If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, you’re probably dealing with some pretty serious injuries and bills. It’s important to understand your rights and options as soon as possible so you can get the right compensation. In this guide, we are going to go over everything from understanding truck accidents to pursuing compensation after them.
Understanding Truck Accidents
A truck accident is a collision between a large vehicle and another vehicle or pedestrian. Truck accidents can be caused by many different factors. Common causes of truck accidents include:
- Weather: Heavy winds or rain may cause trucks to oversteer or hydroplane on wet roads.
- Road conditions: Loose gravel on the side of the road can cause trucks to lose control while turning corners at high speeds.
- Driver error: Drivers who are fatigued or distracted by cell phones may fail to see pedestrians or other vehicles.
The number of truck accidents has been common. According to a Forbes article, there were 523,796 truck accidents in 2021 alone. The number has remained similar for the past several years. While some factors of these accidents are not in anyone’s hands, some can be controlled. For instance, drivers must not drive fatigued or under the influence to reduce the number.
Initial Steps After a Truck Accident
Accidents from trucks can be more damaging and dangerous compared to cars. According to data from the National Safety Council, around 5,700 trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2021. A total of 5,788 people died due to these fatal accidents.
Since truck crashes are often more fatal, the first thing you should do is get immediate medical attention. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, it’s important to get checked out at an emergency room or urgent care clinic. Your injuries may not be severe enough for a hospital visit but could still require immediate treatment from a doctor.
Once you have received medical attention, call the police. The police should be called immediately after any collision that results in injury or property damage. That’s because it’s possible that one driver could have caused both conditions on purpose.
Before you begin the process of pursuing compensation after a truck accident, it’s important to understand your legal rights. You may not be aware that there are varying state laws governing when and how an injured person can seek compensation.
In addition, insurance companies are often hesitant to pay claims without solid evidence that the collision was not your fault. If you were involved in a crash with a large commercial vehicle, you must know how to prove fault.
If you are not aware of the legal process, you can find resources online and study them. For instance, you can find a truck accident lawsuit guide and learn about how to file a lawsuit and ensure winning it. Such guides can also help you with tips on how to find the right lawyer for your case.
You cannot simply hire any attorney for your lawsuit. Truck crash cases differ from other vehicle accidents. As correctly stated by TorHoerman Law, truck accidents usually involve multiple parties. For instance, there can be the driver, the commercial company the driver is working for, the manufacturer, etc. Hence, you should hire a lawyer with experience specifically in truck crashes.
Investigation and Gathering Evidence
After you have been involved in a truck accident, you must gather as much information and evidence as possible. The investigation and gathering of evidence can be challenging. However, there are steps you can take to help ensure that your claim will be successful.
Collect witness statements from anyone who saw what happened. Witnesses may include other drivers on the road or bystanders who witnessed the accident from a distance or a nearby building. You should also contact law enforcement officers who responded to the scene of your accident and ask them for their report.
Take pictures of both vehicles involved in the crash, including their damage before repairs were made by either party’s insurance company. This will show exactly how each vehicle looked after impact. This will analyze the angle of impact and other things that can help with your case.
For example, a recent crash occurred when a truck lost its wheel, which hit a car. The driver lost control due to the impact and the car ran off the highway, killing the driver. In such cases, images of both vehicles can prove how the wheel collided with the car’s windshield. It can further prove that it was due to this collision that the car driver lost control.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are not your friends. They’re there to make money, and they’ll do it any way they can. You may be tempted to think that because you’re dealing with an insurance company, there’s no reason to get a lawyer. However, that is not the case.
Insurance companies will try every trick in their book to pay out less than what they owe you. If you don’t get an offer from them that feels right, don’t hesitate to get a lawyer. Your attorney can help negotiate on your behalf until both sides reach an agreeable amount of compensation.
Going to Court
A trial is a proceeding before a judge and jury to determine the facts of a case. It is an adversarial process in which each side presents evidence to support its claims while opposing counsel challenges that evidence. The jury generally decides whether or not you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence.
The steps involved in going to court are:
- Discovery: This stage involves sending out requests for information so both sides can see what kind of evidence their opponents have. This process takes place under rules set forth by state law and federal court rules. Each state has its own discovery rules but there are some commonalities across all states.
- Pretrial conference: This is where attorneys meet with judges ahead of time so they can discuss any issues related to scheduling for upcoming trials. It is also called “settlement conferences” because sometimes parties settle cases here instead of waiting until later.
We hope that this article has given you a better understanding of how to pursue compensation after a truck accident. Trucking accidents can be very serious, so it’s important to take steps immediately after the accident and throughout the process. If you are injured in such an incident, we advise contacting an attorney as soon as possible. They can help guide you through what comes next in terms of investigation and negotiation with insurance companies.