Why is it necessary to hire an attorney to handle a truck accident injury claim?
As a driver, you probably naturally change lanes to avoid trucks on the road. Your instincts are right. Considering that trucks can outweigh the average 4,009–pound car by almost 20 times, injuries from truck accidents are especially devastating. And it’s no secret that these accidents can also be deadly. Florida is one of the ten states that account for 51% of fatal large truck and bus crashes. While many effects of a truck accident are irreversible, there are legal actions you can take to lessen the harsh impacts on your life.
Do I Need to Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?
If you have been involved in a truck accident, you do have the option to represent yourself and file all of the necessary paperwork on your own. However, less than 17% of Americans choose to take that route. This may be due to it being a difficult process to manage on your own.
Your attorney will help you to collect evidence, guide you through the various stages of the process, and prove the defendant’s negligence. This will give you the time and peace of mind you need to heal.
Financial compensation from the guilty party won’t make up for the physical damage. However, it will help reduce the burden of medical bills and lost wages as well as compensate you for your pain and suffering.
Determining liability after a truck accident is more complicated than it is after a typical car accident. That’s because more than two parties are involved.
Commercial Truck Drivers
Over 22% of workplace deaths caused by injuries happened when alcohol was involved. Truck drivers who are on the road for long hours may turn to substances to get them through their long days. Alcohol makes every driver less capable, but maneuvering a truck up to 80,000 pounds is especially difficult and dangerous. A truck driver who is intoxicated at the time of an accident will more than likely be at-fault.
The trucking company that hires the driver is often the responsible party. The company may skip proper inspections or cut other corners to meet demanding deadlines.
Employers have to comply with federal hours of service regulations. They can only allow their drivers to work for a set number of hours within a seven- to eight-day work period, typically limiting drivers to 11 hours per day. If a truck company has exhausted a worker beyond these regulations, it can be held liable.
Truck Manufacturer and Owner (or Maintenance Crew)
When a truck doesn’t perform like it should, that could be because of a manufacturer, a cargo loader, a maintenance crew, or the truck owner.
The driver’s employing company doesn’t necessarily own the trucks it uses. When a truck is rented or leased out, the owner should ensure that the truck is in working order. That means maintaining brakes, fluids inside the truck, electronic systems, and even the tires. Any aspect that is overlooked could result in an accident. Likewise, manufacturers are responsible for making sure the vehicles and parts they produce are functional.
Cargo loaders should adhere to weight limits and properly secure every item that a truck is transporting. An overloaded truck means an overworked engine, and unsecured items can fall off and hit other vehicles or cause dangerous road blocks.
Comparing Negligent Parties
Regardless of who is at fault, an experienced lawyer can help you discover who caused an accident. Sometimes, a truck accident happens because multiple parties were negligent. Since Florida is a comparative fault state, different percentages of fault can be assigned to more than one party that contributed to the accident.
Choosing the Best Strategy
Following an accident, it’s tough to think about anything other than the health and safety of you and your passengers. However, documenting the truck accident is an important part of helping all accident victims in the long run. Any evidence you collect could be a key piece your lawyer needs to defend you. Collect as much as you safely can.
Be sure to get a copy of the accident report and any medical records as well as information from all parties involved. If any witnesses were at the scene, gather their contact information in case you have further questions at a later time. Take as many photos of the vehicles and surrounding area as possible.
One golden rule to remember is that the insurance company is not on your side. Avoid speaking directly to anyone who represents the trucker or trucking company. While you’re under duress, they may try to persuade you to settle for a small settlement or lead you into saying an incriminating statement.
Experience with Lawyers and Insurance Companies
The lawyers for the defense will gather evidence against you and will try every tactic they know to undermine the severity of your injuries. With the guidance and expertise of a personal injury attorney, you can successfully challenge them.
Most trucking accidents get settled out of court during negotiations and in processes called mediation and arbitration. Before deciding whether to go to trial, sometimes even before you file legal action, your attorney will meet with the insurance company’s attorneys.
They may discuss previous cases similar to yours, considering how the judges ruled and how those cases were settled. This gives your lawyer an opportunity to evaluate the other side’s strategies and to negotiate the best possible outcome for you.
Getting You the Best Settlement
Settlements can be tricky. Sometimes the devil is in the details. Even when they agree to pay, many insurance companies will try to spread out any settlement payments over a long period of time so that they can make a return on your money for as long as possible. Meanwhile, your bills will be piling up. Hiring a personal injury attorney gives you the best opportunity to secure a payment arrangement that meets your needs.
Helping You Through the Legal Process
The legal process for a trucking accident is long, tedious, and full of potholes. This process is often physically and emotionally draining. An experienced law firm can guide you through the pitfalls and steer you in the right direction. They can also advise you about whether a settlement offer is worth taking as well as when to counter an offer or go to trial.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one is the victim of a truck accident, the experienced attorneys of The Eberst Law Firm will protect your interests and fight for maximum compensation. We will review your case in detail to determine all parties responsible for your suffering. Contact us online or call us at 772-225-4900.