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​What to Do on Your First Offer From the Insurance Company Truck Accident

After suffering from the horrors of an accident with a commercial truck driver, you may want everything to return to normal as soon as possible. However, speed may be the enemy of full recovery. Commercial truck accident victims’ injuries may be acute or may not appear for months or years after the initial impact. You need time to learn more about the extent of your injuries.

Never accept an insurance company’s first offer without talking to a truck accident lawyer. If you suffered an injury in an accident with a commercial truck driver and want to learn more about what to do after receiving the first offer from the insurance company, continue reading. ​

Dos After Receiving a Settlement Offer From an Insurance Company

To increase your chances of maximum compensation after an accident:

  • Hire an attorney immediately. Accident attorneys work hard to protect the rights of accident victims. If you have not hired one yet, you want the protection of an experienced accident attorney right away after an initial offer. This will increase your odds of a fair settlement offer. Without an attorney, you face the risks all unrepresented accident victims face: ending up with less than you deserve.
  • Collect more evidence (which your lawyer can handle). Some offers are lower because you did not provide enough supporting evidence of your damages to the insurer. Receive medical treatment and compile a complete set of medical records and bills related to the accident. Your medical records and statements are essential to prove your injuries to the insurance company, and more proof can mean higher offers. Your attorney can review your claim file and determine what additional evidence you need.​

Don’ts After Receiving an Offer From an Insurance Company

  • Do not settle for the first offer. The first offer from the insurance company is not their best offer. Insurance companies rely on the impulsivity of inexperienced and injured accident victims who just want the whole situation finished. Therefore, the first offer is usually a lowball offer.
  • Do not sign anything. The insurance company may present you with paperwork or agreements but do not sign them. These documents may contain language stating that you agree to the settlement terms. Always have an attorney review any paperwork that an insurance company sends you.
  • Do not give a recorded statement. Insurance companies often ask accident victims to provide their side of the story in a recorded statement. However, the request for a recorded statement can seem innocent, but your words will be available against you as settlement negotiations continue or in a lawsuit if one gets filed.
  • Do not settle out of desperation. A reality of the aftermath of an accident is that you are in pain, you have multiple doctor’s appointments, you may need physical therapy, you lose time at work, and you struggle with your bills all because of another person’s negligence. Considering all the other problems that arise after an accident, it is tempting to finalize the whole thing, and getting it over with means settling with the insurance company. Insurance companies know this and may send a lowball offer expecting an accident victim to accept the offer out of desperation.

Do Not Accept the Offer Without Speaking to an Attorney

car accident lawyer in phoenixTo ensure you receive the maximum amount of money available to help fully compensate you, talk to an attorney before settling with the insurance company. Accident attorneys work hard to protect the legal rights of their clients. Having a qualified accident attorney can help you avoid common pitfalls created by the insurance company and more accurately determine the value of your claim.

They can also ensure that you receive the medical care you need, negotiate with the insurance company for a larger settlement amount, and tell you what to say, do, and sign when interacting with the insurance company. To learn more, continue reading.

Risks of Talking to the Insurance Company Without an Attorney

Insurance companies often send a settlement offer quickly to resolve an accident claim. Attempting to settle quickly before an accident victim has a chance to fully realize all their injuries is a tactic of insurance companies to keep their costs low. The initial offer from an insurance company is typically not satisfactory to compensate for your injuries.

An attorney can help you know what can help you understand what a reasonable offer is and can keep pushy insurance adjusters at bay while you continue getting medical attention.

Insurance companies want to lock your story down. To do that, they will ask you for a recorded statement. Insurance companies asking for a recorded statement is typical. Insurance companies use these statements to attempt to limit the amount of recovery that an accident victim receives.

In addition to recorded statements, insurance companies may try to get you to admit fault to avoid payment of your claim. An attorney will protect you by telling you what to say and how to interact with an insurance company during negotiations. If you receive an offer before hiring an attorney, you will not have the benefit of an experienced accident attorney, and you may settle for an offer that is less than your damages.

The most significant risk of an unrepresented accident victim dealing with an insurance company is settling too soon. Remember, acceptance is binding. If you accept the first offer, you are bound to it. You cannot go back to the insurance company and negotiate for more money if it turns out that you need more money to pay for future medical treatment. ​

What Is My Claim Worth?

You may not know what your claim is worth when you are first injured. There are various factors to consider as you determine the value of your claim. The insurance company may use these factors and your attorney to help argue the worth of your claim. ​

Inability to Work

Lost income is recoverable in a personal injury lawsuit. If you lost income because of an injury or lost the capacity to earn in the same way you did before your accident, you are entitled to those damages. Because you are entitled to those damages, the more proof you have of lost income or earning capacity, the more the value of your case increases.

Severity of Injuries

Injuries may be physical or intangible. Both types of injuries are compensable. The severity of your injuries may not be known when the insurance company makes its first offer. Physical and mental or emotional injuries may not fully develop for many months or years after the accident. Do not accept a settlement offer until you have a chance to estimate your damages. If your injuries are permanent, the value of your case increases. Showing evidence of scarring or physical disfigurement can prove the permanence of an injury.

Medical Bills

Your damages will not be known until you reach maximum medical improvement. Maximum medical improvement occurs when your medical provider reports that there are no further medical treatments available that will improve your condition. Once you achieve maximum medical improvement, you will have an estimate of the value of your case and how much money will give you a satisfactory settlement. ​

Property Damages

You may also receive compensation for your property damage. The higher the value of your property damage, the higher your settlement value. Your attorney may want you to get several estimates from a few body shops to determine the value of the repairs your car requires. ​

Insurance Policy Limits

The reality of most personal injury lawsuits is that the amount of money you can recover reflects the parties’ insurance policy limits. There may not be any more money available than the insurance policy limits. The value of your case may reflect on the insurance policy limits. ​

What Happens If I Reject an Insurance Company’s Offer?

You can reject a settlement offer if you conclude it is too low to compensate you for your injuries. Remember that you cannot just flatly reject an offer without any reason. When you counteroffer an insurance company, you must provide facts and evidence to prove your injuries. An accident attorney knows how to help you present the evidence required to prove your damages. In a demand letter, an accident attorney will describe your injuries and attempt to persuade an insurance company to increase their settlement offer. ​

Send a Demand Letter

A demand letter sent by an accident attorney may include:

  • A description of your injuries. The accident attorney will send copies of your medical records and medical bills to the insurance company. When an accident attorney sends a demand letter to the insurance company, your attorney may have hired a medical expert witness to analyze your medical records. Depending on the state, your attorney may detail your injuries and their severity.
  • Evidence of your property damage. Your attorney may itemize your property damages in the demand letter they send. Your attorney may also send the estimates you received from various body shops with your demand letter.
  • Your attorney may calculate your lost income or loss of earning capacity.
  • Your attorney may also include some witness statements in your demand letter.

The above facts are included in your demand letter to bolster your claim and persuade the insurance company to increase its settlement offer. If you do not have the assistance of an attorney as you begin negotiating with an attorney, you likely will not know to present this as evidence. As a result, you will initially receive a lowball settlement offer from the insurance company. If you have not presented these facts to the insurance company, do not accept the initial offer. ​

File a Lawsuit

If the insurance company is unwilling to send a fair settlement offer, you and your attorney may begin a lawsuit. A personal injury claim has two major phases- negotiations with the insurance company and a lawsuit. If negotiations break down, your lawyer may file a lawsuit to help you get full compensation. ​

How Can an Attorney Help Me?

After an accident, hiring an accident attorney can help you narrow your focus to recovering from your injuries. You will need several things to start moving forward in the days and months after an accident. Necessities after an accident include time off work for doctor’s appointments, short-term and long-term medical care, and legal advice. Hiring an attorney takes much of these concerns off your plate and allows you to take action to recover physically. ​

No Way to Predict What Help You Will Need After an Accident

You must know the care you will need after an accident before accepting a settlement offer from an insurance company. An attorney can help you get access to the care that you need, including medical care, that will give you an estimate of the money you will need to recover after an accident fully. ​

Your Lawyer Will Communicate on Your Behalf

Gary Annes Injury Accident Lawyer
Gary Annes, Truck Accident Injury Lawyer

If you hire an attorney, they will communicate on your behalf with medical providers ensuring that you get the care required to recover. Most attorneys will work closely with an accident victim’s doctors and other medical providers, like physical therapists, during the life of a lawsuit. In some situations, doctors and other medical providers will defer the cost of your treatment until after a personal injury lawsuit ends if an attorney represents you.

In addition to speaking with your medical providers, your attorney will communicate with your insurance company. Your accident attorney will help file a claim with your insurance company to pay your medical bills faster.

Having a lawyer work on your behalf increases your chances of getting the care you need to recover fully. If you fail to get these services, you may not know how much money you need to pay for the services you require. Taking a lowball settlement offer limits your potential for monetary recovery.

​What to Ask a Truck Accident Lawyer

Truck accidents happen frequently. In recent years, the National Safety Council reports that 100,000 to 150,000 victims suffer injuries in commercial truck accidents yearly.

After a truck accident, it is not uncommon to feel stressed and anxious. These feelings often bring about many questions. A truck accident lawyer can ease your mind and address your concerns.

During your consultation with a truck accident lawyer, you should go into the meeting prepared with various questions. While your lawyer may not have a perfect answer to every question, you should leave the meeting feeling better about your claim.

Before determining what questions you should ask your truck accident lawyer, it’s helpful to understand what truck accidents are, what they entail, and what you can expect.

What to Look for in a Truck Accident Attorney

When looking for a truck accident lawyer, you’ll encounter more options than you might ever imagine. While you have many options, not all attorneys are the same.

If you’re looking for the best truck accident attorney, keep these details and qualities in mind.

Knowledge and Experience

You wouldn’t go to your primary care physician for a root canal—not every lawyer can handle your type of case.

First and foremost, when looking for a lawyer to handle your case, be sure to consult with an attorney with experience handling truck accident cases. Because these cases present their own challenges, you must hire a lawyer with the knowledge, skills, and resources to represent you.

A Favorable Success Rate

When looking for a lawyer to handle your truck accident case, try to find one that not only has the right experience but also has success with these cases.

Along the same lines, happy clients speak volumes. It’s always helpful to have an attorney whose past clients have nothing but good things to say.

Lawyers regularly post some of their successful cases on their websites. Otherwise, do not be shy about asking your attorney about their track record and experiences during your consultation.

Available and Communicative

It happens all too often: A potential client consults a lawyer, likes what they see, and hires them. After the initial meeting, they rarely speak to their lawyer because the lawyer is too busy or has their support staff communicate directly with their clients.

A good truck accident lawyer should be available to speak with you and have no problems communicating with you. While attorneys are understandably very busy, if you leave a message for your lawyer or send them an email, they should get back to you within a reasonable time.

While an attorney is only made stronger by their staff, sometimes you need to speak to your attorney directly. Your lawyer should have no problem answering your questions and regularly keeping you abreast of the status of your case.

Contingency Fee

A truck accident lawyer should work on a contingency fee basis.

When you hire an attorney under a contingency fee arrangement, your lawyer agrees to pay all of the upfront costs. This removes any financial stress you may have about hiring an attorney to handle your case. In exchange, you agree to let your lawyer have a percentage of your settlement to cover all costs and fees.

Do not pay a large sum of money to an attorney to take your truck accident case.

Feeling Comfortable with Your Lawyer

Truck accident cases often take quite some time, meaning you’ll have to work with your lawyer from start to finish until your case concludes.

Therefore, you should easily establish rapport with your attorney and feel comfortable working with them. Feeling peace and ease when communicating with your lawyer is always a good sign.

Questions to Ask Your Truck Accident Lawyer

When you first consult with a truck accident attorney, you’ll undoubtedly have many questions. After your initial meeting, you should walk away feeling like you know the lawyer and how they work. Additionally, the lawyer should answer most of your case-related questions.

Some of the most common questions you may consider asking your attorney include the following.

Questions on Legal Background

Similar to a job interview, you’ll want to know more about your lawyer and their skills in handling truck accident cases.

These questions can include:

  • What’s your educational background?
  • How many years have you practiced?
  • How long have you handled truck accident cases?
  • What is your success record with these cases?
  • How do you handle truck accident claims?

Questions Regarding What You Can Expect

Your first meeting should ease some of your worries.

It may help to ask:

  • Who will I primarily be communicating with from your office?
  • Do I have access to you directly?
  • Will you update me regularly throughout the life of my case?
  • What is the best way to reach you?
  • How long can I expect it to take to receive a response to my messages or emails?
  • How long does a truck accident case typically take to resolve?
  • How involved should I be in handling my case?
  • What are the chances my case will go to trial?

Questions on Fees and Settlements

​What Is a Good Settlement Offer for a Car AccidentFinances are a big part of a legal claim.

If you want to know how this all works, you can ask:

  • What type of payment arrangement does your office use?
  • Am I expected to pay anything upfront for your services?
  • What happens if we don’t successfully secure a settlement?

While your truck accident lawyer may need to further investigate your claim before providing answers to some of your questions, they should address many of your basic concerns. Always attend your initial consultation prepared with a list of questions for your lawyer.

Truck Accidents Explained

If you were in a truck accident and don’t know these special cases, a brief explanation can answer some of your questions.

Truck Accidents are Different than Car Accidents

While many believe truck accidents are similar to car accidents, this is usually far from the truth. Truck accidents are particularly unique and come with their own set of challenges.

Trucks Cause More Injury and Damage

Simply looking at a massive commercial truck, it’s easy to imagine how destructive a collision with one can be. Only individuals that have experienced a truck accident understand the serious extent of injuries and property damage.

Because trucks cause massive injuries and destruction, this complicates truck accident claims. Victims often require more compensation for their losses, bringing about various challenges.

Trucks Often Have More Insurance Coverage

Semi-trucks require more insurance in case of accidents. Their policy limits are significantly higher than those on a regular vehicle.

Insurance companies are typically not easy to deal with, and truck insurers are no different. These companies employ various tactics to limit their liability and pay victims as little as possible. You can almost always expect an insurer to put up a fight—especially when so much money is on the line.

The Trucking Industry Has Strict Regulations

Many state and federal regulations govern the commercial trucking industry. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has many rules regarding trucking, including hours truck drivers may drive without stopping to rest and logbooks truckers must keep.

Most individuals are unfamiliar with these regulations, making handling a claim much tougher. This is one of many reasons a truck accident attorney helps, because they know these rules and understand how they affect your case.

Semi-Truck Accident Lawsuits

Truck Rollover Accidents in PhoenixAfter a truck accident, you may receive compensation for your injuries. Usually, you can obtain financial recovery from the liable party’s insurer. However, this is not always simple.

In many cases, you can settle with the insurance company for a fair amount that accurately represents your losses. But dealing with insurance companies is often not so straightforward. If the insurer is unwilling to settle or their settlement offers are low, you may need to file a formal lawsuit.

If you seek compensation after sustaining injuries in a truck accident, you might need to file a lawsuit. Personal injury law protects individuals after they’ve suffered harm due to another’s actions or lack thereof. These cases are frequently based on the defendant’s negligent action or inaction but can also include intentional or malicious wrongdoing.

In the most unfortunate circumstances, victims of truck accidents succumb to their injuries and pass away. After a death, the victim’s family can seek financial recovery through a wrongful death claim.

Lawsuits for commercial truck accidents are difficult to handle alone. Therefore, a qualified truck accident lawyer can provide invaluable help.

Causes of Truck Accidents

Determining the cause of a truck accident is often one of the first and most important steps to take.

The most common causes of truck accidents include:

Establishing what caused your accident can take some investigating. Several pieces of evidence can provide answers, including a truck’s black box, police reports, or witness statements.

Figuring out what caused your accident usually leads to the second most important answer: Who’s responsible for your truck accident.

Liability for Semi-Truck Collisions

After determining what caused your accident, you can find answers regarding who can be responsible for your injuries.

Liability for semi-truck accidents is not regularly as simple as that for car accidents.

Many parties can play a role in a collision, including:

  • Truck drivers
  • Trucking companies
  • Owners of semi-trucks
  • Individuals responsible for loading trucks
  • Parties handling truck maintenance
  • Truck and truck part manufacturers

In many cases, several parties are simultaneously liable for an accident. You must determine who to blame for your truck accident, as this is who owes you compensation.

Damages After a Truck Accident

Damages compensate victims for their injuries and losses after a truck accident. The damages you deserve depend on the details of your case.

Damages are either economic or non-economic.

Economic damages are often easy to prove, including:

  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning potential
  • Property damage

Non-economic damages are not as simple to prove because they represent intangible losses.

These can include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional distress
  • Permanent disfigurement or scarring
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium

When you file a wrongful death action, this allows the victim’s family to receive financial recovery for the losses experienced after the death of a loved one.

These damages can include:

  • Funeral costs
  • Burial expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • The victim’s lost earnings and benefits
  • Loss of care, protection, or guidance
  • Loss of consortium

In special cases, you may qualify to receive punitive damages. These damages are only available in cases where the defendant’s actions go beyond just negligence and include intentional, malicious, or grossly negligent actions. When the court agrees to grant punitive damages, it does so because it’s just and necessary to punish the defendant for their wrongdoing.

Determining how much you deserve is one of the toughest parts of a truck accident case. To help ensure you’re getting maximum compensation, allow a truck accident attorney to handle your case.

How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help

Plaintiffs that hire legal counsel often fare better in the end.

A lawyer will handle all of the critical parts of your case, including:

  • Thoroughly investigating your accident
  • Creating a legal plan of action
  • Gathering relevant evidence
  • Calculating damages
  • Communicating with insurance companies
  • Representing you in court, if necessary
  • Addressing your questions and concerns whenever needed

Having a truck accident attorney handle your case will give you invaluable peace of mind, allowing you to focus on your physical recovery fully while your lawyer works hard to obtain fair compensation on your behalf.

Consult With a Truck Accident Attorney Today

Gary Annes Injury Accident Lawyer
Gary Annes, Truck Accident Injury Lawyer

After sustaining injuries in a truck accident, you’re not alone. A truck accident lawyer can handle your claim and work toward getting you the fairest possible outcome.

Speak to an attorney near you as soon as possible to begin working on your case.

​Who Can Be Responsible for a Truck Accident With a Defective Tire?

Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations § 393.75 establishes that no one can operate a motor vehicle on a flat or leaking tire, with any tread or sidewall separation, body ply or belt material exposed through the tread or sidewall, or a cut that exposes ply or belt material. A tire on a bus, truck, or truck tractor must have a tread groove pattern depth of at least 4⁄32 of an inch when measured at any point on a major tread groove, and the measurements must not take place in an area where tie bars or humps exist.

Tire maintenance is a constant area of concern for most trucking companies, but many companies still send vehicles on the road with worn or defective tires that, in turn, endanger all other road users. If a commercial truck crash caused by a defective tire injured you, contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Contact a Lawyer for Truck Accidents With Defective Tires

Who Can Be Responsible for a Truck Accident With a Defective Tire?If you suffered severe injuries or a loved one lost their life in a commercial truck accident caused by a defective tire, do not wait another moment to seek legal representation. You will want to find an experienced personal attorney who knows how to investigate what occurred leading up, during, and after your crash, so they can preserve critical evidence, and you will have the best shot at recovering as much financial compensation as possible.

You need to be aware that many trucking companies are not likely to admit that their vehicles had defective tires, so the burden will be on you to prove your claim, and most insurance companies will find reasons to deny you compensation in any way.

Call a lawyer or contact them online right away so you can schedule a free consultation that will let you sit down with the attorney and thoroughly review all of the circumstances surrounding your crash while also providing you with complete knowledge about what rights you have and what action you can take.

Possible Liable Parties in Truck Accidents With Defective Tires

In most cases involving truck accidents caused by defective tires, victims may seek damages from:

  • Truck Drivers – In some instances, the drivers themselves will bear responsibility for truck accidents caused by defective tires. A driver can be liable when they were made aware of defects but failed to take the necessary action to remedy the problem.
  • Trucking Companies – A trucking company can bear responsibility for a truck crash caused by a defective tire if it was aware of a tire defect but did not take the appropriate corrective action. Many companies keep these trucks on the road when someone notifies them of an issue, but a truck is already on the road, and there are concerns about delays that tire repairs might cause for delivery times.

Other parties can bear some liability in a truck accident caused by a defective tire, including other drivers. The confusion about liability is one of the primary reasons you want to hire a skilled attorney because they can determine with certainty who was responsible and then work to hold the proper party accountable.

Maintenance Regulations for Commercial Trucks

In addition to the regulations previously noted, federal law also requires every motor carrier and intermodal equipment provider to systematically inspect, repair, and maintain all motor vehicles and intermodal equipment subject to its control. They also have to keep records for each motor vehicle they control for 30 consecutive days, which includes a history of inspection, repairs, and maintenance indicating their date and nature.

Carriers must retain records for one year and six months after the motor vehicle leaves a motor carrier’s control.

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) further recommends that truck drivers:

  • Only use approved rim and tire combinations
  • Examine tires daily for irregular tread, cracking, bulges, cuts, foreign objects, and inadequate tread depth
  • Avoid exceeding the speed rating of tires
  • Gauge tire pressure before each trip
  • Avoid overloading cargo on underinflated tires

General truck maintenance requirements under Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations § 396.3(a) state that every motor carrier must inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be inspected, repaired, and maintained, all motor vehicles subject to its control. They must keep all parts and accessories in safe and proper condition, and the carrier must inspect pushout windows, emergency doors, and emergency door marking lights at least every 90 days.

Required records under Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations § 396.3(b) establish that for all vehicles under control for 30 consecutive days or more, a motor carrier must maintain a record of identifying the vehicle by company number, make, serial number, year, and tire size. When the motor carrier of passengers does not own a vehicle, the record must identify the party providing or leasing the vehicle.

This section also requires a means to demonstrate the nature and due date of the inspection and maintenance operations that they will perform, a record of the inspection, repairs, and maintenance showing their date and type, and a record of tests conducted on pushout windows, emergency doors, and emergency door marking lights on buses. Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations § 396.7 states that carriers cannot operate commercial motor vehicles in such a condition as it is likely to cause an accident or a vehicle breakdown.

Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations § 396.11 relates to driver inspection reports and stipulates that drivers are required to complete written post-trip inspection reports at the end of every driving day, with inspection reports identifying the vehicles and listing any defects or deficiencies discovered by or reported to the driver that can affect the safety of operation of the vehicle or result in a mechanical breakdown.

Furthermore, a motor carrier or its agent must certify that they have repaired any listed defect or deficiency or that immediate repair is unnecessary. A motor carrier must maintain the original copy for three months before requiring or permitting a driver to operate a vehicle. Every motor carrier or its agent must repair any defect or deficiency listed on a driver’s vehicle inspection report that can likely affect the vehicle’s safe operation.

Injuries in Truck Accidents With Defective Tires

Commercial trucks typically weigh several tons, so accidents involving these vehicles can cause positively devastating injuries. The simple size of large trucks increases the likelihood of a fatal commercial truck accident.

Some of the most common kinds of truck accident injuries include, but are not limited to:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Fractures or broken bones
  • Severe head injuries such as concussions
  • Sprained muscles, tendons, or ligaments
  • Back injuries
  • Nerve damage
  • Paralysis
  • Muscle strains
  • Bulging discs
  • Knee injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Joint damage
  • Pinched nerves
  • Cuts and lacerations

Again, commercial truck accidents can also be fatal in many cases, and families that are suddenly left behind can struggle to figure out how to get help covering the bills their lost family member can no longer assist in paying.

The family of any person killed in a commercial truck accident can file a wrongful death action, and such lawsuits are different from personal injury lawsuits in that the statute of limitations (or time limit) for filing such a claim begins on the date of a person’s death rather than the date of an accident, which can be important because a person can die many days or weeks after initially suffering an injury in a truck accident.

The statute of limitations for any truck accident is a significant concern that emphasizes the need for legal representation. A court can deny a person who waits too long to file their case an opportunity to recover anything. For this reason, speak to an attorney as soon as possible so they can file your case in time.

Tire Recall Process

The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA), which represents approximately 80 percent of all tire shipments in the United States, has an online search tool that lets you search its member companies’ tire recalls since 2000. Once a tire recall is issued, it may still take weeks or months before the information gets into the hands of the tire owner.

While automakers work with states to locate the addresses of registered vehicle owners when they recall vehicles, tire makers often have to rely on warranty registration cards that their purchasers do not necessarily complete. Most manufacturers only initiate voluntary recalls after a government agency like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) contacts and pressures them.

Defects in design or production may result in:

  • Tire belt separation
  • Sudden air loss
  • Loss of vehicle control from tire belt separation
  • The missing load rate information on the sidewall
  • Missing date code TIN information on the sidewall
  • Visible cords visible through the inner liner
  • Tire sidewall separation
  • Incompletely cured vulcanizing compound
  • Failure to meet strength test requirements

Some of the most recent tire recalls include companies like Falken, Sumitomo, Michelin, Continental, Tri-Ace, Sailun, Hercules, Cooper, Bridgestone, and Firestone.

Resources for Truck Accidents With Defective Tires

Tire Anomaly and Classification System (TACS™) – TACS is a system designed by International Road Dynamics Inc. (IRD) that screens commercial vehicles at weigh stations to identify vehicles deemed unsafe due to missing or underinflated tires.

TACS consists of:

  • In-road sensors for tire detection and measurement
  • Roadside electronics to capture information from the in-road sensors and pass the information to weigh stations for use by weigh station operations
  • Software, and graphical user interface (GUI) to present information to weigh station operators and support their setting of commercial vehicle screening criteria based on data provided by TACS

TACS can integrate weigh station screening systems, including weigh-in-motion, electronic screening, vehicle dimensioning systems, and vehicle tracking systems.

Safety defects and long hours contribute to large truck crashes – Vehicle defects that are serious in nature triple the risk of being involved in a crash. The research said almost 75 percent of crash-involved trucks had vehicle defects identified during post-crash inspections, and trucks with out-of-service violations for any defect were over four times as likely to crash as trucks without such violations.

The Large Truck Crash Causation Study – Analysis Brief – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) examined the reasons for serious crashes involving large trucks, defined as trucks with gross vehicle weight ratings of more than 10,000 pounds. The LTCCS sample of 963 crashes involved 1,123 large trucks and 959 motor vehicles not defined as large trucks, with 963 crashes resulting in 249 fatalities and 1,654 injuries.

They collected samples at 24 sites in 17 states, with data collected on as many as 1,000 elements that included the condition of a truck driver and other drivers involved before a crash; a driver’s behavior during a crash; the condition of trucks and other vehicles; roadway factors; and weather conditions.

Call a Truck Accident Attorney if Your Crash Involved Defective Tires

Dave Abels Lawyer
Truck Accident Attorney, Dave Abels

Did you suffer severe injuries, or was your loved one killed in a commercial truck accident you believe to be caused by a defective tire? Do not try to handle your claim on your own because an insurance company will not help you, no matter how friendly and helpful an agent may sound.

With the help of a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer, you will give yourself the most substantial chance of making sure you can recover every dollar you need to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Call an attorney or contact one online to set up a free consultation that will let you explain what happened to you and the issues you deal with, so you can have the best chance at possibly recovering and getting back to your original condition.

​What Is the Truck Accident Claim Process?

There are two phases of a truck accident claim process – insurance claims and potential litigation. Each phase can present an uphill battle as you try to get the money you deserve to care for the injuries you sustained in an accident with a commercial truck driver. Attempting to go after your compensation without representation can keep you from maximizing your settlement or judgment amount.

To learn more about how two opposing parties resolve a truck accident claim, continue reading. To discuss your legal options, reach out to a truck accident lawyer right away.

Meet With a Truck Accident Lawyer

​What Is the Truck Accident Claim Process?There are many benefits to hiring a truck accident lawyer if you get into an accident and suffer injuries. The overall benefit of having an experienced lawyer on your side is that they have the training to protect your legal rights after an accident. The first step to having the protection of an accident attorney is to meet with and hire one.

Research the Attorneys You Want to Hire

First, schedule an initial consultation with an accident lawyer. To narrow down which lawyers to meet with, use all possible available resources. Nowadays, most businesses have websites that detail their services.

Law firms usually have attorney bios and success records. You can also use internet reviews from the attorney’s former clients to learn about their experiences with the attorney you want to hire. All this information helps you be a more informed consumer. If you find attorneys you like and want to meet, contact their office, and schedule an appointment.

What Should I Do During an Initial Consultation?

To maximize your time during initial meetings with accident lawyers, ensure that you have your questions prepared. Your initial consultation is your time to ask questions about the claim process. The attorney you meet with will discuss your chances of success, their payment structure, and the next steps you must complete to pursue your claim. If you decide to hire an attorney, you will sign a contract, and the legal work begins.

Remember the Statute of Limitations

Do not delay meeting with and hiring a truck accident attorney. Each state has a statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit. A statute of limitations is a deadline set by law to either negotiate a settlement for an injury or file a lawsuit. Noncompliance with the statute of limitations and other procedural rules can cause a court to dismiss your claim. Your accident attorney will ensure that you comply with the statute of limitations and protect your legal rights.

Negotiations With the Insurance Company

A truck accident lawyer can help you negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. During the beginning of a truck accident claim, you will start with attempting to negotiate a settlement with an insurance adjuster. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and because they are focused on their profit, insurance companies work hard to protect their bottom line. To protect the insurance company’s money, the adjuster may use some common tactics to disprove an accident victim’s allegations.

Tactics From the Insurance Company

Insurance companies use tactics to disprove an accident victim’s allegations, including finding anything that will discredit the injury victim. An insurance company may deny that your injuries were caused by their insured. The insurance company may also try to cast doubt on the severity of the injuries.

In addition to trying to disprove the claim, an insurance company will try to exhaust an unrepresented accident victim. The insurance company may start with lowball settlement offers that do not cover medical bills, future medical expenses, property damage, or lost wages. Unrepresented accident victims may not know how to negotiate a better settlement on their own. A truck accident attorney will help an accident victim get the money that they deserve after being hurt in an accident.

Discovery Phase

Discovery is the investigatory phase of a lawsuit. During discovery, both parties send each other a set of questions called interrogatories. Interrogatories elicit facts about the case and the party to help prove a party’s case. Interrogatories may include personal and invasive questions that you may be comfortable answering. However, there are procedural rules that require each party to answer questions. However, there are limits on the information you can seek in interrogatories. Having a truck accident lawyer with experience drafting and answering interrogatories will help ensure that you only answer what you have to without divulging any unnecessary information and will help you ask the proper questions to the defendant.

Depositions are another part of discovery. Depositions are witness interviews that happen outside of a courtroom but are formal, and the witnesses give testimony under oath. Many states require witnesses to be deposed even if the witness testifies live in court. However, witnesses may testify by deposition if they are unavailable for trial.

Negotiations and Demand Letter

Negotiations continue throughout the lawsuit. Your truck accident lawyer will work with the insurance company’s defense lawyers to negotiate a satisfactory settlement for their client. Negotiations may be successful, and both parties can avoid a trial. Your attorney will send a demand letter to the insurance company’s lawyers.

A demand letter asks that the opposing party settle the case for the amount stated in the letter. A demand letter will discuss your injuries, medical expert opinions, your economic and non-economic damages suffered, and your proposal for a fair settlement.

Trial Prep and Trial

The case will proceed to trial if the parties cannot reach a fair settlement. Trials are a lot of hard work, and if you do not have trial experience, you may be vulnerable to losing your case. During your initial consultation, ask the attorney if they have trial experience. Ask how many cases they have tried in their career and if those trials were with truck drivers and trucking companies. Ask if the attorney has taken any cases to trial in the last year.

Trial prep can take a while, depending on the case’s complexity. Attorneys can help you prepare the witnesses to help you build your case at trial. Your attorney can help you prepare to lay witnesses and expert witnesses. If you do not have a trial attorney to help you prepare for trial, you may not know how to prepare your witnesses to answer questions during direct and cross-examination.

Trials can be long and grueling. You may still have a long road to recovery to travel while the case goes to trial. You do not have to focus on the law and your health simultaneously. Get an accident attorney to help you take care of the legal side.

Collect a Judgment

The final step to resolve a civil lawsuit is either settlement or trial. If you go to trial and win, that is not the final hurdle to getting the money you need to pay for your damages. Sometimes even after a court renders a judgment, the defendant fails to pay the judgment. The law provides avenues to collect your judgment if the defendant refuses to pay.

One legal avenue you can take if you do not receive the money from your judgment is garnishment. Garnishment is a legal action where a plaintiff can take a portion of the defendant’s wages until they satisfy the judgment. Garnishment is a separate case apart from the truck accident lawsuit. If you have questions about how to file a garnishment with your local court, contact an attorney in your area.

What If I Can’t Afford an Attorney?

The thought of legal fees is overwhelming. Many accident victims choose not to pursue legal action because they cannot pay a lawyer to represent them. Fortunately, in most civil actions, accident attorneys work on a contingency basis. A contingency agreement allows the client to defer payment for legal services until after the case resolves.

What Is a Contingency Fee Agreement, and What Are Their Terms?

The American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Responsibility require placing the contingency agreement in writing. The attorney and client must both sign the payment agreement.

Terms of the agreement include the percentage of the settlement money the attorney will charge for their work. Typically, an attorney collects around one-third of the total settlement amount as their fee, and your agreement should clearly state the fees your lawyer can take.

The attorney and client should also agree on how they will pay litigation costs. Litigation costs are expenses that arise during a pending lawsuit. Litigation costs can include filing fees, costs of expert witness testimony, and postage costs, along with other expenses. The truck accident law firm often pays the litigation costs up front and gets reimbursed when both parties settle the case, or you may choose to pay the litigation costs as they come along (this is rarer).

If you have any questions about the payment structure, ask your attorney to clarify the terms before signing a contract for a contingency fee arrangement.

How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help Me?

Truck accident attorneys help protect the legal rights of injury victims. Accident attorneys work hard to protect their clients from opposing parties that may do anything to keep their money in their pocket.

An accident attorney can help in the following ways:

  • An accident attorney can negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. If you can settle with the insurance company, the claim process will be much shorter because you will not have to prepare for trial. If you do not have an attorney as you try to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, their adjusters may try to string you along.
  • An attorney can sue all responsible parties. In many cases, multiple people are potentially liable for your harm. You must identify all parties responsible for satisfying your judgment. If one defendant cannot pay, another defendant can satisfy the judgment. Despite being unable to collect the entire judgment from each defendant, all defendants are liable for the entire settlement. Each defendant must contribute to the settlement amount. They may divide the total judgment equally, or in some cases, when a defendant cannot pay their share of the judgment, the defendant must repay the other defendants for their contribution to the judgment. Joint and several liability is a legal doctrine. Joint and several liability is a common law doctrine in civil cases that ensures an injury victim gets the money a court awards to them.
  • Attorneys know state and local procedural rules for civil cases. Some procedural rules will cause a court to dismiss your case if you do not comply with them. There are various rules to be followed, and your attorney will have experience with complying with each procedural rule.
  • A truck accident attorney can help you avoid dealing with debt collectors and hospital billing departments. Debt collectors and hospitals are unsympathetic to your injuries and will not give you a chance to heal before they start collecting money from you. If you have an attorney working for you, all the communication from the hospitals and other debt collectors will go to the attorney’s office. That way, you can focus on your recovery.

Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer to Learn About Your Rights

Dave Abels Lawyer
Truck Accident Attorney, Dave Abels

An experienced truck accident attorney is the best teammate – and leader – you can have while pursuing a truck accident claim. Experienced injury attorneys know how to handle complex cases and get the best compensation for their clients. Accident attorneys should be zealous advocates for their clients and work hard to maximize settlements for accident victims.

To get the most out of your case, contact an experienced truck accident attorney today.

​What Is Considered Pain and Suffering in an Accident When a Semi-Truck Driver Is at Fault?

In the aftermath of an accident with a semi-truck driver, it is often difficult to know what you are entitled to as you recover. Accidents between cars and semi-trucks can end in tragedy because of the size difference between the vehicles. An accident victim may be entitled to various types of damages, including compensatory damages, punitive damages, and pain and suffering damages. To learn more about pain and suffering damages, continue reading and contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.

What Is Pain and Suffering?

​What Is Considered Pain and Suffering in an Accident When a Semi-Truck Driver Is at Fault?Pain and suffering refer to damages related to physical pain and mental anguish from an accident. Pain and suffering damages are available to address the physical and emotional pain caused by a truck accident. Pain and suffering damages are different from compensatory damages. The law intends compensatory damages to restore specific losses that an accident victim sustained because of their injuries.

Examples of compensatory damages include lost wages, loss of future wages or earning capacity, and medical bills. Pain and suffering damages do not restore an injured party to their position before the accident but award an injured victim with money because they suffered after an accident.

What Is Physical Pain and Suffering?

There are two significant categories of pain and suffering. We can divide Pain and suffering damages between physical pain and suffering and emotional pain and suffering. These damages reimburse an accident victim if they suffer physical pain after an accident. Physical pain and suffering damages are different from compensatory damages, which are also available in most personal injury lawsuits.

Compensatory damages restore an accident victim by giving the victim the money to pay for the losses that they sustained because of an accident. Compensatory damages include loss of income, loss of earning capacity, repayment of medical bills, and payment for future medical treatment.

In contrast, the physical pain and suffering damages available to accident victims refer to giving accident victims money for the inconvenience of suffering from the pain related to their injuries.

What Is Mental Pain and Suffering?

Mental pain and suffering damages are non-economic damages that reimburse an accident victim for the emotional trauma they suffered after an accident. Mental pain and suffering damages are intangible damages, and these damages may be difficult to prove to an insurance company, judge, or jury. If you believe you deserve mental pain and suffering damages, speak to a semi-truck accident lawyer in your area.

Examples of mental pain and suffering damages include:

  • Emotional distress
  • Stress-induced insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Shock
  • Grief
  • Humiliation
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional trauma
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Decreased quality of life

Pain and Suffering Calculator

The pain and suffering calculator refers to the multiplier used to calculate the amount of money that a court should award to an accident victim for their pain and suffering.

A multiplier is a number (ranging from one to five) that is assigned to measure the level of pain and suffering that a person endured. Attorneys use the multiplier in an equation where the physical damages that a person sustained are added together and multiplied by the multiplier. To determine which multiplier is appropriate, the court will weigh various factors.

Those factors can include:

  • The length of the accident victim’s recovery
  • An analysis of the victim’s medical records and expert medical testimony about their condition
  • Whether the injuries are permanent and severe or minor and temporary
  • The extent of negligence by the at-fault driver

As the court calculates pain and suffering damages and decides how much money to award the plaintiff, the court may use the following equation to decide the final judgment amount. The typical pain and suffering equation is the total of all the compensatory damages the plaintiff suffered and multiplied the total damages by the multiplier. The multiplier will range from one to five.

The multiplier is decided by considering some of the facts listed above and by considering the seriousness of the physical and mental pain the victim suffered.

Understanding what you deserve in the way of pain and suffering damages can be challenging to prove. If you believe you are entitled to pain and suffering damages after an accident with a semi-truck driver, contact a semi-truck accident lawyer in your area.

Pain and Suffering Damages versus Punitive Damages

Pain and suffering damages differ from punitive damages. Punitive damages punish the defendant to discourage future bad behavior. Courts award them only if the defendant committed wildly outrageous conduct.

Most states cap punitive damages by statute or only award them in an amount commiserate with the defendant’s assets. The goal of punitive damages is not to bankrupt a client but require payment of an amount of money that will get the defendant’s attention and ensure that they will alter their behavior in the future.

In contrast, statutes do not limit pain and suffering damages in most states. Pain and suffering damages are also not limited to compensating for wildly outrageous conduct. If you think you deserve punitive damages or pain and suffering damages, contact a local semi-truck accident lawyer in your area.

How Can I Prove Pain and Suffering Damages?

To receive a damages award, the accident victim must prove their injuries. Each category of damages requires proof. To get a damages award for pain and suffering, the victim must present evidence of their harm to the insurance company, judge, or jury.

To prove physical pain and suffering damages or mental pain and suffering damages, the victim must prove that they suffered an injury in the accident. To prove that the accident victim suffered, they must present evidence of the harm. An accident victim can prove pain and suffering by submitting evidence to the court.

Providing testimony about your injuries helps prove pain and suffering. You can prove how an injury affected your life through witness testimony. An attorney can use an expert witness’s testimony to prove the damage that an injury caused to the accident victim.

You can also call your friends and family as witnesses to describe any changes you have been through because of your injuries. Your circle of friends and family may discuss their knowledge about what you have been through. Both expert witness testimony and layperson testimony can help prove both physical and mental pain and suffering.

The information found in various documents also helps accident victims prove their pain and suffering damages. Presenting medical bills and records helps prove the physical pain you suffered in a semi-truck accident.

Other documents that prove an accident victim’s damages include:

  • The report that police completed at the scene.
  • Witness statements.
  • Repair estimates from body shops.

The more proof you present, the higher the likelihood of a multiplier closer to five. If the multiplier in your case is high, the amount of your judgment is higher. A semi-truck accident lawyer helps accident victims prove their case for pain and suffering damages. If you have been in an accident with a semi-truck driver, call a local attorney.

How Can an Attorney Help Prove Pain and Suffering Damages?

Having a semi-truck accident lawyer working for you is the best way to position yourself for success after an accident with a semi-truck driver. There are various benefits to having a lawyer on your side. Accident attorneys work to protect their client’s legal rights after traffic accidents. To learn more about how accident attorneys assist their clients, continue reading.

A semi-truck accident lawyer protects their client’s interests against an insurance company. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and the company wants to protect its bottom line. The profit margin of an insurance company has a negative effect if it pays out accident claims. Therefore, insurance companies fight injury victims when they make claims for damages. Insurance companies may target unrepresented accident victims. Insurance adjusters rely on your inexperience with filing an accident claim with an insurance company.

An insurance company may employ tactics to scare you into settling quickly or disprove your injuries. Tactics that the insurance company may use include drawing out the negotiation process. An insurance adjuster may slow-go a claim to exhaust a claimant. An exhausted claimant is more likely to accept a low settlement offer. An experienced semi-truck accident lawyer knows this insurance company trick. They have experience in avoiding this tactic and can help you avoid this pitfall, too.

Accident attorneys are trained in procedural rules and discovery and know how to prepare a witness for trial. A mistake at any stage of a lawsuit may mean that a court may dismiss the entire claim. An inexperienced accident victim may not know what to expect. For many injury victims, the current lawsuit is their first experience with the legal system. There is no need to pursue compensation alone. Your focus should be on recovery from your injuries. An accident lawyer can take care of the legal side of things.

What if I Cannot Afford a Lawyer?

If the cost of legal services hinders you from pursuing compensation for your damages, attorneys use many payment structures for different legal work.

Many attorneys across the country use a contingency fee structure when representing truck accident clients. A contingency fee allows clients to defer payment for legal work until after the case settles. You may have seen an advertisement from a personal injury lawyer that says something like, “We Don’t Get Paid Unless You Do,” which indicates that the attorney works on a contingency fee arrangement.

A percentage of the final settlement is paid to the attorney to cover their legal fees. The percentage of the settlement the attorney will collect must be agreed upon before any legal work begins. A typical percentage split is one-third of the total settlement amount, though you want to confirm a lawyer’s fees before you begin your case.

The attorney and their firm may pay litigation costs, but the client must repay them out of the settlement amount the client receives. However, if you want to pay the litigation expenses as the case proceeds, you can do that and not have to reimburse the attorney or their firm.

Examples of litigation costs include:

  • Costs of copies and postage
  • Filing fees
  • Costs of expert witness testimony
  • Mediation costs

Attorneys and clients must reduce all the terms of the contingency agreement to writing. The American Bar Association Rules of Professional Conduct require that contingency fees be in writing and signed by both the attorney and the client. If you have any questions about the terms of the contingency agreement, ask your attorney before signing the agreement.

Your attorney will happily explain the terms of the agreement and ensure you understand everything you have agreed to in the contract for a contingency fee arrangement.

Contact a Semi-Truck Accident Attorney Today

Dave Abels Lawyer
Truck Accident Attorney, Dave Abels

If you have suffered an injury in an accident, call an experienced accident lawyer in your area. Having an accident attorney on your side as you attempt to receive compensation for an accident that left you injured is the best way to put you in a good position to recover financially for your injuries.

An attorney has the knowledge and skill to ensure they protect your legal rights from insurance companies that do not have your best interests at heart. Relying on an attorney’s knowledge of and experience with the legal system will let you focus on your health and family and get your life back to normal as soon as possible. Contact a lawyer to take care of the legal side of your situation.

​What Happens if an Accident Occurs With an Uninsured Truck Driver?

We must share the roads and highways with commercial trucks. These intimidating large trucks have the potential to cause significant damage, especially if they hit a small vehicle. Getting hit by a commercial truck can feel like being hit by a freight train, and the injuries accident victims suffer after an accident with a big truck can be life-threatening, permanent, or the accident can end in death.

When an accident with a commercial truck happens, the aftermath is overwhelming. However, we may take comfort in knowing that the accident is with a truck driver working for a commercial trucking company. However, our comfort may be misplaced because some truck drivers are uninsured. Despite the lack of insurance, you should receive compensation for your injuries.

To learn more about what happens if an accident occurs with an uninsured truck driver, continue reading and contact a truck accident attorney as soon as possible.

What Insurance Does Federal Law Require a Commercial Truck Driver and Trucking Company Carry?

​What Happens if an Accident Occurs With an Uninsured Truck DriverThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) governs the trucking industry in the United States. The FMCSA is an agency of the United States Department of Transportation. The FMCSA sets the requirements for commercial trucking insurance minimums.

Per the FMCSA, every commercial trucking company must carry commercial auto liability insurance. The minimum limits differ based on the type of products the trucks carry across the country. Typically, the policy minimums that commercial trucks must have can be from $750,000 to $5,000,000 per accident.

Although the federal government requires minimum liability insurance from every trucking company in the United States, some companies fail to abide by the requirements. When a commercial truck driver uses a commercial truck without insurance, that is negligence. What are an accident victim’s options when the commercial truck driver or the commercial trucking company fails to carry the required auto insurance?

An Accident Victim Must Rely on Uninsured and Underinsured Insurance?

If a truck driver and the trucking company fail to carry the required commercial truck insurance, you may need to rely on your own uninsured and underinsured motorist policy.

What Is Uninsured Motorist Insurance?

Uninsured motorist insurance coverage is coverage added to your insurance policy. Most states require some uninsured motorist coverage, but for states that do not require uninsured motorist insurance, you may need to sign an agreement that you refused to add uninsured motorist coverage to your policy.

What Is Underinsured Motorist Insurance?

Underinsured motorist insurance is coverage that you add to your policy that you can use to cover your injuries and property damage if you get into an accident with a driver who does not have enough insurance to cover your damages. Underinsured drivers have insurance, but their policy limits are inadequate.

Suppose a truck driver or the trucking company is either uninsured or underinsured, the money you need to pay for your injuries and property damage. An accident attorney can help you pursue an uninsured/underinsured claim. Although it is your insurer, and it seems that it should promptly pay your claim, your insurance company is a business and will actively work to increase profit.

What to Know if You File an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Claim

  • If you file an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim and receive payments from the other party, you must repay your underinsured motorist policy.
  • Filing a claim against your uninsured/underinsured policy will not raise your rates.
  • Filing a claim against your uninsured/underinsured policy does not preclude you from filing a lawsuit against a negligent party.
  • An uninsured/underinsured policy can cover damages, including lost wages, medical care and rehabilitation, emergency medical services, and pain and suffering.

Pursue the Truck Driver’s Personal Assets

If the truck driver fails to obtain the insurance required by federal law, you can pursue the driver’s assets to satisfy a judgment from a commercial truck accident. Despite the driver’s insurance status, the negligent party is responsible for the harm caused in an accident.

The downside to pursuing the personal assets of an individual defendant is that they may not have enough money to pay the judgment. Depending on the amount of the judgment, even if the plaintiff seizes the defendant’s property, the judgment may not be satisfied.

To ensure that you receive total compensation for your injuries, you must name all potentially responsible parties in a complaint about injuries after a commercial truck accident.

Speak to an experienced commercial truck accident attorney in your area to get the best advice about what parties you should name as defendants. With these kinds of accidents, an injured person may have the right to pursue compensation for their damages from the trucking company that employs the driver. Keep reading to learn more.

Pursue the Trucking Company

The trucking company may be liable for the damages its employee caused. There is a legal principle called respondeat superior, which means that the employer is responsible for their employee’s negligence under certain circumstances. If the truck driver was operating a company vehicle negligently while performing their job duties, then the business is responsible for the harm that the driver caused. The doctrine respondeat superior gives accident victims the right to sue the truck driver and the trucking company if they suffer an injury in an accident with a commercial truck.

If a truck driver does not have the required insurance, the truck company may be responsible for paying all the damages you sustained in the accident. Although possible, a truck company is unlikely to operate without at least the minimum federally required insurance.

If the trucking company is uninsured or underinsured, then an accident victim may have the right to pursue the owner’s assets. Depending on the business structure the founder of the trucking company chose, you may have access to the owner’s assets if you cannot separate the owner’s assets from the company’s assets.

Truck Drivers as Independent Contractors

The doctrine of respondeat superior does not apply to independent contractors, who are different from employees, and independent contractors are generally not covered by the employer’s insurance.

While many truck drivers are independent contractors, the good news is that the law protects truck accident victims in this situation. You can often seek compensation from a trucking company that allows an independent truck owner-operator to use its vehicle, resulting in an accident.

Is Another Party at Fault?

Commercial truck accidents are chaotic. An extensive investigation will likely be required to gather the facts of the case. A vital part of the investigation is determining every party that may potentially be at fault for the accident. A driver may not have made contact with your vehicle, but they may have acted negligently in another way that contributed to the accident.

For example, if another driver slammed on their brakes too hard, the truck may react by quickly stepping on the brakes to avoid an impact, but inadvertently causing you to rear-end the truck. In that instance, the other driver may be responsible for your injuries, and you can pursue a claim with their insurance company.

If an accident involves multiple defendants, the law allows the plaintiff to receive compensation from each defendant. That means that each defendant is responsible for the entire amount of the judgment. However, that does not mean you will receive full payment of the judgment from each defendant, but rather that all defendants will contribute to the settlement.

Perhaps one defendant cannot pay their share of the award. The other defendant or defendants must pay the insolvent defendant’s portion of the judgment to the plaintiff. However, the defendant or defendants that contributed to the total settlement may pursue the non-paying defendant separately for the money owed.

How Can a Truck Accident Attorney Help Me?

Truck accident attorneys work to protect truck accident victims’ rights. Attorneys are zealous advocates for their clients and represent their clients’ interests during settlement negotiations and at trial. Unrepresented commercial truck accident victims face unnecessary challenges and may succumb to avoidable pitfalls. A truck accident lawyer can help protect you from these complications.

Working With the Insurance Company

An experienced commercial truck accident lawyer knows how to approach negotiations with the insurance company.

Remember, the at-fault party’s insurance company is not on your side. Insurance companies are businesses; thus, their goal is to protect the bottom line. The adjuster will employ specific tactics to protect the insurance company’s profit margin. The tactics include giving lowball offers, saying that your injuries are not real, not as severe as you claim, or that the accident did not cause them. Insurance companies know that they cannot pull the same tricks when an accident victim has an attorney on their side.

Taking Care of a Client Throughout the Lawsuit

There are many steps an injured person must take before a lawsuit reaches its resolution. It is hard for someone with little litigation experience to know what to do during each phase to maximize their chance of getting compensation after the case is over. An attorney can guide you through the process. Continue reading to learn more about what attorneys do to ensure they set their clients up for success.

Following Procedural Rules

A commercial truck accident lawyer has the experience, knowledge, and skill to increase your chances of success in a truck accident lawsuit. Many accident victims may not think of the procedural issues that affect their case. For example, if you don’t file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations passes, the court will dismiss it. A statute of limitations is a deadline that limits the time an injury victim has to file a lawsuit.

Other procedural rules will affect your case. Attorneys are trained on those procedural rules and can help you avoid failing to abide by a rule and ruin your case.


As the case continues, your lawyer will help you through each phase. Discovery is the investigation phase of the case. Discovery includes gathering information via questions sent to the opposing party. These questions are called interrogatories. Another part of the discovery process is depositions. Depositions happen outside of a courtroom, but they bind witnesses to tell the truth as if they were in a courtroom.

During the discovery phase of a lawsuit, a lawyer must protect the client’s legal rights, and that includes asking the right questions to the defendant and their witnesses to elicit testimony to prove your case. An unrepresented client may not know what information to ask for from the opposing side that will put their case in the best position for success.


The idea of a trial is intimidating to most people. The most knowledge many people have of what occurs during a trial comes from television. However, the fictionalized version of courts and trials does not properly represent what happens during a trial.

A civil trial is a technical process. Attorneys do pretrial work that may affect what happens during the trial. The jury selection process may take many days or weeks. Attorneys object to the admittance of evidence, and responding to objections on your feet is vital to protect your case.

An attorney can only increase your chances of success for your commercial truck accident claim.

How Do I Collect My Judgment?

Dave Abels Lawyer
Truck Accident Attorney, Dave Abels

Collecting a judgment is the final step of receiving your compensation for your injuries caused by a commercial truck accident. After a judge or jury gives a money award to the injury victim, the original case is complete.

If a defendant fails to pay the judgment, a plaintiff may choose to pursue another case to collect the money owed to them. If you want to pursue money that a court awarded you in a commercial truck accident lawsuit, contact an attorney in your area.

​When Do You Need a Truck Accident Attorney?

The answer is simple: you need a truck accident attorney after any accident with a truck that results in injuries. However, many accident victims do not obtain legal guidance right away because they believe the accident was minor or that the insurance company will handle the entire process. Many individuals feel that hiring an attorney will postpone their compensation and be extremely costly.

A truck accident attorney can obtain a higher settlement offer and often settle your case faster than expected. Insurance companies are notorious for delaying payment. We will discuss several other reasons you need a truck accident attorney here. Do not hesitate to contact a local truck accident attorney when you have been injured or are unsure of how the legal process works.

There Are Serious Injuries or Death

​When Do You Need a Truck Accident Attorney?While you should contact an attorney immediately after an accident, a clear sign that you need an attorney is that a loved one passed or you sustained a severe injury. The loss of a loved one is traumatic, and a negligent truck driver should not get away with killing your loved one. A catastrophic injury will alter the rest of your life.

Catastrophic injuries can require loved ones to become caregivers and leave you unable to participate in daily activities. A truck accident attorney can review your case and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Remember, every accident is different, and you might be under the impression your injuries are minor when underlying issues can make it worse. Recognizing all of your injuries will help you know to contact a truck accident attorney to seek compensation for you.

Some truck accident injuries include:

  • Broken bones: This injury is almost certain to happen in commercial accidents. You may have suffered a broken bone when you were younger. However, it is nothing compared to suffering a broken bone in adulthood. There are extensive medical bills that can accumulate. You will also need to take time off work or accept restrictions in the work you do from wearing a cast or splint.
  • Spine and neck injuries: The worst-case scenario is to suffer a spine or neck injury. When your spine sustains damage, this can lead to an impairment in the area. You can also become paralyzed.
  • Head and brain injuries: Concussions are a common head injury victims face. Many injury victims do not think these injuries are serious, but they can lead to severe cognitive deficits. Concussions are not the only head trauma you can sustain. There are cases where severe brain trauma is present, altering the rest of your life.
  • Burns: There are times when a truck is carrying flammable items. The crash can trigger these items to catch fire leading to severe burns. In other cases, your vehicle can catch fire and cause you injury. Burns can lead to long-lasting scars and even disfigurement.

There are many other injuries you can sustain from a truck accident. Due to the truck’s size, you will likely carry these injuries with you. There are also psychological injuries to contend with. Many truck accident victims will suffer from anxiety and PTSD. They find it difficult to get behind the wheel. If they can drive again, they will avoid large trucks on the road and may even need to pull over due to an anxiety attack. Some victims will need a service animal to help them get through the day.

Exhaustive Medical Bills

Accident victims think their health insurance and car insurance policies will pay for most of their medical expenses. Then, the medical bills begin coming in, and there are no funds to pay them. You have been out of work, and your insurance policies completely max out. How will you ever pay for the remaining bills?

Additionally, you will have ongoing medical care that you must also consider. When there are no other options for medical expenses, a truck accident attorney will file a claim and obtain compensation. You will likely reach policy limits reasonably quickly after a truck accident due to the severity of injuries and damage.

The Insurance Company Does Not Want to Pay

The first issue we addressed was the inability of insurance companies to offer fair settlements, even when warranted. Many injury victims are shocked when this happens. After all, you have been paying your premium on time and keeping your policy current. The insurance company does not want to pay when you need to tap into those benefits. There are other times when the insurance company will delay a claim to the point the injured person has resolved the issues on their own.The truth is that insurance companies always put their profits over people. They delay the settlement offer because they want the total payment to be lower. They assume accident victims will begin to cover their costs, and therefore the insurance company is off the hook.

They also delay payment to the point where a person has become so frustrated and burdened with bills they are willing to take any amount even if it does not cover all of their bills. However, you do not need to stress about these issues when you have a truck accident attorney on your side. An attorney will fight to avoid unnecessary delays and ensure you get compensated for the damages you incurred and will incur from the accident.

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The Police Report is Inaccurate

The police report is what will heavily affect your case. The insurance company, court, and attorney will refer to the original police report. If there are inaccuracies in the police report, this can complicate your claim. You will need to provide evidence to your attorney that the information on the police report is inaccurate so they can fight the contents of the police report.

Fighting or correcting the information on a police report is crucial to your case, and you need an experienced truck accident attorney to help you. An accurate police report is vital as this is the basis of your claim or lawsuit.

The Truck Company Was Negligent

The main reason you need to contact a truck accident attorney is that the truck driver acted negligently, which caused the accident to happen in the first place. They will deny they acted recklessly, but negligence will be crucial to your claim. Truck accidents are very complex, and even if the truck driver was not negligent, maybe another party was.

Trucking companies, maintenance companies, and parts manufacturers might have contributed to your truck accident.

You do not need to determine liability. Leave this task to your truck accident attorney.

Depending on specific factors, you may still collect compensation even if you are partially at fault. However, you need to discuss the possibility of settlement with a local truck accident attorney.

Proving a Truck Accident Crash

Let a truck accident attorney prove each

of the four elements of your case:

  • Duty of care: Each driver on the road owes those around them a duty of care to operate their vehicle safely. Drivers need to follow all rules of the road along with state and federal guidelines if applicable. Truck drivers have additional duties to those around them since they have higher responsibilities. Trucking companies need to provide adequate training for their drivers. They must also have accurate scheduling, loading, and maintenance practices. When a truck company does not follow these guidelines, it can be held liable for a truck accident.
  • Breach of duty of care: Now that duty of care has been established, you must show that the truck driver breached this duty. Whether the truck driver or the trucking company acted recklessly, it constitutes a breach of their commitment to other drivers on the road. The truck driver is often simply trying to do their job, but their employer is pressuring them to break the rules in the name of profits. A truck accident attorney will need to prove these practices were present and led to the accident.
  • Causation: You must show that the breach caused injuries or property damage. Causation is where a lot of legal battles stem. Truck drivers and their employers will deny they caused the accident while you are trying to prove that they did. This skill is where a truck accident attorney is essential.
  • Damages: Once you show causation, you must then show that the injuries that stemmed from the accident caused you financial loss. These financial losses must be a direct result of the truck accident and not another reason.

A truck accident attorney must prove these four key issues for a successful claim. You might be wondering what you need to prove these elements. The following section will detail the evidence you will need for a successful claim.

Truck Accident Evidence

The last four elements need to be proven so that the insurance company cannot deny your claim. If your case goes to trial, an attorney will present evidence to a judge, who will then determine the outcome. The more evidence you have, the better.

Some crucial evidence you will need for a successful claim include:

  • Medical documents detailing your injuries and treatment plan
  • Eyewitness statements, preferably people not in your vehicle
  • Photos and videos of the aftermath of the accident
  • The truck cab camera footage
  • Black box data from the truck
  • Driver logs
  • Expert witness testimony
  • Employment records for the truck driver
  • Inspection reports
  • Maintenance reports

You probably won’t obtain these records independently. Many of the parties involved will be unwilling to provide these records, especially to a person who a truck accident attorney does not represent. An attorney will have a better chance of obtaining these records and the knowledge to use these records to build a solid case in your favor.

Compensation For a Truck Accident

A truck accident claim aims to obtain compensation for your losses. There are different forms of compensation you are entitled to depending on the facts of your case. You will need to consult with a truck accident attorney to determine what compensation you are entitled to.

Examples of compensation for truck accidents include:

  • Lost income: Any time you took off work for medical care is recoverable through a truck accident claim. The calculation also includes the time needed to recover physically.
  • Future loss of earning potential: If the accident leaves you with a permanent impairment, you cannot return to your original work capacity. Your lifestyle will need to change as a result. Some victims are unable to work at all. You can obtain compensation for these losses.
  • Medical expenses: A truck accident injury will require varying degrees of medical treatment. There will be the initial treatment such as the ambulance transport and emergency room care. Once someone has diagnosed your condition, you will undergo treatment for your ailments like surgery, medication, and imagining scans. You can recover monetary damages for all of these items.
  • Future medical expenses: When you have a severe injury, you will need treatment for the rest of your life. You may even need to move into a nursing care center. Your attorney will calculate these costs and include them in your compensation claim.
  • Non-economic damages: Receipts cannot document some damages. These are called non-economic damages. They include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of quality of life.

Again, work with your truck accident lawyer to determine what compensation you deserve. We have not listed other forms of compensation here. Each case is unique and your truck accident lawyer should handle it with care.

Contact a truck accident attorney immediately following a crash to secure the compensation and care you can recover.

​What to Know if You Have Been Involved in a Truck Accident

Many truck accident victims assume that lawyers handle a truck accident like any other motor vehicle crash. However, a truck accident is a particular category under the personal injury umbrella. Truck accidents are complex and often result in catastrophic injuries. Vehicles involved in truck accident crashes are often total losses. One final complexity is the number of parties involved in truck accidents. Keeping these elements in mind, you need to contact a truck accident attorney to handle your case.

Do not leave a truck accident claim to just any personal injury attorney. You will need to find an attorney with specific knowledge of truck accidents and the resources to handle a case like yours. There are many intricacies that injury victims don’t know, but a truck accident attorney in your area will know how to get through this difficult time.

Top Causes of Truck Accidents

​What to Know if You Have Been Involved in a Truck AccidentMany injury victims are unaware of how common truck accidents are or what commonly causes them. Most truck accidents are avoidable, which often makes the mental toll on victims worse.

The top causes of truck accidents are:

  • Distracted driving: Driving requires the person’s full attention behind the wheel. When driving a truck, you assume the driver gives their full attention to the road. You do not think they are playing games or texting a friend on their phone. They have a greater responsibility than other drivers on the road due to the size of their vehicle. When a truck driver is distracted, their response time is affected, and they will be unable to avoid an accident. Distracted truck drivers are a danger to everyone on the road.
  • Speeding: Breaking the speed limit causes most motor vehicle accidents. The NHTSA reported that speeding accounted for over 9,478 deaths in one recent year. Speeding in a passenger vehicle is one thing, but the results are fatal when working with the thousands of pounds of metal and cargo that a truck has. A commercial truck is much larger and requires additional space and time to stop. If the driver is speeding, this will require even more time and space to stop adequately. The truck driver will be unable to stop in time when a hazard appears and they are speeding.
  • Fatigue: Truck drivers have varying and grueling schedules. They can work upwards of 70 hours each week. Truck drivers will sometimes have to be awake for 18 hours straight. Their schedules and deadlines lead to irregular sleep patterns. Lack of sleep affects a person’s motor skills and cognitive behavior like alcohol does. A driver can become tired on the road and cause an accident. Fatigued driving is similar to drunk driving.
  • Unsecured load: Truck drivers are carrying heavy loads. The trucking company must secure the cargo before the driver leaves the loading dock. An unsecured load can move around and even fall off the truck. This unsecured load can lead to fires and chemical spills depending on the load.
  • Mechanical issues: Truck drivers must inspect their vehicles before hitting the road. If there are any maintenance concerns, the drivers must address them. When a truck driver hits the road and maintenance has not been conducted, the driver can lose control of the truck. Defective parts can also cause mechanical issues. A faulty part comes from the manufacturer, meaning the product manufacturer is liable.

There are many other ways a truck accident can happen, and these are just a few examples. Regardless of why your accident occurred, speak with a truck accident attorney.

There are Multiple Parties in Truck Accidents

The trucking industry has many different processes and entities involved. You may believe the truck driver is the only person liable for an accident. Several people can be the truck owners and other parties responsible for factors leading to the accident.

You might hold these parties accountable for a truck accident:

  • Truck owners: There are three possible owners of one truck. The cab can have an owner, the trailer another owner, and the cargo a third. Depending on how the crash happened, these parties can be held liable. Each owner will have their employees and insurance policies. Establishing ownership is the first and most complex issue your truck accident attorney will face.
  • Truck driver: Another liable party in a truck accident is the truck driver. They must carry their own insurance policy. If the truck driver were careless in their actions and caused an accident, their insurance policy will be the primary source of compensation for your injuries and damage. There are varying minimums required by a truck driver’s insurance company, depending on which state the driver resides in. These minimums can be extremely complex if you are involved in an accident with a truck driver from another state.
  • Truck driver’s employer: Most truck drivers do not own their rig. They often work with other trucking companies. Trucking companies must carry insurance coverage for their drivers and have enough coverage for any potential victims of an accident. If an employer of a company acts negligently to cause harm to another party, the company is the liable party. Inadequate training cannot be a defense as trucking companies are responsible for adequately training their employees.
  • Parts manufacturer: Truck part manufacturers play a significant role in keeping trucks safe. They need to ensure the parts they provide to maintenance companies are safe to install in these large vehicles. Several mechanical issues result from defective parts, such as tire blowouts, steering problems, or brake issues.
  • Government entities: There are also government-owned and operated trucks on the road. The government entity responsible for these trucks can be liable for truck accidents. These are the most complex cases, and there is less time to file a claim when you are going up against a government agency. You will need a truck accident attorney who knows how to move quickly and handle government truck accidents.

It is shocking to accident victims when they realize so many parties are involved in a truck accident. With so many parties involved, it can cause each to shift blame. While these parties are shifting blame, you are in pain and trying to recover. You want answers and results, and you will need to have a local truck accident attorney review your case and hold these parties responsible.

Your Insurance Policy Will Make a Difference

Insurance is handled slightly differently in each state. There are varying policy limits and regulations for insurance policies. In most states, they rely on the premise of fault when handling truck accidents. This theory will require the at-fault party to compensate anyone they harm. While it is a simple premise, it can become complicated extremely fast. Some states have no-fault options.

You will need to know how these work, as this may apply to your truck accident case depending on where the accident happened and where you live.

  • Full tort: A driver can file a claim for compensation from the at-fault party. This claim is the most common type a truck accident attorney handles. You can include non-economic damages here.
  • Limited tort: In contrast, limited tort limits the amount of compensation that an injury victim can recover from their insurance policy. Fault does not make a difference in these cases. You will only recover damages for medical expenses and lost wages. Non-economic damages will be unrecoverable in limited tort cases. One caveat is if the injuries are considered catastrophic. Truck accidents often result in devastating injuries, so limited tort may not apply to your lawsuit.

In either instance, you will need a local truck accident attorney to review the case, insurance policies, and applicable laws. You do not have to worry about these legal complexities but should be aware they exist. Your insurance policy will play a role in your claim, but the truck driver’s insurance will often cover the incurred damages.

Truck Drivers Must Follow Federal Regulations

Not just anyone can become a truck driver. Many individuals believe that only the state they work in regulates truck drivers. The truth is federal laws also restrict truck drivers. The federal government has authority over who can drive a truck, the cargo they can carry, and how much time a driver can spend on the road.

You need a truck accident lawyer who knows the regulations regarding:

  • Safety: Everyone should stay safe on the road, and safety regulations are some of the most important ones to consider. Truck drivers are legally required to attend yearly training and have annual inspections conducted on their trucks. There are also weight restrictions and endorsement restrictions. Failure to follow these regulations results in an accident; it can also result in federal action.
  • Driving hours: While there are federal regulations concerning the number of hours a truck driver can be on the road, drivers often avoid them. Many trucking companies will alter driving logs to allow drivers to push past the allotted driving time for profit. Truck drivers can only be on the road for 11 hours at a time within 14 hours. The 14-hour period begins after the driver has been off the road for at least ten days. A truck driver cannot drive more than 70 hours over eight days or 60 hours in seven days. The number of fatigued drivers makes you wonder how closely they adhere to these regulations.
  • Alcohol: Truck drivers do not have the same rules regarding alcohol consumption that other drivers do. A truck driver cannot consume alcohol within four hours of starting their shift. The blood alcohol level is irrelevant if a driver has consumed alcohol within four hours.

There are many other federal and state regulations to consider. An experienced truck accident is familiar with these regulations and can investigate whether the truck driver or trucking company did not follow proper protocol. Police responding to the scene may believe rule violations occurred and if so, can include this in their report or issue a ticket for an infraction.

Calculating Compensation After a Truck Accident

Truck accidents result in various damages to the other drivers and their passengers. Calculating compensation is vital after a truck accident claim. Every case is unique, and even two parties in the same vehicle can suffer differing damages.

After an accident, you may recover compensation for:

  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Medical bills
  • Future lost earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of companionship
  • Wrongful death

To reiterate, you will have certain damages you are entitled to. Even if your case is similar to another one, this does not mean you will garner the same results. Provide all of your expenses to your truck accident attorney. You need every medical bill and receipt for costs so your attorney can include them in your demand package.

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Move Quickly to File a Claim

Many factors can affect your deadlines. Every personal injury case has strict statutes of limitations. If you are filing a claim against a government entity, statutes of limitation are more stringent than against another individual. The extent of your injuries can also affect how long your case will take.

A truck accident attorney cannot request the total amount you deserve until you have reached maximum medical improvement. To reach MMI, you must have attended all doctor’s appointments and received treatment for your injuries. Medical professionals must agree that there are no further treatment options available for your condition.

Since truck accidents cause catastrophic injuries, your recovery time will often be much longer than a minor accident. Your truck accident attorney will handle the legal aspect while you focus on recovery. There are many cases where victims are left permanently impaired after an accident. These issues will require special care and attention from your truck accident attorney, and you should get the legal help you need as soon as possible.

​When to Hire a Truck Accident Attorney

Never hesitate to contact a truck accident lawyer after a truck crash. Every important consideration possible strongly points to needing legal help. Given the damages you suffered and the insurance coverage limits, you may be dealing with a high-dollar value claim. Not only do you need a lawyer, but you need one now. It costs you nothing to hire an attorney, but it costs you everything not to hire one. The longer you wait, the more you can damage the possible success of your attempt for financial compensation.

If you suffered an injury after a truck accident, hire an attorney to represent you now. An injury is usually physical, but it can also be property damage. Any expense or loss to you that results from someone else’s negligent actions can be legally considered an injury.

You Need an Experienced Lawyer to Take on the Insurance Company

You are not going up against the driver in a truck accident case. Most often, a trucking company employs the driver—and it bears responsibility for what its driver does. Even if you suffered injuries due to an owner-operator, there is still an insurance company involved in the case. Insurance companies and trucking companies have lawyers and systems in place to try to thwart your claims and pay you less than you deserve. If you have a compensation claim, hire a truck accident attorney.

The insurance company does not get to dictate what happens in response to your claim. They cannot take away or compromise on your legal right to compensation. This is what they will do if you let them. The guardrail that protects your ability to full and fair compensation is an experienced lawyer. The sooner you get that guardrail up, the harder it is for the insurance company to push your case over the edge.

There are numerous reasons you will need to hire a truck accident attorney immediately after an accident. Some are specific to truck accidents, and others result from the usual considerations after any personal injury claim.

A Truck Accident Lawyer Can Quickly Identify the Responsible Party

Truck accidents require an extensive investigation right after the accident before the evidence is lost. In any truck accident case, there are many possible defendants, including:

  • The truck driver responsible for the accident and the company that employed them
  • A maintenance company that was responsible for keeping the truck in proper working order
  • The manufacturer that made the truck in a product liability lawsuit
  • A third driver who cut in front of the truck and caused the accident
  • The government agency responsible for maintaining the road where the accident occurred.

Before filing a claim or lawsuit, you need to know who to file it against. You will not want to blame the driver if defective brakes caused the accident. At the same time, there may be more than one responsible party, and you can file cases against all of them. Multiple policies mean more insurance coverage to pay for your serious injuries.

You Can Lose Truck Accident Evidence if You Do Not Move Quickly

To perform a proper investigation, you need to have the full scope of the available evidence. Your attorney will need to comb through records and consult with experts to pinpoint the cause of the accident. Even though you must do this quickly, the investigation may still take time to accomplish. The sooner an attorney begins, the more thorough and precise the investigation they can perform. If you wait too long, you might lose some of your legal options.

Another major reason to hire an attorney quickly is that you can lose valuable evidence that can help prove your truck accident case. More so than any other motor vehicle accident, truck crashes have an extensive body of evidence that your lawyer can rely upon when trying to show liability.

These sources of evidence can include:

  • Black box data that provides key information about how the truck was being operated right before the crash
  • Maintenance records that show what measures the company took to keep the truck safe
  • Trucking company records that show how the company followed federal trucking regulations
  • Driver records regarding their safety history and drug testing

These sources of evidence can help prove your claims and give you more potential ways to argue that the trucking company or driver did something wrong. However, it takes an attorney to access them because they know the process.

Other Evidence that Your Lawyer Needs Obtain Quickly

In addition, you will need the standard evidence that will help in any motor vehicle crash, including:

  • Witness statements from people who saw the crash
  • Photo of the scene of the accident
  • The wreckage from the crash
  • Traffic camera footage that may show what happened

The Trucking Company can Lose or Destroy Evidence Unless a Lawyer Acts

When the trucking company has control over the evidence, you can never trust that you can obtain it at a later date. Even though federal regulations require trucking companies to keep records, sometimes trucking companies do not follow them. Their fears about having to pay a large settlement or judgment sometimes take priority over following the law.

An attorney knows how to deal with situations like this. Even if you do not get your hands on the evidence that can help you immediately, a lawyer will take steps to direct the trucking company to preserve evidence in anticipation of litigation. If the trucking company does not listen, and your lawyer discovers the company destroyed relevant evidence, they can be in serious trouble. You may even get punitive damages against them if your case goes to trial.

In the meantime, an attorney will assemble the evidence necessary to demonstrate liability. The longer you wait after an accident, the more likely this evidence will disappear. Witnesses can be harder to track down, and those you have may lose some of their recollections. The time window to collect the necessary evidence can even end weeks after the accident. Waiting too long to hire a lawyer, or even waiting at all, can cost you the chance to prove that the truck driver was responsible for your accident.

You Can Lose Money Without a Lawyer’s Help

In addition, you should have an attorney immediately to help you handle the legal process. When an insurance company is in the picture, you may not have control over when the legal process begins, even though you should. They may begin calling you, trying to pressure and manipulate you when you have injuries.

It does not matter to them that you are dealing with physical injuries and anxiety. Their only worry is settling a claim on favorable terms for them. In the meantime, you can make a critical mistake on your own without an attorney to protect your legal rights.

You may get calls or settlement offers not in your best interest. However, you will not know this without a lawyer to tell you how much your claim is worth. Some people may consider an offer of thousands of dollars right after an accident. When your case is worth millions, this offer is a trick to take money out of your pocket.

In a truck accident case, knowledge is power. A lawyer will provide the information you need to protect your legal rights. It will give you the confidence to wage a battle against a large insurance company and its insured trucking company.

Hiring a Lawyer Immediately Helps Cut Down on Possible Mistakes

Without an attorney, there is a far greater chance that you can make a mistake that will cost you money. It is safe to say that most people do not know much about the legal process, even under the best of circumstances. After the accident, this is even more true.

Hiring an attorney will also help give you and your family the peace of mind you need after an accident, knowing that there is someone tough in your corner. Peace is hard to come by after a serious accident, and your stress level is high. Knowing the challenge in front of you can make it difficult to begin seeking financial compensation.

This is the first step when you hire an attorney, and they will handle the details. Without making that call, you will continue to feel anxiety about your financial situation and future.

An Attorney Will Help You Begin Documenting Your Damages Right Away

Further, hiring an attorney immediately will help you know what you need to do to document your damages. A jury will only order compensation – and an insurance company will only pay for it – when the damages are entirely clear. Start documenting damages to the best of your ability right after the start of the accident. If you cannot do it yourself, your family can do it for you.

Your lawyer will instruct you on exactly what you must do to have a record of your injuries.

These steps will include:

  • Seeing all necessary doctors immediately
  • Keeping track of all medical bills
  • Journaling your daily experience in written form
  • Saving all pay data from your work
  • Documenting what you are missing out on in life that you enjoyed before the accident

All of these can show the full extent of your injuries and damages.

The Statute of Limitations Begins to Run Right After Your Accident

Finally, you should call a lawyer because time is of the essence in any legal claim. First, the legal process will take time. You must take many steps between the time you file your case or claim and when you receive compensation. You may not be in a position to file your claim right away, and it is certainly not something that you should rush. You must put your best foot forward in any claim or lawsuit, and it is not something that happens overnight.

Second, you have the statute of limitations to worry about. You have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit. Once that period expires, you lose the ability to seek financial compensation for your injuries. While we are not suggesting that not calling a lawyer immediately will put you in danger of missing the statute of limitations, it is something that you need to keep in the back of your mind. Your lawyer needs time to work, including some space to negotiate with the insurance company before filing a potential lawsuit.

It Does Not Cost You Anything to Call an Attorney

It will cost you nothing to speak with an attorney. If you have concerns about coming up with the money to consult with an attorney, you can take comfort in knowing that you do not have to write a check. All reputable personal injury lawyers work the same way. They will never send you hourly bills or charges for their time. They work on a contingency basis.

When they speak about your case with you for the first time, the consultation is completely free and comes at no risk to you. If you choose not to hire a lawyer, you will not get a bill for the consultation. If you agree to retain the lawyer, you only pay them if they win your case.

Why Would You Hesitate?

gary annes, abels & annes, p.c.
Truck Accident Attorney, Gary Annes

With all of these reasons to call a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible following your accident, why would you wait? There are experienced legal teams in your area ready to help, and the first step is to call for a free case evaluation.

In this evaluation, you can tell your side of the story, provide additional information to the attorney, and ask questions. You want to hire the right truck accident lawyer for your situation.

Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

​How to Make Trucks More Accident-Safe

Even though truck accident numbers are increasing, truck safety has improved over the past two decades. The driver has enhanced accident-prevention technology. However, in the absence of federal regulations that require specific systems, these safety options are optional. It is up to the trucking company to make the investments necessary to keep their trucks from injuring motorists and their passengers.

Economically, investing in safety should make sense for trucking companies. Large lawsuit verdicts threaten to put them out of business. There have been many cases where juries have issued “nuclear verdicts” that bankrupted trucking companies that did not have the assets to pay them.

Many trucking companies will not spend the money it takes on systems that enhance the safety of their trucks, as they are an expense that can cut back on profits. Some trucking companies will regret this choice when their drivers cause severe injuries in accidents that were avoidable with safety technology. Then, the trucking company can face massive liability when one of its drivers causes an accident.

Here are some ways a trucking company can make a truck safer, either through investment in technology or people and processes.

Hire More Experienced Drivers

There are no two ways around it; truck driver wages are increasing as there is a shortage of qualified truck drivers. Experienced operators can command higher wages because there are not enough of them to go around. Trucking companies compensate for spiraling wages by hiring less experienced drivers, who earn less. This is a foolish approach because poor safety will affect the bottom line more.

Hiring experienced drivers is an investment in safety. While these drivers cost more, they have a track record and know-how to operate these large vehicles.

On the flip side, cutting corners to hire newer drivers because they make less puts motorists at risk. It also puts the trucking company in legal jeopardy because these newer drivers have a far greater chance of causing an accident. Truck drivers with less than five years of experience are 41 percent more likely to cause a crash.

Perform Vigorous Checks on Drivers

Trucking companies have many obligations when they hire new drivers. In addition to each driver needing a CDL license and training courses, trucking companies must strictly check on the people they employ. The first check is of the driver’s safety history. Trucking companies must check driving records for three years before hiring a driver. If the driver has a poor safety record, the trucking company should think twice about hiring them in the face of obvious red flags. In addition, the trucking company must perform drug and alcohol tests on their drivers.

Trucking companies should not overlook a history of safety violations because they need warm bodies to throw behind the wheel. After all, operators are driving 80,000-pound vehicles that far outweigh the cars they may potentially hit. Cutting corners on background checks and compromising safety standards can cost far more money than they save.

Perform All Necessary Maintenance

Even the slightest malfunction can cause a severe crash because it is such a large vehicle. The first thing that comes to mind is that one tire blowout can cause the truck driver to lose control of the vehicle and hit another car. There are many maintenance requirements trucking companies and truck drivers must follow.

Before the driver even heads out onto the road, they must perform specific checks of vital parts of the truck. If they find anything wrong, they must report it. They are not allowed to repair their own trucks.

The trucking company has a legal obligation to keep the truck working properly.

Extensive federal regulations govern truck inspections and maintenance:

  • Trucking companies must periodically inspect, maintain and repair all vehicles subject to their control
  • Accessories and parts must always be in safe working condition at all times
  • Truck drivers must not operate commercial vehicles in a manner that might cause a crash or breakdown

When trucking companies cut back on maintenance to save money, it often comes back to bite their bottom line, either due to an enforcement penalty or a lawsuit. Investing in maintenance is a smart way to protect the trucking company from liability.

Follow Regulations in Loading Cargo

Even if the driver does everything right, the truck’s cargo can cause an accident. Again, federal regulations dictate strict measures that crews must follow when loading cargo. Loaders must properly tie down cargo using structures of adequate strength.

Proper cargo loading is critical for several reasons:

  • If cargo is unbalanced or moves while the truck is in operation, it can cause a truck rollover.
  • Cargo can spill from the truck onto the roadway, causing driver crashes.

Trucking companies may outsource cargo loading, and the third party will be legally responsible if improper cargo loading causes an accident. In addition, you can hold the trucking company responsible if it negligently hired a cargo loader.

Blind-Spot Detection Systems

Trucks have large blind spots both in front and behind them, and along each side of the trailer. The truck driver will have difficulty seeing the first 20 feet in front of the truck and 30 feet behind it. The lack of vision makes it difficult for the truck to change lanes. Inexperienced drivers may struggle when relying on their mirrors to alert them a car is in a blind spot.

A blind-spot detection system has sensors on the mirrors and bumpers that alert a truck driver when a vehicle is in a blind spot. The driver will receive an alert. Then, the system may beep or give another warning if a truck driver changes lanes when a car is in a blind spot. These warnings keep a truck from hitting a driver or forcing them out of their lane when trying to change lanes.

Blind-spot detection systems can be expensive to buy and maintain. The network of sensors is complex, and they often need replacements. However, they reduce the chances of a serious or possibly deadly blind spot accident.

Collision Warning Systems

A collision warning system will alert a truck driver when the risk of an accident rises. This system can help operators who may not see the danger, either because they have made a judgment error or are distracted. Collision warning systems also help truckers on long journeys who may become distracted. These systems do not substitute for following rest rules, but they are another tool drivers have to help avoid accidents.

Collision warning systems are often on newer trucks. Most trucking companies have not retrofitted their older fleets to include this technology because they do not want to spend the money.

Automatic Braking

Automatic braking systems will apply the brakes when the computer senses a truck accident is imminent. The braking can either stop the truck entirely or slow the truck down to reduce the accident’s severity.

Trucks take far longer to bring to a stop, given their size and weight. If truck drivers are distracted, even a split-second delay in applying the brakes can mean the truck has an accident.

Automatic braking systems can practically end rear-end truck collisions. One study found automatic braking systems cut rear-end collisions by nearly 75 percent. Right now, these systems are not mandatory for trucks. The hope is that future regulations can mandate automatic braking systems to protect the public from tired and distracted drivers who either do not attempt to brake in time or misjudge their stopping distance.

Electronic Logging Device Compliance

Truck drivers must follow strict federal rules about hours of service limitations. Operators must take mandatory rest breaks, and their shifts cannot exceed certain durations. In the past, truckers manually kept a logbook that detailed their shifts. However, manual books are insufficient to protect the public. They may be subject to falsification.

Now, trucks have an electronic system that tracks the time the truck is in operation. Some trucks even have devices that do not allow drivers to start the truck if they violate the federal rules. This system is the equivalent of an ignition interlock that tests drivers with a history of DUI.

This lock is in use on very few trucks. Nonetheless, investing in upgraded technology to keep drivers from violating federal rules because of the delivery pressure feel can reduce fatigued driving accidents. Nonetheless, these devices are not substitutes for good judgment and the driver taking necessary rests.

Lane Departure Warning

Fatigued or distracted drivers may drift out of their lane. Truck drivers may have difficulty stabilizing their truck and keeping it straight. A lane departure warning system will alert the driver when the truck veers out of its lane. This can allow the driver the correct course. If the driver has lost concentration, the sudden sound can force them to regain focus.

These systems have mounted cameras that track lane dividers and the truck’s position. Lane departure warning systems are complicated pieces of technology that require some investment. However, since many truck accidents happen due to drifting trucks, the investment is well worth it because it protects the truck and the trucking company. Lane departure warning systems are perhaps the most effective measures to combat distracted trucking accidents.

Stability Control System

Truck rollovers are a common and dangerous type of accident. There are several causes of rollovers:

  • The driver makes a steering error
  • The cargo is improperly loaded, causing the center of gravity to shift
  • An inexperienced driver misjudges a turn

Stability control systems are a required feature on later trucks in the wake of a 2015 federal regulation. Trucking companies can still retrofit older vehicles with this crucial device.

The stability control system can prevent rollovers by performing two major functions:

  • Manipulates the engine throttle
  • Manipulates the brakes over each wheel

Studies show these devices can prevent thousands of truck accidents each year. NHTSA has proposed making stability control systems mandatory for passenger cars and light trucks. These systems are also mandatory for trucks built after 2015, although trucking companies are not required to retrofit older trucks to install this system. However, for purposes of safety, trucking companies should consider this investment.

Underride Guards

Accidents involving a car that ends up under a truck are extremely devastating. These accidents can shear off the top of the car, decapitating motorists.

Underride guards help lessen the chance a car driver can end up under the truck when they crash into the back of a tractor-trailer. These guards are not yet a requirement by law, but there is proposed legislation for such requirements that legislators may enact in the future. Underride guards do not require a large investment, but they can cut the risk of a catastrophic accident.

Again, it is up to the trucking how much to spend on certain safety features when they are not a federal requirement. Trucking companies must comply with all federal rules, but they may not want to pay for the “extras.” They may regret it when they face an angry jury and a sympathetic plaintiff who suffered serious injuries in an accident.

Dave Abels
Truck Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels

These safety devices lower the chances that a truck driver can be negligent and can save an operator from their lack of skill or poor judgment. If the truck driver was negligent, and you or a loved one suffered injuries, you may have the right to financial compensation. First, you need to contact an experienced truck accident lawyer for a free consultation.

A lawyer can determine whom you can hold liable for your losses. That is often the trucking company. Even if trucking companies took all possible safety measures, they are still liable for the mistakes and negligence of employees – the truck drivers. You want a truck accident attorney who knows how to investigate truck crashes, gather evidence of negligence, and prove liability so you can seek compensation.

Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575