A truck accident yields the most catastrophic outcomes, mainly because of the large vehicle size. Therefore, multiple issues regarding the accident may occur, requiring you to consult a truck accident attorney for further guidance. In doing so, you will better understand the type of claims to present and additional details on how the accident occurred. At Truck Accident Attorney Law Firm, you will benefit from the high-quality legal services you receive. The team is dedicated to conducting in-depth research, gathering evidence, and presenting possible solutions to your case for increased chances of a favorable case outcome.
18-Wheeler Truck Accident Issues
Doubtless, dealing with the aftermath of a truck accident requires you to gather sufficient information on the events preceding the incident. However, the fast-paced occurrences often make it difficult to reconstruct what happened, leading to potential issues.
Common occurrences occur when aggrieved parties and the person presumed to be liable fail to agree on the accident’s essential details. Due to this, your case may face several delays and even create uncertainty on your part as you seek legal redress. Subsequently, understanding the cause of these issues is beneficial to you, as you are better equipped to present your claims.
The following are the common 18-wheeler truck accident issues:
Determining the Accident Cause
Sometimes, the accident cause is easily detectable, while other circumstances may prove difficult to establish the specific cause of the accident. This is the case, especially where multiple causation factors are considered, leading to inaccuracies in determining fault.
Other cases may also involve disputes on whether the accident cause was within the liable party’s control. Hence, having a reliable point of reference is encouraged to help with making the final determination.
Nonetheless, the most common underlying reason for most 18-wheeler truck accidents is the failure to observe the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations. The guidelines apply to guide truck drivers on the best code of conduct while on the road. Hence, they were drafted with most road safety hazards in mind, making them a reliable source for truck drivers.
Despite this, additional road factors beyond the truck driver’s control may also apply and result in an accident. Due to this, you want to understand the various causes of truck accidents to help you combat any emerging issues. Some common causes of truck accidents include:
Driving Under the Influence
Drinking and driving is prohibited for all road motorists, including truck drivers. Under the DUI regulations, a truck driver falls under the commercial driver category, where the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit is 0.04%. Consequently, a truck driver who registers any level beyond the percentage is guilty of a DUI offense.
On top of this, they will likely be fully liable for any reported accident, as drunk driving impairs judgment and driving reflexes significantly. If the officers inspecting the accident scene after the incident recover items like alcohol bottles, empty cans, or other drug-related items, they also increase the truck driver’s chances of facing full liability for the accident.
Moreover, motorists are prone to various distractions when driving, resulting in reduced concentration. If any mishap should occur on the road, a distracted driver is less likely to dodge it and may contribute to a truck accident.
Multiple distractions may be at the center of the subsequent incident, so you want to identify common factors to help in your case preparation. Using mobile phones to call, text, browse or navigate when driving is the leading cause of truck accidents involving distractions.
This is because your mobile phone use requires you to engage mentally, physically, and using your auditory senses in some cases. Consequently, your ability to detect safety hazards diminishes and puts you at a higher risk of causing an accident.
When an issue arises concerning whether the liable party was distracted or not, the investigation officers can retrieve the party’s phone for reference. If any call logs, texts, or social media platform usage is detected moments before the incident, the party faces higher chances of being fully liable for the collision.
You should also remember that distractions may arise from other factors like eating while driving, listening to high-volume music, and carrying unauthorized passengers on the truck. Hence, gathering sufficient evidence should be a priority to ensure minimal issues arise in the case.
Poor Road Maintenance by Government Entities
The government entity tasked with maintaining roads should ensure that all highways are safe for motorist use. However, some may fall behind schedule and fail to complete maintenance works as required, leading to truck accidents occurring.
Some poor road structures resulting in accidents include potholes, uncleared debris, unmarked roads, and faulty traffic lights. All these hazards play a role in disorienting a truck driver or any other motorist, which creates high chances of an accident in return.
If your case involves poor road maintenance, you can sue the responsible government entity and seek compensation. Despite this, you should be aware of the potential challenges in using the entity, as they will put you to strict proof on the allegations. Therefore, consulting a lawyer on the process is recommended.
Establishing the Type and Nature of Injuries Sustained from the Accident
Upon establishing the accident cause, you will need to determine whether the accident victims sustained injuries and what type. Doing so may pose some challenges, as some injuries require intensive medical care. The issue arises in this case because you or a loved one may be the victim, limiting your ability to seek redress or compensation.
What’s more, if you are the party accused of causing the accident, you may be required to take responsibility for the victims’ injuries. However, you could be exposed to exploitation if some of the victim’s medical history includes pre-existing medical conditions that are now listed as injuries.
Subsequently, you will need to work with an experienced truck accident attorney to conduct in-depth investigations on the type and nature of reported injuries. By doing so, you will avert paying unnecessary and expensive compensatory fees. You will also be better equipped to identify unique medical conditions that rarely occur after an accident to detect potential exploitation.
Some of the commonly reported injuries after a truck accident are:
Traumatic brain injuries
Deep cut wounds
Challenges in Determining the Party at Fault
Most persons who learn of an 18 wheeler truck accident may be quick to blame the truck driver. However, each case presents unique circumstances that require thorough investigations and retracing steps to the accident scene.
Despite this, finding some parties involved in the accident after the fact may be difficult for different reasons. For example, some may be hospitalized owing to severe body injuries, while others may have fled the scene for fear of having to pay compensation for the harm done.
As a result, you will need to work with a truck accident lawyer to help with structuring credible causation theories. With their help, you will be in a better position to determine whether you hold any liability to the incident in question and, if so, by what percentage.
Types of Fault Classifications
You should also note that a party may be liable for a truck accident under various fault categories depending on the nature of the circumstances. Due to this, you should have the facts leading to the incident well documented to help you present an accurate account during your settlement meeting or when in court.
The two main fault-based classifications are:
Single/Full Fault Cases
A single fault or liability case involves one party committing an act that resulted in the truck accident. Hence, their action or non-action is the key factor creating a safety hazard on the road, and the victims will often be in a compromised position. Therefore, the outcome will result in an inevitable collision that may involve fatalities or high-risk injuries.
Shared/Contributory Fault Cases
On the other hand, contributory fault cases involve two or more parties that engaged in actions resulting in the truck accident. The case circumstances vary from one matter to the next, so your truck accident attorney will require a detailed narration of the events leading to the collision.
Typically, multiple fault-based cases create more issues than single fault-based ones because some parties dispute their liability.
Despite this, the attorneys for insurance adjusters involved in the matter can use the law of Tort to establish each party’s role in the accident. To do this, your actions are gauged against the negligence test to determine whether you should be liable for the truck accident.
Elements of Negligence to Establish
When establishing a party’s negligence to determine fault, four main factors should be applied against the facts leading to the accident. They are:
Whether a duty of care existed
Whether a breach of duty occurred
Whether the breach caused the truck accident
Whether damages occurred from the breach
Negotiations With Insurance Adjusters
If you are a truck accident victim, you can seek compensation for your injuries and other losses from the truck insurance adjuster. This will give you an avenue to negotiate for a reasonable compensation amount that will cover all your losses comprehensively.
However, dealing with insurance adjusters is often challenging, especially if you lack prior knowledge of truck accident claims and legal strategies. The primary reason for potential issues when dealing with an insurance adjuster is to protect the insurance company’s interests.
In this case, their goal is to remit the least possible funds regardless of whether the truck driver was at fault. Hence, you may have difficulty presenting your predicament without a truck accident attorney present to help with the negotiations.
On the other hand, if you are the truck driver blamed for the accident, you may need to negotiate with your insurer to help cover the compensatory fees you owe the victims. Similarly, you may face some challenges when negotiating with the assigned adjusters, as they will require extensive justifications as to why they should support you.
What to Do In Preparation for the Negotiation Meeting
Upon receiving a meeting date with an insurance adjuster, you want to contact your attorney and discuss the different preparation strategies to implement. This will then help you remain prepared for any questions that throw you off during the meeting.
On top of this, your attorney can represent you during the negotiations as they are more experienced and will be well prepared to interact with the insurance adjuster. Some factors to consider to avoid issues when claiming from an insurance company are:
Consolidate Evidence Involving the Truck Accident Causation
Sufficient evidence to support your claims is among the essential tools to help you overcome any disputes or doubts on your case. Thus, gathering credible evidence can help you prepare a strong case against your counterpart, especially if the sources are verified and available for reference.
Your attorney plays an integral part in ensuring that the evidence sourced relates to your case and points out the liable party’s role in causing the accident. For example, any witness present to testify in your favor will receive guidance on keeping consistent with their account of events. They will also receive tips on remaining calm when testifying to help them give a coherent record.
Additionally, evidential sources like video or audio recordings should be available to you in good time to help you assess the recordings. You should take time to study the footage or audio, as some details may only become apparent upon a keen analysis. Taking your time with the evidence will help you remain ahead of the insurance adjuster’s strategy for better chances of success in your claims.
Gather Medical Reports and Receipts
Your medical reports, prescription documents, and receipts should also be available for the insurance adjuster’s reference. This is because they often question the action you took after involvement in an accident to try and reduce their financial responsibility on your matter.
For example, if you fail to seek medical attention after an accident and suffer severe conditions afterward, the insurance company may claim you were negligent of your health. As a result, you become less entitled to their insurance coverage benefits despite having genuine medical problems arising from the accident.
Due to this, your truck accident attorney will encourage you to present the original medical record documents during the meeting. They will then refer to the documents to justify your need for compensation, as you will have sought all the required medical procedures in due time.
Have Your Attorney Draw any Necessary Paperwork
Some cases also require your attorney to draw additional paperwork to demonstrate your interest in recovering for the losses you faced. For example, you will need to fill in your insurance claim form before meeting your adjuster to help them grasp the exact amount you intend to claim.
Additionally, drafting an affidavit of your testimony is encouraged, particularly if you do not plan to attend the negotiation meeting. An affidavit is sworn testimony of events as you remember them and is a good substitute for your oral testimony. With your lawyer’s help, you will have the necessary paperwork drafted and delivered for your approval before the meeting with an adjuster.
Justifying Damage Recovery
The final step in navigating an 18 wheeler truck accident case is recovering damages for the losses suffered. However, like all other factors, the recovery process is not always straightforward, as issues regarding the validity of your claims commonly arise.
If you and the disputing party fail to reach an amicable resolution, you can present your matter to court, where an impartial judge will hear both sides. Alternatively, you can seek dispute resolution mechanisms like negotiation, mediation, or arbitration before proceeding to court, as some judges encourage this.
Presenting Your Case in Court
When working on filing a truck accident compensatory case in court, you want to consider consulting your truck accident in advance. Not only will they offer valuable inputs regarding your chances of success, but they will also be ready to represent you in court. As a result, you will be more prepared to present credible claims based on the gathered evidence and well-drafted plaint presented.
Common Claims Presented When Seeking Damages
While you are at liberty to present any claims you genuinely believe you are entitled to, the law provides guidelines on the types of damages available. By referring to these guides, you can choose to make a compensatory claim for the following losses suffered:
Loss of wages and future earning capacity
Pain and suffering
Loss of consortium
Future medical expenses
Contact a California Truck Accident Attorney Near Me
When handling an 18-wheeler truck accident case, you may encounter several issues that require an expert’s input to determine the way forward. As a result, consulting a truck accident attorney is an excellent starting point in handling the matter. Thanks to their professional involvement, you will gain a broader perspective and handle emerging issues accordingly. At Truck Accident Attorney Law Firm, you receive the best legal services if seeking compensation after a truck accident in California. Our team is happy to conduct due diligence, help in evidence preparation and court representation when required. If you or a loved one requires the services of a truck accident attorney, contact us today at 619-754-7667.