Truck accidents are terrifying, and unfortunately all too common. The National Safety Council reports that in 2020, 4,842 trucks were involved in a fatal accident in the United States, up 33% from 2011. What’s more, trucks account for 9% of all vehicles involved in a fatal crash.
These numbers are staggering, but they also show that if you have experienced a truck accident, you are not alone. At Giddens Law Firm, we handle many truck accident cases every year, and have an excellent track record in winning truck accident victims outstanding settlements.
As you begin your journey towards seeking justice and compensation after your truck accident, you may be overwhelmed by the sheer number of questions you have. How much is my truck accident case worth? Are insurance companies involved? What are my legal options? We have you covered.
Read on to find the answers to some frequently asked questions about truck accidents, and learn about the ways in which Giddens Law Firm attorneys can protect your interests. Don’t hesitate any longer: reach out today to schedule a free initial case evaluation and get answers to all your truck accidents questions.
Who is Liable in a Truck Accident?
One of the things that make truck accident cases particularly complex is the sheer number of parties who may potentially be at fault. The party liable for the truck accident will vary from case to case, but some of the parties who may bear fault include:
- The truck driver. Of course, it’s very possible for a truck accident to be caused by the truck driver. This could be due to any number of details, such as speeding, reckless driving, driving under the influence, and more. Truck drivers are also particularly prone to fatigue, due to the fact that their job often requires driving for many hours in a row in isolation and without rest. A drowsy truck driver who nods off at the wheel and veers into another lane, causing an accident, would almost certainly be liable.
- The trucking company. A company is generally responsible for the drivers it puts on the road. It’s the company’s duty to ensure its drivers are adequately trained and supervised and prepared to navigate such a substantial vehicle. The company is also responsible for the safety and proper maintenance of its vehicles. If it’s found that truck accidents were caused because the driver was untrained, or the company knowingly put a malfunctioning vehicle on the road, they may be found liable.
- The loading company. Sometimes, an accident occurs because the truck is improperly loaded. This includes overloading, which could, for instance, cause goods in a flatbed truck to fly out the sides and onto the highway.
- The truck manufacturer. Truck accidents may occur due to a mechanical failure of the truck, such as brake failure or steering system failure. If this is the case, the truck manufacturer will likely be examined as a potentially liable party. If they made or sold a defective part or vehicle, they could be at fault.
- The maintenance company. Trucking companies sometimes work with separate maintenance companies to keep their trucks in top shape. If the maintenance company failed to exhibit due diligence, or put a poorly functioning truck out on the road, they could be at fault.
- The government. Some trucks are owned and operated by the city which makes them government vehicles. This can include garbage trucks, postal trucks, and more. If one of these vehicles is involved in the crash, the government entity that owns them could be responsible. A specific city or district may also be found liable if the truck accident was caused by poor signage, unpaved roadways, or other things that fall under the city’s jurisdiction.
What if I Am Partially At Fault in the Truck Accident?
If you are partially at fault in a truck accident, that does not mean you do not have a case. Mississippi, along with a handful of other states, functions under the notion of pure comparative negligence. This means that you are able to seek compensation regardless of how at fault you are for the accident. So even if it’s determined that you are 75% at fault for causing the collision, you may still be able to receive compensation; in this case, you would be eligible to recover compensation only for the 25% fault the other party bears.
This varies state to state, so it’s important to speak to a lawyer in the state in which your truck accident occurred. Some other states use a modified form of comparative negligence where you are barred from seeking any damages if you bear more than a specific percentage of fault.
How Much is My Truck Accident Case Worth?
Again, it can be difficult to determine how much a truck accident case is worth without specific details. Generally, the damages you can receive depend in large part on the severity of your injuries.
If your injuries require a great deal of medical expenses, prevent you from working, or change your ability to earn income in the future, you are likely looking at a higher degree of compensation. You can also receive compensation for things like “pain and suffering”; in other words, you can be financially compensated for the mental, emotional, and physical suffering the accident caused, and the degree to which it has prevented you from returning to and enjoying your life. Mental health challenges that occur as the result of the accident, such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD, may also be factored in.
One of the most important things an experienced truck accident lawyer can do for you is ensure you’re valuing your case for all it’s worth. Lawyers with expertise in this field know how to comb through a case in great detail, ensuring that you seek damages for every last way the accident has impacted you, whether that be physical, mental, or emotional.
What Role Does Insurance Play?
Mississippi is a fault-based state, which means that in regards to insurance, the liable party pays out to cover the damages of the victim. Presuming the truck driver or trucking company is responsible for your accident, you may file an insurance claim with them. After truck accidents, as you pursue your insurance claim, the steps you should take are as follows:
- Notify (or have your lawyer notify) the insurance company of your intent to file a claim. You should also notify your own insurance company that you have been in an accident and are filing a claim.
- Provide any requested information to the insurance provider, such as details of the accident, evidence of your injuries, and more.
- Wait as the insurance adjuster reviews the case. Eventually, they will approach you with settlement — or, in some cases, reject your request for compensation entirely.
These companies often carry multimillion dollar insurance policies, which means that there’s a great deal of money in play. However, it’s the trucking company’s insurance provider’s job to attempt to pay out as little as possible. These companies often have powerful teams who will work to try to minimize insurance payments, perhaps by undermining your injuries or attempting to get you to agree to a number that’s far below what you deserve.
They may even attempt to twist your words; for instance, if an insurance adjuster calls and asks how you are and you say “I’m fine”, they may use that as evidence that your injuries have healed. Working with an experienced lawyer ensures you’re not shortchanged by a greedy insurance provider. As soon as you have hired a lawyer, you can divert all communication with the insurance adjuster through them. And if you are unable to have your needs met through the insurance claim, you may consider filing a personal injury suit.
What Kind of Evidence Do I Need to Win a Personal Injury Suit?
Some of the evidence that can be useful in winning a truck accident case would apply in a collision between two passenger vehicles as well, or any car accident case. But there are also elements that apply specifically to truck accident cases, so it’s important that you and your lawyer are aware of what’s needed and how to secure it.
Some of the evidence that can be useful in winning your case includes:
- Photos of the scene, including the positioning of the vehicles and your injuries
- The police report
- The truck’s black box recording (Some trucks have black boxes that record infornmation that may be relevant in determining fault in an accident. But in many cases, they are designed to hold this information only for a short period of time, so it’s imperative that you procure this as soon as possible).
- Evidence of your injuries
- Evidence of the financial burden the accident has caused, including medical bills and evidence of lost wages
- CCTV footage from the scene
- Phone records from the truck driver, which may show if they were texting or messaging in the lead up to the accident
- The driver’s training records
- Vehicle maintenance history
- And more
What Questions Should I Ask My Truck Accident Lawyer?
If you choose to work with a truck accident attorney, it’s important that you make sure it’s a person you trust. Any time you meet with a lawyer before hiring them, there are certain questions you can ask that will shed light on whether they’re the right fit for you, and whether they have experience handling these kinds of cases. Asking these questions of any lawyer will set you up for success.
- Have you worked on many previous truck accident cases?
- Truck accident cases are a beast all their own — the evidence required is different, the parties involved are different, and so on. You want to make sure you’re hiring a lawyer that has extensive experience not just with car accident cases, but truck accident cases specifically.
- What is your success record when working on truck accident cases?
- This may seem obvious, but it’s good to find out what your potential truck accident attorney’s success record is in regards to truck accident cases. You can find out how often they settled versus going to trial, and if they did go to trial, how often they won or lost. All of this helps paint a picture of their ability to handle your case.
- If needed, are you able to represent me in court?
- Some personal injury lawyers only work to procure settlements. While most of these kinds of cases do settle, there are times when a trial becomes necessary. You may want to check that your truck accident attorney is able to represent you in court should the need arise.
- How involved will I be with the decision-making in my case?
- Asking this question will set a precedent for how you and your lawyer interact moving forward. Do you want to be consulted every step of the way? Or would you rather hand over the reigns to your experienced truck accident attorney? Either approach is valid, but you want to make sure that you and your lawyer are on the same page about it.
Why Choose a Giddens Law Firm Truck Accident Lawyer
Led by John D. Giddens, an exceptional attorney with decades of experience, Giddens Law Firm prioritizes both speed and thoroughness with our clients. We give every truck accident lawsuit the care and attention to detail it deserves, while also working tirelessly to ensure your case is settled as soon as possible.
Truck accidents are a terrifying experience, and the mental and emotional can scars can last even once the physical wounds heal. We believe that every truck accident victim deserves justice and compensation for this suffering. Let us provide you with a lawyer who is ready to advocate for your rights and protect your interests.
When you work with us, you don’t need to worry about mystery costs or racking up legal fees you can’t afford. We discuss everything up front, so you know exactly what you’re signing up for. Your consultation is always free, and we do not get paid unless you win. Do not hesitate to reach out for a free initial consultation. if you have ay questions about your truck accident case.