Frequently Asked Questions Following a Truck Accident
Index of Truck Accident F.A.Q. (click to jump to a section)
- What should I do after a trucking accident?
- How soon after an accident should I file a lawsuit?
- Can I handle an accident compensation case on my own?
- When should I hire a lawyer?
- What should I look for in a lawyer?
- What should I expect when I hire a lawyer?
- How can I prepare for a legal consultation?
- What should I bring to a legal consultation?
- Can a trucking accident claim be settled out of court?
- What does is it mean to file suit?
- Can I sue a city or government institution if they’re involved in my accident?
- What questions will I be asked in court?
- How long will it take to settle a claim in court?
- How much is my injury claim or case worth?
- Who can be held liable for my trucking accident?
- What qualifies as negligence?
- If a loved one died as the result of a trucking accident, can I file a claim?
What should I do after a trucking accident?Assuming you’re not incapacitated, stop your car immediately. If you are severely injured, try to remain calm until emergency personnel can assist you. Never drive away from the scene of the accident, even if it is a minor accident. Make sure you and any passengers are okay and protect the scene by turning on your hazards. Immediately call the police to report your accident. Recount honestly to the responding officer the events prior to, during, and after the accident.
Document the scene.
Take photos and notes of the scene and exchange information with other drivers involved. Keep all information and documentation organized together in a safe place.
You may need to seek medical attention after leaving the scene, even if an injury isn’t immediately apparent. Some injuries to the head or spine may not surface for some time, but are vital to address with a physician.
Finally, know that you have the right to an attorney in any circumstance. An attorney can help you keep valuable evidence about your accident safe and help you navigate insurance issues.
How soon after an accident should I file a lawsuit?
In most states, you have one to two years to file a lawsuit after the event of a car or trucking accident. States have different statutes of limitations on how long after an accident you have to file a claim.
There are exceptions for minors who are involved in accidents. Typically, a minor has until their 18th birthday plus the additional one year statute of limitation following an accident to file a lawsuit.
Can I handle an accident compensation case on my own?
Cases that involve serious accidents and injury require experienced and qualified legal representation to guarantee a fair settlement. Often, an injury accident is expensive and difficult to deal with on an emotional level. You may be very vulnerable.
It’s important to have a well-informed attorney in your corner. You want to be fully compensated – without the representation of a lawyer, that may not happen.
When should I hire a lawyer?
Anytime you feel in over your head in legal complications, you should seek the advice of an attorney. In the case of personal injury, it’s extremely advisable to contact a lawyer. Insurance and trucking companies have access to large legal teams and investigative researchers.
What should I look for in a lawyer?
Choose a lawyer who has a background in the nature of your case. Experience is key.
In the case of a trucking accident, seek out a law firm with the resources, experience, and support you need to effectively take on a case. Insurance and trucking companies have teams of investigators. It’s important your lawyer has access to adequate investigative resources as well.
Always pick an attorney with whom you’re personally comfortable. Choose a lawyer who is understanding and expresses concern in your case. Dedication is paramount.
What should I expect when I hire a lawyer?
Your lawyer should show genuine concern for your case and well-being. They’ll request certain documentation from you during initial consultation meetings. Expect dedication to your case and quality legal guidance throughout the entire claims process.
How can I prepare for a legal consultation? Going to an initial consultation with an attorney seems intimidating, but isn’t an interrogation. It’s the first opportunity for your lawyer to learn about you, your case, and how they can best help you.
Preparing for your first consultation is important. You may be shaken from your accident, but it’s important to gather straightforward information for your lawyer. This will enable them to have the appropriate facts and prepare a plan for your case.
What should I bring to a legal consultation?
Bring all relevant documentation, notes, photos, and statements you have concerning your accident. You may also need personal identification documents like an ID. Also, bring a pen and notepad to take notes.
Can a trucking accident claim be settled out of court?
Yes. Some cases never make it to a courtroom and can be settled through mediation sessions between both parties. The need for filing an official suit is determined case by case.
What does is it mean to file suit?
Filing suit is the process of formally submitting and filing legal documentation at a courthouse. You must give your lawyer formal permission to do this on your behalf. Typically a lawsuit is filed when a settlement cannot be reached out of court.
Can I sue a city or government institution if they’re involved in my accident?
Yes. It can be difficult to do so, but you can sue a city or government if they’re involved in your accident. The ability to sue is based upon whether or not the circumstances of the case prevent the immunities granted to government entities from applying.
Preexisting laws, even in personal injury cases, often protect the government and government officials. There are occasions when there is not a legal remedy available.
What questions will I be asked in court?
There’s no set list of questions, but you will be asked extensively about the nature of your case. You’ll need to be prepared to share your account of the accident. Your lawyer will help you prepare for the questions you may be asked in court.
How long will it take to settle a claim in court?The amount of time it takes to settle a claim in court varies from case to case. Typically, the more complicated a case, the longer it will take to settle. Some cases last several months, while some take up to several years.
How much is my injury claim or case worth?
This varies from case to case. The following factors are calculated to determine the worth of your settlement.
- Medical Expenses: This covers accident-related medical costs.
- Future Medical Expenses: Some injuries require long-lasting treatment. This covers those expected costs.
- Pain and Suffering: This covers long-lasting emotional effects.
- Property Damages: This covers the damage to your vehicle.
- Lost Earning: This covers the income you may lose from missing work due to injuries.
- Future Lost Income: This covers income lost from missing work for future treatments or the inability to work.
Who can be held liable for my trucking accident?
The company employing the truck or the trucking company may be held accountable for your accident. Sometimes the truck driver, manufacturer, shipper, or insurance company can be held responsible. This can only be determined through an investigation of what caused the accident.
What qualifies as negligence?
Negligence is defined as the failure to exercise care toward others. It is not an intentional action, but is considered the failure to provide the level of care that a reasonable person would take in the same situation.
If a loved one died as the result of a trucking accident, can I file a claim?
Yes. Filing a claim on the behalf of a loved one would become a wrongful death claim, meaning the actions of the responsible party resulted in death. Who can claim these on behalf of the deceased is different from state to state. Typically, it’s a surviving parent, spouse, or child who can file a wrongful death claim. In some states, a sibling can also file.
Compensation in this type of claim usually involves lost earnings capacity, loss of love and companionship, loss of inheritance, pain and suffering, and lost care and support.