Who is usually at fault for a truck accident?
The person most often at fault for a truck accident is the truck driver, who may have violated industry regulations or engaged in other dangerous behaviors. A trucking company also may be at fault if it failed to follow proper safety practices involving its drivers or vehicles. Sometimes a truck manufacturer is at fault if it designed or manufactured a defective truck or component. Other at-fault parties may include a maintenance company that failed to properly repair a truck, a cargo loader that overloaded a truck or failed to properly secure cargo, or a government agency that designed or maintained the road where the accident occurred.
When can I sue a trucking company after an accident?
You can sue a trucking company if it caused an accident through its unreasonably dangerous actions. These might include hiring or retaining an unqualified driver or failing to keep its trucks in a safe condition. You also can sue a trucking company if its employee driver caused the accident in the scope of their employment. The company would be liable even if it was not at fault.
What types of compensation can I get after a truck accident?
Compensation after a truck accident may include economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages cover financial losses, such as medical bills, the costs of future treatment, lost income and earning capacity, and property damage. Non-economic damages cover intangible harm, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and lost enjoyment of life. Punitive damages may be available as well if the defendant engaged in egregious misconduct.
Can I get compensation if a family member was killed in a truck accident?
Yes, you can potentially get compensation through a wrongful death claim. This requires proving that someone else was at fault for the accident. If you can show fault, you can recover damages for the financial support that your loved one would have provided had they survived. You also can potentially recover damages for more subjective losses based on your relationship, such as the loss of consortium, companionship, or affection.
How do I prove my truck accident case?
You can prove your truck accident case by presenting documentary evidence and witness testimony that demonstrate liability and damages. Evidence of liability may include the police report of the accident, photos of the scene, data from the “black box” of the truck, and testimony from eyewitnesses and accident reconstruction specialists. Evidence of damages may include medical bills, records of treatment, pay stubs, photos of damaged property, and testimony from treating physicians and medical and vocational experts. A victim also might provide testimony from friends and family members, in addition to photos or videos that show the impact of their injuries.
What happens if I was partly at fault for a truck accident?
If you were partly at fault for a truck accident, your damages likely will be reduced in proportion to your percentage of fault. For example, if you were 30 percent at fault, you could recover up to 70 percent of your damages. Many states modify this rule to prevent a victim from recovering any damages if they were at least 50 or 51 percent at fault. In a few states, the contributory negligence rule prevents a victim from recovering damages if they were at fault to any degree.
Why do truck accident cases usually settle?
Both sides in truck accident cases have incentives to settle rather than going to trial. A settlement allows a victim to get compensation more efficiently and allows a defendant to move forward without expending substantial resources. The victim avoids the stress of going through a trial, which may require testimony from the victim and discussions of their medical condition. Each side may want to resolve the case privately without putting the details on the public record. Going to trial involves a certain risk, since jury decisions are never certain.
Am I limited to workers’ compensation after a truck accident on the job?
You are not necessarily limited to workers’ compensation after a truck accident on the job. While you cannot sue your employer or a coworker, you can sue a third party that was at fault, such as another driver, a manufacturer of a defective truck part, or a government entity responsible for a defectively designed or poorly maintained road. This can help you get more compensation, such as full wage replacement and damages for pain and suffering.
How long do I have to file my truck accident lawsuit?
You must file your truck accident lawsuit within the statute of limitations in your state. If you do not meet this deadline, a court might dismiss your lawsuit even if you have a strong case. The statute of limitations can vary depending on the type of claim. If you are suing the government, you may need to file your notice of claim much earlier. A victim also should try to start the legal process as soon as possible to preserve evidence of liability.
Should I hire a lawyer for my truck accident case?
Yes, you probably should hire a lawyer for your truck accident case, especially if you suffered catastrophic injuries or permanent disabilities. Trucking companies and insurers fight these cases vigorously with the assistance of capable defense counsel. A truck accident lawyer will be familiar with industry regulations and can identify any violations. They can thoroughly investigate a case, gather diverse forms of evidence, and bring all the at-fault parties into the litigation, which can improve your chances of getting full compensation.
How much will it cost to hire a truck accident lawyer?
It probably will not cost anything upfront to hire a truck accident lawyer. These attorneys generally handle their cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that they do not charge fees for their services unless they recover compensation for a client. Attorney fees are calculated as a percentage of the compensation award. The percentage may vary depending on the stage that the case reaches. Most of these attorneys also offer free initial consultations, at which they can discuss the strength and value of a claim.