Collisions with commercial trucks can have life-altering consequences, from severe physical injury to financial difficulties. After a truck accident, you may consider taking action to recover financially and try getting your life back on track.
Truck accident lawyers are best equipped to handle your truck accident claim. They are well versed in the law and procedures regarding truck accident cases and know the appropriate steps to take to help you obtain compensation.
If you’ve sustained injuries and financial losses in a truck accident, do not hesitate to discuss your situation with a truck accident lawyer as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence with truck accident cases, and you don’t want to lose your opportunity to collect the compensation you’re owed.
How Are Truck Accidents Different than Other Accidents?
For those unfamiliar with truck accident cases, it can be easy to assume they’re very similar to car accidents. However, truck accidents are entirely different in many ways, as they are more complex and often challenging to handle.
The following are only some of the reasons truck accident cases differ from other types of collision cases.
Commercial Trucking Is Regulated
Unlike cars and motorcycles, commercial trucks are highly regulated.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets forth regulations for those involved in the trucking industry, including truck drivers and trucking companies.
These regulations add a layer of complication to truck accident cases. Therefore, it is best to have an experienced truck accident attorney handle your case, as they are knowledgeable about the laws and regulations regarding commercial trucking.
Truck Collisions Cause More Injury and Property Damage
Due to their size and weight, semitrucks can cause substantial injury and property damage.
A truck accident case involving severe injuries and damage requires more time and energy, as attorneys need to gather more evidence and victims usually require additional compensation.
Trucks Have Higher Insurance Protection
Because commercial trucks can cause so much injury and destruction, they’re required to have extensive insurance coverage.
For example, a passenger car might have coverage of $10,000 for bodily injury and $10,000 for property damage. For a semitruck, this would not be enough.
The minimum insurance coverage for trucks depends on factors like the weight of the truck and whether the truck drives within a state or interstate. FMCSA rules include insurance requirements ranging from $300,000 to $5,000,000.
With such high coverage, insurance companies often put up a big fight to limit their liability in an effort to avoid paying victims what their claim is worth.
Liability Might Not Lie with the Truck Driver Alone
In a majority of car accident cases, the other driver is the only responsible party. In semitruck accident cases, it’s not always that straightforward.
It’s particularly common for various parties to share liability for truck accident cases, and determining who’s at fault is one of the most challenging parts.
What a Truck Accident Lawyer Does for Your Case
Truck accident lawyers have extensive knowledge of everything related to the trucking industry and a passion for handling semitruck accident cases.
There are many critical tasks truck accident lawyers must take on to help victims get the financial recovery they deserve.
Determine Cause and Liability
One of the very first things your truck accident lawyer will do is thoroughly investigate your accident. They will examine the details of your collision for many reasons. One of the most important includes determining the cause of your accident and who’s liable.
First and foremost, your truck accident attorney must uncover what caused your accident. These are some of the most common causes of 18-wheeler truck accidents:
- Driver fatigue
- Distracted driving
- Poor truck maintenance
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Brake or mechanical failure
- Inadequate driver training
- Insufficient driver experience
Figuring out the cause of your accident can point your truck accident lawyer in the right direction when trying to determine who was responsible for your collision.
As previously mentioned, truck accident cases are difficult to handle because more than one party can be held liable for your accident. Some of the following parties could share responsibility for a semitruck accident:
- The truck driver
- The owner of the truck
- The trucking company
- The party responsible for loading the cargo
- The party responsible for truck maintenance
- The truck or truck part manufacturer
Many truck accident cases rest on negligence. To establish a party was negligent, you must prove the following elements:
- The party owed you a duty of care
- They breached their duty of care
- Their actions caused your accident
- You suffered injuries and other losses as a result
To collect compensation for a truck accident case, you must know which party to pursue for compensation. Therefore, your lawyer must determine who was responsible for your accident and prove their liability to hold them accountable.
Proving cause and liability can be challenging, but a skilled truck accident lawyer has the tools needed to accomplish these vital steps.
Every truck accident case has a value. It can be tricky to determine what your case is worth, but an experienced truck accident attorney knows how to calculate your damages.
Damages compensate you for your injuries and other losses suffered from your truck accident. The amount of damages you’re entitled to receive depends on the details of your situation. Damages can include any of the following:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning potential
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Whether your damages are tangible or intangible, your truck accident lawyer can sum everything up to determine how much your case is worth. Calculating your damages is imperative, as it allows you to seek the right amount of compensation.
Opposing parties and insurance companies may put up a fight, but your truck accident attorney can aggressively pursue the financial recovery you’re owed.
Collect Pertinent Evidence
Evidence is imperative for truck accident cases. Strong evidence can serve many purposes, from determining the cause of your accident to helping you prove your damages.
Some of the most commonly utilized evidence in semitruck accident cases include:
- Photos and videos
- Surveillance footage
- Police reports
- Medical records and bills
- Witness and expert testimony
- Documentation of missed time at work and lost wages
One of the best pieces of evidence in truck accident cases is black box data. A black box, also called an event data recorder (EDR), is a small computer inside a truck. This computer records data about the truck’s physical status and can include valuable information:
- The truck’s speed at the exact time of the accident
- Whether cruise control was on during the accident
- Whether the truck driver applied the brakes before the accident
- Whether the truck’s airbags deployed
- How many crashes the truck has been involved in
- Usage data, including how long the truck had been driven
Black box information can provide answers to the most critical questions in a truck accident case.
Truck accident lawyers have experience gathering evidence and know what is needed to support your case.
Handle Settlement Negotiations
At a certain point during your truck accident case, your lawyer will need to engage in settlement negotiations with the insurance company. Because insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with, this can take some time.
Your truck accident attorney will attempt to settle with the insurance company early on. If the insurance company is unwilling to settle for a fair amount, your lawyer may determine it’s best to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Even if your attorney files a personal injury lawsuit, they will still try to settle your case before it ever goes to trial. Trials take a long time and have unpredictable outcomes. Fortunately, many personal injury cases settle before ever seeing the inside of a courtroom.
Represent You Throughout Your Case
No matter whether your case settles early, requires a long negotiation period, or proceeds to trial, you can feel confident knowing your truck accident attorney is on your side through it all.
Ways You Can Help Your Truck Accident Lawyer Build Your Case
While your truck accident attorney will handle a majority of the tasks required for your case, you can also take steps to help your case. The following tips can help you support your case and assist your attorney with building and strengthening your truck accident case.
Complete Medical Treatment
After sustaining injuries in a truck accident, your health should be your priority. Therefore, after your collision, you want to seek medical care as soon as possible.
Once a doctor diagnoses your injuries, they’ll provide a medical treatment plan. Your treatment will vary depending on your injuries, but it could include medication, rehabilitation, or even surgery.
No matter what, it’s crucial to follow through with your medical treatment. Failing to follow doctor’s orders or stopping your treatment too early can significantly negatively impact your case.
Insurance companies are always looking for ways to avoid paying you for your injuries. If you don’t complete treatment, they might argue that your injuries aren’t as serious as you have claimed.
Finishing your medical treatment as prescribed by a doctor strengthens your case.
Gather Evidence and Documentation
Your truck accident attorney collects evidence for your case, but you can also provide evidence.
Whether you take photos after your collision, get witness contact information, or give your lawyer your medical bills, all of these things can be particularly helpful to your attorney.
It can also be helpful to document your injuries and medical treatment in a journal to detail the severity of your injuries and the progress made with treatment.
Anything you have that could be related to your accident may serve a purpose, so make sure to ask your truck accident lawyer what evidence might be helpful.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
One of the biggest mistakes truck accident victims unknowingly commit is waiting too long to begin working on their case.
After a truck accident, it’s tough to know whether your case will resolve quickly or your lawyer will need to file a lawsuit. You only have a short period to file a lawsuit, so the earlier you speak to a truck accident lawyer regarding your case, the better.
Once time has run out on filing a lawsuit, you’re unlikely to be able to pursue compensation for your injuries. Don’t forfeit your right to compensation — discuss your situation with a truck accident attorney as soon as possible.
Your truck accident lawyer understands how challenging it is to be patient, especially if you’re experiencing financial burdens after your accident. However, patience is necessary during truck accident cases, as there is no specific amount of time it can take to resolve your case.
Attorneys try to settle cases as quickly as possible, but several factors affect how long your claim can take to resolve. These factors can include the following:
- How long your medical treatment takes to complete
- How responsive the opposing party and insurance company are
- The insurance company’s willingness to settle
- Whether you need to file a lawsuit
- Whether your case goes to trial
Sometimes, patience can be the difference between a moderate settlement and maximum compensation.
Consult with a Truck Accident Lawyer Today
After a truck accident, you’ll likely face many challenges, including physical and mental harm and financial stress. While compensation cannot fix all of your problems, it can serve to relieve some of your financial burdens.
A truck accident attorney can determine the best course of action to handle your claim and pursue compensation on your behalf. Truck accident cases can be stressful and confusing, but a truck accident lawyer has the skills, resources, and experience needed to navigate your claim and get you on the path to financial recovery.
Time is limited for truck accident lawsuits. After a collision, consult with a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your attorney has the time needed to properly manage your claim.
If you’ve suffered injuries in a truck accident, contact The Joel Bieber Firm for a complimentary consultation.