18-WHEELER ACCIDENTS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
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Car accidents are difficult experiences; 18-wheeler truck accidents are more complicated because of the size of the vehicles and the materials being transported, which increase the risk of serious injury or death. In 2020, there were over 130,000 reported crashes involving large commercial trucks, and in those crashes were 4,103 fatalities and 61,937 injuries.
All drivers should be prepared to act after an accident but knowing what to do after a terrible accident can be hard to remember. Later, during recovery, truck crash victims and their families worry about paying for the mounting bills. Who will pay?
Seeking full and fair compensation is easier when you follow best practices and work with a battle-tested truck accident lawyer. If you or a loved one has been involved in an 18-wheeler truck accident, call Zinda Law firm at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with our commercial truck accident lawyers.
What you need to know
Several things are most helpful to your case if done sooner rather than later. Courts will generally take into account certain situations where it may not have been possible to gather information during the accident, such as being unconscious or being taken to the hospital by ambulance. Below are a few tips that will help you make sure you are on the right track to seeking maximum compensation.
What to Do at the Time of the Accident
It is easy to be caught up in the excitement and emotions right after the accident, but maintaining a cool head will prevent unnecessary complications. Do not admit fault to the other drivers involved nor to the insurance representatives. Exchange information as required in the state, such as name, address, vehicle registration and driver’s licenses; if the other party is not cooperating, keep your distance and wait for law enforcement to arrive.
Information at the time of the accident will be essential when you seek reimbursement for your losses, so be truthful in your statement for the police report or record but limit the details to the bare essentials. If you are injured, ask for medical help even if you think the injuries are not serious. If you do not ask for medical help at the accident but later feel pain, contact your doctor immediately and obtain copies of your visits and treatments.
What to Do after the Accident
Documenting is an important task after an accident, even if your case does not end up in trial. Keep track of and have your own copies of the following information related to the accident:
- Police report
- Medical bills
- Vehicle repairs
- Leave from work
The police report usually contains information about the accident, such as the conditions the police observed on scene, what contributed to the accident, and the persons and vehicles involved. Medical bills—for treatment received both at the accident scene and after the accident—vehicle repairs, and time off because of your injuries are all important to keep as you seek compensation.
After the accident, the frustrations that come up from the legal process or settlement negotiations are normal. However, publicly accessible information—especially on social media—are dangerous places for the opposing lawyers to find statements that can be used against you or place you at a disadvantage. For example, a competent insurance lawyer can twist a casual comment into an admission of guilt, so do not talk, tweet, e-mail, post, or blog about the incident because these statements may come back to haunt you later.
Discuss the case only with your truck accident attorney. There are special protections and privileges for information you communicate only with your attorney, and it is best to consult with your attorney about how to make sure that information remains protected.
What You Need to Know about Seeking Compensation
Part of the difficulty in truck accident claims are the general rules and how they differ in every state. Knowing what you can claim, how you can claim it, and who you can claim it against are the essentials to filing a lawsuit. Having a basic understanding of each part can help you understand why your lawyer may make different recommendations based on the state you are filing a claim in or think you may file a claim for if other options like negotiations or settlements are not working.
Types of Compensation
There are two main categories of compensation, called economic or non-economic damages. Economic damages are financial losses that people usually associate with vehicle accidents. These can include:
- Medical bills
- Vehicle damages
- Property damages
- Loss of wages
- Future economic losses
Non-economic damages are losses that are harder to calculate but can still be awarded, usually in more tragic cases. These can include:
- Pain and suffering (physical)
- Emotional pain and anguish
- Disfigurement or disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
In fatal truck accidents, survivors of the deceased can bring claims on their behalf; they also have other optional claims, such as wrongful death.
Calculating economic damages can be complicated, like whether a particular bill can be repaid; non-economic damages can be harder to prove so being supported by an experienced truck accident law firm will be beneficial. Lawyers at the Zinda Law firm are knowledgeable of case rules and they are adept at presenting legal arguments to explain why someone in a specific situation deserves non-economic damages.
Not Completely at Fault, But Not Completely Innocent
If you are partially responsible for an accident, that does not stop you from filing a claim for or receiving compensation. Most states use the 51/49 rule, which means that if you were 50 percent or less responsible for causing the accident, then you can collect at least part of your damages. Even if the police report indicates that you were at fault, a more focused look into the report may reveal holes in the information and can weaken that conclusion.
Determining if the other person acted with gross negligence can also lead to a favorable judgment. “Gross negligence” is a term that means that the person is more than just careless, but their behavior is done on purpose even though it is likely to hurt someone. Therefore, do not get discouraged from pursuing a claim when it looks like many facts are against you.
Finding All Your Legal Opponents
When you are in an 18-wheeler accident, an obvious person to sue may be the truck driver. However, because the truck driver was likely performing a job duty at the time of the accident, another possible party to the suit could be the employer. A trucking accident attorney can help you determine who the liable parties are in your particular case and what kind of claims you can file against each one.
The Best Options
Only a seasoned truck injury attorney will know in which available jurisdiction you will receive the most favorable treatment. Your representative should be able to determine which location is best to file a lawsuit since not all state laws or courthouses treat 18-wheeler accidents the same.
In many states, truck accident law has established statutes of limitations which prevent you from filing a lawsuit for a truck accident after a certain amount of time; the deadlines help the investigation process be as clear and close to the truth as possible. People forget details, weather can degrade physical evidence, and road conditions may change, so it is vital to start investigating the scene of the accident and collecting evidence to support your case as soon as possible.
It may also be necessary to hire a reputable, professional investigator with the knowledge to assess the accident scene and leave no stone unturned. Speaking with a Zinda Law firm attorney near you can help you determine what expenses are needed to gather evidence and where to find good resources so that you are not wasting your time and money.
contact zinda law group today for a free consultation
At Zinda Law Group, our attorneys have a wealth of resources and experience in handling truck accident cases. We can help you seek the maximum compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.
Many car accident victims are concerned that hiring a lawyer will not be worth the cost or that they will not be able to afford quality legal services. This is the reason we offer 100% free consultations and a “No Fee Guarantee.” Our No Fee Guarantee means you do not have to pay unless we successfully obtain a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your case.
If you have been involved in a fatal 18-wheeler truck accident, lawyers for the trucking company will be provided by their high-power insurance carrier. With offices across Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Florida, and New Mexico, Zinda Law Group has the experience and resources necessary to help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Your case will be handled with the honesty, integrity, and compassion you should expect from a top-tier law firm. Call (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with our truck accident attorneys.