Curious about semi-truck accident claims? You’ve come to the right place.
This guide covers everything you need to know about truck accident claims. You’ll understand the steps you need to take to get maximum compensation if you or your loved one gets involved in a semi-truck accident.
Seeking compensation after a semi-truck accident isn’t just a legal option – it’s your right. With the right guidance, you can navigate this process successfully.
What is a Semi-Truck Accident Claim?
Truck accident claims refer to any effort a truck accident victim makes to seek compensation for injuries and losses incurred after an accident. Usually, these claims are made against the party whose negligence led to the accident that injured the victim or damaged their property.
There are different types of truck accident claims, depending on the type of commercial truck involved in an accident and the specific details of the truck crash. A semi-truck accident claim, in particular, is the process followed to recover compensation after an accident involving a semi-truck.
It is critical to note that the underlying framework behind a truck accident claim process is the same even though commercial truck accidents differ.
The truck accident claims process is a legal process provided for by both federal and state laws. It involves a series of negotiations and, sometimes, a lawsuit if the negotiations fail.
You’ll need an experienced truck accident lawyer to help you build a strong truck accident case and guide you throughout the claims process, which includes:
- Gathering evidence to prove negligence by the at-fault party
- Determining the extent of your truck accident injuries and property damage
- Calculating the financial payment amount equivalent to the losses and injuries sustained
- Presenting and arguing your personal injury case to all liable parties, thus ensuring fair compensation
You and your personal injury lawyer must take several steps to pursue your personal injury claim successfully after a commercial truck accident.
Filing Truck Accident Claims
One of the most crucial things to do when handling a semi-truck accident is to identify a reputable law firm and partner with an experienced attorney to start working on your personal injury case.
After getting a truck accident lawyer, expect the following legal steps to file and follow your semi-truck accident settlement claim.
1. Signing An Agreement Or Contract With Your Truck Accident Attorney
Signing a contract to establish a professional relationship with your truck accident attorney is the first step to filing a semi-truck accident claim.
Also known as a retainer agreement or a letter of engagement, the contract acknowledges that your truck accident claim process has begun and outlines how the attorney may handle the case.
Investigating Or Collecting Evidence
Once you’ve signed the contract, your legal team takes over. They investigate the truck accident to gather enough evidence to help your cause. Generally, this step includes:
2. Appointing qualified accident scene investigators to conduct a truck crash site review
Reviewing police reports and medical records to determine the extent of your injuries. Medical records also help truck accident lawyers calculate medical costs, which helps figure out the settlement offer.
- Meeting with insurance adjusters
- Carrying out accident reconstruction, where necessary
- Locating and talking to eyewitnesses
- Getting additional evidence from the trucking company involved
- Talking to the trucking company’s legal team and their insurance company
Your truck accident lawyer will also coach you on how to describe the semi-truck accident accurately and consistently. To avoid jeopardizing the case, don’t give details of the accident to third parties, especially insurance company representatives and the legal reps of the truck driver and trucking company responsible for the accident.
3. Sending Personal Injury Demand Letter
Having gathered enough evidence, your truck accident lawyer will draft an injury demand letter and send it to the insurance company of the party responsible for the accident.
The letter outlines how the semi-truck accident affected you (the claimant) physically, emotionally, financially, and beyond. It also includes the demand or settlement offer you’ll accept as fair compensation for your troubles.
Since semi-truck accidents are handled differently than auto accidents involving passenger vehicles, multiple parties could be responsible for the accident. These include the truck driver, trucking company, commercial vehicle manufacturer, maintenance company, dispatcher, etc.
When multiple parties are liable, they receive a demand letter with the financial payment amount you seek as compensation and become the defendants in your truck accident claim.
4. Negotiating Settlement
In this step, the truck company or any other defendant in your truck accident claim reviews the evidence and demands presented by your truck accident lawyer.
Depending on the case’s details, they might accept your demands and settle the matter out of court. Or negotiate the terms of your offer and present a counteroffer. The negotiation process involves back-and-forth and can take a while.
5. Going To Trial
If the negotiating parties disagree, your attorney can file a lawsuit, taking the case to trial. A judge or jury hears both sides and determines the case in court. If you win, you’ll get fair compensation for various damages.
What Damages Can I Collect for a Truck Accident Injury?
An expert truck accident lawyer will help you get adequate compensation for the following types of damages:
Economic damages are monetary. That is, they are easy to calculate and require proof to recover. Typical economic damages you can collect include:
- Medical expenses, including medical bills for all medical procedures and care received because of the accident. Compensation for medical costs also covers medical bills for future medical care if nursing severe injuries that may take a while to heal.
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity if the severe injuries sustained prevent you from working
- Property damage
- Legal fees
On the other hand, non-economic damages are not straightforward and require expertise to determine their value. They include fear, anxiety, mental anguish, and other emotional pain and suffering as a result of the accident.
Wrongful Death Damages
For fatal crashes where lives are lost, families can collect wrongful death damages on behalf of their departed loved ones. These may include:
- Medical bills for all medical care their loved one received
- Pain and suffering their loved one endured
- Loss of companionship
- Funeral and burial costs
Although not common, punitive damages are available for some semi-truck accident cases if the wrongdoer’s actions indicate malice, fraud, or willful misconduct. They aim to punish the wrongdoer to discourage them from repeating their mistakes instead of compensating the victim.
Seeking compensation after semi-truck accidents is your legal right. However, you need the right truck accident attorney to help you successfully pursue your truck accident claim. Here’s a quick guide to finding the best semi-truck accident lawyer.
Call us if you ever need help financing your truck after an accident. We’re always ready to help you get up and running as soon as possible.