The changing economy means more trucks are on the road because companies use American highways to ship most of their goods. Accordingly, you must share the road with large trucks, which can cause harm to you and your family.
The trucking business depends on many companies and independent owners who operate the truck, and safety is not necessarily these companies' number one priority. They are focused on making money, even when they force you to bear the brunt of their cost-cutting efforts. Trucking companies are getting squeezed because rising income and driver shortages hurt their bottom line. They try to find a way to save money and often cut corners on their compliance efforts.
At the same time, drivers are under the gun when they are behind the wheel. There is pressure to deliver on time, even when they only have a few hours to drive. In such situations, having a Dallas truck accident lawyer becomes essential to protect your rights and navigate the complexities of the legal system.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Driving and maintaining a truck requires precision since these vehicles are so large. Common causes of truck accidents include:
- Inexperienced truck drivers
- Poorly inspected and maintained trucks
- Fatigued driving
- Distracted driving
- Carelessly loaded cargo
- Truck rollover accidents
- Jackknife accidents
- Tire blowouts
- Drunk driving
No matter what happened to cause the accident, you have the legal obligation to prove that the truck driver or the trucking company was negligent. Once you do that, you can be entitled to considerable financial compensation.
The Insurance Company Will Try to Deny You Full Compensation
Truck accident cases have potentially quite a bit of money on the line to compensate you for your injuries. Insurance companies know that, and they try to play hardball with you. A truck accident lawyer will work to protect your legal right for total compensation and get you top dollar for your truck accident injuries.
The legal process for a truck accident can be lengthy from beginning to end, and many steps must happen before you can deposit a check in your account. A lawyer will take all necessary actions, lending their experience and advocacy to your claim.
Your Lawyer Will Be the One Who Everyone Needs to Contact
Your truck accident lawyer's first significant task is becoming your representative throughout the case and your point of contact. Numerous people will want to speak with you after a truck accident, but you may be unable to talk to any of them because of your injuries. At the same time, the insurance company may try to contact you, but you want to avoid this conversation. Your lawyer will deal with the insurance company and anyone wanting to talk to you.
Your Lawyer Gathers Evidence and Helps Build Your Case
Your lawyer will be the one who compiles the case that will entitle you to financial compensation and must show that someone else was negligent so you can receive a settlement or jury award.
You prove negligence when you can demonstrate that someone else did something unreasonable under the circumstances. Your description of what happened only counts for a little, and you need evidence to back up what you have said.
A Lawyer Reviews Every Possible Source of Evidence
Truck accident cases have even more sources of evidence than other motor vehicle accidents. There are recorders and internal records that can benefit your claim, and the event data recorder (also known as the truck's black box) may be the most helpful evidence. It can record things like:
- The truck's speed at the time of the accident
- The hours of operation of the truck
- How sharply the truck braked before the accident
- The steering maneuvers before the accident
The trucking company is not obligated to maintain the black box records for an extended time and may quickly try to overwrite the data. When you hire an attorney, they will draft a letter directing the trucking company to preserve the evidence from the black box.
Your Lawyer Will Conduct Their Investigation of Your Accident
Then, your attorney will continue to investigate your accident. They will take the traditional steps that any lawyer takes to scrutinize a truck accident and will:
- Locate and interview witnesses who saw the accident or what happened beforehand
- Obtain and review pictures from the scene of the accident
- Obtain the police accident report and any report conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
- Work with an accident reconstruction expert to determine the exact cause of the accident and learn their opinion about what happened.
A Lawyer Gets Even More Evidence When Your Case Goes to Court
Further, there is other evidence that the trucking company holds that can help your case. For example, you will want the maintenance records that show what the trucking company did to inspect and fix the truck. You may also obtain the driver's employment file showing their safety record. You can gather evidence showing that the trucking company has a track record of ignoring federal regulations that can be the basis for a punitive damages award.
You will only get your hands on this evidence when you have filed a lawsuit against the trucking company. Legal rules allow you to seek evidence the other party holds in the discovery process. If the evidence is relevant and your request is reasonable, the trucking company will have to hand the evidence over to you. A truck accident lawyer knows how to build your case in the discovery process. The more helpful evidence you can get, the better your negotiating position is when reaching a settlement agreement.
The Lawyer Determines Who You Might Sue in Your Case
Your attorney will determine who you must sue in your trucking accident claim, and most often, the trucking company will be the defendant in the case. There is a legal principle that trucking companies are responsible for anything their employees do.
Other defendants in a truck accident lawsuit can include:
- The manufacturer of a defective truck part that was to blame for your accident
- A third-party maintenance company that failed to inspect and maintain the vehicle properly
- A third-party cargo loader that was unable to load or secure the cargo properly
- The truck's dispatcher
There may be more than one defendant in a truck accident, and trucking companies cannot easily avoid liability because they outsourced a function to a third party. They must pay close attention to who they hire and terminate contractors if they are not performing safely.
Estimating Your Damages Is a Critical Task For a Truck Accident Lawyer
Your damages can be considerable in a truck accident case. Trucking companies must legally have at least $750,000 in coverage by federal regulations, and in reality, they will likely have far more coverage than that. They know that one large verdict can put them out of business because you are entitled to their assets if they do not have enough insurance coverage. In other words, there will be a lot more money available to pay for your damages than if you suffered an injury in a car accident case.
With significant money at stake, you must maximize your information before filing a claim. You should never consider dealing with the insurance company alone because you will not get close to the amount you deserve in a settlement.
How Your Truck Accident Attorney Will Determine the Value of Your Claim
Knowing the value of your trucking accident claim is critical because you need a starting point for your lawsuit or settlement negotiations. Without this information, you will be at a severe disadvantage. Insurance companies know what your claim is worth and aim to save as much as possible from that amount.
Your lawyer will study your claim to determine what damages you may deserve, which can consist of the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional distress
- Embarrassment and humiliation
If your loved one died in a truck accident, your family will be entitled to the following damages:
- The lost income that your loved one would have earned during the remaining time they had to work
- The grief that the family has suffered upon the tragic death of their loved one
- The loss of the close, loving relationship that the family had with the loved one
Your Lawyer Works with Experts to Quantify Your Damages
Your lawyer will work with several experts to quantify your damages so you can reach the right amount. These experts include:
- Medical experts to understand your prognosis
- Life care planning experts to understand the level of care that you may need for the rest of your life
- Vocational experts to learn what you may be capable of or what your professional trajectory would have been had your career not been interrupted
- Economic experts to know how much these costs may increase in the future
You only get one chance to settle a truck accident claim. If you do not get it right, you may run out of money in the future when you need it. The severity of your truck accident injuries may mean that you are incurring costs for the rest of your life.
An Attorney Pressures the Insurance Company to Pay Up
Your attorney will put pressure on the insurance company and the trucking company. Both entities have every reason to be afraid of you, and the number of massive verdicts against trucking companies has been growing. Juries are awarding plaintiffs tens of millions or more, even putting some trucking companies out of business. Realistically, the prospect of facing a jury should terrify all trucking companies, especially when they already know that their driver was at fault.
You Do Not Need to Pay Out of Pocket to Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer
Hiring a truck accident lawyer costs you nothing out of your pocket. Like any personal injury attorney, a truck accident lawyer agrees to represent you on a contingency basis, and you only have to pay them if you win your case. The legal system wants you to have help, no matter what your financial situation is at the time. If you do not win your case, you are not obligated to pay your lawyer anything for their time and services.
If you do not hire a lawyer, you will surely regret it. You may only learn of the consequences long after the ink is dry on the settlement agreement. Then, there will be nothing that you can do about it but wish that you had hired an attorney.
Always Hire a Truck Accident Attorney As Soon As Possible
If you or a loved one has been in an accident with a truck, understand the importance of hiring a truck accident attorney as soon as possible. These types of accidents can result in severe injuries or even fatalities, and navigating the legal process can be complex and overwhelming on your own.
One of the key reasons to hire a truck accident attorney is the preservation of evidence. Gathering and preserving evidence is crucial in building a strong case. A skilled attorney will know what evidence to collect, how to properly document it, and how to leverage it to strengthen your claim.
Truck accident evidence usually belongs to the trucking company or truck owner, and they might attempt to conceal or destroy evidence to avoid liability. As soon as you hire a lawyer, they can submit a demand letter to all parties to preserve any possible evidence. This ensures you can access what you need to prove your claim.
Another reason to hire a truck accident attorney right away is to understand the statutes of limitations in your jurisdiction. Statutes of limitations place a time limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit after an accident. These time limits vary from state to state, and missing them can result in your case being dismissed. An experienced attorney will be familiar with these limitations and ensure that your claim is filed within the required time frame, preserving your legal options.
When faced with a pedestrian accident involving a truck, hiring a Texas personal injury attorney should be your top priority. They will ensure that evidence is properly preserved, navigate the complex legal process, and fight for your rights and compensation. Don't navigate this challenging situation alone - reach out to a truck accident attorney as soon as possible to protect your interests and seek the justice you deserve.