Trucking accidents, one of the deadliest disasters on the road, often result in catastrophic injuries and damages, as well as significant medical costs. Sadly, what is worse is victims of these crashes often feel they are left alone in dealing with their problems, injuries, and resulting legal proceedings. However, this does not have to be the case.
If you were in a trucking accident, and are considering hiring an attorney to help guide you through this confusing legal process, take a look below for some answers to questions you may want to ask yourself after experiencing a trucking accident. Speaking with a truck accident attorney and getting them to fight on your behalf can be helpful in increasing your chances of success in a truck accident claim.
When Did the Trucking Accident Happen?
Following a trucking accident, you should consider contacting a truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Why?
Because the sooner you can discuss your case, the faster they can:
- Help you determine if you have a viable claim.
- Help you figure out the amount of compensation you should pursue.
- Start the investigation process, collecting crucial information that could help you prove liability, such as traffic footage, truck driver’s logbook, or any evidence that could indicate the driver was under the influence.
- Look into the police report and speak with witnesses to gather as much information as possible about the crash scene.
If you decide to hold off on contacting a lawyer, you may lose crucial evidence that may end-up hindering the amount of compensation you could receive.
Has the Insurance Company Contacted You, or Offered You a Settlement?
Typically, after a trucking accident, the insurance company will be calling. Once there is an initial accident report, the truck driver’s insurance company may offer you a settlement. However, these offers could fall flat when it comes to providing you with enough money to cover all your accident costs.
Before you decide to accept anything, contact an experienced truck accident attorney, who can look at your reports, evaluate the degree of your damages, and help you figure out how much compensation you may deserve for your injuries.
Plus, an attorney could also:
- Take over all the communications with the insurance company. The insurance adjusters may try different tactics to help minimize your claim or even deny it. Their goal may be to pay you as little money as possible. Having your attorney handle all of these communications could help ensure that you do not say anything to them that could hinder your case.
- Provide you with advice on the settlement amount. Your attorney would know how many expenses you have and could estimate how many you may have in the future. This information could help you figure out your best option of either accepting the settlement or pressing for more money.
- Take over the negotiation process and help you decide when it may be time for trial. Sometimes the insurance company does not want to play fair. In these situations, your attorney may recommend you head to trial and fight for the compensation you need. If this is the case, they could take over all the litigation proceedings and make sure you are prepared throughout the process.
What Steps Did You Take Following Your Trucking Accident?
After experiencing a trucking accident, there are certain steps that individuals should take. These measures could help keep you safe and ensure your legal rights are protected.
- Call 911 Immediately
- Get medical help, even if you do not think you suffered a major injury. These medical professionals could verify that you do not have any hidden injuries, provide you the medical treatment you need, and document these injuries, which may be crucial if you decide to pursue a claim.
- Take as many photos or videos of the accident scene as you can, including pictures of your injuries, the vehicles involved, the weather at the time of the accident, any road hazards or traffic signs nearby.
- Avoid posting any details about the accident on social media, or making any definitive statements to the other driver or the insurance company following your accident. All this information can end up being used against you and hinder your chances of collecting the compensation you need.
- Suppose you did not get this vital evidence after your accident. In that case, your lawyer could follow up and try to obtain any police reports, video footage, and witness statements that are available.
Truck accidents can be more complex than other motor vehicle cases; not only are there different regulations that apply to the trucking industry, but the duty of care that is owed by these drivers is also substantially different. When you speak with a truck accident attorney, they can explain these differences and help you understand how they apply to your situation.
What Injuries Did You Suffer as a Result of the Trucking Accident?
Trucking accidents can lead to horrific injuries, resulting in an immense amount of medical treatments and rehabilitation efforts that could last a lifetime. Unfortunately, this means that the road to recovery may be long and expensive.
Consider some of the common injuries that result from a trucking accident:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Severe bruising and deep lacerations
- Broken bones and fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
Discussing these injuries with your attorney could help them figure out the full extent of your damages, how much treatment you may need in the future, and what compensation they should pursue on your behalf.
Do You Have to Go to Court to Recover Damages?
Because each trucking accident is unique, the legal proceedings can also vary depending on your particular needs and injuries. If you decide to reject the settlement offer and want to go to court to fight for additional compensation, your attorney can help you through this process from start to finish. A lawyer could gather the evidence you need, file appropriate motions, prepare concise arguments, and bring in experts to help prove liability and the damages you suffered as a result of the accident.
Do You Know What Happened in Your Trucking Accident?
Before you can pursue any legal action, you need to understand what actually happened that resulted in your accident. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, the evidence may show that you were partially to blame, that there were multiple defendants, or that government agencies were involved. Working with a truck accident attorney who has experience in these types of cases could help you figure out what caused your accident and what evidence you need to provide to make the most persuasive argument given your specific circumstances.
Consider the following common causes of trucking accidents:
- Aggressive and reckless driving: Unfortunately, truck drivers may turn to aggressive driving, such as speeding, to keep on schedule and make deliveries on time. This can ultimately lead to deadly repercussions.
- Fatigue driving: Truck drivers may drive for long periods and cover as much ground as possible to meet deadlines. As a result, many times, these drivers are extremely fatigued behind the wheel.
- Distracted driving: Distracted driving can lead to horrific accidents, whether texting and driving, eating while driving, or even daydreaming.
- Malfunctions: Trucks are large and incredibly intricate. That is why they require regular maintenance and check-ups. When a company or a driver fails to keep up-to-date with these inspections, it can lead to collisions.
- Cargo accidents: Cargo must be adequately secured. If it falls off of the truck onto the road or into the cars behind them, deadly accidents can occur.
- Large trucks and stopping distance: Trucks weigh a ton—many tons, in fact. Consequently, they do not stop as fast as other motor vehicles, which means that dangerous accidents could occur.
Do You Know Who or How Many Parties Were at Fault for Your Trucking Accident?
Liability could extend beyond the driver that hit you. An attorney investigating your case on your behalf could identify more than one defendant, if applicable.
For instance, other potentially liable parties may include:
- The truck driver that hit you.
- The truck driver’s employer or the trucking company.
- The manufacturer of the truck or a truck part that failed.
- The cargo companies that were responsible for loading the truck.
- Certain governmental agencies (State, City, County) that were responsible for keeping the roads safe.
Talking to an attorney as soon as possible could help you determine who these at-fault parties were and help make sure that each of them is held accountable for damages.
Do You Know How Much Time You Have to File a Claim?
One of the most important aspects of a trucking accident claim is figuring out how much time you have to file. If you wait too long, it could completely bar you from recovering any damages. In Pennsylvania, you have two years from the accident date to file a claim.
However, depending on the facts of the case, such as if government agencies are involved, this time can be shortened. For these reasons, you should speak with an attorney as soon as you can. They can figure out not only if your claim is viable, but also when you need to file your claim.
Even though you may still have time to file, start the process as soon as possible. Typically, the longer you hold off, the more evidence is lost, memories of the accident continue to fade, and many witnesses become unavailable to testify.
Do You Know What Damages You Could Pursue and How to Calculate Them?
The first thing many victims want to know is what damages they could pursue, and how much they could get? Unfortunately, there is no perfect calculation that can determine how much your accident is worth. It is up to your attorney to look into your injuries, treatments, and recovery and fight for maximum compensation.
Some common damages that are often pursued include:
- Medical expenses, including past bills and future expenses such as your lifetime care costs
- Lost wages, including past lost wages and future, lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Personal property damages
- Household service costs
- Rehab service costs
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life and activities
- Mental anguish
- Loss of reputation
- Wrongful Death
When Should You Hire a Truck Accident Attorney?
The best answer is right away. You want your attorney to start preparing the most solid case on your behalf as soon as possible, so you can prove fault against all the parties involved and go after the damages you deserve. These attorneys know that your recovery can be essential. They also understand how critical it is to get you the compensation and resources you need to get the best care.
Trucking accidents are not only stressful, confusing, and painful but extremely overwhelming as well. However, with the help of an experienced truck accident attorney, you do not have to go through this alone.
Your lawyer could fight for the justice you deserve, go after the compensation you are owed, and provide you the legal assistance you require, some common duties attorneys take on include:
- Gathering vital evidence, speaking with relevant witnesses, obtaining necessary police, and medical reports.
- Bringing in experts, including accident recreationists, economists, and engineers, who can help prove the full extent of your injuries and accountability.
- Answering all of your questions and walking you through the whole litigation process.
- Help you decide on the best course of action, whether it involves deciding when to file your claim, or even if you should proceed with a trial.
If a trucking accident injured you, do not wait until this situation overwhelms you. Contact an experienced and skilled truck accident lawyer today.