Truck accidents can be absolutely devastating. Even if you're fortunate enough to survive the crash, you may find yourself facing a long road to recovery, an uncertain future, and a barrage of unexpected medical debt. If the truck accident in which you were injured was caused by the negligence of another person or company, you may be entitled to compensation for damages. Before you file your claim, here's what you need to know.
Car and Truck Accident Cases Are Very Different
Car accident and truck crash cases are two completely different beasts. One important difference between the two types of cases is that, while not all car crash cases require an attorney, the vast majority of truck accident cases do. Here are just a few of the ways that car and truck crash cases differ, and why you should talk to an attorney if you were hurt in a truck accident:
- Large commercial trucks are governed by complicated state and federal regulations.
- Truck crashes often cause more extensive injuries and other losses than car accidents.
- Because injuries and losses in truck accident cases tend to be significant, the size of the plaintiff's settlement or financial award often is as well.
- Truck crash cases have a larger pool of potentially liable parties, and sometimes even involve multiple defendants.
- Multiple insurance policies may be available to compensate the victim.
- You may find yourself going head-to-head with a trucking company's savvy corporate legal team.
- Insurance companies are reluctant to fully compensate truck accident victims and may actively look for ways to reduce their financial obligation to you.
Common Damages in Truck Crash Cases
Most truck crash damages fall into one of two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages. What's the difference? Economic damages are meant to compensate you for financial losses you've incurred due to the accident, such as all reasonable and necessary medical expenses, property damage repair or replacement costs, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are intended to compensate you for subjective losses that have no direct financial value. Examples include physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional anguish, scarring or disfigurement, and other intangibles.
A third type of damages—punitive damages—are less common. Instead of compensating a victim for a financial or subjective loss, punitive damages serve as a punishment for the defendant. These damages are awarded by a judge or jury when the defendant's conduct has been deemed especially egregious or intentional.
Potentially Liable Parties
Determining liability can be an issue in California truck accident cases. Potentially liable parties can include the commercial truck driver, the trucking company they drive for, the truck's owner, the mechanics responsible for maintaining and repairing the truck, and even the truck's manufacturer (if a defective part caused the crash). An attorney can help you determine the appropriate party—or parties—to name as defendant in your truck crash lawsuit.
How an Attorney Can Help Your Truck Accident Case
An attorney can provide wise legal counsel and aggressive representation at each and every step of the personal injury litigation process. Here are just a few of the ways a personal injury attorney can help your case:
- Level the playing field between you and the trucking company's legal team
- Conduct a thorough investigation of the accident to determine liability
- Prove that the other party was at fault or negotiate a lower percentage of liability for you (which can affect how much compensation you receive)
- Gather essential evidence that can help you prove your claim
- Interview witnesses
- Investigate all possible avenues for compensation, such as multiple insurance policies (trucking companies may take out separate policies on trucks and drivers, for example)
- Handle communications with the at-fault party's insurance company
- Negotiate a fair settlement
- Take your case all the way to trial if a fair settlement agreement can't be reached
Schedule an Appointment for a Consultation
Hurt in a truck accident? The skilled injury recovery professionals with the Inland Empire Law Group can help you fight for fair compensation. Contact us today at (888) 694-3529 or (909) 481-0100 to schedule an appointment for a free, initial consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there's no risk to you. Don't wait—the statute of limitations limits how long you have to file a personal injury truck crash lawsuit.