Like most auto accidents, truck accident cases typically settle before ever making it to court. However, as the person filing a claim, you are responsible for supplying sufficient evidence to prove liability and damages in your cases. This can be a tedious task for someone facing extensive physical and emotional injuries or grieving the loss of a loved one. A truck accident lawyer can provide sound advice and help you build a strong claim.
What Can You Do To Protect Your Right to Compensation Following a Truck Accident?
Generally, the more evidence you have to support your claim, the less likely you will need to go to court to receive compensation. Therefore, there are a few things you can doing the wake of a truck accident to collect evidence and protect your right to compensation:
- Get a police report. Call 911 or the non-emergency line to contact the police and report the accident as soon as it happens. When the police officers arrive, they will investigate and document their findings in a police report. You can use that report to support your negligence claim and prove the other driver was at fault.
- Seek medical attention. Truck accidents are commonly severe, given the nature of a large commercial vehicle crashing into a smaller, more vulnerable car. If you need emergency medical care, that is the priority. However, if your injuries are not as dire, you should still have a complete evaluation from a doctor immediately. They ensure you have no internal injuries and will provide medical records to support your damages claim.
- Document the scene. If you are physically able, take the time immediately following the crash to take photographs of everything, including any injuries you can see, the damages to your vehicle, and the position of both cars relative to the surroundings.
- Gather all contact information. Ask the truck driver for their personal and employer contact information, including the insurance providers. If there are any eyewitnesses present, request their info as well. Your attorney can contact and interview them later.
- Contact a truck accident lawyer. The sooner you speak with a truck accident lawyer, the more likely you will receive a fast and fair settlement. Truck accident cases are often complex, but an experienced attorney knows where to look for damages and how to support each claim.
Not everyone has the opportunity to collect evidence immediately following a crash, especially if they suffer severe injuries. If you lost someone you love and intend to file a wrongful death claim, you could still prove damages with other forms of evidence and the help of an attorney.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help You?
If you are on the fence about hiring legal representation, consider the tasks they perform and the advantages they bring to a case:
- Negotiating with the insurance company or defendant to reach a fast and fair settlement without needing to take your case to trial
- Investigating your accident independent of a police report or the insurance company's findings to gather strong evidence in support of your claim
- Interviewing all eyewitnesses
- Drafting interrogatories used to question the at-fault party during the deposition phase of discovery
- Hiring experts, such as an accident reconstruction specialist or healthcare professionals, to prove your claims of negligence and compensatory damages
- Protecting your rights and ensuring you make no mistakes that could affect your claim
- Providing compassionate support during a physically, financially, and emotionally challenging time
At the heart of any auto accident case is the constant back and forth between the claimant or plaintiff and the insurance company. Truck accident cases commonly result in significant losses for the victims and large payouts for the insurer. When the trucking company is involved, they have access to vast legal resources, and their insurers are even more incentivized to attempt to devalue your claim and shift blame to you. However, you do not have to face these challenges alone. Your truck accident attorney knows how to combat their arguments and build a solid claim to help you avoid court and get the compensation you need as quickly as possible. The first step is determining who is liable, which can be complex in a truck accident.
Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident?
You can generally label the liable party in a truck accident in one of two categories. It could be someone directly associated with the truck, such as the driver or the trucking company, or a third-party indirectly related to the truck. There are specific circumstances under which either party could be responsible for an accident.
The Truck Driver
Truck drivers are liable for their actions outside the scope of their jobs and any traffic violations they commit. For example, if they choose to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol or violate the hours of service laws mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and cause an accident, they would likely be liable for the resulting damages. However, independent drivers retain significantly more responsibility than drivers employed by a company and driving a company-owned truck. For example, independent drivers typically own their trucks and are responsible for any malfunctions that may result in an accident. However, a driver for a company would be less accountable for issues with the truck.
The Driver's Employer
The trucking company is responsible for vetting drivers for a history of traffic violations before onboarding them. Additionally, the company is liable if the truck driver violates industry standards or causes an accident while performing their job. The company is also in charge of maintaining truck safety and conducting regular inspections to find issues that could cause the truck to malfunction. Failure to uphold their duties would render them liable.
A Third-Party Company
Many truck accident victims are not aware that there are parties indirectly associated with the trucking industry that could be liable for an accident. They include:
- An outsourced mechanic in charge of inspections and routine maintenance could be liable for a truck malfunction.
- The truck or parts manufacturer could be liable if a malfunctioning part causes an accident.
- The party responsible for loading cargo into the trailer could be liable if overweight or improperly secured cargo causes the accident.
Truck collision cases sometimes have more than one defendant or multiple personal injury claims. The best way to find out who is liable is to talk to an experienced attorney.
When Should You Schedule an Appointment With a California Truck Accident Lawyer?
If you have questions about your truck accident case, this is no time too soon to speak with a truck accident lawyer in California. Liability can quickly become complex, and without experience in personal injury law, you risk undervaluing your claim or fighting a large company with unlimited legal resources. An experienced truck accident lawyer can relieve that burden and guide you through the process. Most importantly, they drastically improve your chances of settling and avoiding going to court for compensation. At Johnson Attorneys Group, we personalize our approach to every case, including providing 24-hour access to your team to ensure you feel comfortable throughout the entire process. We also understand the personal struggles a devastating accident can cause, physically, financially, and psychologically. Our goal is to get the justice you and your family deserve. Contact Johnson Attorneys Group at (800) 208-3538 to schedule your free case review and speak with a truck accident lawyer today. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.