Out of all of the accidents that you can be involved in, a truck accident is often the most catastrophic accident possible. Just think of colliding with a gigantic truck that dwarfs your passenger vehicle.
When you suffer injuries in a truck accident, you have a legal right to file an insurance claim or sue the truck driver and trucking company for the harm they caused you. The best decision you can make is to reach out to a lawyer when fighting for your compensation. How long do you have to file a claim for a truck accident? You only have a limited time to file a claim, so you should contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Filing a Truck Accident Lawsuit
When you want to begin seeking compensation for your injuries, you will need to file an insurance claim or truck accident lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit includes filing a formal complaint with the civil court in your state. In this lawsuit, you will have to list the party you plan to sue, the amount of damages you are suing for, and why you believe the defendant needs to be liable for your accident. Most importantly, you want to file your lawsuit within the recommended statute of limitations.
The Statute of Limitations to File a Claim
The statute of limitations is as official as it sounds. It is the deadline for filing every personal injury lawsuit with the courts. You must meet this deadline for the court to address your lawsuit. Every state has different time limits that range from one year to six years. In Colorado, the statute of limitations for truck accidents is generally three years from the date of the collision.
Missing the deadline to file your lawsuit gives the defendant’s lawyer the perfect opportunity to request that the court dismiss your lawsuit. You need to make sure that your lawsuit is filed in time and that the other party receives notice of your lawsuit.
When you speak with a truck accident attorney immediately after the crash, you ensure that the required paperwork will be filed by or before the statute of limitations expires. Recovering compensation for your truck accident injuries can make your physical and emotional recovery much less stressful.
Other Time Concerns
It might seem like you have a long time to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations, especially if it is two years or longer in your state. However, there are other reasons why starting the legal process sooner is critical.
Evidence can weaken and even disappear over time. Trucking companies might fail to retain employment records, logbooks, and other important documents that indicate liability for the crash. You need a lawyer to send the trucking company a demand letter to preserve all possible evidence immediately following your crash.
Truck Accidents are a Concern
Many industries took a back seat during the pandemic, but the trucking industry was not one of them. As the need for truckers increased nationwide, so did the number of truck accidents. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 4,842 large trucks caused fatal truck accidents in a recent year. Unfortunately, 4,695 people lost their lives in these truck accidents. In the same year, an additional 107,000 large trucks were involved in truck accidents resulting in injury.
Improper Vehicle Maintenance
Trucks are already dangerous vehicles based on their size and weight. When these trucks do not have proper maintenance, they can increase the chances of a truck accident on the roads. Truck drivers and trucking companies can be negligent when they fail to maintain the tires, brakes, or other essential truck parts. The constant wear and tear can eventually cause the truck to malfunction and crash into other vehicles.
Another common cause of truck accidents is the aggressive driving of truck drivers. Truck drivers can seriously hurt other motorists when they decide to speed, tailgate, and cut other drivers off. These actions can decrease the truck driver’s ability to reach a safe stopping distance and increase the chances of crashing into other cars.
Improper Loading Techniques
Another form of truck driver negligence is failing to load cargo on the truck safely. Even if truck drivers are not the parties responsible for loading the cargo, they need to ensure that all cargo is loaded safely and without the possibility of becoming loose and shifting. Many truck accidents result from truck drivers losing control of their trucks and allowing cargo to spill all around the roadways.
Another common cause includes driving under the influence. Many truck drivers become addicted to alcohol and other substances due to spending extended periods alone in the cab. Truck drivers might rely on substances to remain awake on the road, but most drugs and alcohol do the opposite. These substances make truck drivers even more tired and significantly limit a truck driver’s ability to make sound judgments while driving.
Distracted driving is an issue that many drivers engage in, and truck drivers are no different. In fact, due to the more extended periods on the road, truck drivers are even more prone to distracted driving. Truck drivers often spend up to ten hours traveling the same highways and roads. This extended period allows plenty of opportunity to check a phone for a quick second, try to eat a snack, or mess with the GPS or other features on the truck. Distracting forms of entertainment can lead to serious crashes.
Truck Accident Injuries
Unfortunately, many victims of truck accidents suffer severe and often fatal injuries from truck accidents. If you have the unfortunate luck of being hit by an 18-wheeler, you are at high risk of suffering catastrophic injuries.
Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, amputations, permanent organ damage, and fractured bones are just some of the injuries you can endure from a truck accident. If you are lucky enough to survive a truck accident, you might spend the rest of your life trying to manage these severe injuries financially and emotionally.
Truck Accident Liability
One of the most unfortunate aspects of a truck accident is that it is often preventable. When your lawyer investigates the facts of a truck accident, they often discover that the truck driver’s negligence or the trucking company’s negligence was at the root of the accident.
For example, a truck driver fails to take proper sleep breaks between shifts and causes a severe accident when they fall asleep. As a result, that truck driver is liable for your injuries. The trucking company shares liability for a driver’s negligence or can also be negligent on its own. You want to consider filing claims against the truck driver, the trucking company, and all other parties responsible for your accident for the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Your attorney can identify all potentially liable parties.
Damages You Can Recover in a Truck Accident Claim
Financial compensation for your physical and mental injuries is imperative to your overall recovery. The severe injuries you suffer from your accident will cost you significant sums, and you can experience intangible losses, as well.
Your injuries might require ongoing medical care, medical devices, the need for a home attendant, and physical therapy—all expenses that you should not have to cover year after year. In addition to medical expenses, your ability to make a living and enjoy the people and activities around you can suffer from your accident. While there are things that you cannot get back from your accident, you can at least get compensation to lighten the load.
When you file a claim, you must state all the damages for which you wish to receive compensation.
Some common damages include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Emotional distress
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Depending on other aspects of an accident, there are additional damages that you can include in your lawsuit.
For example, if you lost a loved one in a truck accident, you also have the right to include your loved one’s burial expenses and your family’s other losses as damages. You can also sue for loss of enjoyment of life based on the severity of your injuries and how they affect the other areas of your life.
Reaching a Truck Accident Settlement
After your attorney begins the injury claim process, it is time to determine if the parties can reach a mutual solution for a settlement. A settlement agreement can prevent the need for litigation and trial. Your lawyer and the defendant’s lawyer will have an opportunity to negotiate with one another and determine what the appropriate amount of compensation is.
While reaching a settlement might seem like a reasonable way to resolve a truck accident, it does not always work. Insurance adjusters will try to lowball you and convince you to take an agreement that will not cover a significant portion of your injuries. This means you might need to take additional legal action, and you must do so within the statute of limitations.
Filing a Lawsuit
If you cannot reach a settlement with the insurance company, your attorney might decide to file a personal injury lawsuit. This is when the statute of limitations comes into play. You must usually complete the insurance claim process first, so you want to start that claim as soon after your accident as possible.
Call a Truck Accident Lawyer Immediately
Having an experienced truck accident lawyer on your side can help you receive the maximum compensation you deserve. Truck accident claims are highly complex and involve technical investigations and evidence, and you want a lawyer on board right away after a crash.
Making it Easier to File a Claim
You want a truck accident lawyer to file a claim on your behalf. Most people will not know the procedures for filing insurance claims or lawsuits. A truck accident lawyer can use their experience to file your claim efficiently and include all the pertinent information you need. Your lawyer can also ensure that your claim gets filed within the required statute of limitations.
Estimate the Amount of Damages You Can Claim
Another way a truck accident lawyer can help you is by providing a more accurate picture of the damages you can receive. On your own, you might underestimate the amount of damages you can legitimately receive compensation for. This might lead you to accept a settlement that fails to cover your losses.
A truck accident lawyer can take the time to closely look over your damages and use their methods to calculate the damages owed to you. A truck accident lawyer is familiar with insurance adjusters’ methods to calculate a truck accident victim’s damages. If the insurance adjusters are lowballing you, your truck accident lawyer will be the first one to inform you not to accept a particular offer.
Negotiating With Insurance Companies
Truck accident lawyers are also great partners to have in your corner when negotiating with insurance companies for settlements. Insurance companies have tactics they use to reach low settlements, and you do not want to fall for them.
A truck accident lawyer can make a strong case regarding liability and the severity of your injuries and losses. If the insurance adjusters do not want to come to a fair resolution, your truck accident lawyer can prepare your case for litigation and continue with your legal proceedings until you receive full compensation.
Consult with a Compassionate Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Many people suffer life-changing injuries and losses after a traumatic truck crash. Truck drivers and companies should have full liability for the injuries they caused, but you have limited time to hold them accountable in court. Do not come close to missing the statute of limitations in your case.
Contact a truck accident lawyer today if you want to hold the truck driver, trucking company, or both parties accountable for your injuries. You should not pay the price for someone else’s negligence.