If you collide with a tractor-trailer and wonder whether you should get a lawyer for a truck accident, you have a few things to consider. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over one-third of long-haul drivers get into a severe crash during their careers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that almost 475,000 large truck accidents occurred nationwide in 2017.
With so many accidents, many victims decide to file lawsuits to help with their recovery and finances. Truck accidents can cause significant damage and severe injuries, resulting in expenses that insurance will not fully cover. A civil lawsuit can get you the monetary compensation you need to cover your recovery expenses.
Why You Should Get a Lawyer for Your Truck Accident Case
Hiring a lawyer might prove the most critical choice that you make when deciding to take legal action. The legal process regarding truck accident lawsuits can become complicated and challenging to navigate if you do not have experience or training. You have limited time to file your lawsuit and procedures that you must follow. On top of that, negotiating a settlement or taking your case to trial without legal support can cause significant stress. Working with a lawyer who can manage your case allows you to focus on your recovery while they focus on getting you the compensation you need.
Understanding Your Rights
You have the right under civil law to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for damages. If your truck accident resulted in substantial expenses, a lawsuit could help cover the bills and replenish your savings. However, depending on where the accident happened, a court must not find you shared blame for the crash, or that your share didn’t exceed a certain threshold.
Throughout the process, you have the right to legal counsel. Many crash victims rely on truck accident attorneys to help them file their lawsuit, compile evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and take their case to trial if needed. A lawyer could help you in many ways, and you might want to consult one before taking legal action.
The laws regarding commercial truck use typically place more restrictions on truck drivers than passenger car drivers. These laws typically make the truck driver liable for all or part of the accident. However, this does not always happen.
Trucking companies have responsibility for their drivers, including any damage they cause, under the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR) § 376.12(c)(1). Because of this rule, you can hold the trucking company liable if it pushed the driver to violate federal safety regulations or drive in a way that impacted their ability to travel safely. Common issues include driving too long without breaks, driving while intoxicated, and faulty equipment that the company’s mechanics did not inspect or replace.
Truck drivers and their companies usually have liability insurance coverage. Regardless, you can file a lawsuit against any liable party to collect financial compensation. It can help you pay for your recovery and get your life back on track.
Statute of Limitations
After your accident, you have a set amount of time to take legal action called the statute of limitations. Each type of civil legal action you could take has a statute of limitations. The statute of limitations varies by state and cause of action (the reason you file suit). You can talk with a truck accident lawyer who serves your area about how much time remains to file your lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, the court might dismiss your case.
Common Truck Accident Expenses
Truck accidents tend to cause substantial damage and injuries, leading to expensive repair and medical bills. There are several types of truck accident expenses you could claim, including:
- Medical care: You will likely go to the emergency room after a truck accident. Even if you do not feel like you suffered injuries, you should still have a doctor examine you. Some injuries, like whiplash, present several days after a collision. Other injuries can develop without you noticing. A lengthy hospital stay and ongoing medical treatment for any injuries you suffered can lead to hefty medical bills.
- Vehicle repair costs: Your vehicle will likely have extensive damage after the accident. Getting it repaired can become expensive, depending on the extent of the damage. An insurance company will find it cost-effective to replace your car rather than repair it in some cases. However, the amount they offer might not fully cover the replacement costs, leaving you out-of-pocket for the difference.
- Lost wages: If you must miss work for an extended period due to your accident-related injuries, your employer likely will not pay you. This lost income can affect your finances because you still must cover your regular expenses on top of substantial repair and medical bills. You can claim lost income (including wages, benefits, and bonuses) in the lawsuit to replace any pay that you missed.
This list does not cover all the truck accident expenses you could claim. Document your expenses so that you have an accurate idea of how much compensation you need to claim in your lawsuit. Underestimating the amount of compensation that you require could lead to long-term financial issues since you likely cannot file a follow-up lawsuit to recover further compensation.
Contact Us to Schedule a No-Risk Consultation
As you and your family decide if you should get a lawyer for a truck accident case, consider the benefits of having an attorney. Once you choose to move forward with a lawyer, call the offices of Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 223-5115 to discuss your case with our team.