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Rhode Island Trucking Accident Lawyer

When a trucker is behind the wheel of a massive tractor-trailer, they must stay alert and drive within the speed limit. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Thousands of semi-truck accidents occur every year due to driver inattention, fatigue, and speeding.

If you were injured in a collision with a large truck, you may be dealing with mounting medical bills, emotional trauma, and financial hardship. In this situation, a Rhode Island personal injury lawyer could help you seek financial compensation.

If you’ve suffered harm due to someone else’s negligence, contact Gemma Law today. Our Rhode Island truck accident lawyers have been helping injured victims for more than 45 years and are ready to begin working on your case.

Truck Accident Cases Are Complex

large red truck going down the highway in rhode island

Several factors make collisions with commercial trucks more complicated than other motor vehicle accidents, so it’s important to choose an attorney with a track record of successful case results.

Truck collisions are unique in several ways:

  • Size and weight: Trucks are much larger and heavier than cars, which means they can cause more damage in a collision.
  • Speed and braking: Trucks take longer to stop and have a harder time maneuvering than cars, which can make collisions more severe.
  • Cargo: Trucks carry cargo, which can shift or fall out of the truck during an accident, causing additional hazards.
  • Federal regulations: The federal government imposes strict regulations on the trucking industry, setting standards for things like driver qualifications, regular maintenance, and cargo loading. These regulations can apply in the event of a crash and can make the investigation process more complex.
  • The investigation process: Truck collisions often involve multiple parties and can be complicated to investigate. The process may involve analyzing the truck’s electronic control module (ECM) and the cargo, as well as inspecting the load distribution on the trailer.
  • Insurance: Commercial trucks typically carry more insurance than people’s personal vehicles, which can be beneficial if you are injured in a crash. However, commercial trucking companies and their insurers often have more resources to defend themselves and can be more aggressive in denying liability.
  • The severity of injuries: Due to the size and weight of a truck, accidents involving them can cause catastrophic injuries, resulting in long-term disabilities and even death.

Due to these differences, it is important to consult with an attorney experienced in handling trucking accident cases to help you navigate the legal process.

The Truck Driver May Not Be the Only Liable Party

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the truck driver and trucking company can both be held responsible in a commercial vehicle accident case. A third party could also be to blame.

You might be able to sue the following parties if a commercial vehicle or its cargo hits you:

  • The truck driver: The commercial driver is responsible for operating the truck safely and in compliance with federal and state regulations. If the driver was negligent or reckless, they can be held liable for any damages resulting from the accident.
  • The trucking company: The trucking company is responsible for its overall operation and the safety of its drivers and vehicles. If the company fails to properly maintain the truck, properly train the driver, or properly supervise the driver, it can be held liable for any resulting damages.
  • A manufacturer: If a defective part caused the accident, the truck’s manufacturer or that specific part can be held liable. 
  • The manufacturer of the cargo or cargo-securing equipment: If a defect in the cargo or cargo-securing equipment caused the accident, you may be able to sue a manufacturer for damages.
  • The company that loaded the cargo: If improper cargo loading caused the accident, you may be able to sue the company that loaded the cargo for damages.

It is important to consult with an attorney experienced in handling truck accident cases. They can advise you on your legal options and help you navigate the claims process. They can also help identify the liable parties and determine the amount of their insurance coverage.


A member of our legal team can answer all of your questions during your initial consultation. In the meantime, here are some of our most frequently asked questions and their answers:

What Can a Rhode Island Truck Accident Lawyer do for Me?

A Rhode Island truck accident lawyer can help you navigate the legal process following a collision with a commercial vehicle. They can gather and present evidence, negotiate with insurers and represent you in court if necessary.

They can also help you understand the laws and regulations specific to commercial vehicle accidents in Rhode Island and how they may impact your case.

Additionally, a truck accident lawyer will help you understand the compensation you are entitled to based on the expenses you incurred and the pain and suffering you endured.

How Much does It Cost to Hire an Attorney?

Our firm handles cases on a contingency fee basis. That means we only get paid when you receive your settlement or court award. We will explain this in more detail during your initial consultation.

What Should I Do After a Collision with a Truck?

In the moments, days, and weeks after a truck accident, it is important to take certain steps to protect your safety and legal rights. Here’s what to do:

  • Check for injuries. If you or anyone else is injured, call for medical assistance immediately.
  • Call the police. Notify the police of the accident and request that they come to the scene to make a report.
  • Gather information: Collect information from the truck driver, such as their name, contact information, and insurance information. Take pictures of the accident scene and the damage to the vehicles involved.
  • Get witness information: Get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident.
  • Get medical attention. Seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you think your injuries are minor.
  • Do not admit fault: Do not admit fault or apologize for the accident, as this could be used against you later.
  • Contact a lawyer: Consider hiring a Rhode Island truck accident lawyer who can advise you on your rights and options and help you navigate the legal process.
  • Keep records: Keep a detailed record of all medical treatments, lost wages, and other expenses that you incur as a result of the incident. 

It’s important to remember that time is of the essence after a truck accident. There are time limits to filing a claim, and key evidence might be lost with time. So, it’s best to take the above steps as soon as possible.

How Long do I Have to File a Claim After a Truck Accident?

In Rhode Island, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim arising from a truck accident is usually three years from the incident date. Barring unique circumstances, you have just three years to file a lawsuit for damages related to your injuries. 

However, it’s always better to take action as soon as possible. As we mentioned, waiting too long can negatively affect the evidence available to support your claim.

It’s also important to note that there can be shorter time limits for different types of claims or different parties, so it’s always better to consult with a Rhode Island truck accident lawyer, who can advise you on the specific deadline that applies to your case.

How Much Is My Truck Accident Case Worth?

The value of a truck accident case can vary widely, depending on the circumstances of the collision and the injuries sustained.

Factors that affect the value of a case include the extent of the injuries, the amount of medical expenses and lost wages, and the degree of fault of the parties involved.

In general, the more severe the injuries, the more the case is worth. For example, a case involving permanent disabilities or significant medical expenses will typically be worth more than a case involving only minor injuries.

Potential Damages

While every case is unique, common types of damages awarded in truck accident claims include:

  • Medical expenses: These cover both immediate and future anticipated healthcare costs, including hospital stays, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation therapy, and any necessary medical equipment.
  • Lost wages: If the accident impacts your ability to work, whether short-term or long-term, you may receive compensation for lost wages and reduced future earning capacity.
  • Pain and suffering: This category includes both physical discomfort and emotional distress. Determining these damages can be complex, as they are inherently subjective. Attorneys have ways of attaching dollar amounts to these intangible losses.
  • Property damage: This is to compensate for the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle and any personal items damaged in the accident.
  • Loss of consortium: In severe cases where the injury has impacted your relationship with your spouse, compensation may be awarded for loss of companionship and intimacy.
  • Punitive damages: While not as common, these damages are sometimes awarded in cases where the defendant’s conduct was especially negligent or reckless. They are intended to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior in the future.

There is no set amount for the average truck accident settlement, as each case is unique. Some cases may be settled for a few thousand dollars, while others may result in multimillion-dollar court awards.

Consult with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer from Gemma Law Firm to fully understand the value of your case.

What Injuries Are Common in Truck Accidents?

Truck accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, many of which can be serious and long-lasting. Here are some of the most common injuries people sustain in truck accidents:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs): A TBI can result from a blow to the head or other jolt to the brain and can cause a wide range of symptoms, such as memory loss, confusion, headaches, and difficulty with coordination and balance.
  • Spinal cord damage: A spinal cord injury can result from trauma to the spine and can lead to partial or complete paralysis.
  • Fractures: Fractures, or broken bones, are common in truck accidents, especially in the arms, legs, and ribs.
  • Soft tissue injuries: Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains, strains, and contusions, are common in truck accidents and can be caused by the force of the impact or by being thrown around in the vehicle.
  • Burns: Truck accidents can also result in burns caused either by the vehicle catching fire or by coming into contact with hot surfaces.
  • Internal injuries: Internal injuries, such as organ damage or internal bleeding, can occur in truck wrecks and can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.
  • Psychological injuries: Trauma from an accident can also lead to psychological injuries, such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It’s important to remember that some injuries may not be immediately apparent after a collision, which is why you should seek medical attention as soon as possible to identify and treat any injuries.

An experienced truck accident lawyer in Rhode Island can help you understand how the severity of your injuries impacts your case.

When Should I Contact My Insurance Company?

You should notify your insurance company as soon as possible following a collision. Ideally, this should be done within 24 hours of the incident.

Prompt notification allows your insurance company to start processing your claim, preserving evidence, and commencing any necessary investigations while information is readily available.

Remember that while it’s important to report the accident, you should be cautious about making any definitive statements or accepting settlement offers without first consulting with a personal injury attorney.

How Should I Deal with an Insurance Adjuster After a Truck Collision?

Dealing with an insurance adjuster after a truck crash can be challenging. Keep in mind that insurance adjusters are trained in techniques aimed at reducing your payout. You should be conscious of this during your interactions with them.

Here are a few tips for dealing with an insurance adjuster:

  • Be honest: Provide the adjuster with accurate and complete information about the incident, but avoid admitting fault or making any statements that could be used against you later.
  • Get everything in writing: Make sure you get any agreements or offers from the adjuster in writing, and do not sign any documents without reading and fully understanding them.
  • Don’t rush: Take your time to consider any offers or settlements the adjuster may propose, and don’t feel pressured to accept a low offer or to settle your case quickly.
  • Keep records: Keep a detailed record of all communication with the insurance adjuster, including any statements you made, documents you signed, and offers you received.
  • Get legal help: Consult with a Rhode Island truck accident attorney before giving a statement or signing any documents from the insurance company, as they can advise you on how to proceed and protect your legal rights.

It’s also important to remember that an insurance adjuster is not your friend; they work for the insurance company, and their goal is to settle the claim in a way that benefits the company, not you.

A Rhode Island truck accident lawyer can help you navigate the claims process and negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement.

What Should I Do If Injuries Show Up Later?

If you have been in a truck collision and injuries show up after the initial incident, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Additionally, you should contact an attorney who is experienced in handling truck accident cases. They can advise you on your legal options and help you navigate the claim process.

You should also keep all relevant documentation, such as medical bills and any correspondence with insurance companies. Also, take photos of any visible injuries you sustained.

What Should I Do After Losing a Loved One in a Crash?

If you have lost a loved one in a fatal truck accident, we extend our deepest condolences. It is important to take care of yourself during this difficult time. Our Rhode Island wrongful death lawyers are here to guide you through your next steps.

Please keep all relevant documentation, such as the police report and any correspondence with insurance companies. Consider contacting a grief counselor or support group to help you deal with your loss.

Additionally, you may want to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the commercial trucker, their employer, or other parties who may be liable for your loved one’s death. An attorney can help you understand if wrongful death litigation is an option for you and what evidence you would need to support a claim.

How Long does It Take to Receive Compensation in a Trucking Collision Case?

Several variables influence the time it takes to finalize a claim. Some truck accident cases can be resolved relatively quickly, within a few months. Others may take much longer, sometimes taking years.

Consider these factors that can influence the duration required to settle:

  • Investigation: A thorough investigation is needed to determine the cause of the collision and who is liable. This process can take time, especially if there is a lot of evidence to review or if the incident involves multiple parties.
  • Negotiations: Once liability is established, the insurance company and other involved parties will need to negotiate a settlement. The negotiation process can be time-consuming, especially if there is a large amount of damage or a dispute over liability.
  • Litigation: If the parties are unable to settle, the case may proceed to court. This can take a significant amount of time, as the legal process can be slow, especially if there is extensive evidence to present or if the case goes to trial.
  • Medical treatment: If you are still receiving medical treatment for your injuries, it will be difficult to determine the full extent of your damages and negotiate a fair settlement.

Overall, it’s hard to predict how long a truck accident claim will take to settle, as it depends on factors specific to each case. However, an experienced personal injury or wrongful death attorney can help you understand the process and seek the maximum compensation available.

What Happens If the At-Fault Party does Not Have Insurance?

If the at-fault party in a collision does not have insurance, it can complicate the process of recovering damages. 

Here are a few options for financial recovery:

  • Uninsured motorist coverage: If your auto insurance policy includes uninsured motorist coverage, you can make a claim through your own insurance company.
  • Civil lawsuit: You can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party to recover damages. However, this may not be easy, as most people who drive without insurance do not have significant assets. In this situation, it can be difficult to collect on any judgment you win.
  • Self-insured trucking companies: Some trucking companies may be self-insured, meaning they have their own insurance fund to cover incidents involving their trucks. In this case, you can make a claim directly with the trucking company.

An attorney will be able to advise you on your options and help you navigate the process of recovering damages. Our comprehensive legal services include identifying liable parties and exhausting all available insurance coverage and legal recourse.

Do You Have to Go to Court for a Truck Accident?

Not all truck accident cases go to court. In many cases, a settlement can be reached between the parties involved without the need for a trial. A settlement is a resolution of a dispute where both parties agree on something (usually monetary compensation) without the need for a trial.

Settlement can involve negotiations between the parties and their attorneys. If a settlement agreement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to court, where a judge or jury will hear the evidence and decide on a resolution.

The decision to go to court for a truck accident will depend on your priorities and the circumstances of the case. An experienced attorney can advise you on your options and help you make an informed decision.

How Is Negligence Established After a Truck Collision?

Negligence is established in a truck accident by proving that the truck driver or trucking company had a duty to act with reasonable care, failed to fulfill that duty and that this failure caused the collision and resulted in physical injuries and damages.

In order to prove negligence, the following elements must be established:

  • Duty of care: The truck driver, trucking company, or other party had a duty to act with reasonable care to prevent harm to others on the road.
  • Breach of duty: The person or business failed to fulfill their duty of care by engaging in negligent or reckless behavior such as distracted or aggressive driving, improper cargo loading, or selling a defective part.
  • Causation: The truck driver’s or company’s breach of duty caused the accident and the resulting injuries and damages.
  • Damages: The plaintiff (the person injured) suffered actual damages such as injuries, property damage, medical expenses, and lost wages.

What Kind of Evidence Is Useful in a Truck Collision Case?

Examples of evidence that can be used to establish negligence in a truck accident include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Driver’s log books
  • The truck’s electronic control module (ECM)
  • Video footage from cameras on the truck or from nearby businesses
  • Police reports
  • Vehicle damage
  • Medical records
  • Expert testimony

An attorney experienced in truck accident cases can help you build an evidence-based case to establish negligence and hold the responsible parties accountable.

What Are the Different Types of Truck Accidents?

Truck accidents happen in several ways, each with its own unique set of possible causes. Some of the most common types of collisions include:

  • Jackknife accidents: These occur when the trailer of a truck swings out to the side and forms a 90-degree angle with the cab. This can happen when a truck driver loses control of the vehicle or when the brakes on the trailer fail.
  • Rollovers: These occur when a truck flips onto its side or roof. These accidents can happen when a truck takes a turn too fast, is overloaded, or when the driver loses control of the vehicle.
  • Rear-end collisions: These occur when the front of a truck collides with the back of another vehicle. These accidents can happen when a truck driver is following too closely or is distracted or impaired.
  • Underride accidents: These occur when a smaller vehicle collides with the side or rear of a truck and gets trapped underneath the trailer. These accidents can happen when a truck driver is making a turn, changing lanes, or stopping suddenly.
  • Head-on collisions: This is when two vehicles collide head-on. These accidents can happen when a truck driver is driving on the wrong side of the road, when they are tired, or when they are distracted. Head-on collisions often result in severe injuries or death.
  • Lane departure accidents: These occur when a truck driver swerves or drifts out of their lane and collides with another vehicle. These accidents can happen when a truck driver is distracted, tired, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • T-bone accidents: These side-impact collisions occur when the front of one vehicle collides with the side of another vehicle, typically at an intersection.

What Are the Common Truck Accident Causes?

Many factors can contribute to a collision; some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:

  • Driver error: Truck drivers can cause accidents by driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving while distracted, or driving while fatigued.
  • Mechanical failure: Trucks can malfunction due to improper truck maintenance, leading to accidents.
  • Cargo issues: Overloaded or improperly loaded cargo can cause a truck to lose stability and tip over, leading to accidents.
  • Weather-related factors: Accidents can happen in adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rain, fog, and snow.
  • Improper lane changes or merging: Truck drivers can cause collisions when they make improper lane changes, merge without signaling, or fail to check blind spots.
  • Unsafe speeds: Accidents can happen when truck drivers exceed posted speed limits, which can cause the truck to lose control or make it difficult to stop.
  • Reckless driving: Truck drivers may engage in reckless driving behaviors, such as tailgating or abruptly changing lanes, both of which can cause accidents.
  • Poorly designed or maintained roads: Accidents can happen due to the lack of proper signage, the presence of potholes, or other hazards on the road.

These are only a few of the common causes of truck accidents, and an accident may have more than one contributing factor. An experienced attorney can help you understand the specific causes of your accident and hold the responsible parties accountable.

How Dangerous Are Truck Accidents?

Truck accidents are a significant problem in the United States, and the following are some facts and statistics related to these deadly collisions:

  • According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), driver fatigue is a contributing factor in 13% of all truck accidents.
  • The FMCSA also reported that in 2020, the top contributing factors in truck accidents were driver error, including things like distracted driving, improper lane changes, and failure to obey traffic signals.
  • According to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), occupants of passenger vehicles account for around 97% of those killed in collisions between passenger vehicles and large trucks.

Talk to a Rhode Island Truck Accident Attorney

If you were involved in a truck accident, the Rhode Island truck accident attorneys at Gemma Law are here to help. We have worked on many trucking negligence cases and are familiar with the tactics used by trucking companies and their insurance carriers to avoid paying damages.

We know how to investigate these cases properly to ensure no evidence is lost, and we believe that trucking companies should be held accountable when their negligent practices cause pain and suffering or wrongful death.

We provide legal representation for truck accident victims in the greater Providence metro area. Call or fill out the online contact form today for a free consultation.

Serving the Greater Providence metro area, including Warwick, Cranston, Pawtucket, North Providence, South Kingston, Coventry, Cumberland, Woonsocket, and East Providence.

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After spending 8 hours in a hospital overnight to get stitches in my lip because of a drunk driver’s negligent decision to get behind the wheel, the last thing I wanted to do was think about it all. I sent an email to Gemma Law, and Mark Gemma quickly called me back with an empathetic approach to listening to my story and helping me figure out the next steps. When he told me I wouldn’t have to have any contact with the insurance companies, I was HOOKED! When he pointed out how unfortunate it was I might have to miss out on a lip modeling career from a potential scar from the stitches, I was SOLD! And when I finally received my settlement check after letting him do all the leg work while I just focused on recovering, I was and am eternally GRATEFUL! Mark Gemma helped me turn a near death experience into a new start in life and I highly recommend him to anybody needing a personal injury lawyer.
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