Collisions involving semi-trailer trucks happen on a daily basis. Due to the obvious size difference between a car and a big rig, when you are in a passenger vehicle, a trucking collision often results in critical injury. And when there is a fatality, the victims are almost always those in passenger vehicles. According to the Department of Transportation, approximately 500,000 of these traffic mishaps occur each year in the U.S. With that in mind, here are four legal considerations you can explore with your truck accident lawyer before deciding to file a claim.
1. Who Is Liable?
One of the first options to explore is whether you can establish employer liability. Determining liability answers the question of who was at fault. If the big rig driver is employed by a trucking company, your attorney may be able to pursue a claim against the corporation itself, as long as the employee was acting within the scope of his employment when the incident occurred. It is also important that a detailed investigation is conducted at the scene of the mishap in order to effectively establish liability, including taking statements from any witnesses.
2. What Injuries Were Sustained?
In order to successfully pursue a claim against a liable party, you must show that you sustained a physical injury as a result of the accident. If you cannot show physical harm, then your claim cannot result in a monetary judgment that is meant to compensate you for your injuries. You must also prove that these injuries were a direct result of the truck collision and not by any fault of your own. Your truck accident lawyer can help by jumpstarting the investigation and establishing both liability and damages immediately after the incident.
3. Is Money Available If Your Claim Is Successful?
Once you establish liability, you can then take a look at the alleged party at fault and make sure they have means to pay any damages suffered. For example, if you successfully establish that the semi-trailer company is at fault, it is important to know if they have adequate insurance coverage to pay for damages. If the party at fault is unable to pay, another option could be if you have coverage on your individual insurance policy to cover accidents that result from uninsured drivers.
4. Can You Settle?
An additional option to discuss with your truck accident lawyer is whether to pursue a settlement out of court rather than proceeding to trial. If you have established liability and the party at fault is offering to compensate you without having to deal with the stress and expense of a trial, a settlement can be a valid option. On the other hand, if you are not offered a fair settlement, it can be worthwhile to proceed to court. Ultimately, your attorney should help you get compensated for the total extent of your injuries, your medical bills, any wage loss, as well as any pain and suffering.
With these considerations in mind, you and your truck accident lawyer can effectively explore the best options for your specific case.