Small passenger vehicles are no match for tractor-trailers, big rigs, large box trucks, and 18-wheelers. In fact, when a large truck strikes a smaller vehicle, it is usually the driver and passengers in the smaller vehicle who suffer injuries. The force of impact might knock the accident victim’s body around the vehicle, bringing about muscular contusions, broken bones, and other serious injuries.
Most truck accidents result from driver error and negligence. If you suffered injuries in a truck accident that a negligent driver caused, you may be eligible to recover monetary compensation for your losses.
How can a truck accident lawyer help? In addition to seeking immediate medical treatment after your accident, you should talk with a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area as soon as possible. When truck accident victims attempt to represent themselves during settlement negotiations or litigation, insurance companies often try to take advantage of them. Therefore, you must have experienced legal representation in your corner as soon as possible.
A knowledgeable Edmonton truck accident lawyer can meet with you to discuss your accident and how it occurred. If necessary, your lawyer can hire an expert to investigate your accident and determine who caused it. If you are eligible to file a personal injury claim, your lawyer can file the claim on your behalf and begin settlement negotiations with the insurance company. Finally, if the insurance company will not offer you fair compensation for your injuries, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and litigate your case to a conclusion in court.
Common Injuries in Truck Accidents
Truck accident victims may suffer severe injuries that leave them in need of medical treatment and rehabilitation. All truck accidents are different, and the injuries that accident victims suffer will vary from case to case. Generally speaking, an accident victim’s injuries will depend upon the type of accident that happens, how their body moves in the car, and whether or not they strike something in the vehicle, such as the headrest, dashboard, window, or door frame, at the time of impact.
When an accident victim’s body moves back and forth—or from side to side—in an abrupt manner, they may suffer a soft tissue contusion, such as whiplash. If a part of their body forcefully strikes something in the vehicle, they can suffer a broken bone or fracture. Moreover, if the impact force physically ejects them from the vehicle, they can suffer a spinal cord injury, such as full or partial paralysis. Other accident victims may suffer internal organ damage, road rash, abrasions, and contusions. Bruising is especially common when a vehicle airbag deploys during impact.
If you suffered any of these injuries in a truck accident, you should immediately seek medical treatment at a local urgent care facility or hospital emergency room. The medical provider on duty can physically examine you and order prompt imaging studies, such as CAT scans, MRIs, and X-rays. The medical doctor can then render an accurate diagnosis and recommend follow-up treatment.
After a truck accident, it is essential that you seek same-day medical treatment—and that you follow through with all medical treatment and physical therapy recommendations. Many injuries following a truck accident do not manifest right away. It may take several days or weeks for them to become apparent.
If you wait too long to seek treatment, your injuries can worsen. Moreover, if you fail to treat your injuries promptly and continuously and you later file a personal injury claim, the insurance company will likely become skeptical. Adjusters usually assume that accident victims who wait too long to treat their injuries or who stopped treatment prematurely did not suffer severe injuries in their truck accident.
While you focus on receiving the medical attention you need, your lawyer can begin handling the legal aspects of your personal injury case, including gathering your medical records and lost wage statements and assembling them into a settlement demand package for the insurance company adjuster’s review.
How do Truck Accidents Happen in the First Place?
In most instances, truck accidents happen when drivers operate their vehicles carelessly or recklessly.
Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Violating traffic laws and regulations
- Violating motor carrier regulations, especially concerning load limits and properly securing cargo onto trailers
- Tailgating smaller vehicles
- Engaging in road rage by executing aggressive driving maneuvers
- Operating their vehicle while distracted
- Operating their vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving while fatigued
In addition to negligent truck drivers, trucking companies are sometimes responsible for the negligent acts of their employees that occur during the scope of their employment. If you suffered injuries in a truck accident that resulted from driver or company negligence, an experienced truck accident lawyer in your area can file a claim or lawsuit against all potentially responsible parties on your behalf.
Types of Truck Accidents Resulting from Negligence
When truck drivers are negligent, they can cause serious accidents.
Some of the most common accident types include:
- Rear-end accidents occur when the front of a large truck strikes the back of another vehicle—usually following an abrupt traffic slowdown on a major roadway.
- Head-on collisions, where the front of a truck strikes the front of an oncoming vehicle proceeding in the opposite direction
- T-bone accidents, or broadside collisions, where the front of a truck strikes the side of a vehicle traveling on an adjacent roadway—are common at traffic intersections.
- Sideswipe accidents, where the side of a truck brushes up against the side of another vehicle that is moving in the same direction—are common on busy, multi-lane highways.
If you suffered injuries in any of these accidents that resulted from truck driver negligence, you should speak with an experienced truck accident lawyer in your area right away. Your lawyer can investigate the cause and circumstances surrounding your accident and determine if you may file a personal injury claim or lawsuit for monetary compensation.
Ways a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You
If you suffered injuries in a recent truck accident resulting from driver negligence, you must have a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area advocating for your legal interests. Truck accident victims who choose to represent themselves
often wind up settling their claims for far less than they are worth. If the insurance company determines that you do not have a lawyer on your side, they will do everything possible to undervalue your claim. After all, insurance companies, as big businesses, are going to try and save themselves as much money as possible.
Most settlement adjusters assume that self-represented individuals do not have the necessary legal skills and knowledge to negotiate a favourable settlement in their case. Adjusters also frequently believe that these individuals do not have the legal skills to successfully litigate and try their cases in the court system. Having an experienced truck accident lawyer on board can help to alleviate these concerns and ensure that you recover the fair amount of compensation you deserve for your truck- accident injuries.
A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area can help by investigating the circumstances of your accident, filing a personal injury claim on your behalf, negotiating with the settlement adjuster, and, if necessary, filing a lawsuit and litigating your case in court.
Investigating Your Accident Circumstances
Sometimes, it can be difficult—if not impossible—to tell precisely how a truck accident happened and who caused it. This is especially true if the accident involves three or more vehicles.
In these circumstances, a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer can retain an accident reconstructionist or another expert to review police reports, speak with eyewitnesses about the occurrence, and piece together exactly how the crash happened. The expert can then detail their findings in a report and, if necessary, testify on the witness stand if your case goes to trial.
Accident reconstructionists and other experts can be especially helpful in truck accident claims where the trucking company’s insurer disputes fault or liability for the accident.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim with the Insurance Company
In addition to retaining an accident reconstructionist or another expert, your lawyer can help you file a personal injury claim with the truck driver or trucking company’s insurer. The claims-filing process begins when your lawyer gathers up all of your related medical records, lost wage documents, photographs, and victim impact statements, and assembles them into a demand package.
Your lawyer can then forward this package to the insurance company adjuster, along with a formal settlement demand letter. Once the adjuster reviews these documents, they might make an initial offer to resolve your truck accident claim, which your lawyer can negotiate.
Negotiating Your Truck Accident Claim
In most instances, the initial offer from an insurance company adjuster is far below the actual claim value. Insurance company adjusters are hopeful that accident victims will be in a hurry to settle their claims and, therefore, will settle for a low amount of money.
A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area will know the tricks and tactics that adjusters use to try and undervalue claims. Your lawyer can engage the adjuster in several rounds of negotiations, where the adjuster will hopefully increase their settlement offer gradually. If the adjuster does not come up significantly, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court and begin litigating your truck accident claim.
Litigating Your Case to a Conclusion
Truck accident litigation begins when a lawyer files a lawsuit in court. However, this does not mean that settlement negotiations have to end. In fact, the vast majority of truck accident claims resolve long before the case ever goes to trial. However, litigation does place the case on the court’s scheduling docket, and after your lawyer files a lawsuit, the court will establish various deadlines for your case, including a discovery completion deadline.
Discovery is when the parties answer each other’s written questions, called interrogatories, and take one another’s depositions. The purpose of discovery is for each side to learn more about the other’s version of the case.
After discovery, insurance companies sometimes increase their settlement offers to avoid trial. However, at other times, insurance company adjusters refuse to budge. When that happens, the parties can take their case to a jury trial and let the jury resolve all disputed issues in the case. The parties may also consider alternative dispute resolution proceedings, like mediation or binding arbitration. Your lawyer can help you decide which of these methods will best suit the needs of your truck accident case.
Retaining a Medical Expert
Finally, your lawyer can help you retain a medical expert to testify in your case. In addition to proving that the truck accident resulted from a driver or company’s negligence, accident victims must demonstrate that they suffered at least one injury in their accident—and that their injuries directly resulted from the accident.
To satisfy this legal burden, a medical provider must ordinarily state that a claimed injury directly resulted from the accident to a reasonable degree of medical probability. Moreover, if the accident victim claims they suffered a permanent injury that is unlikely to get better, a qualified medical provider must also state that opinion in a medical record, on the record in court, or at a deposition.
Call a Truck Accident Lawyer for Efficient Legal Representation Today
If you suffered injuries in a truck accident that someone else caused, time is of the essence. Truck accident victims must file their lawsuit within two years of their accident date. Otherwise, they effectively waive their right to file a claim, litigate a lawsuit, and recover monetary compensation for their injuries and other damages. Therefore, the sooner you involve a knowledgeable Edmonton personal injury lawyer to represent you, the better off you will be.
Your lawyer can promptly begin investigating your accident, gathering your claim documents, and filing your claim with the appropriate insurance company. Your lawyer will do everything they can to maximize the damages you recover by the end of your personal injury case.