Accidents involving large trucks often result in major injuries or fatalities. For this reason, truck accidents result in litigation. Typically, truck accident lawsuits are filed against the driver and his or her employer, usually a trucking company or a corporation that owns the truck. Like all personal injury lawsuits, the burden of proof in a truck accident lawsuit is on the plaintiff. This means that the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligent and that such negligence was the direct cause of his or her injuries and damages.
The Pennsylvania truck accident lawyers at KaplunMarx PLLC have a long and successful track record of representing seriously injured truck accident victims and families that have lost loved ones in truck accidents. While a majority of truck accident cases tend to settle, some do go to a jury trial. Our lawyers are skilled negotiators and experienced trial attorneys who will go the extra mile to help you secure maximum compensation for your losses.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
If you have been injured in a Pennsylvania truck accident, the actions you take soon after the incident may play a crucial role in your ability to recover the compensation you rightfully deserve. Here are some steps you can take to help protect your rights and to help strengthen a potential truck accident claim:
- Check to see if you or your passengers have suffered injuries. If so, call 911 and seek medical attention right away.
- File a police report and obtain a copy of this report for your own records. Your Pennsylvania truck accident lawyer will also be able to get a copy of the police report for you.
- Document the accident scene as much as possible. Take photographs of the damage to the vehicle. If there are skid marks or other indicators of what occurred, photograph those as well.
- Collect information from all parties involved including the truck driver’s name and license number, the trucking company’s name and insurance information and contact information for eyewitnesses.
- It is important that you seek medical attention immediately after the truck accident. In some cases, truck accident injuries could take days, weeks or even months to surface. It is crucial to document your injuries and the type of treatment or care that you received. Prompt treatment can also help minimize long-term damage.
- Contact an experienced truck accident lawyer who will be able to conduct a thorough investigation and determine the parties that may be responsible for your injuries. Your lawyer will help ensure that your legal rights are protected every step of the way.
Steps Involved in a Truck Accident Case
While each truck accident case is unique, generally speaking, there are a certain number of steps you may go through in the process of seeking compensation for your losses. The first step is usually the investigation where you reach out to a truck accident lawyer who will begin preparing your case. Your attorney will work to preserve crucial evidence that may otherwise be lost such as truck driver logs, vehicle maintenance records, and data from the electronic onboard recorder verifying whether or not truck laws were followed. Your lawyer may also send a spoliation letter to the trucking company and its lawyer to preserve certain key pieces of evidence in the case.
The next step is to file the lawsuit and go through discovery, which is when your attorney could send requests for any information that might be useful in building your case including depositions and consulting with experts. Following this phase, both sides will agree to mediation, an out-of-court process, which is essentially an opportunity to reach a settlement. If the case doesn’t settle out of court during mediation, a trial date will be set. A settlement in a truck accident case may be reached right before or even after the trial commences. If the case proceeds to a jury trial, then jurors will determine who is liable and what monetary damages should be awarded.
What is Your Claim Worth?
The value or worth of your truck accident case depends on the nature and extent of injuries, damages, and losses suffered and the level of negligence on the part of those involved. The value of your claim will often be determined by a number of factors such as your medical bills, income lost as a result of workdays missed, cost of rehabilitative therapy, any type of permanent injury sustained, disabilities, pain and suffering and emotional distress. If you lose your livelihood as a result of permanent injuries or disabilities, you may also be able to seek lost future income or loss of earning potential.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
There are a number of parties that can be held liable for a large truck accident depending on the nature and circumstances of the incident. The truck driver could be held liable if driver error or negligence played a part. Examples of situations where the driver could be held liable include where he or she was speeding, driving while impaired or distracted, operating the vehicle recklessly or failed to inspect the vehicle properly. The trucking company can also be held liable in cases where they have poor hiring practices in place and fail to provide proper training to drivers or fail to maintain the vehicle properly.
The insurance company: The law requires that trucking companies carry a minimum amount of insurance that is much higher than that of passenger vehicles. This insurance comes into play when the trucking company is sued for damages in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit following an accident. However, unlike lawsuits following any other type of motor vehicle accident, the trucking company’s insurance company can be sued directly for compensation following a serious or fatal trucking accident.
Why You Need an Experienced Lawyer
Truck accident lawsuits can be extremely complex and challenging to handle. There are often multiple parties involved and a lot of evidence that needs to be processed and preserved. Trucking companies also have insurance companies and defense counsel at their beck and call who do everything in their power to protect their client’s best interest. You need a powerful advocate on your side, a Pennsylvania truck accident lawyer who knows how these insurance companies operate and can work to get maximum compensation for you. Call KaplunMarx PLLC to schedule your no-cost, no-obligation consultation. We are here to help you and protect your rights.