Unfortunately, semi-trucks are sometimes involved in accidents with smaller vehicles. When truck accidents result in injuries or fatalities to others, the victims or their families might recover damages by filing a truck accident lawsuit against the negligent party. Many people think that trucking lawsuits are relatively easy to secure since commercial trucks are obviously larger and heavier than other vehicles. In actuality, these lawsuits are very complex. When you file a lawsuit against a trucking company and a truck driver, the companies and their insurance providers normally mount very aggressive defense cases. This is because the insurance liability limits for commercial trucks are high, meaning that the amount of money at issue is often substantial. To learn more about what you can expect in a truck accident lawsuit, please scroll down. These tips and facts may come in handy.
What to Expect in a Truck Accident Lawsuit
Time Is of the Essence
If you wish to file a truck accident lawsuit, act quickly. Every state has a statute of limitations for personal injury cases, including truck accidents. These limitations periods range from just one year after the accident in Louisiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee to as long as six years in Maine. A majority of states have statutes of limitations for personal injury cases of two years. If you fail to file your truck accident lawsuit within the statutory limitations period in your state, you will be barred from trying to recover damages for your losses.
In addition to the statute of limitations, there are other reasons why it is important to get legal help as soon as possible after you have been injured or your loved one has been killed in an accident that was caused by a large truck. It is important that your attorney has time to thoroughly investigate the claim before filing the lawsuit on your behalf. This can help your attorney anticipate the potential defense strategies that the insurance companies and trucking carriers might implement. Furthermore, trucks have trip recorders, which record data about each trip. This information can be vital because it can help to show what happened leading up to and during the accident. Trucking companies often try to destroy this evidence as soon as they can after an accident. By getting a lawyer’s help quickly, your attorney may be able to file a motion asking for the court to order that the evidence is preserved. Other evidence may also disappear as time passes, including data from the accident scene, the damage on the truck, witnesses who saw what happened, and others.
Seek Out Experience
When you are searching for a lawyer to help you with your truck accident claim, you might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of attorneys who advertise their services. It is important that you choose one who has substantial experience in litigating truck accident claims. Attorneys who regularly handle these types of lawsuits may be better equipped to anticipate the defenses that may be raised and to be abreast with the current case law that may apply to your case. Obtaining the assistance of an experienced lawyer may also help you to secure much higher compensation amounts than you might otherwise receive. When you meet with a lawyer for a consultation, ask about his or her experience and the record he or she has amassed with settlements and awards in truck accident cases.
How the Process Starts
Before a lawsuit is ever filed, your lawyer will conduct an in-depth investigation. He or she may rely on experts to assist with the investigatory process. Soon after the accident, your attorney may ask an accident reconstruction expert to go to the scene. The accident reconstruction expert may take measurements and photographs so that he or she can determine what happened. Investigators may interview witnesses to the accident, and your lawyer may ask the court to order that the evidence is preserved. The investigation is important because your lawyer may be able to identify other third parties that might also hold liability, such as parts manufacturers, maintenance companies, road maintenance entities, and others that also should be named as defendants.
Keep in mind that the majority of truck accident lawsuits are resolved in settlement and never proceed to trial. The mediation process may help you to negotiate a fair settlement with the help of your attorney.
When Fault Is Shared
In some cases, both the truck driver and the other vehicle’s driver may share a percentage of the fault. When both drivers share fault for causing an accident, the percentage of fault that each holds will be determined. A plaintiff who shares fault in an accident will have his or her gross award reduced by the percentage of fault that he or she had. For example, if a jury awards a plaintiff a gross award of $1 million but finds that the plaintiff was 10 percent at fault, the plaintiff will receive a net amount of $900,000.
If you have suffered a serious injury in a truck accident, it is important for you to act quickly. To learn more about your rights, contact the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave today and schedule a free initial consultation to explore your options. We have successfully recovered compensation in settlements with truck companies, which you can explore in more detail on our Verdicts and Settlements page. We can help you determine the best course of action so that you can obtain the maximum compensation you deserve and the best outcome for your claim.