety records, driver logs, and maintenance logs can also be crucial in proving negligence.
  • Causation must be established to link the trucking company’s negligence directly to the injuries or damages that the plaintiff suffered. This requires demonstrating that the negligent actions or omissions of the trucking company were a substantial factor in causing the accident and resulting harm.
  • Damages must also be quantified to seek compensation. These can include medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and property damage. Detailed records such as medical bills, pay stubs, and repair estimates are essential in calculating and proving the extent of these damages.

When preparing for trial, discovery allows both parties to exchange information and gather evidence. Depositions of witnesses, including the truck driver and company representatives, may be conducted to obtain sworn testimony. Expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists or medical professionals, can provide insights into complex aspects of the case.

Lawsuit Against Trucking Company

During a trial, presenting a compelling case involves effectively presenting evidence, cross-examining witnesses, and arguing legal points to the judge or jury. Legal arguments may focus on liability, causation, and the extent of damages suffered.

Filing a lawsuit against an out-of-state trucking company requires navigating complex legal procedures and substantiating claims with strong evidence. By proving negligence, causation, and damages, plaintiffs can seek rightful compensation for injuries and losses from trucking accidents. Legal representation with experience in handling interstate litigation and trucking regulations is crucial in achieving favorable outcomes in these cases.

Taking a Truck Accident Case to Trial

Taking a commercial truck accident case involving a negligent trucking company to trial involves several key steps and proceedings. Here’s what typically happens during the trial process:

  • Jury Selection – The trial begins with jury selection. Attorneys from both sides question potential jurors to ensure they are impartial and can fairly decide the case based on the evidence presented.
  • Opening Statements – Each side presents an opening statement outlining their case. Plaintiffs’ attorneys may emphasize the trucking company’s negligence and its effect on the accident victim’s life. 
  • Presentation of Evidence – The plaintiff (injured party) presents their case first. This involves calling witnesses, such as eyewitnesses to the accident, medical experts, and accident reconstruction specialists. Documentary evidence, such as medical records, police reports, and trucking company records, can also support claims of liability and damages.
  • Cross-examination – After each witness testifies, the opposing party has the opportunity to cross-examine them. This challenges the witness’s credibility, elicits additional information, or undermines their testimony.
  • Defense Presentation – Once the plaintiff has presented their case, the defense presents their own witnesses and evidence. 
  • Closing Arguments – Attorneys from both sides make closing arguments summarizing the evidence presented and arguing why their client should prevail. Plaintiffs’ attorneys may emphasize the trucking company's negligence, the effects on their client’s life, and the need for fair compensation. 
  • Jury Instructions – The judge provides the jury with instructions on the law applicable to the case. These instructions will guide the jury on how to evaluate the evidence presented and reach a verdict based on legal principles.
  • Deliberation and Verdict – The jury deliberates in private to reach a verdict. They consider the evidence, testimony, and instructions that the judge provided. To reach a verdict, they must find by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) that the trucking company was negligent and that this negligence caused the plaintiff’s injuries and damages.

Effective presentation of evidence and persuasive legal arguments are crucial in achieving a favorable verdict for the injured party.

Recovering Compensation from a Negligent Trucking Company’s Insurer

In an accident case involving an out-of-state trucking company, several types of compensation, also known as damages, can be sought from the trucking company’s insurer. These compensatory damages aim to provide financial relief for the losses and injuries that the victim suffered. Here are the various types of compensation that may be recovered:

  • Medical Expenses – This includes all costs related to medical treatment for injuries resulting from the trucking accident. It covers hospital bills, surgery costs, medication expenses, rehabilitation services, and any future medical care necessary for the victim’s recovery.
  • Lost Income – If the accident caused the victim to miss work, they can seek compensation for lost income. This includes both the income lost during recovery and any future loss of earning capacity (if the injuries result in a long-term disability or reduced ability to work).
  • Pain and Suffering – Non-economic damages such as physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish resulting from the accident and injuries are also compensable. This type of compensation is subjective and aims to address the intangible effect of the trucking accident on the victim’s quality of life.
  • Loss of Consortium—This type of compensation may be available to the injured party's spouse or family members. It compensates for the loss of companionship, assistance, and intimacy that the injured person’s family experiences due to the injuries.
  • Property Damage—If personal property, such as a vehicle, was damaged in the trucking accident, compensation can be sought to repair or replace it.
  • Punitive Damages – In cases of extreme negligence or willful misconduct by the trucking company or its driver, punitive damages may be available. These damages aim to punish the defendant for their actions.
  • Wrongful Death Damages – If the accident results in the victim’s untimely death, their family members may seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. Damages may include funeral and burial expenses, loss of companionship, and loss of financial support.
Accident compensation

Recovering compensation from an out-of-state trucking company’s insurer involves proving the trucking company’s liability and the extent of the damages suffered. This typically requires gathering evidence such as medical records, employment records, witness statements, and expert testimony to support the claims for damages.

Working with experienced legal counsel can greatly improve your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome and receiving the compensation you deserve under the law.

Speak with an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Today

If you suffered injuries in a commercial trucking accident that resulted from a truck driver or out-of-state trucking company's negligence, a skilled attorney in your area can help. Your Goldsboro personal injury lawyer can file a claim or lawsuit against the negligent trucking company, represent you during settlement negotiations, or litigate your case to a successful resolution in court.

Consultations are free; schedule yours today. You can learn about your rights and who might provide compensation for your losses.