The term “motor vehicle accident” encompasses a wide range of situations, from car versus car crashes to car and pedestrian impacts, but truck accidents are in a league of their own. Although they are still “motor vehicles,” because of the immense size of the truck involved and the potential for serious damage, they are classified in the specific area of “truck accidents.”
An average commercial truck is around sixty feet long and weighs over 30,000 pounds by itself. Adding the cargo it carries adds multiple tons more of weight. This means that the impact it generates in an accident is going to cause exponentially more damage than a regular car can cause.
Property damage is usually devastating in a truck accident, but the injuries to the person in the car it hits are usually more severe as well. Many truck accidents result in total losses to the vehicles involved and many also result in fatalities to the driver or passengers, or both, of the car or truck.
If you were involved in a truck accident, here is everything you need to know to understand what happens next if you decide to file a lawsuit against the party that hit you.
If You Were Injured in a Truck Accident, What Can You Expect?
Truck accident liability is a tricky thing to track down. What if the truck malfunctioned because of faulty brakes? Your attorney will need to investigate the manufacturer and the retailer to determine who is at fault for the defective product. What if the truck driver had been driving for more than the legally allowed amount of hours because of an irrational deadline? Your attorney will have to track down who set that deadline and hold them accountable as well.
In a truck accident, there can be multiple at-fault parties, and it is your attorney’s job to sort through the facts and find every person or company that may be responsible and ensure that they are held accountable for your injuries. Because of the intricacies of this, truck accidents can often take longer to settle than regular motor vehicle accidents.
However, also because of the severity of the accident and the multiple levels of parties at fault, the damages awarded may be greater as well. In most of these cases, you as the injured party may receive compensation with a favorable verdict for the following:
- past, present and future medical costs,
- lost wages,
- physical pain and suffering,
- mental anguish,
- loss of enjoyment of life due to physical limitations,
- emotional suffering due to disfigurement,
- loss of future earning capacity, and
- loss of consortium.
The amount of compensation you receive for your damages in any accident is contingent on the at-fault party’s insurance policy and their financial situation. In a truck accident, those policy limits are usually much higher because most of these vehicles have federal requirements for the minimum insurance policies that they must hold.
If you were injured in a truck accident, the expert attorneys here at Hershey Injury Law can help you to obtain compensation so you can focus less on the financial stress of your suffering and more on the road to recovering and moving forward with your life.
What Happens in a Fatal Truck Accident?
Due to the extensive size and weight of commercial trucks, it is quite understandable that accidents with these vehicles can result in fatalities. Like with any wrongful fatality, if you lost a loved one due to a truck accident, you can file a wrongful death suit to help you handle the financial loss and emotional devastation you are likely experiencing.
While a lawsuit can never bring back your loved one, it can help you ensure that the party responsible is held accountable for their death. The compensation that you may be entitled to can help offset some of your stress as well, since it often covers things like:
- burial and funeral expenses,
- loss of financial support,
- loss of emotional guidance, love, and counsel,
- loss of companionship, and
- loss of potential inheritance.
In addition to those damages, you may also be awarded compensation for any medical expenses, pain and suffering, and mental anguish that your loved one had to suffer through before succumbing to injuries due to the truck accident.
We at Hershey Injury Law can’t take away the pain of your loss, but we will be a compassionate and caring guide to help get you through this next part of your journey with the least amount of stress possible.
Proving Fault – What Do You Need to Do to Win Your Truck Accident Case?
The intricate legalities of a commercial truck accident creates a complex web of fault that must be sorted through by your attorney to prove that the injuries you sustained were a direct result of that party’s negligence.
Negligence, in legal terms, means that someone who owed you a duty of care failed to fulfill that duty. They were supposed to behave in a certain way that accommodated for your safety, and they did not do so. Their neglect caused you harm.
To prove that a truck driver or a trucking company was negligent, there are a few things that you and your attorney will have to prove. The burden of proof is on you, since you filed the lawsuit and are alleging the other party’s negligence. Proving their actions were neglectful means showing without any reasonable doubt that:
- you as the plaintiff were injured or suffered a loss,
- that injury or loss was due to the defendant’s negligence, and
- the defendant failed to provide reasonable actions to perform their duty of care.
Each aspect of these must be proven without doubt by your attorney, which is why it is crucial to hire an expert in the area of trucking accident law, like those of us here at Hershey Injury Law.
To prove every point, you will need to provide sufficient evidence, which your attorney will help you to obtain. Even one piece of crucial evidence that is missing can be enough to insert doubt into the jury’s mind, so this is a careful process.
While not all cases will go to trial, since many will settle out of court through mediation and negotiations, it is important to create each step as though it will go all the way to the courtroom. To do this, you and your attorney will work together to compile evidence. Evidence consists of documentation such as:
- photos, videos, and police reports of the accident, damages, and injuries sustained,
- your medical records for treatment of injuries sustained in the accident,
- medical bills of that treatment,
- any “black box” or recorded data from the truck itself,
- the logbooks of the truck driver,
- maintenance records and policies of the truck company,
- witness statements from anyone, including the paramedics and law enforcement on the scene, that had anything to do with your accident,
- and the trucking company’s actual personnel records for the driver involved in the accident.
This basic evidence may also be reinforced through expert testimony. If your attorney feels that an area of the case can be backed up through the support of an expert witness, he or she may call in an independent source that is considered an expert in a certain area.
Expert witnesses are often used to provide their opinion as an authority on a subject, such as a medical expert commenting on the exact extent of your injuries or the forensic toxicologist who can elaborate on how the use of drugs or alcohol contributed to the accident. Your possible medical expert will depend on the details of your case.
Why You Need a Truck Accident Expert
Commercial truck accidents are often devastating to the people in the accident and their family and close friends who want to provide support after the incident. When you are trying to move forward with your life but you are still stuck in the complex process of getting the compensation that you deserve so that you can handle your bills, the stress is even greater.
A truck accident expert knows the federal regulations and state laws that need to be addressed in order for you to get the compensation you so rightly deserve. These laws and regulations differ depending on the state you are in and the requirements of the truck that hit you.
A regular personal injury attorney may be able to learn all of these legalities during your case, but if they are not experienced, they may not know what to expect and prepare for next. It is a pretty foregone conclusion that the trucking company that hit you is going to have a team of legal experts who know what they are doing and will be creating a defense that makes them look at least partially not at-fault, and you partially at-fault.
That’s why it is imperative for you to hire experts like those of us at Hershey Injury Law. Our track record with commercial truck accidents proves that we know what we are doing and we are willing to put the effort in to investigating all avenues and tracking down the evidence necessary to win your case.
Call or contact us today to schedule a free consultation to see how we can help you get the compensation you deserve for your truck accident injuries.