New Mexico Truck Accident Attorneys
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Any car accident victim will tell you that a car accident involving two standard-sized passenger vehicles is terrifying. Car accidents often leave their victims dealing with serious injuries and can even lead to the loss of a loved one. However, when an accident involves an 18-wheeler, the consequences can be even more severe. After a truck accident, victims often don’t know where to turn. You may have heard about large New Mexico truck accident settlements but aren’t sure how the legal process works. Contacting an experienced New Mexico truck accident attorney after your accident is a good place to start.
WHAT TO DO AFTER MY ACCIDENT?
Zinda Law Group understands that figuring out your next steps after an 18-wheeler accident is a very scary and stressful process. Not every accident will look the same, but in most cases, you should take the following steps.
1. Seek Medical Attention
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, it is likely that you may have been treated to some extent by first responders. However, after leaving the scene, you should seek treatment for any lingering injuries or injuries that didn’t present their symptoms immediately. Injuries will only get worse over time if left untreated, so seeking medical attention quickly may detect latent injuries or stop them from getting worse. Another reason to seek treatment after an accident is to help prove that the accident caused your injuries. Your visit will create a medical record, which may be used as evidence in a personal injury or insurance claim.
2. Document the Accident
Having too much information is never a bad thing when it comes to seeking maximum compensation for your injuries. Documenting your accident as thoroughly as possible may greatly help your attorney put together a persuasive argument in your claim. Some of the items that you should make sure to gather include the information of the truck driver, the contact information from potential witnesses, and all of your medical bills, property damage receipts, and paystubs from lost wages.
3. Contact an Attorney
A qualified and experienced New Mexico truck accident attorney will do more than simply try to make money off of your case. In speaking with attorneys, look for someone who may devote the necessary attention to your case and who will keep you informed at every step of the way as they build a persuasive case for you.
CAUSES OF TRUCK ACCIDENTS
Unfortunately, thousands of people are killed or injured in truck accidents every year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration monitors these accidents and has released studies documenting the causes in great detail. Some of the more common causes include:
Overwork or Fatigue
There are federal regulations in place governing how many hours a trucker can be on the road in a given week. These regulations are meant to ensure that truck drivers get enough sleep and aren’t on the road for so long that their reactions begin to slow. However, many truck routes require thousands of miles, which can wear down even the most experienced driver.
18-wheeler trucks are large, complex vehicles. Trucking companies are responsible for making sure that they remain in good working order. They are required to keep detailed records of all the work and maintenance that their vehicles undergo. If a truck that is not working properly ends up causing an accident, then the trucking company might be responsible for your injuries.
Poor Road Conditions
Truck drivers drive all over the country and encounter all sorts of different types of weather. Conditions such as rain, snow, sleet, or ice, as well as poorly maintained roads can cause truck accidents. Trucks may be particularly susceptible to poor road conditions given their large size and the increased distance that they require to come to a complete stop.
New Mexico has long stretches of sparsely populated interstate, which can lead to truck drivers being susceptible to distractions, especially when driving during odd hours or at the end of their day on the road. These distractions could include texting, fiddling with the radio, or eating or drinking.
HOW TO FILE A CLAIM
Unless you have been involved in a truck accident in the past, you are likely feeling very lost and confused about how to move forward. Truck accidents have additional layers of complexity, which only adds to the stress. Typically, the process will follow these general steps, though every case will have unique components.
1. Contact an Attorney
The first step after an 18-wheeler collision should be to contact an experienced truck accident attorney. A lawyer might be able to give you a better idea of what to expect from the months that lie ahead, argue for maximum compensation on your behalf through persuasive techniques, and keep you updated on all of the material proceedings in your case.
After you have picked an attorney, they might be able to start gathering all the information that they will need to argue your case. This might include information about the driver of the truck, the maintenance history of the truck, and accounts from witnesses of the accident.
3. Negotiating a Settlement
This step is extremely important when it comes to truck accident claims because most cases will settle before they make it to trial. At the settlement stage, your lawyer might be able to help you seek maximum compensation for your injuries by emphasizing your case’s strong points to persuade the other parties involved to pay you what your case is worth.
Determining liability is a critical component of any personal injury claim. Typically, the party who is liable, or at fault, for the injuries of another will be on the hook for any financial costs that those injuries lead to. Given the importance of determining liability, many truck accident victims have the same question: Who is to blame?
The Truck Driver
Truck drivers are required to follow numerous federal regulations while they are driving. These regulations are intended to protect not only the drivers themselves, but also the other vehicles on the road. If a truck driver fails to adhere to trucking regulations and the rules of the road, could be held liable for any injuries that they cause. Some common mistakes include distracted driving, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and violating hours-of-service requirements.
The Trucking Company
Like truck drivers, the companies that those drivers work for are required to comply with stringent federal regulations. Trucking companies may be held responsible for the actions of their employees when they are acting within the scope of their employment. They may also bear the liability for an accident when they were negligent in the hiring process and overlooked something that made their driver unfit for the job.
The Manufacturer or Mechanic
It is the responsibility of the truck manufacturer to put a safe and working product on the road and comply with all applicable regulations. Similarly, it is the responsibility of mechanics who work on trucks to refrain from acting negligently in their repairs. If either of these parties fails to uphold their end of the deal, then they could share in the fault for any injuries that a truck causes.
WHAT IS MY CASE WORTH?
Before reaching the settlement stage, it is important to have a general understanding of what your case might be worth. This helps to ensure that you don’t accept any offers soon after your accident that greatly undervalue your injuries. Your attorney can work with you to gain a more complete understanding of the value of your case, but an estimate of your damages can be calculated with the following variables.
Economic damages are comprised of the more tangible damages you incur, which can be tied to objective measures. These include costs like medical bills, the cost to repair or replace your vehicle, and lost wages from being unable to work. Economic damages are typically proven through receipts or bills.
The category of non-economic damages is generally comprised of the pain and suffering that you experience as a result of your injuries. Pain and suffering is not objectively measurable like economic damages are, but generally, the worse your injuries are, the higher the dollar amount in this category will be.
CALL THE TRUCK ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS AT ZINDA LAW GROUP
At Zinda Law Group, our New Mexico truck accident lawyers have the experience necessary to help you and your family get back on your feet. We represent clients in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Santa Fe, Rio Ranchero, and all over New Mexico. We believe that accident victims shouldn’t need to worry about their ability to afford legal representation. That’s why we work on a contingency fee basis—you don’t pay us anything unless we win your case for you.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.