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How do I Prepare for Litigation After a Truck Accident?

The best time to start preparing for litigation is after the truck accident. Truck accident victims who wish to have successful litigation must document the entire process from the accident. This may include filing a police report, taking photographs of the accident scene, gathering information from eyewitnesses, getting medical attention (if needed), contacting a truck accident attorney, etc.

In addition, involving a truck accident lawyer immediately after the accident allows victims to seek professional advice and build a strong case against the defendant. In most cases, a truck accident lawyer handles the entire litigation. This includes carrying out an investigation, reviewing evidence, evaluating the strength and weaknesses of the case, and preparing for trial or negotiation.

  • Investigation: To prepare for litigation, an expert accident attorney may conduct a separate inquiry to gather any information left out by the victim. A typical investigation process includes reviewing the police report, recreating the truck accident scene, interviewing eyewitnesses, etc. The goal is to gather enough information to build a substantial truck accident case.

  • Evidence Review: Another duty of a truck accident lawyer is to review the pieces of evidence available, from the accident scene to the reports of the at-fault driver. Every item relating to the accident can be inspected and preserved to enhance the victim's claims.

  • Evaluation of the case: Once the investigation and evidence review process is done, the next step is to evaluate the entire case. What are the chances of the victim winning at trial? What is the worth of the compensation obtainable based on the injuries or damages sustained? The cost of medical treatment, damaged properties, loss of income, etc., are also considered under the evaluation stage.

  • Preparation: At this stage, the truck accident attorney would communicate the best options available to the victim. The decision after that would inform the next steps in the litigation process - negotiating out of court or going to trial.

Truck Accidents Do's and Don'ts

Most times, truck accident victims are unaware of the next course of action, which often includes what to do or not to do. The following steps after a truck accident may determine whether a victim wins or loses the case in most cases. Here is a list of truck accident do's and don'ts:

The DOs

  • Take photographs of the accident from different angles. Victims of truck accidents must also document the environment or surroundings of the accident. This may help determine the conditions that contributed to the accident.

  • Seek medical attention in case of an injury to avoid prolonged damages or even death

  • Truck accident victims must contact the police to inform them of the accident. This ensures it is not just the victim's word against the defendant.

  • Victims must gather information from potential witnesses to the accident. The names and contact details may serve as valuable evidence in the case.

  • Victims must contact their insurance providers to inform them and determine the next steps.

  • Document the medical appointments, treatments, and injuries suffered due to the accident. Victims must also track the number of times they missed work due to accident injuries. All these serve as evidence to build a case.

  • Contact a truck accident attorney.

The DON'Ts

  • Truck accident victims should not move their vehicle from the accident spot before the appropriate authorities arrive. Once the scene is tampered with, it may be difficult to recreate or gather the necessary facts.

  • Truck accident victims should avoid signing or recording statements with the insurance companies. In most cases, the recorded statements or signed paper may be used against them.

  • Do not grant interviews or discuss the accident with anyone. Truck accident victims should only file a report with the police.

  • Do not accept or assign blames for the accident. Truck accident victims must allow the appropriate authorities to carry out their duties.

Can I Make a Pain and Suffering Claim Without a Lawyer?

Yes, victims of truck accidents can make pain and suffering claims without hiring a truck accident lawyer. Interested persons who wish to handle the process on their own must first send a demand letter to the insurance company. Typically, the letter includes support documents and evidence backing the victim's claims. A plaintiff may attach the following documents to the demand letter:

  • Photographs of the accident
  • Medical bills and records
  • Police report
  • Doctor's note
  • Witness statements

The next stage is the negotiation process between the victim and the insurance company. However, most victims of truck accidents hire truck accident lawyers to oversee the entire process because of the complex personal injury laws and expertise required to calculate the pain and suffering worth.

Who Determines the Fault for Causing an Accident?

An insurance company adjuster determines the fault for causing a truck accident. In most cases, such persons review the police report and other evidence available such as eyewitness reports, traffic cameras, etc. After the review, the insurance company adjuster is responsible for assigning fault percentages to the parties involved. The adjuster may be from the defendant or victim's insurance company.

How Long does a Trucking Lawsuit Take?

A trucking lawsuit may take up to a year or more. The long duration of truck accident cases is due to several factors such as the number of people involved, the severity of the injuries sustained, etc. Most victims hire experienced truck accident lawyers to handle the litigation due to the complex laws and procedures to determine the settlement's worth. In most cases, the truck accident attorney will carry out investigations, represent the plaintiff in court, and negotiate on behalf of the client.

What is the Average Settlement for a Truck Accident?

There is no standard settlement amount for truck accidents. However, truck accident settlements range from a few thousand dollars to over a million dollars. It is usually difficult to determine the average settlement for truck accidents because the amount obtainable by a victim is specific to the injuries, damages, and other surrounding factors. The compensation obtainable is different from accident to accident. In most cases, truck accident victims hire accident attorneys to evaluate how much their compensation is worth based on experience handling similar cases.

Are There Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Options?

Yes, alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) options are available to truck accident victims. An ADR is any process or means that allows parties in a dispute to settle without going to court. According to the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section of the State Bar of Texas, there are five ADR procedures: mediation, mini-trial, moderated settlement conference, summary jury trial, and nonbinding arbitration. Typically, ADR procedures are not binding, but the parties involved can modify the process based on agreement.

  • Mediation: Mediation is a form of ADR whereby a facilitator oversees the process of settling disputes between two parties. The facilitator, known as a mediator, does not provide any ruling or evaluation of the case. The goal is to aid communication concerning the problems and possible solutions.

  • Mini-trial: The mini-trial is often used in cases that involve corporate or government litigation. Under this type of ADR, the goal is to profer business solutions for both parties.

  • Moderated Settlement Conference: Under the moderated settlement conference, both the victim and defendant, through their attorneys, can get an unbiased evaluation of their case from a panel of attorneys. Once the information is assessed, the panels would communicate the strength and weaknesses of the cases to individual parties based on their evaluation. Therefore, parties involved in the case can use the information provided to negotiate a settlement.

  • Summary Jury Trial: Summary jury trials are similar to traditional litigation and often handled by the court. However, the questioning from jurors is mainly limited. Also, the verdict of the jurors (usually a panel of six) are solely advisory.

  • Nonbinding Arbitration: Nonbinding arbitration enables parties to present their case to an impartial third party or panel. The third party or panel is responsible for providing an advisory award based on the fact and laws presented. An advisory award is a report that consists of findings and recommendations to settle a dispute. It also includes the motivation for the recommendation and the timeline for parties to accept or reject the award. In addition, both parties can decide to modify the ADR process (whether or not this is binding) before the advisory awards are given.

Overall, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedures are more flexible, cost-effective, and quicker than traditional litigation processes. However, one party may be left unsatisfied with the outcome.

What Types of Costs Can I Recover for Treating Trucking Accident Injuries?

The compensation truck accident victims can obtain after treating accident injuries depends on the specific accident. There is no fixed cost for damages because no accident is entirely the same. However, some of the common compensation available to truck accident victims include:

  • Medical Bills
  • Loss of Income
  • Compensation for ongoing damages
  • Pain and Suffering

Medical Bills: Compensation for medical bills is the most common cost victims can recover from truck accident injuries. A victim may request compensation for surgeries, hospital stays, x-rays or scans, rehabilitation, physical therapy, ambulance transportation, and more.

Loss of Income: Often than not, truck accident injuries cause victims to lose their source of income while taking treatments. Therefore, victims must calculate and seek compensation worth the amount of income lost due to the damages. The loss of income compensation may include wages, 401k benefits, paid time off (PTO), and employer-paid health benefits.

Compensation for ongoing damages: Due to the severity of truck accident damages, victims can also seek compensation for damages that are yet to happen. In some cases, victims may suffer permanent injuries such as physical disabilities or disfigurement. Such injuries may result in low quality of life or loss of employment.

Pain and Suffering: Pain and suffering is another type of compensation available to victims of truck accidents due to the severity of such accidents. This type of damage is difficult to calculate because it is considered non-economic damage. However, most insurance companies multiply the economic damages to get this figure.

Need help with a truck accident claim? Hire a truck accident or personal injury lawyer by either searching online for keywords such as "truck accident lawyer near me", or using the state bar association directory to find the contact information of best truck accident attorneys in Texas.