Anatomy of a Truck Accident Lawsuit: 4 Things to Know Before Filing

When it comes to commercial truck accidents, the stakes are always high. Every year, an estimated 168,000 truck accidents take place. Of these figures, at least 32% lead to debilitating injuries, whereas 3% cause fatalities.

Even in 2022, nearly 168,320 truck accidents occurred across the US. Out of these, 4,766 of them led to one or multiple casualties, and 76,180 people were severely injured. Victims of such accidents have the right to seek legal justice and compensation.

However, a few important things must be considered before running to the court. In this article, we will discuss 4 crucial aspects of a truck accident lawsuit that plaintiffs must keep in mind.

Understand All Your Legal Rights:

In many cases, victims of a truck accident do not know about their legal rights. A thorough knowledge of one’s rights is essential to secure fair compensation for losses incurred. The rights of victims injured by a commercial truck are protected under personal injury laws. 

You can get settlements for damages sustained at the hands of a negligent party (defendant). Let’s divide the victim’s rights into relevant categories for a better understanding –

  • You are eligible to receive compensation for lost income, hospital bills, and emotional pain and suffering. 
  • If the liable party’s insurer won’t negotiate, you have the right to sue them in court within the statute of limitations (usually two years). 
  • Throughout the legal proceedings, you can hire an attorney to represent your case. 
  • You also have the right to access any evidence related to the accident, including witness statements, police reports, and medical records. 

When you have a better understanding of your rights, it gets easier to navigate the legal landscape. Plus, your chances of getting an appropriate settlement amount increase.

Know the Immediate Steps to Take:

Immediately after a commercial truck accident, it is natural to feel overwhelmed and confused. The following steps will not only protect your well-being but also strengthen your case should you consider taking legal action.

Let’s look at the immediate steps to take after a truck accident –

  • Seek medical attention – Your safety is of utmost importance after an automobile accident. It does not matter whether the injuries are minor or severe. The first thing to do is to seek medical help for a thorough evaluation. Some injuries’ symptoms do not appear immediately. Moreover, the documentation of your injuries will be needed to handle the case.
  • Contact the police – An official record of the crash is a must. This is why the next step is to contact the police. As a result, all the required emergency services will be dispatched to the scene at once.
  • Gather evidence – In case of minor injuries, you may be in a position to collect evidence. Walk around the accident scene and take photos, collect witness statements if possible, and gather the contacts of the involved parties.
  • Inform your insurer – It is best to notify your insurer about the accident as soon as possible. Even so, practice caution and do not sign any documents without consulting a reliable attorney.
  • Consult with a truck accident lawyer – Truck accident lawsuits are challenging to win and insurers are rarely willing to negotiate. This is especially true of cities like St. Louis, Missouri. Being a logistics hub, commercial truck accidents are commonplace in the city. Insurers will try every trick in their books to maintain their financial bottom line. Unless a victim hires a St. Louis trucking accident lawyer, they may not be able to secure fair compensation.

Choose a Reliable Attorney/Lawyer:

Choosing a seasoned and reliable attorney is a crucial step in your litigation journey. After all, it is the lawyer who will represent your case and interests in court. They will walk you through the complex legal procedures until you receive the payout you deserve. 

However, how will you select the best legal representative in a pool of competing firms? In general, there are certain qualities you must be on the lookout for. These include –

  • Proven track record of handling complex cases 
  • Solid experience in dealing with insurance companies 
  • Deep understanding of the relevant state’s personal injury laws 
  • Thorough knowledge of current trucking regulations 
  • Good communication skills and prompt query resolution 
  • Willingness to support every step of the way whilst explaining the complex legal jargon

Once you have a reliable lawyer working on your case, the legal procedure should become a lot more convenient.

Familiarize Yourself with the Lawsuit Process 

This is something your trucking accident attorney will explain in detail. According to TorHoerman Law, one reason why truck accident lawsuits are so complex is because of multiple liable parties. In several cases, no single party is entirely at fault for a commercial truck or semi-truck accident. 

Nevertheless, it is important to know the fundamental steps involved from the time of filing up to the settlement payout. Listed below are all the steps of the litigation process –

  • The first step is to file a lawsuit against the responsible parties. 
  • Then comes the discovery phase in which both parties will collect and exchange evidence related to the case. This will include medical reports, expert witnesses, depositions, etc.
  • The third phase will include mediation and negotiations for an out-of-court settlement. If a settlement is made during this stage, you save both time and money. 

If the insurer is not willing to negotiate, the case will go to trial. Here, both sides will present their evidence and arguments before a jury. The final verdict will be given by the jury in the form of the compensation amount the plaintiff is entitled to receive.

Finally, you must know all about the different kinds of damages you can be compensated for. Some of the common losses that can be recovered include medical expenses, lost wages or income, property damage, and non-economic damages

Keep in mind that the court will consider certain factors to determine the exact compensation amount. These include the severity of injuries, the victim’s age, future effects, impact on daily life, and more. With the right knowledge and approach, you should be able to navigate the legal scenario successfully, more so with an attorney by your side.

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