Every year in the United States, there are around 500,000 motor vehicle accidents involving commercial trucks. Due to their massive size and weight, commercial trucks pose a significantly high risk of serious injury to other drivers and their passengers. In fact, when a big rig, tractor-trailer, or other large commercial truck is involved in an accident, nearly 80% of the injured victims are the drivers or passengers of the smaller vehicles.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, you have likely been left dealing with a challenging and painful recovery, substantial property damage, and mounting medical bills. But if another party caused your trucking accident, you have the right to seek compensation for your physical, emotional, and financial losses. A truck accident attorney can identify all at-fault parties, compile evidence, negotiate with the insurance company, and, if necessary, fight on your behalf in court.
An experienced lawyer can effectively handle all aspects of your truck accident injury case and work diligently to get you the maximum compensation, allowing you to focus on what matters most – healing from your injuries. Below, are some of the many ways an attorney can help after a serious truck accident.
Providing Support and Competent Legal Guidance
Your lawyer can provide you with heartfelt support during the often challenging process of seeking compensation while healing from your injuries. A compassionate truck accident attorney cares about the well-being of his or her client and makes themselves readily available for their client’s questions, anxieties, and concerns.
Because the process can be complex and a little overwhelming at times, your attorney can also offer professional and competent legal guidance throughout the various stages of the truck accident claims process. They will protect your rights and best interests while keeping you updated on any developments in your case. They will also provide sound legal advice and honest feedback on whether a settlement offer is fair or whether the case may need to be resolved in court.
Uncovering Important Evidence
Every successful truck accident case will need to be supported by a significant amount of compelling evidence. An experienced truck accident attorney will know what evidence is crucial and how to obtain it, such as the black box located in the truck. This box keeps a record of several types of data, including:
- The truck’s speed at the time of the accident
- Whether the truck was on cruise control
- Whether the truck accelerated or decelerated before the collision
- What the truck’s tire pressure was at the time of the crash
- The truck’s usage data (when and for how long the truck was being driven)
Other crucial evidence in an Ohio truck accident case includes:
- The police report
- Photos and video of the accident and/or accident scene
- Eyewitness statements
- Expert testimony
- Truck inspection and maintenance reports
- The truck’s accident history
- The driver’s qualifications and driving record
- Weigh station and loading dock reports
The nature and extent of your injuries, as well as other damages, will also need to be shown. A skilled attorney will obtain:
- Medical bills
- Medical records
- Documentation showing whether you will need future medical care
- Testimony from medical and financial experts
- Estimates on the cost to replace or repair your vehicle
Determining Liability in Your Truck Accident Case
Commercial truck accidents can be more challenging than most auto accidents. There are often multiple parties who are responsible for the collision. Examples of liable parties in a truck accident case include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The shipping or loading company
- The truck manufacturer or parts maker
- Government agencies (when the accident is a result of hazardous road conditions)
An experienced lawyer will carefully analyze all evidence and work diligently to determine the true cause of your truck crash. They will then identify all parties responsible for your injuries and other associated losses and fight to hold them responsible for your losses.
Creating an Effective Legal Strategy
After reviewing all of the evidence, your truck accident attorney will determine the most effective legal strategy for your particular case. They will explore all options available given the circumstances and recommend the approach most likely to produce the best results. That may mean initiating a truck accident insurance claim, filing a truck accident lawsuit, negotiating with the insurance company, or proceeding to trial.
Proving Your Truck Accident Case
As in any personal injury case, the injured victim must prove that the other party was negligent to successfully recover damages. Certain key elements must be shown to prove the other party was negligent. They are as follows:
- The truck driver owed you a duty of care to drive safely and responsibly.
- The truck driver breached that duty.
- The breach caused your injuries.
- You suffered losses as a result of your injuries.
Damages that may be available to you in your truck accident injury case include:
- Medical expenses
- Costs for future care
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost or diminished earning capacity
- The costs to repair or replace your vehicle
- Any additional property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death damages (if your loved one died in a truck accident)
A truck accident attorney will carefully assess the available compensation given the circumstances of your case and fight for full financial recovery on your behalf.
Handling All Communication with the Insurance Company
Insurance companies all too often use tactics to avoid or minimize the payout on truck accident claims. They may try to get you to give a recorded or written statement, which they may ultimately use against you. They can use your statements to deny or minimize their liability or refute the nature and extent of your injuries.
A skilled attorney will handle all communications with the at-fault party, their insurance company, or any third party to ensure nothing you say will be used against you in your truck accident case.
Once your attorney has compiled all evidence supporting your case and determined the most effective legal strategy, they will begin negotiating with the insurance company for maximum recovery. Insurance companies almost always offer far less than what is owed in a truck accident claim, so it is essential to have an attorney who can accurately assess your damages and negotiate full and fair compensation.
It is also vital to have a truck accident attorney with experience. Insurance companies use numerous tactics during the negotiation process, so it is important to have an attorney who understands these tactics and is willing and able to fight tooth and nail with the insurance company to get you what you deserve.
Advocating on Your Behalf in Court
Although there are times when a truck accident claim negotiations result in full and fair recovery, there are also times when the negotiations with the insurance company do not produce an acceptable settlement. In these cases, it may be necessary to take the matter to court.
It is important to understand that not all lawyers are trial lawyers. Many never see the inside of a courtroom because they always settle their cases before they make it to court. This means that, in many cases, their clients aren’t actually receiving the full amount of compensation they are entitled to.
For this reason, it is best to find a truck accident attorney who is an experienced trial lawyer; one who has the skills and resources needed to take your case to trial when necessary and advocate effectively to get you the justice and compensation you deserve. Having a reputable trial attorney will also let the insurance company know that he or she is both willing and able to take the matter to court. Your attorney’s willingness to go to court when a settlement is unacceptable will likely get the insurance company to offer a fair settlement amount, possibly resolving the matter before it ever gets to trial.
Speak to a Truck Accident Attorney in Ohio
Hiring a qualified truck accident lawyer can significantly affect the value and success of your case. Although you can go through the truck accident claims process on your own, it is always best to have competent and diligent legal representation on your side to ensure you get the justice you deserve.
To learn more about how our Ohio truck accident lawyers can help, we welcome you to contact us to arrange a FREE consultation. We have offices in Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus.
When experience matters, call Slater & Zurz LLP. You can reach us anytime, day or night, by calling 888.534.4850 or filling out our online form.