Who Pays for My Injuries If I Was Hit By an 18-Wheeler?
CALL (512) 246 2224 TO SPEAK WITH 18-WHEELER ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS FOR FREE
Any accident that happens on the road can result in severe injuries. These injuries can be magnified even further when the accident involves an 18-wheeler, given their size relative to the other vehicles on the road.
As anyone who has been in a significant accident before can attest to, severe injuries often mean astronomically high medical bills. If you have been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, there are steps that you can take in order to seek compensation from the parties responsible for your injuries. Call Zinda Law Group at (512) 246 2224 for a free consultation with an 18-wheeler accident lawyer.
Who Pays my Medical Bills?
If you have been injured in an accident, you will quickly come to realize how expensive medical treatment can be. Before talking about insurance coverage, it is important to note the general rule that a defendant, i.e., the person you are suing, is not responsible for paying your medical bills as they are incurred. This does not mean that they are off the hook, however. If they are found to be at fault in court, then they will be required to pay your damages, a large part of which will be your medical treatment. That is to say, a defendant may end up covering your medical bills as a part of your damages, but generally speaking, you are required to pay for bills as they come in.
When it comes to what an insurance company will be required to pay for, the end result depends on whether the accident happened in a “no-fault” or “at-fault” state. In no-fault systems, each insurance company will pay for the injuries of their respective policyholders up to the limits of the no-fault coverage. In fault systems, the insurance company will be required to pay based on the percentage fault assigned to their policyholder, but you will generally be responsible for your bills as they accumulate. Past this, your health insurer, if you have health insurance, may pay your medical bills according to the specifics of your health insurance policy.
What to Do If You’ve Been in an Accident With an 18-Wheeler
After a serious accident, it is important to follow a few key steps in order to make sure that you are healthy and preserve any legal claim that you might have.
- Seek Medical Attention: Address any medical concerns that you may have as soon after the accident as possible. For one, injuries may begin to compile and worsen if they are not taken care of quickly. Also, a large amount of time between the accident and your medical appointments may be used by other parties as evidence that your injuries are not very serious.
- Document Your Medical Appointments: Make sure the keep very thorough records of your visits to various medical professionals. In addition, ask them for a complete copy of your medical records.
- File a Report: If you did not file a report with the police at the scene of the accident, contact them and do so. Be as thorough as possible while the details of the accident are fresh in your mind.
- Document the Accident: At this step, gather any and all information that pertains to the accident. This can include the contact information for any potential witnesses, any video or photo evidence of the scene that may be available, and a thorough recounting of the circumstances surrounding the accident as you remember them.
- Contact an Attorney: An experienced attorney will be able to guide you through the legal process and build arguments based on the facts of your specific case to seek maximum compensation. In addition, an attorney can advise you at the outset whether your case is worth pursuing, which can prevent you from wasting your time on a case that may not be successful.
Who Can I Sue?
A lawsuit begins with a well-reasoned selection of who, exactly, to bring the suit against. Depending on the specific facts of your case, the proper party could include:
Truck drivers are heavily regulated by federal law in order to ensure that they are driving safely. One such regulation includes restrictions on the amount of time that truckers are allowed to be on the road per day. If a truck driver is driving in violation of this or any other federal law when the accident occurred, then they are likely a proper party to bring suit against.
The Trucking Company
Most truck drivers are employees of a trucking company, which means that an accident typically involves more than the driver themselves. A trucking company may share in the liability if they negligently hired the driver, did not maintain their fleet in good repair or allowed their drivers to violate the applicable federal regulations.
Because trucks are such large machines that are used on a very regular basis, they require a lot of attention from mechanics. If a mechanic fails to use reasonable care in servicing a vehicle, and that failure ends up causing an accident, then they may be at least partially liable.
On occasion, an accident will be caused because the manufacturer of the truck failed to use reasonable care in the production of the truck. For example, a faulty manufacturing process may leave a truck with faulty brakes, which may, in turn, cause an accident.
How to File a Claim
If you may believe that you may have a legal claim against one or multiple of the parties listed above, then it is critical that you act quickly, but avoid making any impulsive moves that may jeopardize your position. The stages most claims will go through look something like this:
1. Contact an Attorney
This is the first, and most important step in the proceedings. An attorney may be able to advise you on whether you have a compensable claim, and what the next steps for you should be. In addition, they will be able to guide you in communications with your insurance company, which will prevent you from saying anything damaging to your claim.
2. Gather Information
Once your attorney has agreed to take your case, they can begin to gather the relevant evidence and information. This includes any available video or photo evidence, medical records, and interviewing witnesses. At this point, it is important to have an experienced attorney who will be able to sift through the mountains of evidence and ascertain what is important.
3. Negotiate a Settlement
Once your attorney has a handle on the facts of the case, they can begin to negotiate a favorable settlement with the other parties involved. Your attorney’s experience with the law and with similar cases will be critical at this point.
4. Go to Trial
Despite what legal shows on television may show, cases rarely go to trial. Most cases settle well before they head to the courtroom. However, if settlement negotiations break down, then going to trial is the next step.
Other Types of Damages From 18-Wheeler Accidents
In legal terms, “damages” are simply the monetary remedy that may be paid as compensation for an injury. Generally, speaking, damages can be grouped into the following two categories:
- Economic: Economic damages include things like medical bills, damage to your vehicle, and lost wages from being unable to work. Economic damages can typically be proven with a relatively high degree of certainty.
- Non-Economic: It is a bit more difficult to put an exact number on non-economic damages, but that does not mean that they may not be sought in a lawsuit. Non-economic damages typically refer to the pain and suffering that occurred as a result of your injuries.
Common Injuries from Truck Accidents
While any automobile accident may lead to severe injuries, the injuries stemming from a crash with a truck are typically more severe. A few of the more common types of injuries include:
- Broken Bones: The sheer force involved in a collision with an 18-wheeler means that broken bones are relatively common. These can range from minor fractures to significant breaks requiring surgery.
- Neck and Spine Injuries: These sorts of injuries can entail relatively minor whiplash or major issues with your spine. Because these areas are involved in any sort of movement, they can come with a lot of pain and require extensive therapy to totally heal.
- Head Injuries: Head injuries can be among the most difficult to diagnose because they are not always immediately apparent. Also, head injuries can be caused absent a direct blow to the skull. If you think you may have sustained a head injury, no matter how minor it may seem, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately.
Statute of Limitations
For every type of personal injury claim, there is an amount of time within which you have to file a case. This time is known as the “statute of limitations.” If the statute for bringing a truck accident claim is three years, for example, then you will have three years starting the date of the accident to bring a claim. Claims brought outside of this window will likely be thrown out. The statute is different in every state, but to avoid any potential problems, it is best to seek the advice of an attorney as soon after the accident as possible.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE
If you or a loved one has been injured in an 18-wheeler accident, the truck injury attorneys at Zinda Law Group have the knowledge and resources to help you pursue maximum compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and more. Call us today at 888-309-6676 to receive a free legal consultation from one of our truck accident lawyers.
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