When a big rig or semi-trailer truck is involved in an auto accident, a victim’s injuries can be extreme. Coping with loss of physical function and financial strains in the aftermath of an accident can be challenging, but there is help.
In the event that you’re involved in a truck accident, you should speak with a Marietta truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer will help you decide on the best course of action and create a plan to move forward with your claim. A good personal injury lawyer will protect your rights, ensure that all legal requirements throughout the claims process are met, and take all possible legal measures to obtain every penny of compensation for you..
Truck Accidents and Car Accidents are Not the Same
The settlement process for a truck accident injury claim is usually more complex than a car accident claim. More in-depth accident investigations are conducted in truck accident cases, largely due to the many variables that must be accounted for in the assessment of a truck accident. There’s also more at stake for truck owners if claims involve potential violations of federal trucking laws, which may cause more intensive scrutiny of the claim. Additionally, negotiating settlements with commercial trucking companies and their attorneys can be more challenging than filing a standard auto accident claim.
Before Filing a Truck Accident Insurance Claim
You need to begin collecting evidence immediately after the accident. Your Marietta truck accident lawyer will assist you in filing your claim, but here are a few tips to help with the process:
- Get an examination of your injuries by a doctor as soon as possible after the accident
- File a police report
- Report the truck accident to the DMV (if required by state law)
- Report the accident to your own insurance company
- When approached by other insurance companies or by trucking company claims adjusters, do not offer any information or sign anything before you have consulted with a personal injury lawyer Provide your attorney’s name and contact information to insurers
- Don’t discuss the details of the truck accident or your injuries with anyone other than your attorney and those whom you are legally required to give such information.
Preparing Your Georgia Truck Accident Claim
- Discuss your case with a personal injury attorney experienced with truck accident cases. You won’t want to work with someone who isn’t experienced with cases like yours.
- Start gathering all relevant evidence and other information that can help support your claim, including medical evidence, bills and receipts for treatment, proof of lost income, etc..
- Start documenting your daily experience of managing your injuries. Note your levels of pain, your body’s response to treatments you receive, the impact of the injury on your functionality in attempting routine activities, and the progress of your healing process. Provide your lawyer with your journal, for use in discussions with insurers and trucking company attorneys.
- Route all incoming communications about your claim through your attorney, to ensure that all discussions are most appropriately handled from a legal perspective and to your best advantage in obtaining a fair settlement.
How does the truck accident claims process work?
1. File your loss compensation claim with the responsible party.
The beginning of the truck accident claims process is to file your claim with the responsible party. This will usually be the trucking company. However, parts manufacturers, loading contractors, government agencies, and other parties may bear liability as well.
- Provide only basic, objective statements of fact regarding the accident.
- State only what happened in the collision, who was involved, the time and date and location of the accident.
- Do not discuss your injuries, or offer your judgments of fault, or opinions about anything regarding the matter.
- Insurance company representatives are talented in interpreting victims’ statements in ways that help them rationalize minimizing settlements.
- Do not agree to give a recorded statement to any insurance adjuster before consulting with your attorney.
2. Collect as much relevant information as possible.
As a claimant, you must be able to prove that the other party was negligent in some way that caused the collision that resulted in your losses. It is important that you leave this investigative work to your attorney’s consultants. Whether the driver was distracted, or there was an equipment malfunction due to neglect of safety maintenance, or a failure to provide appropriate training, etc., all existing photos or other documentation, other physical evidence, and testimonial evidence must be obtained. Evidence can include:
- Police report
- Driver log books
- Truck maintenance records
- Driver employment records
- Toxicology test report
- Witnesses’ statements
- Cell phone records (indicating distracted driving)
- Physical evidence from vehicle examinations
- Photos and videos of vehicles and accident scene
- Expert investigators’ findings
Your personal injury attorney will present the liable parties with a legal notification that requires them to preserve evidence. Your lawyer will collect all necessary evidence to prove liability to the responsible parties and will evaluate evidence to work in conjunction with experts to identify causal negligence.
3. Take formal action to obtain fair compensation.
After your claim and all supporting evidence has been reviewed by the responsible insurer, the claim will either be rejected or you will be offered a settlement. Commonly, insurers initially offer a low settlement amount, a tactic that is designed to exploit victims’ stress and sense of desperation to settle quickly. Your truck accident injury attorney will make sure that a full evaluation of your current and future losses is made and that final calculations render a fair total of compensation for all of your losses including applicable:
- Medical expenses
- Current and future lost wages
- Cost of modifications to your home to accommodate your disability
- Cost of help to manage household and other tasks
- Emotional distress
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
If the liable party refutes the compensation claim, or if a series of negotiations do not result in a fair settlement offer, then a legal case can be presented in the civil court for determination of an appropriate judgment. The majority of truck accident claims are settled prior to going to trial, but it is critical to be thoroughly prepared for court with exhaustive research, evidence and arguments.
Morrison & Hughes, Personal Injury Law Firm, Marietta GA
Morrison & Hughes is one of the top personal injury law firms in Marietta. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident and you need the help of a Marietta truck accident lawyer, contact Morrison & Hughes, Marietta GA, to schedule a consultation and discuss the details of your situation.