Semi-truck accidents are some of the most terrifying accidents that a driver can experience on the road. These vehicles are enormous and often loaded with cargo that can further complicate an accident.
Unfortunately, the stress and anxiety that such an accident causes do not stop after a victim receives medical attention. Most victims wish to pursue justice and compensation from negligent truck drivers, trucking companies, and other parties after an accident. Additionally, most find that the process is lengthy and frustrating.
It can be challenging to face fear and uncertainty even after an accident is over. Compassionate personal injury attorneys seek to inform and support their clients. In some cases, experienced attorneys may even be able to assist victims in achieving more compensation than they would have received otherwise.
Receiving the justice and compensation that clients deserve after a semi-truck accident settlement can be difficult, but it is possible. A skilled truck accident lawyer will be able to help clients navigate the legal system and ensure that clients have every chance at fair compensation.
Frequent Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents
Countless accidents happen every year under completely unique circumstances. No one can predict with certainty what may cause one semi-truck accident or another. There known factors increase the risk of semi-truck accidents.
Some of the most frequent issues behind semi-truck crashes include:
- Improper truck maintenance: It is easy for a truck to get lost in the shuffle of hundreds or thousands of fleet vehicles. Unfortunately, some trucks are passed over for routine maintenance or inspection by mistake. Other trucking companies’ negligence may be more intentional. Some companies opt to cut costs through improper maintenance and repair.
- Driver errors: Semi-truck drivers can make all of the same errors the average driver can. Eating behind the wheel, texting while driving, and driving under the influence all increase the likelihood of a crash. Hazardous road conditions can also cause unintended driver errors.
- Improper cargo loading: Specific guidelines dictate how semi-trucks must be loaded. The guidelines ensure balance and safety during the transport of materials. Some trucking companies fail to follow these regulations. When cargo is loaded improperly, it can spill into roadways or cause an imbalanced truck to flip.
How Common Are Semi-Truck Accidents?
Semi-trucks transport nearly 70 percent of the country’s resources. Some people believe that semi-truck accidents are rare, but statistics show that semi-truck accidents happen daily.
- More than 4,000 people died in large trucking accidents in 2017
- Large trucks account for roughly 90,000 injuries each year
- Fatalities involving large truck crashes are at a 29-year high
Why Semi-Trucks Pose Unique Danger on the Road
Characteristics of semi-trucks render them more dangerous than the average passenger vehicle. A large truck weighs, on average, up to thirty times more than a standard passenger vehicle. Significant ground clearance also leaves plenty of space for semi-trucks to drive over vehicles and objects.
The braking capabilities in sedans, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), and pickup trucks are also far superior to those in a semi-truck. Semi-trucks need up to 40 percent more space to stop than the typical car. This means that they have far less room for error, increasing the risk for them to become involved in an accident.
Frequently Asked Semi-Truck Accident Settlement Questions
Why is my case taking so long to settle?
Most semi-truck accident cases take longer to settle than the average auto collision case. This is because semi-truck accidents usually involve:
- Greater injuries
- More severe physical damages
- Trucks with multiple insurance policies
- Murky liability between the driver, the trucking company, etc.
It may seem like victims of other car accidents receive their settlements much faster. Semi-truck accidents settlements may involve a lengthier process as a truck accident lawyer must investigate the roles of not just the driver, but the trucking company, in the crash. If a case is taking longer than anticipated, your truck accident lawyer can explain why.
Why am I being pushed to settle so soon?
There is much advice on the internet cautioning victims that settlements may take quite some time to receive. Even in the setting of this advice, some victims are still receiving their settlements extremely quickly. Remember that these quick settlements are not the offers that clients deserve or should accept.
Many insurance companies will begin hounding semi-truck accident victims to settle as soon as possible. This does not benefit clients. Insurance companies will likely not try to settle with you to benefit you. Insurance representatives are trained to try to settle for the lowest amount possible to save the company money.
This occurs in several ways:
- The extent of the damages has not yet been determined: Settling a case before there is time to determine the true extent of the damage an accident caused is irresponsible. It is a way that insurance companies may try to reduce the financial exposure of the company. Settling early means that the insurance company may not have to pay for additional damages as they are accrued or discovered.
- The victim does not have sound legal guidance: Insurance companies may also attempt to settle cases early because most victims may not have an attorney to advise them yet. The average person’s unfamiliarity with insurance and personal injury law may leave them vulnerable to insurance agents who are trained to maximize savings for the insurance company.
Why does settlement take so long?
These factors may explain why a settlement is slower in coming than you may have anticipated:
- Insurance for the semi-truck: Not only do most semi-trucks carry policies in excess of $1 million, but several of them also carry multiple policies. Trucking companies can opt to insure trucks and the trailers that they tow separately and each carries its own policy of over $1 million.
- Liability investigation processes: A client’s lawyer and the insurance company must work together to complete liability investigations. This process ensures that liability is assigned correctly in your case, but can take quite some time.
- Split liability: Semi-truck accidents may involve split liability. This means that more than one party is held responsible for the crash. Potentially liable parties may include the truck driver, the trucking company, and/or mechanics who serviced the truck.
- Injuries must heal: The ideal semi-truck accident settlement does not begin until the victim (or victims) make a full physical recovery. Semi-trucks often cause catastrophic damage. For this reason, healing can take longer than it may after a typical car accident. Accurate diagnoses and treatment will ensure a more accurate timeline for healing.
Tips for Getting What You Deserve in a Semi-Truck Accident Settlement
Collect Evidence Efficiently
This means that the evidence…
- …should be collected as soon as possible
- …should be as extensive as possible
- …should include as much actual proof as possible
If you or your truck accident lawyer promptly gather the proper evidence, it can drastically improve the chances of achieving the deserved settlement. Some accident victims are physically able to gather evidence on the scene; however, many are impacted by injuries and may not be physically able to gather the evidence.
Some of the evidence on the scene could help a client’s case. The authorities who respond to crash scenes also catalog evidence. Some evidence does not become relevant or collectible until days after the accident. This may include professional assessments of physical damages to the vehicle (or vehicles) involved.
Seek Medical Attention as Soon as Possible
One way to increase the likelihood of a fair settlement involves adequate and immediate medical attention. Many attorneys advise that their clients do not pursue settlement until they achieve full physical recovery. This is because thorough, complete medical documents and evidence can lead to a fairer settlement for the victim.
The same logic dictates that timely medical attention is an ideal way for the client to get what they deserve in their semi-truck accident settlement. The sooner injuries are evaluated by a medical professional, the more likely it is that they will be accurately diagnosed and adequately treated.
The key lies in the benefit of accurate and thorough diagnosis. Insurance companies want to maximize their savings. Insurance representatives are trained to approve claims for victims who can prove damages or injuries beyond a doubt. If injuries and other resulting conditions are accurately diagnosed, it is more likely that the client will receive compensation for them. Victims are much more likely to achieve compensation for accurately documented conditions and injuries rather than vague ones.
Know the Damages You Seek
One way to streamline the claims process is to have a thorough understanding of exactly which damages the client is seeking compensation for. The potential recoverable damages after a semi-truck accident include:
- Medical bills: Medical bills can include past, present, and projected medical expenses necessitated by the accident. They can also include various types of therapies and surgeries for rehabilitation.
- Pain and suffering: Semi-truck accident victims can pursue compensation to account for their pain and suffering after a crash. These funds are meant to offset physical and mental pain a victim may experience after an accident.
- Loss of earning potential: Some accidents are so severe that they permanently diminish a victim’s earning potential. If a victim of a semi-truck accident is no longer able to work after the accident, the victim has a right to pursue compensation to account for their loss of earning potential.
A personal injury lawyer will be able to offer further insight into the types of damages that a client may wish to pursue following an accident.
Work Together With a Seasoned Semi-Truck Accident Attorney
When searching for the ideal semi-truck accident attorney, a client may typically begin browsing through personal injury lawyers. This is because semi-truck accident attorneys (and any other attorneys who litigate cases involving auto collisions) are personal injury attorneys who offer specific legal services. In this case, those legal services would be for car accident victims.
It is critical to find a semi-truck accident lawyer that clients feel like they can trust throughout the legal process. The legal process may be lengthy and it is important to have a supportive and empathetic team. Finding the right attorney may involve consultations with more than one firm, which is normal. Most law offices offer free initial consultations. Clients can take advantage of free consultations and find out which attorney is the best fit for their case.
The sooner a client locates their ideal attorney, and the more experienced and compassionate the attorney is, the greater the chances of a fair settlement. Industry experience allows lawyers to leverage their knowledge in court. It also allows them to fight for the justice the client deserves. A longer partnership with an attorney means more time for them to dedicate to a client’s case.
Thus, if you or a loved one have been injured in a semi-truck accident, seek the advice of a trusted legal professional. This will increase the chances of a fair settlement in court and allows greater insight into a client’s case.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 N Belcher Rd
Clearwater, FL 33765