How Do Truck Accident Claims Work?
If you are injured in an accident with an 18-wheeler, you may need to file a legal claim. You are most likely traumatized and focusing on your recovery process. You may wonder how the process works and what to do to file a claim.
When you are the victim of a truck accident, it is advisable to seek legal guidance and representation soon.
Your attorney will handle the issues surrounding the case so you can concentrate on getting better. You may win money for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other legal damages.
Hire an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
The first step is to hire a lawyer with experience in truck accidents. Your lawyer will investigate the accident, gather necessary documentation and evidence, talk to witnesses, and review the accident report. The sooner your attorney gets on board, the better.
The truck driver's insurance company will likely want to get a statement from you about the accident. Do not speak to the insurance company representative until you first talk to your attorney.
It is best to channel all communications about the accident through your lawyer. Using your attorney will ensure that you do not say something that could hurt your case, even if you mean well.
It also makes sure that your attorney controls any contacts made. So, the contacts can be addressed appropriately.
Typically, your attorney will take your case on a contingency fee basis. Contingency fee cases mean you will not need to pay for the attorney's fees unless your lawyer wins your case.
The cause of the accident must be determined, and the negligent driver needs to be determined. This determination is generally done by the insurance company or by the court.
Skilled lawyers use many resources to protect your rights and prove that the truck driver was negligent. However, your attorney will gather evidence on your behalf to prove negligence. Some avenues of investigation are analysis of the event data recorders and accident reconstruction.
The trucking company will have insurance defense attorneys at their disposal to defend the claim or payout as little as possible.
The insurance company may offer you a settlement. Do not accept or cash any settlement payment. Doing so will preclude you from taking further legal action and keep you from obtaining fair compensation.
Allow your attorney to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. The results are likely to be much better and more in line with your needs.
Negotiation and Settlement
Most accident claims end with a satisfactory settlement. Your attorney will litigate the matter to fight for the proper compensation for your injuries. Often the case will settle in mediation before trial.
Damages in a personal injury trial are assessed for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, disability, disfigurement, or other legal damages.
You may also be awarded punitive damages in exceptional circumstances. Punitive damages are punishment for gross negligence, such as driving while impaired. If a settlement cannot be reached, the matter will need to be resolved in court. But it is rare when a defendant's conduct warrants punitive damages.
If the case does not settle, a trial will be held. A judge or jury will decide the negligent party or parties and apportion fault in some states like Texas.
Your attorney will present your case and evidence proving the other driver's negligence and your damages. If you win the case, you will be awarded money. The other party must provide you with payment according to the court judgment.
Choosing a Lawyer for Your Case
Selecting a reputable local attorney is the first step in protecting your rights after an injury accident that was not your fault. Do not consider hiring an out-of-state attorney.
Look for an attorney experienced in trucking accidents. Finding the right lawyer for your case requires some investigation.