Recently, you got into an accident with a semi-truck. You sustained injuries and lost use of your car, but all signs point to the truck driver being the at-fault party in this situation. Perhaps you already filed an insurance claim with your provider or the driver’s provider. Maybe you do not know what steps to take next or do not know how to protect your rights or recover fair compensation. In either case, is it time to hire a truck accident lawyer? The following insights could help you make a decision you feel comfortable with.
You Want To Establish Liability
With truck collisions, you must consider whether the driver violated federal regulations. Legal representatives have the connections and resources to help you uncover such information and determine the driver’s or trucking company’s level of fault. Truck accident lawyers also know how trucking regulations and laws work and how they relate to your accident.
With a lawyer’s help, you could recover evidence that establishes liability, including:
- Truck maintenance records
- Truck driver logbooks
- Debris, such as skid marks, at the scene
- Devices that capture useful data, such as GPS
- The truck driver’s blood test or field sobriety test results
- Past violations on the driver’s record
Even if the police and investigatory agencies look into the incident for evidence, they may not do a good job. A dedicated lawyer prioritizes investigating your legal matter and uncovering all parties responsible for your harm.
You Want To Determine the Truck Collision’s Severity
While you may associate truck collisions with major injuries, victims may only suffer minor harm. If so, they may not get the medical attention they need to make a full recovery, which could cost them more than they realize. Even if a person sees a primary care provider for a medical examination, the individual could need specialized healthcare evaluations, such as magnetic resonance imaging, X-rays, computed tomography scans, orthopedic scans or musculoskeletal scans. Other than a general practitioner, you may also require help from other medical professionals, such as someone who specializes in the spine or joints.
Once you have a full inventory of your injuries and how they affect you, you have a better idea of how much compensation to seek from the at-fault party. With the results of a thorough medical examination, you and your legal advocate also know whether to expect long-term medical effects from your accident. That way, you not only recover damages for your current treatments and medical costs, but future treatments and costs, too.
You Want To Negotiate a Settlement With an Insurance Company
Say an insurance company agrees to pay you a settlement for the collision. Even if the offer seems generous, it may not account for all the damages you deserve. Insurance providers often offer low-ball settlements that protect their bottom line, and truck accident victims could give up their right to seek fair compensation if they accept an initial offer.
You may not realize it, but you have the right to refuse an insurance provider’s initial offer and negotiate. Rather than negotiate on your own, it makes more sense to team up with your lawyer. Legal representatives know all the tricks and strategies insurance providers use to protect their interests. Rather than second-guess every offer and correspondence from an insurance representative, let your lawyer handle the heavy lifting while you focus on recovering.
You Want To Determine Fault
Sometimes, truck accidents have multiple at-fault parties. Determining all parties responsible for your injuries and harm also helps ensure you recover all the compensation you deserve. Lawyers know which individuals or entities could bear the blame for what happened to you. Examples of liable parties in truck accidents include:
The Truck Driver
Other than breaking federal regulations, truck drivers may also drive drunk or use illicit substances to stay awake, either of which could cause an accident. To complete runs on time, drivers may drive while drowsy, which slows their reflexes and could cause collisions.
The Truck Owner
The truck driver may not own the truck involved in an accident. Truck owners must ensure their vehicles receive regular maintenance, keep tires inflated properly, check the engine and maintain all components under the hood. When truck owners maintain and inspect their vehicles, they must do so according to federal regulations. Sidestepping regulations could make truck owners responsible for damages.
The Trucking Company
Trucking companies may push their drivers to stay on schedule, which could cause driver fatigue. A trucking company may also fail to look into a driver’s background before making a job offer, neglect to complete inspections or not follow the latest safety regulations. When companies cut corners, avoidable disaster may happen in which innocent parties pay the price of another’s negligence.
The Truck Manufacturer
Truck manufacturers have a responsibility to produce products free of defects and malfunctions. When they do not uphold that obligation, avoidable accidents could happen. Examples of manufacturer-related defects and malfunctions include tire blowouts, faulty brakes and mechanical parts failures.
The Cargo Loader
The person loading cargo onto a truck must inspect the load and secure it to the truck properly. If loose equipment or cargo slides off a truck, it could trigger a catastrophe on the open road.
You Want To Take Legal Action
If you and the truck driver, trucking company or insurance company cannot reach a settlement agreement, you and your legal advocate can work together to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Taking your case to court could present your most favorable option for recovering full damages and seeking justice. Other than a personal injury lawsuit, you may want to file a wrongful death suit if you lost a loved one in a truck accident.
You May Bear Partial Fault for the Accident
Maybe you feel your actions contributed to the accident. For instance, perhaps you glanced down at your phone right before the collision, or maybe you drove slightly above the speed limit. Even then, you could still qualify for compensation, just not as much as you could receive if you bore no fault for your harm. Legal advocates understand how comparative negligence and pure contributory negligence work.
With pure comparative negligence, your percentage of fault decreases the damages you may recover. For instance, if the court finds you contributed to the truck accident by 30%, you may only recover 70% of your total damages.
Some states follow modified comparative negligence theories. According to the principles, the plaintiff may only file a lawsuit if she or he bears less than 50% fault for the collision.
Pure Contributory Negligence
Under pure contributory negligence rules, plaintiffs do not qualify for receiving damages if they bear even 1% fault for an accident.
Contact Us Today
When you have questions about your rights after a truck accident, you deserve answers from trusted, reputable and experience legal professionals. The team at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers wants to help you recover and get your life back on track. To explore your legal options and determine whether you have a case, even if you could bear partial fault for the accident, contact a representative by calling 800-577-5188 or submitting an online form whenever you feel ready. When you phone Stone, There’s No Obligation, Just Information (R).