What To Do When You Are in a Semi-Truck Accident
An accident that involves a semi-truck and another vehicle is usually a catastrophic incident due to the size, weight and speed of the truck. People in these accidents are at serious risk of permanent injuries or death. Therefore, it is important to understand your rights if you are in a semi-truck accident by consulting a lawyer.
Proving negligence on the part of the truck driver or a trucking company can be a long and difficult process. There are critical steps to understand throughout a semi-truck accident lawsuit to make certain you build a strong case with your attorney.
First Steps After an Accident
The first thing to remember is the initial steps taken right after an accident occurs are crucial to the outcomes of many cases:
- Seek medical treatment: Most people involved in a serious accident need transport to the hospital and help to begin the insurance process. Your ability to get proper medical care is vital to your recovery process.
- Get rehabilitative care: Recovery from personal injuries often requires additional rehabilitation services after a person leaves the hospital.
- Hire an experienced attorney: It is best in accident cases to retain an attorney as soon as possible. Most personal injury cases require photos of injuries. Accordingly, there will be immediate requests from insurance companies for documentation and statements. A lawyer can gather evidence and manage the issues of your semi-truck accident case while you heal. If you are unable to meet in person, then your attorney represents you.
It is important to limit your contact with representatives of the other party in the accident as much as possible.
Insurance companies want to conduct interviews with and gather statements from semi-truck accident victims as soon as possible. However, people after accidents are often under duress due to injuries and stress. It is imperative to your case that you do not give a statement to an insurance company before talking with an attorney. An initial statement about the accident or your injuries can affect your settlement and compensation.
Insurance companies hope to settle cases quickly, because it is in the best interests of the company and the client. However, the long-term or permanent effects of personal injuries need to be assessed by a physician or rehabilitation therapist over time. If they reach a settlement too soon, a person may not get adequate monetary compensation for future medical needs. Furthermore, insurance settlements typically pay smaller damage amounts than what a victim receives in compensatory damages when a negligence case goes court. Your attorney will present you with all settlement offers and advise you on what is fair compensation given the issues of your case.
The level of evidence you gather to support your semi-truck accident case is important. These are all valuable types of evidence:
- Eyewitnesses: Get information on people who saw the accident happen and can describe the events in detail.
- Photos: Take photos of the accident scene, including road conditions, traffic lights, signage, visibility, traffic lanes and surroundings.
- Videos: Check if there are businesses located nearby with security cameras that could have captured the accident and who was at fault.
Police typically conduct a full accident investigation at the scene. Your attorney will request a copy of the report. Depending upon the nature of the incident, an assigned traffic-accident investigators may look into the causes. They get to the bottom of what happened and present the evidence in court.
Proof of Negligence
Proving negligence in a truck accident is sometimes an arduous process. Blame may be shifted between driver, truck companies, loading companies and maintenance crews. This does not take into account road and weather conditions at the time of the accident.
These shifting tactics draw out cases over significant lengths of time. An experienced attorney helps manage these factors so your case is not left in indefinite limbo. This is essential given medical bills and other personal needs related to the outcome of your case.
There are two instances where special consideration is afforded to truckers:
- Wide turns: Truckers need to make wide turns in many locations, sometimes even across another lane. However, there are instances where wide turns are clearly negligent actions and fault can be established.
- Jackknifing: Inclement weather or the need to brake or turn fast can lead to a jackknife accident. In many instances these accidents are unavoidable and drivers are not held responsible.
Litigation in a semi-truck accident has many complexities that require the legal know-how to navigate technical and procedural rules. Here is the basic framework for how a case proceeds to trial:
- Initiate lawsuit with a written complaint
- Appear for pre-trial conferences and court hearings
- File motions to support your case
- Rebut a defendant’s motions
- Implement discovery processes to gather evidence
- Take depositions
- Prepare plaintiff for trial
- Proceed to trial
Subsequent actions will arise in an underway trial with presented evidence.
Hiring a Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer
Attorneys make defendants account for negligent practices, and they can investigate whether negligent actions on the part of companies or contractors make them responsible parties, too. An attorney in a semi-truck accident claim helps you develop a case strategy. This is essential when defendants will use every legal action at their disposal to have a case dismissed or to avoid paying damages. With legal representation, you can seek compensation for these types of damages:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income
- Emotional trauma
- Scars and disfigurement
- Reduced quality of life
An attorney can inform you of your rights in each stage of the legal process. As a client, you are able to consult with your attorney about available legal options through the progression of the lawsuit.
Work With an Experienced Local Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer
As shown above, truck accidents have many complex law dynamics that must be carefully considered throughout legal proceedings. Your lawyer works to ensure you receive the full amount of monetary damages allowed by law as the victim of a semi-truck accident. Therefore, get the right attorney to handle your case and help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!