All truck accident lawyers are personal injury lawyers. But not all personal injury lawyers are truck accident lawyers.
If you’re reading this, chances are good you or a loved one experienced the trauma of being affected by an accident involving a vehicle. And you may have already known, or perhaps are learning right now, that there are lawyers who have expertise in accidents specifically involving trucks.
The Nature of a Truck Accident
Not only does every vehicle accident have unique circumstances, but commercial truck accidents are distinct from car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and bicycle accidents. According to The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial trucks are often 20 to 30 times heavier than passenger vehicles. Likewise, injuries from truck accidents are often more severe. The size and weight of a commercial truck virtually guarantee that the occupants of any other vehicles involved in truck accidents are much more likely to be critically or fatally injured than the truck drivers themselves are.
What Does a Truck Accident Lawyer Do?
Determining who is responsible for a truck accident may leave you treading in murky waters. It can be daunting to navigate the landscape of liability, insurance companies, trucking regulations, police reports, non-economic damages, compensatory damages, and punitive damages, all while processing this life-changing event.
Who is responsible for the accident? Mississippi is an at-fault (or “tort”) state. This means if you are injured in a car accident caused by another driver in Mississippi, the driver is responsible for all legal damages to those injured, and you can seek full compensation from the at-fault driver and their insurance company.
There are likely multiple insurance companies involved in the liability of a truck driver who was negligent in a truck accident. And you’d think the process would be straightforward: a truck driver is negligent, causes an accident, someone is injured, the truck driver’s insurance company(ies) make a payout for damages. After all, that is their role and their duty, right? Well, it’s often not that plain and simple. Insurance companies are businesses. Some of them may act in bad faith by making restitution difficult because they want to make a profit and you are throwing a wrench in their efforts.
The FMCSA carry the rules that govern trucks on our highways. These rules and regulations have been adopted by the state of Mississippi.
When the police are called to and arrive on the accident scene, they will investigate the crash, complete a Mississippi Uniform Crash Report, and then file it with the state Department of Public Safety. This report has all the crucial details needed to help support your case.
Compensatory damages include non-economic and economic damages. They are the most common type of damages. The purpose of compensatory damages is to compensate the injured party for any losses they may have suffered or will suffer due to the accident.
Mississippi law states that non-economic damages are “Subjective, nonpecuniary damages arising from death, pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, worry, emotional distress, loss of society and companionship, loss of consortium, bystander injury, physical impairment, disfigurement, injury to reputation, humiliation, embarrassment, loss of the enjoyment of life, hedonic damages, other nonpecuniary damages, and any other theory of damages such as fear of loss, illness or injury. The term “noneconomic damages” shall not include punitive or exemplary damages.” MS Code § 11-1-60 (2013)
These are the damages that are intangible. In a truck accident, non-economic damages may be chronic pain from physical injury or post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from the event.
Mississippi law states that economic damages are “objectively verifiable pecuniary damages arising from medical expenses and medical care, rehabilitation services, custodial care, disabilities, loss of earnings and earning capacity, loss of income, burial costs, loss of use of property, costs of repair or replacement of property, costs of obtaining substitute domestic services, loss of employment, loss of business or employment opportunities, and other objectively verifiable monetary losses.” MS Code § 11-1-60 (2013)
These are the damages associated with specific measurable loss such as hospital bills or loss of wages.
These damages are not often awarded in truck accident cases. When punitive damages are awarded, their purpose is to punish the at-fault party for any negligent behavior they exhibited that caused the truck accident and to deter them from repeating the act.
Why Does it Make Sense to Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Let’s face it, when you’re looking for a lawyer, it’s rarely for a happy reason. Most likely, you are experiencing distress and you are overwhelmed in the face of very unfamiliar terrain.
From the time of the accident, you have three years to file your truck accident claim. Even though you legally have three years, optimally you don’t want to wait that long because the evidence is right here, right now.
Experienced truck accident lawyers know how to determine:
An experienced truck accident lawyer understands the need to act quickly to:
- Secure the Truck’s Black Box Data: Mistakes happen, but in the face of emotional and physical suffering, it is important to determine who is liable and what went wrong. When we think of black box data recorders, we usually think of aircrafts. However, these days most trucks also have a fireproof black box that records a kaleidoscope of information pertinent to the events leading up to the accident. This box must quickly be retrieved before its contents are altered.
- Collect Evidence: Photographs from the scene of the accident, photographs of any injuries, police reports, medical records, medical history, medical bills, property damage, and verification of lost wages are among the pieces of evidence a truck accident lawyer will gather.
- Connect With Eyewitnesses: Most likely someone not a party to the accident witnessed the events that took place. The personal accounts of eyewitnesses may be important to your case.
- Communication: Your attorney will handle communications with the insurance companies who cover anyone and everyone from:
- the truck driver;
- to the truck company;
- to the truck manufacturer;
- to the shipping company that owns the truck’s cargo.
One of the complexities in the truck accident law realm involves traversing the worlds of the various insurance companies involved.
Why Giddens Law Firm?
Giddens Law Firm, P.A. is located in Jackson, Mississippi, but we practice all throughout the state. Giddens Law Firm’s founder, John D. Giddens, has been practicing law for the past 30 years. His experience is extensive, and he has devoted his career to representing and advocating for people who have endured damages due to a negligent party or act.
Mr. Giddens is also dedicated to studying the trucking industry and staying informed about any new developments. His efforts also include working toward improving flawed truck conditions. More specifically, Mr. Giddens served as an ambassador for the implementation of side underride guard protections which can substantially prevent death or serious injury in nearly 75% of truck crashes when installed. The Stop Underrides Act has been introduced to Congress and is currently pending enactment.
Mr. Giddens offers a free consultation at no obligation to you. Further, like most Mississippi truck accident lawyers and like with most personal injury cases, our truck accident attorneys work on a contingency fee. This means you do not owe us a fee for our services until the end of the case. If we can get you a settlement or a positive verdict for your claim, we will take a percentage of the award. If we are unable to get you the compensation you need, then you don’t owe us a fee.
Giddens Law Firm limits our legal representation to a small number of claims each year. In doing this, we can truly get to know our clients and use our time and resources to give them specialized attention and care. Additionally, we do not believe that our relationship with our client begins and ends with a lawsuit. Our firm is committed to our clients’ well-being beyond our time on their case.
It is common for clients to be rewarded monetary compensation only to spend it quickly despite best intentions. Giddens Law Firm recognizes first and foremost that it is our clients’ money to manage how they wish, but we advocate for coordinating structured settlements to help provide financial security for our clients now and into their futures.
Aside from legal support, if you find yourself in need of emotional support for the difficulties you’re experiencing resulting from a truck accident, The Institute for Safer Trucking (IST) provides resources for support groups, guest speakers, referrals to local grief counselors, and a platform to create a memorial page for a loved one you may have lost in a truck accident.
We know you’re not here because you want to be. Enlisting the expertise of a truck accident lawyer to do the work and advocate for you will help lighten your load as you focus on healing and recovery. Please contact Giddens Law for your free consultation.