If you suffered injuries or losses related to a trucking accident, you may have many questions and wonder, what does a truck accident lawyer actually do to help personal injury victims? Truck accident lawyers can help victims understand their legal rights, help them calculate appropriate compensation amounts for injuries and losses, determine liability, negotiate with insurance companies on a victim’s behalf, and represent them if the case goes to trial.
Help Victims Understand Their Legal Rights
One of the most important aspects of a truck accident lawyer’s job is to genuinely help victims understand their legal rights. Many victims suffer serious injuries and losses from a truck accident leading to substantial medical bills, loss of wages due to the inability to return to the workplace, property damage, and pain and suffering. Victims may not understand that they have the legal right to pursue all types of related expenses to their trucking accident.
A truck accident lawyer can help a victim understand how long they have to file a claim (according to the Judicial Branch of California that is two years from the date of the trucking accident), how much compensation they may have a legal right to receive, and can help them understand their legal options regarding pursuing compensation from liable parties following their trucking accident. Every trucking accident case has a unique set of facts and circumstances and therefore every victim will have the ability to receive personalized answers regarding their unique legal situation and options from a truck accident lawyer.
Help Victims Calculate Compensation Amounts
One of the most challenging aspects of truck accident cases is the calculation of compensation amounts. Many victims of trucking accidents do not understand that they may have more right to compensation than simple wages and medical bills. For example, victims of trucking accidents may have the legal right to pursue the following in their trucking accident claim:
- Medical bills and costs (doctor visits, hospitalization, ambulance transportation, diagnostic testing, surgery, prescription medications, special medical accommodations, medical devices, and in-home medical needs such as assistants, etc.)
- Loss of wages (direct loss of any salary or wages due to missing work as a result of the truck accident, missed bonuses and/or promotions, loss of employee benefits and/or pension contributions, missed transportation allowances)
- Loss of future wages if unable to return to work
- Loss of consortium (loss of family members to interact with a victim following an accident)
- Loss of enjoyment of life (loss of a victim to engage in previous activities and hobbies)
- Psychological counseling as a result of emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages (available in some cases where the trucking accident involved exceptionally egregious actions or behaviors)
Help Victims Determine Liability
Many victims of trucking accidents remain unaware that several different parties can remain responsible and liable for their injuries and losses. Trucking accidents are quite different from passenger vehicle accidents. Truck drivers and trucking companies have a legal responsibility to follow guidelines established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In fact, if any large Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) fails to follow any regulations established by the FMCSA, they can receive serious penalties and have liability for the injuries and losses of a victim involved in a trucking accident. Some of the parties that may have responsibility for a trucking accident include the following:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The trucking maintenance company
- The cargo loading company
- The owner of the truck (if the owner differs from the trucking company
- The manufacturer of a defective truck part or component
In some cases, more than one of these entities may remain responsible and liable for a victim’s injuries and losses. A truck accident lawyer can help a victim make determinations regarding liability through an independent investigation, issuing spoliation letters to preserve evidence, and hiring expert witnesses.
Negotiate with Insurance Companies on the Victim’s Behalf
In many cases, victims feel an incredible amount of stress following a truck accident related to the necessary negotiations that need to occur with insurance companies in order to receive a fair and just settlement. Without proper negotiations, victims are often left with settlement offers that simply do not completely cover all of their losses related to a trucking accident. A truck accident lawyer can help ensure that a victim receives an appropriate compensation amount by negotiating with insurance companies on the victim’s behalf in order to receive an appropriate settlement amount. Insurance companies often use unscrupulous and manipulative tactics in order to offer low settlement offers to victims, and a truck accident lawyer can work to ensure that a victim receives the amount they deserve following their truck accident.
Represent a Victim in a Court of Law
If negotiations with an insurance company prove ineffective, a victim has the right to seek legal recourse in a court of law for the compensation they deserve. A truck accident lawyer has the ability to represent the victim’s legal rights in a court of law and ensure that their legal rights remain protected.
The preservation of evidence is always important in any kind of an accident; however, trucking accidents pose unique and complicated facets that require the immediate preservation of evidence. Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), all Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV) must follow certain regulations established by the federal government. A truck accident lawyer can issue a spoliation letter which requires that the truck driver, trucking company, cargo-loading company, manufacturer, or other entities which may have responsibility for the truck accident, preserve all evidence related to the trucking accident, ensuring that a victim’s right to bring a legal claim remain preserved as well.
Hire Independent Expert Witnesses
In some truck accident cases, a truck accident lawyer must contact independent expert witnesses to confirm or corroborate information involved in the trucking accident case. For example, some of the types of independent expert witnesses that a truck accident lawyer may contact and hire for the case could include accident reconstruction specialists or medical experts. These experts will help confirm the determinations made by a truck accident lawyer regarding liability and responsibility regarding a trucking accident.
Conduct an Independent Investigation of a Truck Accident Case
Insurance companies will conduct their own investigations of the trucking accident; however, these investigations are not considered independent investigations as they have a vested interest in attempting to remove liability from the truck driver or trucking company. As a result, in some cases, an independent investigation needs to occur in order to preserve the rights of the victim. A truck accident lawyer can conduct an independent investigation to examine whether or not a truck driver:
- Had an appropriate operating license under FMCSA Title 49 §383.3
- Followed required federal Hours of Service regulations
- Had the cargo load correctly secured
The investigation will also look into whether a manufacturing defect caused the accident, whether the trucking company failed to maintain or repair the vehicle, whether the trucking company failed to ensure that the truck driver had a clean background check, or whether or not the truck driver or trucking company have any previous complaints regarding safety filed against them. There are numerous answers an independent investigation will provide, and a truck accident lawyer can help conduct those investigations in order to determine the cause of the trucking accident, and therefore liability and responsibility for a victim’s injuries and losses.
Learn How a Trucking Accident Lawyer Can Help Your Case
You may wonder, what does a truck accident lawyer do, and how can a truck accident lawyer help you with your trucking accident case. Learn more by contacting our legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 223-5115. We can help you understand your legal rights and how a truck accident lawyer can help you build a personal injury case, determine liability, calculate your compensation amounts, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and represent you in court if necessary.