Truck accidents are often life-threatening, and the associated damages can be overwhelming. Without an experienced truck accident attorney on your side, obtaining the compensation to which you’re entitled is far more challenging.
We share our roads with massive semi-trucks, and the impact of truck accidents is often deadly. When it comes to these life-threatening accidents, it’s generally the occupants of the other vehicles involved who suffer the most serious injuries. Truck accidents, however, are often caused by the negligence of truck drivers – and the trucking companies who hire them. If a trucker’s negligence leaves you or someone you care about injured, it’s time to consult with an experienced Los Angeles truck accident attorney.
Your Legal Damages
Your Medical Expenses
The immense impact of a truck accident usually translates to very serious injuries that require extensive medical care, treatment, tests, and procedures. The more serious your injuries, the more likely you are to face complications, secondary medical concerns, and ongoing healthcare needs.
In the wake of a serious truck accident, it’s important to have a complete understanding of your prognosis and related future medical needs. Your trusted truck accident attorney will ensure that this primary form of loss is well-represented in your truck accident claim.
Your Lost Earnings
Your physical injuries can keep you off the job, which can mean losses in terms of your current earnings. If, however, your injuries interfere with your ability to do your job or advance your career, your financial losses will be that much more consequential. If your earning potential is directly affected, it can lead to a serious and permanent financial downturn.
Losses in this category can also have an emotional component – due to the importance of our careers in our lives. In other words, lost earnings can amount to considerable damage that should receive focused legal attention.
Your Physical and Emotional Pain and Suffering
While it is more challenging to attach value to the pain and suffering you endure, it is, nonetheless, all too real. Being injured in a violent crash involving a vehicle that is many times the size and weight of your own is terrifying. Many accident victims suffer symptoms that are much like PTSD, including:
- Increased anxiety
- Frightening accident flashbacks
- Fear of driving
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep disturbances
- A tendency to pull away from others
- Mood swings
This emotional aspect of your legal damages can’t be seen, which makes it easier to get lost in the shuffle of a complex truck accident claim. The fact is that your emotional losses can intensify every other category of loss you experience and should not be overlooked or downplayed.
Ultimately, having a seasoned truck accident attorney in your corner is the most important step you can take in your efforts to ensure that every category of loss you experience as a result of the truck driver’s negligence finds its way into your claim – in focused pursuit of the just compensation you need to reach your most complete recovery.
The Trucking Company
An important point to keep in mind in relation to truck accidents is that the trucking company for whom the trucker works is highly invested in keeping your settlement as low as it can possibly get away with. And they’re not afraid to dig deep in the process. Trucking companies have major insurance policies backing them up, and they put serious effort into downplaying every truck accident claim that comes their way.
Trucking Is a Booming Industry
Trucking Companies Often Push Drivers to Perform
Truck drivers are required to earn commercial driver’s licenses and to follow more restrictive safety rules and regulations, but they depend upon the trucking companies they work for to provide them with assignments. Some trucking companies are not above pushing their truckers beyond the legal limits in terms of all the following:
- Hours of service requirements
- Safe loading practices
- Required maintenance and safety checks
The longer truckers spend behind the wheel of their rigs, the more dangerously drowsy they become, and trucks that are poorly maintained, poorly loaded, or both significantly increase the risk that accidents will happen.
Accidents Are Often the Price Paid
Too many trucking companies are willing to cut safety corners in their efforts to keep profits high, and it shows. Dangerous truck accidents are on the rise, and there are very few signs that trucking companies and their drivers are interested in making the kind of changes necessary to make our roadways safer for all of us.
The Insurance Company
Common Tactics Employed by Insurance Companies
The insurance company is well aware of just how vulnerable you are – after being injured in an accident involving a big rig – and they won’t shy away from using this information to their advantage.
Early Settlement Offers
To begin, the insurance company may make an early settlement offer that – in the moment – can feel like a lifesaver. Your medical bills are piling up while your earnings are dwindling, and you may never have been so stressed. In other words, you might be feeling desperate, and that’s right where the insurance company wants you. The bottom line is that you don’t even know the full extent of your damages at this juncture, and you can count on that early settlement offer coming in extremely short.
The best policy when it comes to settlement offers is consulting with a dedicated truck accident attorney who knows the ins and outs of your claim before you sign off on anything. Once you accept an offer, your legal options end – and you may find yourself facing far more damages than you bargained for.
Prolonging and Complicating the Claims Process
Another ploy insurance companies often turn to is simply making the claims process so lengthy and so complicated that claimants lose hope. While your claim drags on and on and your losses continue to mount, accepting a low-ball settlement offer may seem like it’s better than nothing, and that’s exactly what the insurance company is banking on.
Your savvy truck accident attorney has the legal skill, insight, and drive to help the insurance company see the error of its ways and keep your claim moving effectively and efficiently forward. And if the insurance provider still refuses to budge, your attorney will be well prepared to take the matter up in court.
Downplaying Your Damages
Another classic move on the part of insurance companies is attempting to downplay the damages claimants suffer. This matter, however, comes down to the evidence. Your focused truck accident attorney will make sure that your complete range of losses in its entirety is well accounted for – making it difficult for the insurance company to refute in the process. The kind of evidence generally used to support claimed losses include:
- Medical bills
- Doctor notes and reporting regarding prognosis and future healthcare needs
- Your own accounting of how the accident has affected your life, including your enjoyment of life
- The testimony of those close to you regarding how the accident has affected your life, including your enjoyment of life
Attempting to Refocus Blame
The insurance company may take it upon itself to redirect blame away from the trucking company and truck driver and toward you – the claimant. Fault in relation to truck accidents also comes down to evidence, and your accomplished truck accident attorney will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to gather and compile all the evidence necessary to prove negligence on the part of the truck driver, the trucking company, or both. Such evidence tends to take the following forms:
- The testimony of eyewitnesses at the scene of the accident
- Footage from dashcams, phones, and security cameras that captured all or part of the accident
- Physical evidence gathered at the accident scene
- The police report, including any citations issued
- The expert testimony of professionals with relevant expertise
- Accident recreation models that highlight the specifics involved
When you work closely with an experienced truck accident attorney, you can rest easy in the knowledge that they are up to the task of clearly demonstrating the truck driver’s negligence in your claim.
Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Claim
You recognize that the insurance company is going to do what it can to keep your settlement low, but you should also know that there are steps you can take on the path forward to help protect your claim. These include:
- When the insurance rep calls and wants you to make a statement, take a pass. They are interested in coaxing a claim-damaging statement out of you, and they are best left in the capable hands of your attorney.
- When you’re tempted to post on social media – whether it’s related to your accident or not – take a step back. The insurance company is watching and waiting, and they’re very good at twisting innocent posts into new meanings.
- Don’t skimp when it comes to carefully following your medical team’s advice and instructions. By doing so, you protect your health and well-being, and you show the insurance company that your damages are exactly as serious as you say they are.
Your Truck Accident Attorney
The losses associated with truck accidents tend to be immense, and you’ll look to your truck accident attorney to fiercely advocate for your claim’s best possible resolution, which includes covering all your legal damages. Toward this end, your attorney will take on all the following primary tasks on the march forward toward fair compensation:
- Ensuring that you understand the legal process and make well-informed decisions that are right for you throughout
- Communicating with the insurance company on your behalf, which frees you up to focus on your recovery and helps you avoid making the kinds of comments that all too often damage claims
- Carefully gathering all the available evidence and compiling it into a strong claim that the insurance company will have a hard time denying
- Skillfully negotiating with the insurance company for just compensation that covers the full scope of your losses
- Being well prepared to take your case to court and to fiercely advocate for an optimal outcome if the insurance company chooses not to engage in fair negotiations