Have you or someone you know been involved in a truck accident? Truck accident cases involve any commercial truck, such as a semi-truck, tractor-trailer, or other large commercial vehicles. If you answered yes, there are some actions you need to take to ensure you will be rightfully compensated for any loss you sustained.
Being involved in a truck accident is a painful experience and can take a physical and mental toll. It can be frustrating to find yourself needing to pursue a truck accident claim and a possible lawsuit when you have no idea what it entails. The most crucial step is to be proactive.
Suppose the insurance company is attempting to settle for less than you believe you deserve. In that instance, you must pursue your truck accident case before the statute of limitations has passed. The “statute of limitations” is the time during which you can pursue legal action.
To understand the truck accident lawsuit process, we have to look at three key steps: determine liability, determine the cause of the accident, and determine the damages. The primary purpose of pursuing a truck accident lawsuit is to receive compensation for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering include physical and mental distress resulting from the accident, what the individual has experienced to date, and what they are likely to suffer in the future.
If the insurance company is attempting to settle for less than you are owed, it is vital to begin looking for the right attorney to help you with your claim. Some attorneys may want to force or mislead their clients into accepting a settlement which is less than they are entitled because those attorneys simply work on volume.
Some attorneys may even put their financial needs before the needs of their client. For this reason, you need to make sure you are working with an attorney who is experienced in truck accident lawsuits and puts your needs before their financial needs.
Determining Who is Liable for the Accident
If you have been involved in a truck accident and have determined you need to file a lawsuit, the first step is to determine liability or “who is at fault” for the accident. It is essential to consider whether you could be the one at fault or even partially at fault. If you are partially at fault, there could be a reduction of how much compensation you receive for damages.
Assuming you are not liable for the accident, this means that either the truck driver is at fault or the trucking company is at fault. Trucking accidents are held to different regulations than auto accidents. Many factors could impact whether the truck driver or trucking company is at fault for the accident and your injuries. These may include:
- Type of Employee
- Is the driver a commercial truck driver or contract truck driver?
- Driver Error
- Error in the driver’s overall level of control of the vehicle.
- Improper Vehicle Maintenance
- Standard procedures for maintenance were not followed.
- Failure to Follow Federal Driving Hour Limits
- There are federal limits in place for the number of hours a truck driver should drive in a day to avoid accidents due to driver fatigue.
- Driver Fatigue
- The trucking company enforced unrealistic delivery times, or the driver did not take the time to get adequate rest required for driving.
- Mechanical Failure
- Either a known or unknown defect was not addressed.
- Unsafe Driving
- This type of driving can include speeding, improper turning, yields, etc. Incredibly reckless when driving vehicles as large as commercial trucks.
These factors will be used in the next step: determining the cause of the accident.
Determining the Cause of the Accident
After a truck accident, you must gather as much information as possible. Document the how and why of the accident. Your truck accident lawyer needs to know how the accident happened, as well as why.
In some cases, you must first determine the cause of the accident to determine liability. Either way, it is crucial to gather as much information as possible regarding why the accident happened.
Evidence is key to supporting your claim. Have an attorney investigate as soon as possible; the more time goes by, there is a greater opportunity for evidence to have disappeared. Choosing the right attorney ensures a thorough investigation, as it takes time, research, and careful consideration to work through the many factors that contribute to the underlying cause of an accident.
Determining the Damages
Finally, in determining the damages, you must have help to assess your losses accurately. There are many types of injuries that you can receive compensation for, whether through an insurance settlement or court claim. Physical damages, psychological damages, loss of quality of life, or all three of these can be experienced by an individual involved in a truck accident.
You may also experience many hardships, such as incurred medical expenses and emotional distress, to name a few. You can learn more about understanding the injuries and effects of a truck accident here.
To be accurately compensated for all that you deserve, keep a detailed record of all expenses you incur due to the accident. These records could be for bills such as medical expenses, income statements, etc. While this is important for tracking the physical aspect of pain and suffering you have experienced, it can also help determine the mental aspect.
Take Action: Contact the Right Attorney
Don’t let the stress of your accident keep you from what you deserve. Be proactive. The primary purpose of pursuing a truck accident lawsuit is to receive compensation for pain and suffering.
Since 1994, Strickland & Kendall have helped thousands of clients in their personal injury and wrongful death cases recover damages. If you were injured and believe you have a claim, we encourage you to reach out to our law firm at 334.269.3230 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.