Each year, there are around half a million trucking accidents in the United States that result in injury. What’s even more shocking is that 5,000 of those accident cases result in death and even wrongful death. These numbers are staggering and even though you may have never been in an accident involving a semi-truck yourself, it’s still helpful to have a little knowledge under your belt on what you should do if you happen to find yourself in this situation.
Of course, you may think that cases involving any size freight vehicle, from small semi-trucks to giant 18 wheelers, that you can just let your insurance company handle whatever legal issues arise. Though this does work out well for some people, there are also many cases that end in dissatisfaction, with little to no monetary damages being awarded to the deserved party involved and personal injury lawyers may be required. In fact, all too often, cases that probably should have ended in a fair result, are lost by either a lack of knowledge surrounding—or a misunderstanding of—the many laws and regulations the trucking industry adheres to.
In order to adequately set yourself up for a successful case, whether you’re in a big city like Houston and St. Louis, or even in a small one-stoplight town, hiring one of the many experienced truck accident lawyers—also known as a trucking accident lawyer—needs to be a top priority. Besides finding this type of specialized representation, there are a few other important details you’ll want to understand. This article will delve into some of the more important information regarding trucking accidents, as well as what steps you should take after having been in an accident. Knowing this information will not only help those who have already been in a trucking accident get a fair legal result but will also grant confidence to those who may face this dilemma in the future.
Before we get into the important steps regarding what a person should do when involved in a trucking accident, it’s first important to understand why legal cases like this are substantially more serious than your typical two-car wreck and an attorney is needed in almost all cases. Whether caused through negligence or not, this seriousness arises from the fact that these types of vehicles tend to cause significantly more damage simply because of how big they are compared to the other vehicles they share the road with. Your average fully loaded 18-wheeler truck weighs around 80,000 pounds, and when it collides with your average 4,000-pound car, the damage is usually catastrophic with the car taking the brunt of the damage. Also, when a large truck and car collide, the force created by the speed of the truck usually ends up propelling the smaller vehicle into any other cars, trucks, or people who happen to be in its path. This is not a unique or rare occurrence, either, as four out of every five auto accidents involving large trucks are classified as multi-vehicle type wrecks.
Since truck accident cases will most likely result in multiple people and vehicles being involved, as well as the fact that these trucks will cause significant damage to whatever it hits, the insurance the driver or company that owns the truck has, will be pretty extensive. More specifically, the amount of liability insurance these trucks require makes any legal action from accident victims a rather complicated and high stakes affair. I say this, simply based on the fact that not only will both you and the driver of the truck have a stake in the result of the case, but so will the company that owns the truck, the insurance companies for both parties, and perhaps even the company that manufactures the truck. With so much money and so many people involved, cases like these require little room for error on both sides and can take months to resolve.
To give yourself the best chance to get a favorable result, there are certain steps you should be aware of. The first is to immediately get to a doctor and have a complete medical evaluation carried out. Of course, this is only necessary if the injuries sustained don’t require an immediate emergency medical response—unlike a spinal cord injury or other catastrophic injuries—but are still serious enough to require compensation.
Like with all motor vehicle accidents, you will also need to report this accident to the police and your insurance company. This is where things tend to get a bit convoluted as insurance claims adjusters for both parties involved will usually try and get you to sign off on some sort of deal that will prevent any further legal action by you. Do not be swayed by these individuals to sign off on anything unless you have an experienced lawyer there to go over the details of the accident injury with you. These initial offers are usually on the low end of the spectrum and, in most cases, they are not fair and you won’t receive maximum compensation.
After you’ve managed to avoid these potential pitfalls, you’ll then want to find experienced truck accident lawyers. These professionals will know all of the intricacies about a personal injury case involving an 18 wheeler and will be your best chance to win. I say this because they will know and have access to key experts, witnesses and evidence that will give you the upper hand against the opposition. This is especially true when hiring a lawyer who is based near the location where the accident occurred. Being from and having an expert understanding of the local and state trucking laws and regulations will ultimately work in your favor. Thankfully, even if you are not from the area, you can still find a competent lawyer who is by simply doing a quick Internet search.
Following the information in this article will certainly help start you well on your way to a fair case result and hopefully help ease whatever burdens your accident has caused. It’s important to be involved and proactive with your case and not just assume things will get taken care of by people who may not have your best interests at heart. Hire a Houston truck accident lawyer and follow the steps outlined in this article and you’ll most likely be satisfied with the result or, at the very least, be able to live knowing you did all you could to win.