How Does a Truck Accident Case Work?
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In 2018, an estimated 151,000 people were injured in crashes involving trucks. A semi-truck often weighs 20 to 30 times as much as passenger cars, which can cause serious, high-impact crashes and injuries for the occupants of smaller vehicles.
After a truck accident, victims may be left with significant injuries, medical bills, and car repairs; pain and suffering add to their burden. Victims may also wonder whether they can get compensated for some of their economic damages, and what the steps look like to recovering some; in short, they need to know how a truck accident case works.
The trucking accident attorneys at Zinda Law Group have experience representing accident victims and helping them seek the compensation they deserve. Call us today at (800)-863-5312 for a free attorney consultation with a trusted truck accident law firm.
how a TRUCK ACCIDENT case works
Truck accidents can occur for a number of reasons. In some cases, the driver may have been speeding, distracted, exhausted, or intoxicated. In other cases, the truck may have been overloaded, poorly inspected, or contain parts that have a manufacturing defect. Although each truck accident case is unique, most will follow a similar pattern. The ten steps below outline how a truck accident case usually works, from the scene of the accident until you receive compensation for your injuries.
1. Seek Medical Attention
Truck accidents can leave victims with serious and life-altering injuries. Some of the most common types of injuries from truck accidents include head injuries, broken bones, spinal cord damage, back and neck injuries, internal injuries, and cuts and bruises.
If you do not receive medical treatment at the scene of the accident, visit your doctor as soon as possible to determine whether you need medical treatment. After you leave the hospital or doctor’s office, be sure to watch for any additional signs or symptoms that occur in the days following the accident. Don’t ignore any signs or symptoms because you may not experience the effects of an accident until several days after it happens.
2. Report the Accident
After an accident, you should report it to the police. The officer who responds to the scene of your accident will fill out an accident report. Be sure to obtain a copy of this report or ask how to access this report once it becomes available.
3. Document Your Damage
You may have been too injured or shaken at the scene of an accident to take photos of the damage. As soon as possible, be sure to take many. This includes injuries you sustained in the accident and damage to your car. If any witnesses saw the accident occur, you should collect their information and contact details as well.
4. Keep Track of Your Expenses
It’s important that you keep track of all receipts and paperwork related to your accident in order to receive money related to your accident expenses. These expenses may continue to accumulate throughout your truck accident case, so it is important that you continue to document bills and expenses, which may include:
- Hospital and doctor bills
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation costs
- Dental expenses
- Documented time taken off from work due to injuries
- Receipts for the repair or replacement of your car
- Receipts for a rental car while yours is repaired
5. Notify Your Insurance Company
After you’ve been in a truck accident, your insurance company needs to be notified. In minor cases without any injuries, you can call your insurance company and notify them yourself. However, if any party is injured, it is best to call an experienced truck accident lawyer first.
Although it may be tempting to settle the accident with an insurance company right away, insurance companies operate to pay as little as possible. They may not offer an amount that is insufficient to cover your expenses and does not reflect the true the value of your case.
When you talk to an insurance agent a day or two after an accident, you may not know the full extent of your injuries. Insurance agents may also record your phone call when speaking with you, hoping to find evidence that an accident was your fault. Insurance agents are trained to use leading questions, which may result in an answer that doesn’t tell the full story. These recordings can be used in court to hurt your chances of recovering money from the other party.
6. Speak with an Attorney
Before hiring an attorney, it is a good idea to first speak with your potential lawyer. A truck accident lawyer is different from a divorce attorney, so it is important that you ask your potential attorney what their area of expertise is, and if they have handled this type of case in the past.
Speaking with an attorney also gives the lawyer an opportunity to evaluate your case. They may ask to see the police report and will usually ask questions about any injuries you sustained in the crash. If you feel as though the attorney is experienced in trucking accidents and the lawyer believes you have a case worth pursuing, then you will likely sign an agreement.
7. Hire an Attorney
When you hire an attorney, they will usually give you an estimated timeline of how long the case will take and how the fees and charges work; they will also explain what it means that a confidential lawyer-client relationship has begun. As this point, you should only discuss your case with your attorney. They may advise you not to post anything about the case on social media or discuss the accident with others, as this can hurt your chances of recovering money later on.
Your attorney will also make sure that you are receiving proper medical treatment. This could include physical therapy for ongoing injuries or additional surgery in serious crash cases.
8. Investigate the Accident
Next, your attorney will investigate the accident. This will include reviewing the police report, speaking to witnesses, locating traffic camera footage if available, accident reconstruction, finding additional witnesses, and reviewing your medical expenses and other crash related documents. Your lawyer may also meet with insurance adjusters, speak with insurance companies, and reach out to the trucking company’s legal representatives.
9. Send the Demand Letter
After investigating the accident and collecting evidence, your attorney will be ready to send a demand letter to the insurance company of the person or company responsible for your injuries. The demand letter will outline how you have been physically, emotionally, and financially affected by the accident. It may include a specific amount that experts have calculated will be needed for you to cover the cost of the accident and your injuries.
10. Settle the Case
The other party will have a chance to review the demand letter. They will usually try and negotiate the amount and there may be some back and forth between your attorney and the other party to finally settle on an amount that will cover your expenses. If both parties can come to an amount that is fair and adequately covers your expenses, then the case will be settled and over.
The majority of cases are settled without going to trial. In some cases, the parties will be unable to agree on a settlement amount, and your attorney will file a lawsuit and go to trial. However, because trials can be expensive and take time, most personal injury cases are settled without going to trial. If your case goes to trial, a judge or jury will decide how much money you should be awarded for your damages.
What Compensation Can I Seek After a Truck Accident?
After a semi-truck accident, you may be able to seek compensation for medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and pain and suffering. You may also be able to recover the costs for car repairs and rental car expenses while your car is being repaired. If you had to take time off from work due to your injuries, then you may be able to recover the wages you would have earned during that time.
You may also be able to seek compensation for pain and suffering. While you cannot provide bills or invoices for noneconomic damages, it is crucial that you save receipts and bills for the economic damages related to your car accident, for these will help you tremendously as you seek the compensation you may be entitled to.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
If you were injured in a truck accident and want to file a lawsuit against the other party, you need to be aware of the time limits, or statutes of limitations, that are in place. Each state sets its own time limits, which usually range between two and six years. It is best to contact a commercial truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to make sure you receive the money you deserve and do not miss your state’s deadline.
Contact a lawyer who handles truck accident cases
At Zinda Law Group, our attorneys are experienced in truck accident law and have helped many crash victims get the compensation they deserved after they were hurt in an accident. We have the knowledge and resources to help our clients receive the compensation they may be entitled to for hospital bills, car damage, pain and suffering, and much more.
We believe an accident victim should never have to worry about being able to afford legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
If you have been injured in an 18-wheeler truck accident, call Zinda Law Group at (800)-863-5312 to receive your free consultation with one of our experienced trucking accident lawyers near you.