Truck accidents are rare, unpredictable events, so it is normal for truck accident victims to have a lot of questions about:
- How they can get compensation
- What compensation covers
- The process for filing a lawsuit
- State laws that influence your rights
- What a truck accident lawyer does
Some truck accident FAQs are answered below. In addition, you can talk to a truck accident attorney who serves your community for more answers or information about your case specifically.
What Do Truck Accident Attorneys Do?
A truck accident lawyer is responsible for handling all legal tasks and responsibilities associated with their clients’ cases. This includes:
- Attending to administrative tasks, such as answering phone calls from the insurance company and notifying the liable parties that a lawsuit is in process
- Protecting clients from insurance companies that may prioritize saving money over providing for your needs
- Collecting evidence to build and strengthen your case, including witness statements, police reports, medical records, receipts and bills, and more
- Determining whether it is best to try to negotiate with the insurance company for fair compensation or to take your case to trial
- Calculating how much your physical, financial, and psychological losses are worth and pressing the liable party’s insurance company to pay that amount
- Guiding clients through the entire lawsuit by answering questions, explaining rights and obligations, and helping to make decisions
Many law firms are willing to evaluate truck accident cases over the phone at no cost or obligation to you. This can help you figure out what to do in the wake of a collision and shift your legal burden onto a professional’s shoulders, giving you more time and peace of mind to focus on rebuilding your life.
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Will My Car Insurance Cover Truck Accident Damages?
That depends on what type of insurance you have and your policy limits. According to the Georgia Office of Commissioner of Insurance and Safety Fire (OCI), all car owners in the state are required to carry the following amount of liability insurance:
- $25,000 to cover one person’s personal injury in an accident
- $50,000 for total personal injuries in an accident
- $25,000 for total property damage in an accident
Liability insurance is designed to cover damage you do to someone else or their vehicle. Insurance that will cover damage to yourself or your vehicle after someone else behaves negligently is available, but state law does not require it.
If you do not have insurance to cover your damages, you will need to rely on the truck driver’s or trucking company’s insurance for compensation.
Should I Sue After a Truck Accident?
The main benefits of filing a lawsuit are:
- Collecting financial compensation to pay bills incurred by the accident
- Collecting compensation as a means to make up for the physical, emotional, and mental harm you have suffered
- Holding the reckless or negligent party responsible for their poor behavior
If accomplishing these goals sounds like something you want to do, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney specializing in truck accident cases as soon as possible. This is because of:
- The statute of limitations, which gives you two years to sue after a truck accident or other type of personal injury, as stated at O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33
- Additional limits are placed on victims in particular circumstances—for example, if you wish to sue for loss of reputation, you have only one year to get started.
- The intangible nature of evidence, which may be forgotten, lost or deleted after too many months or years go by
- Your own needs: you already have medical and other bills piling up, and the sooner you can get compensation, the sooner you can stop worrying about them
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Will My Truck Accident Lawsuit Go to Court?
Many truck accident cases are settled out of court. Your lawyer may be able to secure fair compensation from the insurance company by:
- Scheduling meetings with the insurance company’s representatives
- Attending those meetings on your behalf and presenting evidence to prove your need for damages
- Refuting any tactics the insurance company may use to try to reduce your settlement, such as downplaying your injuries or blaming you for the accident
- Negotiating a fair settlement that covers all your needs and injuries
- Drawing up the settlement agreement once they reach a satisfactory deal
This is often the preferable outcome, as pretrial settlements are quicker to obtain and do not require a lengthy court case. However, if a trial is necessary in your case, your lawyer can seek a jury award instead. They may do this by:
- Scheduling the dates when the trial would occur
- Helping to select which individuals will sit on the jury
- Submitting evidence to the court as trial exhibits
- Presenting opening and closing arguments
- Raising objections when and if the defense tries to violate your rights
- Examining and cross-examining all witnesses
Whether your case ends in a jury award or settlement is for you and your attorney to decide.
What Are Compensable Truck Accident Injuries?
You have the right to sue for various types of losses, including:
- Physical injuries, like broken bones, concussions, cuts, scrapes, burns, or the worsening of preexisting injuries
- Psychological injuries, like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or the worsening of preexisting conditions
- Financial damages, like money you only spent or lost because of the truck accident
Examples of what you can sue for are included below. Depending on your circumstances, you could qualify for some or all of these items.
- Has your physical or emotional well-being declined since the accident? Then you can seek pain and suffering damages.
- Will your injuries result in a temporary disability, like a broken leg, or a permanent disability, like chronic back pain or the loss of a limb? Then you can seek disability damages.
- Do your injuries impact your ability to do any task you once performed easily, such as cooking meals or playing with your kids? Then you can seek reduced quality of life damages.
- Did your injuries keep you home from work for days, weeks, or even longer? Then you can seek loss of wages.
- Have you needed to spend money on surgical procedures, medicine, assistive devices, or other medical treatments? Then you could qualify for compensation for medical bills.
- Was your car damaged or destroyed in the accident? Then you could qualify for compensation for repair bills.
Keep in mind that this is not a complete list: it is your lawyer’s job to create a complete list of what you specifically are entitled to recover.
How Much Do Truck Accident Lawsuits Cost?
The cost of your case will depend on how complex it is, how long it takes to secure compensation, how many liable parties there are, and other factors. Your attorney may be able to provide a rough estimate of your case’s length and cost.
In general, expenses associated with filing a lawsuit include:
- Attorney’s fees
- Filing fees
- Document request fees
- Deposition fees
- The cost of hiring expert witnesses
- Travel expenses
If you decide to hire an attorney to help with your case, you can seek reimbursement for attorney’s fees and legal expenses. This way, the liable party would cover the cost of the lawsuit.
Also, many law firms charge a contingency fee, which means you would not have to worry about paying attorney’s fees until after your case is finalized and you have recovered compensation. If you do not recover compensation, the firm waives those fees.
What Is the Average Truck Accident Settlement?
There is no “average” truck accident settlement. The factors that influence how much you can recover are unique to every situation and may include:
- How much money you have spent or lost
- The severity of your injuries
- Insurance limits
- The quality of evidence supporting your case
- Whether the insurance company believes you share blame for the accident
Your attorney can make sure you ask for an amount that covers all current and future expenses.
Can I Sue on Someone Else’s Behalf?
If the injured party is a minor, their parent or guardian may be able to file a lawsuit on the child’s behalf. In addition, in cases where a truck accident proves fatal, the victim’s spouse or children have the right to sue on their behalf, according to O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33.
Wrongful death cases are in some ways similar to personal injury cases. For example, both cases enable victims to sue for monetary damages. However, the types of damages you can seek in wrongful death cases differ somewhat from other types of suits. Wrongful death victims may seek:
- Any of the personal injury damages listed previously, if your loved one did not file a lawsuit for those damages before they passed away
- Funeral and burial expenses, including the cost of a coffin, a memorial service, or cremation
- Other end-of-life expenses, like attorney’s fees associated with settling your loved one’s estate
- Loss of financial support, if you relied on your loved one’s income to support yourself and your family
- Loss of companionship, including the affection and advice your loved one provided to their dependents
It is also important to note that the statute of limitations works differently in wrongful death cases. The limit is still two years, but the countdown starts from the day of your loved one’s death rather than the accident date.
Who Do I Sue After a Truck Accident?
You can sue whoever caused or contributed to your accident. This may be:
- An individual, such as the truck driver
- A company, such as the organization that owns the truck, built the truck, or was responsible for maintaining the truck.
- A government entity, such as the city the accident occurred in or a safety administration responsible for inspecting the truck
The identity of the liable party or parties will depend on how your accident happened. Common truck accident causes include:
- Drowsy or distracted driving
- Driving the wrong way or in the wrong lane
- Failure to yield
- Faulty truck parts
- Poorly maintained roadways
In complex cases, there could be more than one responsible party. The amount you can recover from each party depends upon how much at fault they were, according to O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33. For instance, if the truck driver was 60 percent responsible for the accident and their employer was 40 percent responsible, then the driver’s insurance would cover 60 percent of your compensation, and their employers would cover 40 percent.
It is also a good idea to be prepared for the possibility that any one of these liable parties may try to blame you for your injuries. If they are successful, your payout will be reduced. But, again, a truck accident lawyer can work to prevent this from happening.
What Should I Do After a Truck Accident?
You can take several steps to keep safe and preserve your legal rights after a truck accident. These include the following.
- Move your vehicle out of the line of traffic, if possible, without straying too far from the accident scene.
- Make sure everyone in your vehicle is all right, and call 911 if anyone is injured.
- Make sure everyone in the truck is all right, and call 911 if they are injured and have not done so themselves.
- Call the police to report the accident and stay on the scene until they arrive (unless you need urgent medical care)
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the truck driver
- Take photos of the scene, your vehicle, and your injuries
- Answer all of the responding police officer’s questions, but try not to say anything that could imply the accident was your fault
- Make a doctor’s appointment (if you did not require emergency care) to check your injuries and make sure you are not more badly injured than you thought
- Put off speaking with any insurance company until you have had a chance to get legal advice
- Speak to a truck accident lawyer who can inform you of your rights
Get Help from a Truck Accident Attorney by Contacting Our Office Today
Bader Scott Injury Lawyers would be happy to answer all of your truck accident FAQs. We have team members standing by to accept your call, listen to your story, and determine how we may be of service. In addition, our law firm never charges attorney’s fees until after you have received compensation.