Truck accident cases tend to be highly complex, largely because of the amount of damage they cause. While the average passenger vehicle can weigh around 3,000 pounds, a fully loaded 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. That’s 25 times heavier.
So, when something goes wrong and a truck collides with a passenger vehicle, the majority of the damage is done to the passenger vehicle and its occupants, often leading to devastating injuries. This means that, when it comes to pursuing compensation for the damages done, there can be a lot of money on the line – sometimes millions of dollars.
Insurance companies are not quick to pay out this kind of money in compensation, and they will do whatever they can to avoid responsibility.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, this means that the deck is stacked against you. The legal acumen and experience of insurance attorneys can make it very difficult to navigate the legal system and receive fair compensation.
At Colombo Law, we want to help individuals affected by truck accidents gain a better understanding of how truck accident lawsuits work, including how liability is determined, how much to seek in compensation, and much more.
But first, if you are currently trying to figure out how you or a loved one can receive the compensation you need and deserve after a truck accident, don’t hesitate to reach out for a free case review with the attorneys at Colombo Law. We can review the details of your situation, help you understand your options, and provide some clarity about what to do next.
“Liability” is the legal term for “responsibility.” That is, who was at fault for the accident?
Everything hinges on the answer to this question, and it will determine whether or not an individual is able to receive compensation for the damages they are facing as a result of the accident.
With truck accidents, this is often a complex question requiring a thorough investigation. There may be multiple parties involved, including the truck driver, the trucking company, a parts manufacturer, a mechanic or service center, and the company that loaded the truck – to name a few.
While your case may seem like a clear-cut case of driver negligence, it’s possible that this negligence was a result of the trucking company forcing its employees to drive longer hours than they are legally allowed. Similarly, the company may have failed to follow regulations around maintenance schedules.
In other words, compared to a car accident, there are many more applicable laws and regulations to understand in order to develop a clear picture of liability in a trucking case.
This is why we urge anyone involved in a truck accident to work with attorneys who have significant experience with truck accident lawsuits. Someone who handles car accident cases but isn’t as familiar with truck accidents likely won’t have the breadth of knowledge and experience needed to effectively represent truck accident victims.
Calculating Your Damages
While certain types of damages are relatively easy to calculate, such as immediate medical expenses and property damage, it’s important that you understand the full picture of what you can pursue in a truck accident lawsuit.
These damages include other expenses related to your medical treatment, such as ongoing therapy, as well as compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the accident.
Having represented many truck accident victims, we have seen time and again how traumatizing and difficult dealing with a truck accident can be. Our lawyers never overlook the emotional and psychological impact of these accidents in determining the compensation to which you may be entitled.
Investigation & Gathering Evidence
Ultimately, winning a truck accident lawsuit comes down to the quality and quantity of the evidence you can gather. This can include everything from photos of the accident scene to accident reconstruction models.
With truck accidents, it’s also important that your attorneys do a full investigation of the driver and trucking company. This means reviewing the truck driver’s logs, their history of employment, and much more.
If, for example, the driver had a history of driving under the influence, the trucking company could be held partially responsible for hiring them in the first place. Additionally, if the motor carrier has violated state and federal regulations in the past, it is important to identify that pattern of behavior.
Filing Your Lawsuit
While there are times when it makes sense to accept a settlement out of court, it is of the utmost importance that your attorney is willing to file a lawsuit on your behalf if you cannot reach a satisfactory settlement. Trying your case in court can take longer and it can make things more complicated, but you should never accept a low-ball offer from an insurance company.
The good news: If you’re working with an experienced truck accident lawyer, they will handle all of the legal matters for you while you focus on getting better.
Once the lawsuit is filed, there will be other chances to settle the case before going to trial. Often, this will involve a mediator who works with you and your attorney and the insurance companies’ attorneys to try to reach a settlement agreement.
Again, settling can be preferable. You will receive compensation sooner and without having to go to trial. However, if the insurance company digs in its heels and refuses to pay a fair amount in compensation, your attorney must be willing to take the case to trial.
Trial (If Necessary)
Initiating a trial will start with your attorney filing a complaint with the court, after which a notification will be sent to the insurance company (or companies). The insurance company will then hire an attorney who will file an answer. The case will then proceed to the discovery phase, during which both sides will have a chance to request and review evidence to build their respective cases.
Your attorney will prepare the case on your behalf, working with experts such as medical professionals and accident reconstruction specialists. When the case goes to trial, a judge or jury will decide the outcome of the case. As such, your lawyer will make a strong argument for your right to maximum compensation.
Get in Touch with Colombo Law
If you have been injured in a truck accident in Morgantown or elsewhere in West Virginia and you are trying to figure out what to do next, please contact Colombo Law online or by phone at (304) 599-4229 today. Your initial consultation is free and 100% confidential.