Accidents involving commercial vehicles, semi – trucks, tractor trailers, and other large vehicles are much more severe than regular automobile crashes, for obvious reasons. The damage sustained by accident victims in such cases can be devastating, the financial, physical, and emotional effects of catastrophic injuries can be devastating.
However, the complexity of such cases can make it hard for the victims to get fairly compensated by the concerned insurance companies without proper legal representation. At the Porter Firm, we have a nationwide network of able and highly qualified personal injury lawyers who believe in going the extra mile for their clients.
We not only have the knowledge but also the legal experience to help you or your loved one seek justice in a commercial truck accident case. The state laws governing how personal injury claims proceed vary throughout the USA, and our extensive law firm is more than ready to deal with everything. From legal consultation to representation and securing fair compensation, we have your back.
What Are The Top Reasons For Truck Crashes?
To better pursue your truck crash case, a lawyer must start at the root cause of the event so that they can understand how the series of events unfolded and how you should narrate them in front of the insurance company adjuster.
Some of the most common causes of truck accidents are as follows:
- Issues with the brake (maintenance problem or manufacturing defect)
- Congestion on the road due to poor traffic flow
- Drunk driving or driving under influence (even with prescription medical drugs)
- Drowsy driving or driver fatigue
- Problems with the roadway, i.e. slipperiness, depressions, etc.
- Highway hypnosis (which is a result of staring the roadway for too long and results in delayed response)
- Absence of any fleet tracking equipment
- Anxiety on part of the professional truck driver (to meet deadlines, etc.)
- Distracted driving (eating, calling, texting, and so on)
- Violating traffic signals or other traffic rules
The list goes on, however, the common denominator in all of these is negligence. In most cases, it is the commercial truck driver who’s fully responsible for all the damage due to their neglectful behavior. But even in cases where the blame is shared, the victim does deserve to be compensated.
To see where the negligence lies, our lawyers will scrutinize the details of the accident, starting from the cause itself, and see how things would’ve worked if there were no recklessness in the equation. Then, based on the logical inference of the data, we will prepare a solid argument for you to stick to during the case for claiming fair compensation.
Dealing With Truck Accident Cases Professionally
Usually, going through the entire litigation process for truck crash cases is a daunting task, there are so many factors to consider, the costs being one of them, but we are always ready for a challenge. The Porter Firm has been in the legal field for decades now, and we’ve always done our best to represent our clients in such cases and win them the reimbursement they deserve.
This is how we do it:
1) Investigating The Truck Crash
To clearly demonstrate any recklessness or negligence on part of the truck driver, an experienced truck accident lawyer will fully investigate the events of the crash itself.
Any video footage, from a dashcam or a surveillance camera, will be valuable evidence for your truck accident claim, but this is not the case with all crashes. Sometimes, all that a personal injury attorney can do is to assess the post-accident scene (through any pictures or videos captured) and to scan the condition of the vehicles involved in the crash, after the collision.
If you gathered evidence at the site of the accident following the crash (assuming that it was not a catastrophic one), then that would be helpful. Hopefully, even in the event of a serious crash, someone would’ve been mindful enough to capture some photos as evidence. But in any case, a responsible and experienced attorney will have to investigate the details of the crash.
Police reports also offer a lot of insights here.
Sometimes, things remain vague unless we get accident reconstructionists on board, other times, the crash scene itself and the conditions of the cars involved reveal all that is needed. In any case, this step can’t be skipped if you want fair compensation for your personal injury claim from all of the liable parties.
2) Identifying The Negligent Parties
This is something you’ll first discuss with a truck accident lawyer in your initial consultation session. Who is to blame? Here is another area where trucking accidents are one of a kind because the list of potentially responsible parties is much bigger than in most other cases.
So, who is responsible for your sufferings and must compensate you financially?
Well, the driver, first of all, may have been negligent on their part, making them the most obvious at-fault party. Perhaps they were speeding, driving aggressively, drunk (although that will extend the blame to a whole lot of other parties), disobeying traffic rules, and so on. If this is indeed the case, then you have your liable party number one.
However, in some cases, though rare, it wouldn’t have mattered how much vigilant the driver was. Perhaps the driver did all they could to avoid the crash, but it happened despite their best efforts. This may be due to maintenance trouble with the vehicle or due to some inherent manufacturing defect, i.e. maybe the brakes were not working as well as they should have.
In such cases, the owner of the truck or the manufacturer will be held responsible.
Of course, that is not to say that driver error (if they were indeed negligent) in such cases is to be ignored.
Plus, the driver’s neglectful behavior will also reflect poorly on their employer. Flaws in the employment structure of truck companies can lead to such cases, and your lawyer will scrutinize these details to see whether the employer could’ve known that the driver was generally negligent towards road safety. If so, then they’ll be held liable too.
The employer will also be held negligent if the driver in question was overworked and fatigued, leading to an accident. Your lawyer will investigate the typical work hours for the trucking company and employer’s policies in this regard to reach a conclusion here. The factors that matter the most when deciding whether or not the employer should be held liable for overburdening their employees are as follows:
- Is there a routine for work?
- How much control does the employer exercise over their employees?
- Are there long stretches of driving in the dark of night?
And so on…
Also, the employer may try to evade the blame by referring to their workers as independent contractors rather than actual employees. This may be the case in some situations, but mostly, it is not. Your legal team will review the company policies regarding their workers to better assess their status, i.e. contractor or employee. In the latter case, you’ll be able to sue the employer too.
If the poor road conditions were a factor then the governing body in this regard will be held liable assuming that they knew about the trouble, had a reasonable window of time to fix it, but still failed to address the issue. Remember that your time limit or statute of limitations (which varies from state to state but usually lies between 2 and 6 years) will be shorter for any case to be filed against a government department, so delays are not possible here.
3) Assessing The Damage Sustained
The thing with truck accidents is that the sheer disparity between the two colliding vehicles assures that the person driving the smaller car will take a good beating. Even in medium-intensity crashes, the damage can be mounting. The injuries themselves are not the whole problem, there are economic and non-economic pressures associated with them.
An experienced truck accident attorney will not only assess the full extent of the losses, and the types of damages before moving on:
Bodily Injuries & Non-Economic Damages
Disfiguration, lacerations, bruising, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, whiplash (neck injury), wrist injury, internal organ damage, fractured or broken bones, paralysis, and amputation are only some of the gruesome truck accident injuries (based on medical records of truck accident victims). The immense pain brought by these traumas and the difficulties in carrying on with life even after the initial healing period are collectively termed as non-economic damages.
Of course, tending to these wounds and easing the pain will not be free, but that is covered under the economic damages header.
As for the non-financial losses, pain and suffering, on both physical and emotional levels are the two important aspects here. Not only do the injuries hurt, but they can also scar the victim emotionally, make them fearful of driving themselves to and from work, keep them from having a fulfilling time with their children and family members, and so on.
This is the easier half to calculate, it’s all in the numbers. The medical bills, associated costs (for physical therapy, medicine, rehabilitation therapy, psychological counseling, and so on), lost wages, loss of earning potential, extra expenses necessitated by the event, and property damage.
Of course, in case of prolonged treatment, the time factor must also be considered in addition to periodic inflation to get a fair estimate of the total healing costs.
Valuation Of The Damages
Your lawyer will work out the economic damages first, these are simpler to put together. They’ll sum up your current and expected expenses to get a total estimate of your losses. This is how much the accident actually cost you, financially.
But since we also discussed non-economic damages, we know that the full extent of your losses here will not be accurately reflected in a bunch of receipts. Instead, your lawyer will factor in the severity of your suffering and assign a multiple, between 1.5 and 5, usually 3, to your economic damages total.
The final number will be the valuation of your case, the fair settlement sum that you must fight for.
In short, we will get you compensated for:
- Medical expenses (medicine, medical care, etc.)
- Treatment and therapy costs
- Costs for rehabilitation therapies
- Home nursing expenses
- Extra expenditures necessitate by the accident, i.e. getting a nanny for your kids
- Loss of income in the short term
- Compromised earning potential in the long term
- The physical pain of your injuries
- The emotional burden and mental anguish of being in the accident and the aftermath
- Loss of joy in life
- Any permanent disfigurement or scarring
- Property damage (your car)
- Wrongful death (survivors will be compensated in the case of a fatal truck accident; may have to file a wrongful death lawsuit)
On top of all of this, there is another category called punitive damages which serves as an exemplary punishment to the liable party if any mal-intent on their part is revealed during the case proceedings. We will strive to get you compensated fully and fairly.
4) Legal Representation During The Settlement Process
You have two options for settling with the liable parties, the simpler one is to negotiate with their insurance adjusters and settle with a sum feasible in your case. Of course, if you were to march down to their office on your own, you’ll end up slicing the sum and cause irreparable damage to your case. This is another area where our services have become relevant.
Not only will we represent you fully at this stage but also ensure that your legal rights are respected. We’ll also prepare you for any discussions with the insurance company adjuster (if need be) so that they’re unable to use your words against you (which they most certainly would’ve otherwise). However, sometimes, these negotiations can fruitlessly drag on in which case, the only viable option is to opt for the road not taken so far: a civil lawsuit.
If you file a lawsuit, you can still settle things with the liable party or parties without seeing the inside of a courtroom. Of course, our truck accident attorneys will try their best to make the process as simple for you as possible, but if bringing your case to trial is the only option, we won’t step back an inch and do our best to see that justice is done.
This includes preparing the case arguments, discussing things with the eyewitnesses (i.e. preparing witness statements), calling expert witnesses on board, getting accident reconstruction reports as evidence, and gathering all the other evidence to be presented before the court.
Whether things settle with negotiations or via trial, we have your back!
Why Choose The Porter Law Firm For Your Truck Crash Case?
Now that we’ve explained to you how our truck accident attorneys work with truck crash victims and what we can do to get you compensated fairly, let us show you why you should opt for our services:
Decades Of Experience At Your Service
For 40 years now, we’ve been serving personal injury victims from all over the USA (in both at-fault and no-fault law states), and we have a track record of success in helping our clients secure maximum compensation for their damages. Thousands of cases later, we are here, assuring you that our services are backed by both expertise and experience.
We have seen so much in our work that even the most challenging cases don’t make us flinch, and besides, there is no substitute for experience in the legal field.
We Will Hold All Liable Parties Accountable
We already pointed out that commercial vehicle accidents can have several liable parties at once, and we’ll hold them all accountable for the damages incurred upon you. This way, you’ll not only get the justice you deserve but also be reimbursed properly for your losses, even if the economic losses are mounting.
We Have The Resources To Handle Tough Cases
Tractor trailer accidents are generally harder to handle because they demand more resources than most other automobile crash cases. The lawyers need to investigate the accident itself thoroughly before they can proceed with the rest, but smaller law firms usually lack this capability.
We, on the other hand, are more than prepared to handle cases involving all types of truck accidents (rear-end collision, head-on collision, etc.)
We’ll Fight For Your Best Interests
This goes without saying but we’ll say it anyway. Throughout our collective career experience, we, as a team, have always put the needs of our clients before everything else. Even if you can’t afford to get lawyers on board in your case, you should not let that hold you back.
We’ll handle your case on a contingency basis so that you don’t have to worry about paying us for our services until you’ve been fairly compensated.
Call Us Today
Truck accident cases, as with all other personal injury claims, carry a time limit for how long you have to file a lawsuit against the liable party. Once that time limit passes, a truck accident victim won’t have any choice but to forfeit their right on any compensation, no insurance adjuster will listen to their pleas, and the court will dismiss their lawsuit request.
This statute of limitations varies across the USA, but it does exist in all states; thus you should never delay matters, not even by a little bit.
As soon as you can, you should contact the Porter Firm for legal consultation and representation. Once you bring us on board, the rest will be on our shoulders to do all we can to see that justice is done. If you feel that you can’t afford to get lawyers involved then fret not because we work on a contingency fee basis which means that you’ll only have to pay us if you win.
Don’t hold back, call us today, and we’ll get you hooked up with an experienced trucking accident attorney for your case!
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