If you’ve been injured in an accident involving your passenger vehicle and a large truck, you probably have a lot of questions; most drivers, even if they know how to handle regular car accidents, are intimidated by the process of dealing with a commercial trucking company. But the best thing you can do is arm yourself with some solid information. Here are answers to the five questions truck accident lawyers are most frequently asked:
- What’s Covered in Car Accident Settlements?
Because of the sheer size of commercial vehicles, it’s possible for the drivers of passenger vehicles to be badly hurt in trucking accidents. If this is the case for you, you probably have extensive medical bills. If you’ve been unable to work, other bills may be piling up as well. A settlement can cover not only your medical expenses, but also lost wages after an accident. You may even pursue damages for pain or emotional trauma.
- Is It Always Necessary to File a Lawsuit?
The good news is that often, you can settle without ever filing a lawsuit. You’ll probably get started with a demand letter, which will normally lead to settlement talks. If that doesn’t work out, or depending on the details of the case, your lawyer may recommend filing a lawsuit at that point.
- Who’s At Fault in Most Cases?
People are often confused as to whether they should be contacting the individual truck driver or the trucking company to deal with the legal aftermath of a truck accident. It’s likely your lawyers or insurance company will end up communicating with both, but in the end liability will depend on whether either of those entities was negligent. It will also depend on whether the truck driver is actually employed by the company, or just contracted out the job. In any case, the common things you should look into are whether the driver had been on the road beyond legally mandated hours of service, if the driver was somehow inhibited or impaired, and if the truck was properly maintained.
- Can I Get Partial Settlements?
Often, the driver of the passenger vehicle at least contributes to the accident (by driving too closely or sticking in a truck’s blind spots, for example). While you’ll have a stronger case if you share no fault for the accident, it’s still possible to get a smaller settlement if you contributed somewhat. Most states use a system called comparative negligence, in which they weigh the negligence of one party against the other, instead of a more black-and-white delineation of fault.
- Is Hiring Truck Accident Lawyers Necessary?
It’s not always necessary to hire auto accident injury attorneys after a car crash — and that’s a good thing. But because being involved in a trucking accident means that you’re more likely to be dealing with a company who will hire lawyers to make sure they don’t have to make payments, hiring a truck accident injury lawyer can ensure that you’re treated fairly.
What else would you like to ask experienced truck accident lawyers? Share your thoughts in the comments.