Do not accept an initial settlement offer from an insurance company without first talking with a truck accident lawyer. Insurance companies are notorious for offering lowball settlements that don’t compensate you for the full amount of your accident-related medical expenses, ongoing care, pain and suffering, and more.
An experienced truck accident lawyer can investigate the details of your accident, review your medical records, and evaluate the full impact the injuries have had on your life to provide a more accurate value for your truck accident claim.
What Compensation Can I Receive for a Truck Accident?
Lawyers use the term damages to describe your accident-related losses. They generally divide damages into two categories economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are the actual financial losses that you suffered due to your accident injuries.
- Medical expenses, including any treatments, hospitalization, medication, and rehabilitation
- Future medical needs, including home healthcare or supportive services
- Modifications to your home or vehicle due to a permanent disability
- Special equipment or prosthetics
- Lost income if your injuries prevented you from working
- Loss of future income if your injuries prevent you from working in the same capacity
- Property damage
Non-economic damages refer to non-monetary losses, such as pain and suffering.
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Disfigurement or scarring
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship if the accident affected your relationship with your spouse or partner
How Does the Insurance Company Determine How Much My? Truck Accident Is Worth?
If you are in a motor vehicle accident, notify your insurance company as soon as possible. You may have to report your accident to your insurance provider before you hire a lawyer, so protect your case and do not give too much information.
You can call your insurance company’s hotline, but you may prefer to go through the company’s website or mobile app. You should provide the time, date, and location of the accident. But don’t give a statement or sign documents, and never admit fault. Your insurance company may use this information to decrease the compensation they offer.
After you report the accident, the insurance company will investigate the accident, which will include a review of your medical records. Insurance companies usually value your damages by plugging information about your injuries into a computer program. The program will spit out a range that covers an estimate of your medical bills, lost income if your injuries kept you from working, and any property damage. Depending on the severity of your injuries, it may even include a small amount of compensation for pain and suffering.
Insurance companies make fast offers because they want to settle your claim as soon as possible. They’re banking on you not realizing the full extent of your damages. If you accept their offer and your injuries require more medical care or supportive services in the future, you cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more.
Lawyers strongly recommend that accident victims talk with an attorney before accepting an offer from an insurance company. Otherwise, they may miss out on the compensation they need and deserve.
How Does a Lawyer Determine How Much My Truck Accident Is Worth?
Experienced truck accident lawyers will review your medical records and talk with you and your family members to understand how your injuries have affected your and your family’s lives. This information will help your lawyers establish the full extent of your damages.
Your lawyer may wait until your injuries heal as much as possible to determine the type of medical care or services your injuries might still require, whether your home or vehicle may need modifications to accommodate a disability, or whether you can return to your job in the same capacity as you did before your injuries.
Since non-economic damages are subjective and thus more difficult to value, lawyers usually use one of two methods to calculate a dollar amount the multiplier method or the per diem method. The multiplier method involves multiplying your economic damages (medical bills, lost income) by a number, depending on the severity of your injuries. Or, they may use the per diem method, which calculates damages using a daily rate, often based on your daily salary.
Seek Medical Attention
Seek medical attention as soon as possible after your accident, even if you don’t feel any pain or discomfort or believe you only suffered minor injuries. Some injuries may not show immediate symptoms. If you discover your injuries later, the insurance company may allege that the accident didn’t cause them.
Call the Police
Call the police and have them come to the accident scene. They will create a police report that your lawyer can use in legal proceedings and insurance claims. The police will also control the scene, ensure everyone’s safety, and gather information from all parties involved.
Exchange Information with the Other Driver
Get the name, phone number, and insurance information of other drivers in the accident. Get the other vehicle’s make, model, and license plate number.
Get Contact Information of Witnesses
If any eyewitnesses saw the accident, write down their names, contact information, and what they saw. This information can help your case later on.
Take Photos or Videos of the Scene
If you safely can, take photos or videos of the accident scene. Include pictures of the license plates of involved vehicles, damage to your vehicle and other vehicles, damage to property other than vehicles, and objects at the scene, including accident debris, skid marks, and fallen branches. Take photos from different angles to show the position of the involved vehicles as they relate to each other, the roadway, and any other objects.
Your Lawyer May Find Other Liable Parties
If multiple parties contributed to the accident that injured you, you may seek compensation from them as well. Here are some parties that you may hold liable in a truck accident:
Truck Driver Liability
After a truck accident, we often first blame the truck driver. In many cases, this is true. Truck drivers must operate their vehicles safely and follow the rules of the road. If they fail to do so, you can hold them liable for any damages or injuries that result.
You can hold a truck driver liable for a truck accident for many reasons. One of the most common is negligence. If a truck driver fails to exercise reasonable care while driving, and this failure causes an accident, you can hold them liable for any resulting damages.
Examples of negligence by a truck driver include:
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Speeding or driving recklessly
- Failing to maintain the truck properly
- Failing to secure the load properly
- Failing to obey traffic laws and signals
Trucking Company Liability
You may also hold the trucking company that owns or operates the truck liable for damages because it is responsible for the trucks and truck drivers it puts on the road.
Here are some reasons you can hold a trucking company liable:
- Negligent hiring: If a trucking company hires a driver with a history of accidents or traffic violations, you can hold it liable for any accidents that driver caused. Similarly, if the company fails to conduct proper background checks or drug tests, it may be held liable for any accidents caused by an impaired or unfit driver.
- Negligent training: A trucking company must ensure that its drivers are properly trained and licensed. You can hold the company liable if a driver causes an accident due to a lack of training.
- Negligent supervision: A trucking company must supervise its drivers and ensure they comply with all safety regulations. If a driver causes an accident due to a violation of safety regulations or company policies, you can hold the company liable.
- Negligent maintenance: A trucking company must properly maintain its trucks in good working condition. You can hold the company liable if a truck causes an accident due to lack of maintenance or faulty equipment.
In addition to the above, you can hold the company liable for accidents if it fails to provide adequate rest periods for its drivers, resulting in driver fatigue and an accident.
Cargo Company Liability
Improperly loaded or secured cargo can cause a truck driver to lose control of the vehicle. You can hold the shipping company that loaded the cargo liable if they failed to load the cargo properly, loaded the truck with cargo above the permitted weight limits, or failed to properly secure the cargo.
Why Should I Hire a Lawyer for My Truck Accident Claim?
A skilled attorney experienced in handling truck accident cases can greatly increase the amount of compensation you recover in a truck accident compensation you and your family need and deserve.
A lawyer can:
- Investigate your case and advise you on your legal options
- File preservation orders with the trucking company or truck driver to secure evidence such as inspection reports or trucking logs
- Identify the accident cause and all liable parties, including trucking companies and cargo loaders
- Gather testimony from accident reconstruction, medical, engineering, and financial experts
- Negotiate a fair settlement with insurance companies
- File your case in civil court within Florida’s statute of limitations
- Represent you in court and advocate on your behalf should your case become a truck accident lawsuit
- Provide peace of mind knowing that a professional is handling all the legal aspects of your case so you can focus on your own recovery
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Truck accidents can cause life-altering injuries that require extensive medical treatments and missed time from work. The financial repercussions can leave a family devastated.
The initial offer from an insurance company may look generous, but chances are the insurance company will not compensate you for all the losses you suffered. Never accept a settlement offer from an insurance company before talking with a lawyer.
Look for a truck accident lawyer you can trust to handle all the legal aspects of your claim professionally and thoroughly and get the maximum compensation in your case. Contact a personal injury attorney in Miami today for your free consultation and case evaluation.