7 Reasons To Hire A Lawyer After An 18-Wheeler AccidentLast updated on: November 14, 2022
When choosing to pursue a personal injury claim, there are many legal formalities and deadlines that plaintiffs must navigate in order to preserve their right to sue.
If you or a loved one was the victim of a semi-truck accident, contact Zinda Law Group today for your free consultation.
18-Wheeler Truck Collision Cases Are Complex
When a client hires a personal injury attorney, the attorney becomes responsible for filing your claim on time, meeting with the opposing party, and all other legal formalities required to get your claim in front of a judge or jury.
Moreover, if the attorney fails to properly handle your case and your claim suffers as a result of the attorney missing a deadline, you may be able to recover from the attorney.
As a preliminary matter, consult an attorney to determine if your filing window has closed. The “statute of limitation” refers to a state law that places a strict time limit on the plaintiff’s right to file suit in civil court. In most states, a person must file for personal injury no later than two to three years after the date of the accident.
In addition to the statutory deadline, you must comply with numerous other case-specific and court-specific deadlines or you risk facing court sanctions. Further, there are conferences, settlement negotiations, and other discovery tools that will require the participation of you or your attorney.
Hiring an 18-wheeler personal injury attorney will allow you to shift the burden of complying with the legal procedures and formalities of filing a lawsuit onto an experienced professional.
Trucking companies often deny responsibility
It is the trucking company’s responsibility to ensure drivers are trained and vehicles are maintained. A company’s failure to keep up with those obligations may cause an accident. However, you will seldom find a trucking company that accepts liability outright.
The trucking company will likely hire its own team of lawyers to prepare its defense against you. You might even face counterclaims that you were at fault or partially at fault.
An attorney can prepare appropriate responses to the trucking company and help prove that the trucking company must take responsibility for the accident.
Getting maximum compensation
Generally, there are two categories of damages available to plaintiffs for compensation: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Losses that can be easily documented and quantified are economic damages. To determine the extent of these, personal injury attorneys look at a host of expenses including:
- Any expenses for medication or medical treatment that was provided in connection with the initial accident.
- Any necessary expenses for medical treatment, medication, or therapies that will be necessary in the future.
- The value of any damaged property.
- Whether you lost any wages as a result of the injury or recovery period.
- Whether your ability to earn wages in the future has been impaired or impacted by the accident.
Non-economic damages refer to the losses that are more difficult to quantify monetarily. To determine non-economic damages, personal injury attorneys take into consideration:
- Any emotional distress or “pain and suffering” caused by the injury.
- Any permanent physical impairment or disfigurement that results in the loss of enjoyment of life.
- Any other non-financial inconveniences you may have experienced or will experience as a result of the injury.
The challenge with establishing non-economic damages is deciding how to place a value on the intangible losses and then to justify this value to an insurance company, judge, or jury.
For this reason, many personal injury claims require experts to testify to these quantities. Lawyers regularly work with such experts and can help you prove your non-economic damages.
Trucking Insurance Policy Is Different
18-wheeler truck accident cases often involve multiple layers of insurance policy coverage. For example, the company that hired the truck driver will have insurance; the driver may have their own insurance; the truck itself can often have its own insurance; and in some cases, even the cargo on board will be insured. A personal injury attorney will keep you in touch with all of these parties throughout the litigation and will help you maximize the amount of compensation you can receive from each.
After an accident, the insurance company for the at-fault party should act in good faith to resolve any personal injury claims against their insured, working directly with the claimants. However, some insurance companies engage in bad faith practices to avoid taking liability for a claim. Some bad faith practices and dilatory (delay) tactics that insurance companies may employ including:
- Failing to timely investigate a claim.
- Causing undue delays.
- Providing wrong or misleading information to claimants.
- Requesting unnecessary documentation.
- Outright denying payment for a valid and complete claim.
- Changing the terms or language of the insurance policy.
- Pressuring claimants to accept unfair settlement offers.
If the insurance company engages in bad faith practices, you could have an additional claim for punitive damages against the insurance company, distinct from the personal injury claim. Given the complexity of personal injury claims and the glacial pace of insurance reimbursement, accident victims are highly recommended to seek out an attorney as soon as possible. While insurers are often more concerned with protecting their bottom lines, personal injury attorneys have a plaintiff’s best interest at heart.
In Truck Accidents, Damages Are Often Much More Serious
Accidents involving 18-wheelers have the potential to cause catastrophic injury and death. Moreover, the value of truck-accident cases varies depending on the extent of the injuries and the amount of property damage incurred as a result of the crash.
A personal injury attorney can help you place a value on the injuries and damages that you have suffered and help you prove these injuries in court.
Trucking regulations are complicated
Due to the increased danger that commercial vehicles pose to other motorists, trucking companies and commercial vehicles are strictly regulated by both state and federal laws.
These strict regulations impose more severe penalties on commercial vehicle operators, which motivates the insurers of trucking companies to fiercely oppose any potential litigation.
Given the complexities of 18-wheeler accident cases and the guaranteed opposition that plaintiffs will face, accident victims can greatly benefit from an experienced 18-wheeler personal injury attorney who can assist them in obtaining compensation.
Several parties may be at fault
Another factor determining the value of your claim is whether you caused or contributed to the injury in some way. Jurisdictions vary on how they apportion blame or liability amongst the negligent actors and the accident victims, ranging from systems of comparative negligence to contributory negligence.
States that follow comparative negligence systems generally attribute percentages of blame onto the injured party and the tortfeasor, allowing personal injury claims to be diminished according to the degree of fault of the injured party.
In contrast, states that follow contributory negligence systems may completely bar a plaintiff from recovering if he or she acted negligently and contributed to the accident in any way. Hiring an 18-wheeler personal injury attorney would help you determine your state’s system of fault attribution and how your actions can affect your potential compensation.
NEED HELP? CONTACT ZINDA LAW GROUP TODAY
As you can tell, the routine following a commercial truck accident can be varied and complicated requiring experts and sometimes months of negotiation.
Our lawyers are prepared for these steps with a wealth of experience and can help guide you through the process.
When meeting with our lawyers you’ll be given our no win no fee guarantee, which means you won’t have to pay anything unless we win your case. Call today to schedule an appointment at 800-863-5312, for a free consultation.