Why You Need A Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, then you could have a serious claim for damages under the law — that being said, you’ll want to explore the possibility of a lawsuit with an experienced tractor trailer accident lawyer.
Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we operate a legal network of skilled local attorneys, many of whom have experience litigating truck crash disputes. Case experience matters. For example, a tractor trailer accident lawyer will understand how to navigate such claims, and will do so in a way that maximizes potential compensation.
We understand that moving forward with a dispute can be scary, even overwhelming. We can help. The attorneys in our network offer free legal consultations so that you can have your case evaluated with no obligation to move forward if you decide against it. Contact us today to get started.
However, if you’d like to learn more about truck accidents and various strategic aspects of the disputes, then keep reading!
Why are truck accidents so serious?
Truck accidents often result in more severe consequences (as compared to other types of automobile accidents, such as car accidents). Why? Well, trucks are generally heavier. This means that the force of impact made by a truck — even at the same speeds as a smaller vehicle — is greater.
A greater force of impact is much more likely to lead to a more severe injury.
Why are truck accidents different?
Truck accidents not only cause more severe injuries, but the main difference between a truck accident and — say — a car accident, is that truck accidents very often involve a commercial entity. In other words, the truck may be owned by a company, or the driver may have been working for their employer at the time of the accident (perhaps making a delivery). This has a legal impact, as the injured plaintiff can potentially sue the vehicle owner or the employer for damages.
Employers are liable in negligence disputes (i.e., negligence-based injury lawsuits) under certain circumstances. In fact, you — the plaintiff — can potentially sue them through a doctrine known as “vicarious liability.” Thus, you can impose all the liability that their employee has accrued on the employer.
Why is this valuable?
Individuals do not always carry significant insurance coverage. By contrast, employers often do carry significant insurance coverage. And so when you sue an employer, you’ll gain access to a larger pool of resources from which to claim damages. It’s also worth noting that lawsuits are “public” and many companies want to avoid the negative publicity associated with a lawsuit. To avoid this, they may be willing to payout an early settlement.
Damages in a truck crash case
In a truck accident, as in other accident disputes, you are entitled to recover compensation for your various losses. These losses differ from case-to-case — they are unique to your particular circumstances. Consider the following losses for which you may be entitled to claim damages:
- Medical expenses
- Wage loss
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Property loss
- And more
Damages can vary, but it can be a challenge to conceive of how it all works. Let’s use an example for clarity.
Imagine that we have two different accident scenarios, A and B. In both scenarios, the plaintiff has been similarly injured. However, in scenario A, the plaintiff misses a year of work. They would be entitled to recover their yearly salary, due to the lost wages. In scenario B, the plaintiff has been unemployed long-term, so they cannot recover any lost wages. Their damages claim is likely to be quite a bit lower as a result.
Fault Basics — what if you’re partially at-fault, too?
If you’re partially at-fault for the truck accident, that will impact your case in different ways depending on the state jurisdiction that applies. Laws differ from state-to-state, and fault doctrines vary as well.
There are three fault doctrines that are applied across the United States:
- Pure comparative fault
- Modified comparative fault
- Contributory fault
Pure comparative fault
In a pure comparative fault state, you can be 99 percent at-fault and still sue for compensation after an accident. That being said, you’ll only be entitled to recover a percentage of the damages total (minus your contribution of fault). So, for example, suppose that you weren’t wearing a seatbelt, and the court finds that you were 50 percent at-fault — the damages are $100,000. You would only be entitled to recover $50,000.
Modified comparative fault
Modified comparative fault works the same as pure comparative fault, with one simple difference: if you are more than 50 percent at-fault, then you are barred from recovering compensation.
There are only a few contributory fault states in America. Bear in mind that contributory fault is the strictest and least “plaintiff-friendly” doctrine. Simply put, if you are at all partially at-fault for your accident (even just 1 percent), then you will be barred from compensation.
But that isn’t the whole story. There are legal arguments that your attorney may be able to put forth to circumvent this prohibition, so don’t assume that you cannot recover — effective legal strategies may be available.
Legal challenges after a commercial trucking accident
After a truck accident, there are several considerations to keep in mind. These can help you to avoid undermining your own legal claims. Let’s take a look at a few.
- Avoid speaking to insurers without an attorney. Insurance adjusters are friendly and willing to talk — don’t be fooled. They want you to communicate all the details of the accident so that you will disclose a piece of information that they can use to reject or lowball your insurance claim. As a non-attorney, you may not be aware of all the little statements you make that could impact your payout. Avoid this issue by having an attorney speak to insurers on your behalf.
- Don’t wait too long to bring your claims. Every legal claim has a “statute of limitations” deadline that applies. In a standard truck accident injury case, it can vary, with some states implementing a two-year deadline, and others implementing a four-year deadline — and everything in-between. Don’t wait until the deadline passes. If you do, then the courts will automatically dismiss your claims — preventing you from being able to recover compensation through the legal process.
- There may be multiple defendants. In truck accident cases, as in many other accident disputes, there are often multiple defendants that you can sue. Don’t assume that the only at-fault party is the driver. Depending on how the factual investigation goes, you could be entitled to sue various other defendants, such as the City, the employer of the defendant, the auto manufacturer, and more.
Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a Free Legal Consultation
Injured in a tractor trailer accident? You may be entitled to sue for damages. Accident-related injuries can have serious consequences for your life, from wage loss to medical expenses, long-term disability, and more. It’s important to determine whether you have a legal claim so that you can pursue compensation.
Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 to get connected to one of our agents, who can put you in touch with an experienced tractor trailer accident lawyer in just 10 minutes or less. You will then have access to a free legal consultation. During this consultation, the attorney will evaluate your case and give you guidance on next steps.
There’s no obligation to continue if you decide against it, so don’t delay! Contact us today to get started. A tractor trailer accident lawyer is waiting to speak to you about your case.