Santa Fe Truck Accident Lawyers
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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) defines a commercial truck as a motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport property with a gross combination weight of 10,000 pounds or more. These are very large motor vehicles that often carry quite a bit of weight. Thus, it is no surprise that these vehicles can cause quite a lot of property damage and injury when involved in an accident.
Trucking companies pay lawyers a lot of money to try to minimize how much they have to pay victims. Don’t take on the added burden of trying to fight these big trucking companies alone if you have been involved in an accident. Consider hiring a team of experienced attorneys to represent your interests and help you seek any compensation you may be entitled to.
What to do After a Truck Accident
Here are a few steps you can take after a truck accident to not only make sure you are safe, but also to put yourself in a better position to recover the legal compensation you deserve:
1. Seek Medical Attention
After suffering an accident, the most important thing to do is to seek medical attention. While injuries may not always be immediately apparent to a victim, it is still important to check to make sure you are safe and healthy. Injuries can range from mild to severe, but even mild injuries need to be evaluated by a medical professional. A medical professional can also play an important role in documenting your injuries, which can be used as evidence in your claim.
2. Report the Accident
Contact law enforcement as soon as you can. The police play an important role in getting emergency dispatch to the scene to tend to injured parties. The police also file an official accident report. This report may be very helpful later on when filing a personal injury claim.
3. Document the Scene
Preserving necessary evidence is key to prevailing on your claim. Beyond speaking with the police and getting a medical professional to evaluate your injuries, do everything you can to document the scene of the crash. This can include simple tasks such as taking pictures or making quick notes of important memorable details. Memories fade as time goes on. Successfully documenting the scene of the accident as soon as possible will help you immensely in proving your claims.
4. Contact a Truck Accident Attorney
Victims are sometimes taken advantage of by opposing parties and insurance companies. If a truck has hit you or a loved one, the best way to make sure you are being treated fairly and are being offered the compensation you deserve is to hire an experienced attorney. Our New Mexico truck accident lawyers at Zinda Law Group may be able to help.
Santa Fe Truck Accident Statistics
The New Mexico Department of Transportation cites that a semi-truck or heavy truck accident occurred every three hours based on a 2018 annual report. Semi-trucks were found to be responsible for 2,939 total vehicle crashes. This is 3.4% of overall crashes. This number is a jump from 2017, where total semi-truck crashes totaled to be about 2,728. Moreover, 745 of the 2018 crashes led to injury, and 56 were fatal. Of the crashes that ultimately resulted in injury, 19 injuries were labeled as “serious.” Santa Fe was the city with the third most crashes in 2018. However, this included all motor vehicle accidents and was not just isolated to truck accidents.
Types of Truck Accident Claims
There can be many different types of claims that result from trucking accidents. However, having the language to describe or qualify your claim is a helpful tool when speaking with an attorney about your potential claim. A few of the truck accidents that you may have been involved in and the claims that subsequently arose may include, but are not limited to:
- Semi-truck accident claims
- Commercial truck accident claims
- Tractor-trailer accident claims
- Negligent hiring of truck driver claims
- Negligent operation of truck claims
A number of causes can lead to a commercial truck collision or another type of truck accident. Here are a few of the common causes of truck accidents:
- Distracted driving
- Improper commercial truck training
- Improper cargo loading
- Pull blowouts
- Mechanical failure
How to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit
1. Call a Truck Accident Lawyer
If you are unable to reach an agreement with the opposing party about fault and compensation, you may want to consider consulting an attorney. Trucking companies and the insurance providers that represent them are much different than the typical insurance companies you would deal with after a car accident. The insurance companies representing commercial truck drivers will act quickly and aggressively to try and avoid liability. Having an experienced attorney on your side is the best way to make sure you don’t get taken advantage of, and that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Initiating a prompt and thorough investigation into the truck accident is a crucial step. You’ll have to gather evidence to fight your claim. Act quickly after an accident to gather the physical evidence while it is still fresh. In addition to documenting physical evidence, your attorney may interview witnesses, file official reports of property damage and physical injury, and consider hiring an accident reconstruction expert.
3. Case Settlement
Insurance providers for trucking companies often offer accident victims a settlement agreement so they cease pursuing legal action. However, these settlement offers can often be minimal and inadequate. If you refuse a settlement offer from an insurance company, you have the option to pursue further legal action to receive the compensation you deserve. An experienced attorney may help you negotiate an acceptable settlement, or even take your case to trial if necessary.
Proving Truck Driver Negligence
Truck accidents are often caused by a party’s negligence. This means that a truck driver or its employer, who owed a duty of care to other motorists, breached that duty and caused harm to another driver. Trucking companies may also be liable if they fail to properly train their drivers, or negligently hire someone who had a history of reckless driving or DUI’s. However, sometimes the blame can be attributed to both drivers. Courts and insurance companies will analyze this under a theory of comparative negligence. If you are found to be partially at fault for your truck accident, this may affect your ability to recover.
Under New Mexico law, if you are at fault in a truck accident, this may affect the amount you can recover for compensation. New Mexico follows a system of “pure” comparative fault. This means that a plaintiff can recover compensation no matter how much at fault they were for the accident, but the ultimate amount of recovery will be reduced by the percentage of fault. For example, if you were entitled to recover $100 and were found to be 60% at fault for the accident, you would ultimately be able to seek $40 from the other party.
Truck accidents can be traumatic and often cause physical and emotional injuries to those involved. Therefore, different types of compensation may be awarded to help you get your life back on track. If you have been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are usually quantifiable expenses, such as:
- Vehicle damage
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
Non-economic damages are intangible costs that don’t have a dollar value. They may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Physical impairment
- Loss of enjoyment of life
New Mexico Statute of Limitations
Under New Mexico law, a victim seeking compensation after a personal injury accident has three years to file a claim. Each state has similar laws surrounding the permissible time limit in which you are allowed to file a claim. This is known as the statute of limitations. Failure to bring a claim within the permissible time frame could ultimately result in your inability to file a claim altogether. In Santa Fe, you have three years from the date of your truck accident to file a claim, or else you may forfeit your right to file a claim at all.
TRUST THE SANTA FE LAWYERS AT ZINDA LAW GROUP
The New Mexico lawyers at Zinda Law Group have helped many clients who were involved in commercial truck collisions. Our experienced team will not only serve as your personal advocate but also show care and compassion to you throughout the legal process and beyond. We believe victims should not have to worry about affording legal representation, which is why we work on a contingency fee basis . You won’t owe us anything unless we win your case.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.