You may be vaguely aware of the fact that truck accidents are relatively common in the U.S., posing a very real danger to people in passenger vehicles. Still, the actual figures surrounding such accidents might shock you: There are around 500,000 trucking accidents every year, according to government data. Moreover, because of the sheer size of these commercial trucks, these accidents are far more likely than most to result in serious injury or death. There are around 5,000 fatal truck accidents each year, meaning that about one in every eight traffic fatalities involves a commercial vehicle.
What should you do if you’re hurt in a collision with a large truck? In order to pay your medical bills (and perhaps your other bills, if you’re unable to work for some time), you’ll probably need to seek a private settlement or file a lawsuit. For both of those routes, it’s highly recommended that you work with qualified trucking accident lawyers who can guide you through the process and ensure that you’re treated fairly. As with any kind of personal injury action, it’s not mandated that you hire legal representation. But especially with the specific challenges posed by truck accidents, it’s highly recommended that you do. Here’s a brief overview of why that is:
Challenge 1: Figuring Out Who Is Liable
In most accidents involving passenger vehicles, the key question is which driver is at fault for the accident. If you can make a case that the other driver caused the action through negligence, then you will likely be able to recover some money (either from that driver or that driver’s insurance company). But trucking accidents can have an additional step in that process: determining who is liable for the accident, even if the truck driver was clearly at fault. Based on the details of the accident, the responsible party might be the individual driver, the company that owns the truck, the company that owns the trailer and/or its contents, or the individuals who loaded the truck. That means that if you don’t work with trucking accident lawyers, you may not even know who you really ought to be pursuing for a settlement.
Challenge 2: Calculating Compensation
Calculating car accident compensation is always difficult, especially when it comes to putting a dollar amount on non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. But truck accident settlements can be even more complex than car accident settlements involving only passenger vehicles, largely because of the severity of the injuries often involved. A fair settlement will include not only compensation for your immediate bills and lost work, but also your long-term care and (if necessary) job retraining. On your own, it’s very easy to underestimate those costs and settle for an amount that won’t truly meet your needs over the years.
Do you have anything to add regarding working with trucking accident lawyers? Share your thoughts in the comments section.