I Was in an Accident with an 18-Wheeler and Its Clear They Were at Fault
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Being in a car accident can be a truly frightening experience. But being in an accident with a large commercial truck can be downright terrifying. Due to the sheer size differential between large commercial trucks and other vehicles on the road, injuries sustained in accidents can be much more severe. If you find yourself to be the victim of an accident with an 18-wheeler in which you were not at fault, it is important to remember that you have options.
When it comes time to determine who is at fault in your accident with a truck, this is generally a matter of identifying who was "negligent." In some cases, this may be an easy task, while in others, it may be quite difficult to determine which party was truly at fault. Negligence is a legal term used frequently in personal injury cases which carries with it four elements. The four elements of negligence are:
1. The defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff
Every driver owes other drivers a basic duty of care. This includes truck drivers. Drivers of vehicles cannot operate their vehicles in ways that would injure others. You should acquire information that shows proof that the defendant was not exercising reasonable care at the time of the accident.
2. The defendant breached that duty to the plaintiff
The second element is closely related to the first. For this element, you must show specifically how the defendant breached the duty to act as a “reasonable person.” Meaning, you must show that a reasonable person would not have acted in the same way that the driver of the 18-wheeler acted at the time of the accident.
3. The plaintiff was injured
Next, you must show that you were in fact, injured as a result of the accident. For this element, consider gathering all information related to the injury you sustained. This may include medical records and other expenses related to your injuries, and any repair bills for damage your vehicle sustained. This information will prove useful when it comes time to determine how much in damages you may be able to seek as well.
4. The defendant’s breach of duty caused the injury
Finally, you must prove that the defendant was both the actual and proximate cause of your injuries. For this step, an experienced truck accident injury attorney may be quite helpful as these legal terms may become very confusing very quickly. First, you must show that “but for” the defendant’s actions, you would not have been injured. Next, you must show that the injury was foreseeable.
Who May I Sue?
If you have been injured in an accident with an 18-wheeler, a very important thing to remember is that there may be various parties you may be able to sue. For this reason, consulting an attorney may be a smart choice. An attorney may be able to help determine which parties may be liable and how best to move forward with your claim. Liable parties in truck accident injury claims may include:
The trucking company
There are a variety of ways that a trucking company may be found at fault for a crash. Common ways in which trucking companies may be found at fault is through improper maintenance or improper inspection of the trucks. If the trucking company is aware or should have been aware of potential issues with its vehicles, it is the trucking company’s responsibility to repair the problems and be sure that the vehicle may be safely driven on the roads.
It is possible for injured parties also to sue the driver of the vehicle. This is most apparent in cases involving drugs or alcohol. If it may be determined that the driver of the vehicle was negligent and acting outside the scope of their employment, a claim against the driver of the 18-wheeler may be appropriate.
If it is determined that there was a fault with the vehicle itself or its components, the manufacturer may also be held responsible. Filing a claim against the manufacturer may require more technical evidence that may be harder to acquire by simple means. This claim may be complex and confusing, so therefore the assistance of an attorney may be quite beneficial.
It is possible that the accident was caused by poor road maintenance. State and local governments must provide safe roads for travel. When a road is improperly maintained, the roads then may pose significant dangers to vehicles and drivers on the road. If this is the case, the injured parties may be able to hold the responsible government entity accountable for damages and injuries sustained.
If you find yourself to be confused or overwhelmed as to who may be held responsible in your case, consider contacting an experienced truck accident injury attorney. An attorney may look through the specific facts of your case and determine your best routes to success.
How to File a Claim
If you have been injured in an accident with a large commercial vehicle, you may be able to seek compensation through a claim. The steps that must be taken when seeking compensation may be confusing at first, but taking the time to understand them may help immensely in the long run. Steps you may want to consider taking when it comes time to file a claim include:
1. Consult an Attorney
Truck accident injury claims may be difficult to understand without the experience that many truck accident injury attorneys have. Therefore, consulting an experienced truck accident injury attorney may be in your best interest. An experienced truck accident injury attorney may help you better understand the process and explain to you your options and potential outcomes.
2. Collect Evidence
Successful claims are usually supported by strong evidence. Evidence for such claims may include witness statements, medical expense information, police reports, photographs, and a detailed personal account of what happened. Here, an attorney may once again prove invaluable. An attorney may get the help of experts in the field or get more detailed information from sources you may not even consider.
3. Proceed to Settlement or Trial
Once the potentially liable parties are aware of your claim, those parties may then decide if they want to settle the claim out of court or proceed to trial. This may be a lengthy process, so it is important to be patient. Keep in mind the amount that you are seeking and be firm when it comes time for offers and counter-offers.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
While all cases may be different, experienced truck accident injury lawyers may prove beneficial in all sorts of ways. Lawyers may help simplify the process and make it easier for you to understand what is happening. They may also provide you with more accurate estimates of how much you may be able to seek and your chances of success after reviewing the specific facts of your case. While working with an attorney is not mandatory, it may be the smartest choice you make after being injured in an accident.
When considering whether or not you want to hire a lawyer, it is important to be aware of contingency fees. In a contingent fee arrangement, the lawyer is only paid if the claim is successful. Keep this in mind when considering the best lawyer to hire for your case.
Common Trucking Accident Injuries
Due to the sheer size differential between 18-wheelers and other vehicles on the road, accidents may result in extremely serious injuries. However, just like any other accident, injuries may range from simple cuts and bruises all the way to life-threatening injuries. Common trucking accident injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Internal injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
If you are able to show that another party was responsible for the accident, you may be able to seek compensation. If this is the case, it is important to remember that different states have different ways of handling the assessment of damages in truck accident claims. Therefore, consider reaching out to an attorney to determine how you may be compensated under your state’s laws. Common areas of compensation include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Change in lifestyle
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Statute of Limitations
If you have been injured in a truck accident and want to seek compensation for your injuries, it is important to be aware of what is meant by the phrase "statute of limitations." A statute of limitations is a legal time limit that applies to personal injury cases, among others. This legal time limit may vary from state to state, so before filing your claim, you should consider reaching out to an attorney to determine how this time limit applies to the facts of your case.
The statute of limitations for your state may also have exceptions depending on the specific facts of your case. For example, if children are involved, it is possible that the legal time limit does not initiate until the child reaches the age of 18. Additionally, if the accident caused a death, the legal time limit may be different as the claim may instead be a wrongful death claim instead of a regular personal injury claim. Again, for an accurate assessment of how the statute of limitations of your state applies to the specific facts of your case, consider reaching out to an experienced truck accident injury attorney.
CALL THE 18-WHEELER ACCIDENT LAWYERS AT ZINDA LAW GROUP
At Zinda Law Group, our accident attorneys have the experience and knowledge that has helped many victims seek compensation after suffering an injury from a trucking accident. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you build the strongest case possible and to seek the maximum compensation you deserve.
Our firm also believes that an injured victim should never have to worry about their ability to afford excellent legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you will pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your personal injury claim. That’s our No Fee Guarantee.
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