Truck accident victims make the mistake of not contacting a truck accident lawyer. They assume that the truck company will handle all expenses and damages that result from an accident. While you might think that when a person is wrong, they will admit their wrongs and work to make it right, that is not always the case in legal matters.
While the truck driver or other entity knows their negligent actions led to a truck accident, they will attempt to deny liability, so they do not have to pay accident victims the money they need to recover medically and financially after an accident. Some victims sustain permanent injuries that change the entire course of their lives.
You cannot recover if you are drowning in debt and have no means to pay for these debts. Many truck accident victims will take out loans or max their credit cards to stay updated with their bills and expenses. Those with health insurance may use their policy to cover some of the medical bills from the accident. Your health insurance will top out at a certain point, and you will be on the hook for excessive expenses.
One way to deter these stressors is to hire a truck accident lawyer. An attorney can work with medical professionals to ensure you receive the treatment necessary for your injury and recover compensation for other financial concerns. Call a local truck accident lawyer to discuss your legal options and protect your rights after an accident.
Truck insurance policies
Truck insurance policies work very differently than other policies. Since multiple parties benefit from using a singular truck, there are numerous insurance policies to pursue compensation from. A lawyer will need to determine liability first.
Once they identify the liable party or parties, a lawyer will file a claim with their insurance policy. Even the cargo the truck driver carries will have its insurance policy. Dealing with one insurance company is stressful enough, but when you consider multiple policies, you will feel overwhelmed and not want to file a claim.
Do not fret, as a truck accident lawyer has the knowledge and time to file claims with each insurance policy. Most truck insurance policies have higher limits, and the insurance adjusters work overtime so that innocent victims do not receive a dime. It can feel like David versus Goliath when facing these obstacles alone, so don’t. Instead, contact a truck accident lawyer in your area.
Severity of accidents
You need a truck accident lawyer because truck accidents are more severe than other motor vehicle accidents. Most often, truck accidents result from driver error, but there are other reasons a truck accident happens.
When it comes to driver error, accidents happen due to:
- Blind spots
- Improper turns
- Tire blowouts
- Excessive cargo
- Inadequate training
- Maintenance issues
These errors lead to serious injury to victims. There is the possibility that you will suffer a minor injury, but your injuries will likely be catastrophic. Minor injuries include bruises, sprains, and scrapes.
Serious injuries include:
- Nerve damage
- Back and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord trauma
- Facial burns
- Shoulder and knee injuries
- Broken bones
While the physical ailments will cause a toll on a person, there are also psychological injuries you will contend with. The emotional damage of a truck accident affects the victim and their families as well. While you are facing depression, anxiety, or PTSD, your family will also be feeling the toll of your injuries and suffer emotional distress.
Liability for a truck accident is very complex. While there are multiple parties to work with, there is also the possibility that the truck driver is self-employed. This employment status leads to another complicated process. The only liable party in an owner-operated truck accident is the truck driver.
You will rarely encounter an owner-operated truck, but it does happen. Most of the time, truck drivers work for another company that manages a fleet of trucks. Other parties you will encounter that can hold liability in a truck accident are cargo loading companies, maintenance companies, and cargo owners.
These entities should have individual insurance policies that a lawyer will file a claim through.
During an investigation, a truck accident lawyer will collect relevant evidence.
Your lawyer will look at the following evidence for your claim:
- Witness testimony
- Property damage
- Medical records
- The truck’s black box data
- Inspection of the commercial truck
- Maintenance records
- Cargo records
- The trucking company’s insurance policy information
- The truck driver’s history: employment, drug use, qualifications, tests
Evidence is vital to identifying your damages and building a solid case. Without evidence, you can throw in the towel. A lawyer needs to begin working on your case immediately because evidence can quickly vanish. When a lawyer takes your commercial truck accident case, they will ensure evidence does not accidentally disappear.
There are several damages you can obtain after a truck accident. It will be up to your truck accident attorney to sift through the receipts, medical records, and more to determine the full extent of your damages after a truck accident.
Build a case
While building a case, your lawyer will review state and federal laws. You must meet several deadlines so your claim does not fall to the wayside. You are focusing on healing, and the last thing on your mind is whether you have met the impending legal deadline. That is the work that a local truck accident lawyer will focus on. The key to obtaining compensation is to build a solid case.
A truck accident lawyer will accomplish this task by:
- Identifying the liable parties and their insurance company
- Gather and decipher your medical documents
- Collect pertinent evidence like police reports, videos, photos, witness testimony, and more
- Negotiate with insurance companies
- Go to trial
A truck accident lawyer plays a crucial role in your ability to obtain compensation for your injuries and expenses after an accident. Once a lawyer builds a case, they must prove the case to the court or judge.
Prove your case
Several legal elements must be present to prove a truck accident case successfully. While you know the truck driver or someone working on the truck was the cause of the accident, the insurance company will work diligently to disprove your claim.
A lawyer must prove the four essential elements to ensure a successful claim:
- The other entity owed you a duty of care
- They breached this duty of care
- The breach caused you harm
- You suffered losses due to the harm
When a lawyer proves these elements in an injury claim, the court will award the victim economic and non-economic compensation. In cases involving gross negligence, you can also obtain punitive damages.
Saying the wrong thing hurts your claim
When a truck accident victim does not have a lawyer present, they will often say the wrong thing without realizing it. Individuals will usually give more details than are necessary, which gives the insurance company enough ammunition to deny the claim. Insurance adjusters work hard to deny claims daily. They will use sneaky tactics to get victims to say the wrong thing on purpose. You may not be thinking straight and will tell the insurance adjusters precisely what they want to hear.
However, when you have a truck accident lawyer on your team, they will handle all the communications for you. You will not say the wrong thing if you never speak to the insurance adjuster alone. When you do need to make a statement or communicate with the insurance company, your attorney will guide you through the conversations.
What determines your truck accident settlement?
There are several factors a lawyer will need to consider when calculating your truck accident settlement.
To get the best compensation possible, a lawyer will consider:
- The cause of the accident and how negligence plays a role
- How severe the injuries are
- How the injuries affect the daily life of the victim
- Emotional and psychological trauma resulting from the crash
- Permanent scars and disfigurement
- The amount of medical treatment and rehabilitation services
- Loss of income, benefits, and future earning capacity
- The truck driver and trucking company’s insurance policy limits
Your claim needs personal attention, and a truck accident attorney will provide you with the time and dedication you deserve. A lawyer will work diligently and hire financial experts to determine how much your case is worth once you reach maximum medical improvement.
If you do not hire a truck accident lawyer, it is likely that the insurance company will not consider all of the factors in the list and will give you a generic settlement offer.
Fatal truck accidents are complex.
The worst truck accidents are those involving the passing of a loved one. While many of the same legal complexities are present, a death amplifies the complexity. The truck accident victim’s family is eligible to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of their loved one.
Since the victims are no longer alive, a lawyer cannot hear their side of the story. The trucking insurer will also use this to their advantage because it will be their word against no one.
However, when a lawyer takes your case, they will work to uncover evidence that the truck accident caused the truck accident victim’s death. You must prove that the truck driver or other entity acted negligently.
Ask your lawyer these questions.
Since truck accidents are complex, you cannot just hire any personal injury attorney. You must find a skilled local truck accident attorney who knows how to handle your case.
When you meet with a lawyer, you should ask about:
- Legal fees: While most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, not all do. Ask your lawyer if there are any upfront fees and how their fee structure works. There can be a fee when a case stays in pre-litigation and payment once the claim goes into litigation. Ask about any fees for investigation or court. While the attorney works on a contingency, not everyone they hire will. Make sure you check the potential costs and payment options periodically.
- Experience: While many attorneys will advertise that they have experience with truck accidents, they may not have experience with cases like yours. Ask a lawyer about their experience and outcomes. Ask how much of the practice focuses on truck accidents.
- Jurisdiction: The location of your accident can have a significant impact on who can represent you. When you meet with a lawyer, you will need to provide as much detail about where the accident happened. Discuss where you reside so the attorney can determine whether the accident is within their jurisdiction. If your accident occurred out of state, it will further complicate the legal process.
- Documentation: Before your initial consultation, ask which documents you need to bring and provide them to your attorney. You might assume you need certain documents and later find you need a different documentation set.
- Legal opinion: Toward the end of your initial consultation, you should ask your lawyer whether the case is worth the effort. You may think you have a substantial truck accident claim, and a lawyer finds that the claim is minor. In comparison, some victims do not feel they have a valid claim, and after meeting with a lawyer, they find the claim to be solid.
It is vital to work with an honest lawyer. You will want a truck accident lawyer who communicates effectively regarding your case. You do not want someone to make you think you will get a huge settlement when your case is not worth that much.
Many individuals will withhold essential facts about the issue from their attorney for fear that it will hurt their chances. An attorney will find these details through an investigation, and it can hurt your case more when you withhold these pertinent details.
Find a truck accident lawyer who makes you comfortable and has the experience you need for a successful claim.