After a serious truck wreck, hiring a knowledgeable and experienced truck accident lawyer is almost always in an accident victim's best interests. Injuries from truck accidents can be severe, with some victims requiring expensive long-term—or even lifelong—medical care. Most victims can't afford to cover the cost of such care, nor should they have to if their actions weren't the primary cause of the accident in question.
Truck accident lawyers can help motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists injured in truck accidents seek financial compensation for medical expenses and other damages. While it's possible for accident victims to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit on their own, in many cases, the risks of doing so vastly outweigh any perceived benefits.
If you were injured in a truck accident and are considering taking legal action, here's what you should know.
Level the Playing Field
Often when victims file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, they have to go head-to-head with adjusters from the commercial driver's insurance company or corporate attorneys representing the trucking company. It can be difficult for victims to have their claims and cases taken seriously without a truck accident lawyer by their side.
When insurance adjusters and corporate attorneys know they have the upper hand, they'll use every tactic at their disposal to discredit a victim's claims in the hopes of paying out a smaller settlement, or avoiding a settlement altogether. Having qualified legal representation levels the playing field and gives accident victims a fighting chance to recover the compensation they deserve.
Additionally, while some truck accident victims think they'll save money by handling their insurance claims or lawsuits, according to studies, that actually isn't the case. Personal injury plaintiffs with attorneys tend to receive larger settlements than those without legal representation.
Liability and Common Truck Accident Causes
Liability in truck accident cases can be complex. However, truck accident lawyers can help plaintiffs determine the appropriate individual or organization to name in their claims or lawsuits. The following are some of the most common causes of truck accidents, as well as who might be liable:
- Drowsy driving: In most drowsy driving cases, the driver is liable, especially if he violated the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) hours of service regulations. However, if the trucking company employer knew the driver was working longer than allowed, it could also potentially be liable.
- Insufficient truck maintenance: The FMCSA requires commercial drivers to perform specific maintenance checks on their vehicles at the beginning and end of each trip. If a driver doesn't complete the required checks, he or she could be liable. If the trucking company failed to repair a reported maintenance issue, it might be liable as well.
- Distracted driving: In addition to the driver, the trucking company might also be liable if its representatives encouraged the driver to use electronic devices behind the wheel.
- Equipment failure: The trucking company could be liable if it failed to repair a damaged component in a timely manner. However, if a part was defective, the part manufacturer may be liable.
- Inadequate driver hiring and training: Trucking companies have a duty to ensure the drivers they hire are both qualified and adequately trained. If an unqualified, poorly-trained driver causes a serious truck accident, the trucking company may be at fault.
Comparative Fault in Truck Accident Cases
Truck accident victims are often concerned they won't be able to recover any damages if they were partially at fault for the accident. However, because Indiana is a comparative fault state, injured plaintiffs can potentially recover compensation as long as they're less than 50 percent responsible.
Were You Injured in a Truck Accident?
Don't leave the outcome of your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit to chance when you can rely on a reputable legal professional. Randy Sevenish has more than 30 years of experience helping truck accident victims like you. Contact Sevenish Law's Indianapolis law office to schedule a free initial case review.