There is no question that a collision with a commercial truck can be devastating and traumatic. Many people sustain serious injuries in truck crashes, and your first priority should always be getting the medical treatment you need to start on the path to recovery. Once your physical condition is stable, you will likely have many questions about your legal rights and options, and how you should proceed.
The following are answers to some questions that our Biloxi truck accident lawyers commonly hear. To discuss your specific situation and how we can help, contact Van Cleave Law directly for more information.
Who is liable for my truck accident?
Mississippi personal injury law allows injured accident victims to hold at fault parties liable for their damages and losses. A trucking company or truck driver can be liable if their negligent conduct caused or contributed to the accident and injury. In a truck accident it is critical to determine what caused the crash to know who can be held to be at fault, and found liable for the harms and damages caused.
Common types of truck accidents
- Garbage truck accident
- Tanker truck accidents
- Trailer truck accident
- Truck rollover accidents
Some common causes of truck accidents include:
- Driver error
- Driver fatigue
- Distracted driving
- Negligent hiring or retention of risky drivers
- Poorly inspected or maintained trucks
- Negligent repair work
- Cargo loading errors
- Defective truck parts or tires
- Dangerous road hazards
Depending on the cause of your truck crash, at fault parties might include one or more of the following:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- Repair shop
- Third-party cargo-loading crews
- Government agencies or road crew companies
Keep in mind that multiple parties might share liability. For example, if a truck driver is negligent by choosing not to follow the safety rules that protect us all and causes a crash, the trucking company that employs the driver might also be responsible. This is because the law holds employers liable for injuries caused by an employee’s negligence. Other times, the employer’s negligence may have directly caused the wreck by failing, for example, to provide the driver with proper equipment or training. Determining liability can be a complex undertaking, so having an experienced truck accident lawyer on your side to investigate the cause of your truck crash can help ensure full compensation for injuries and damages suffered by you and/or your loved ones.
How can I seek compensation for my truck accident injuries and damages?
Knowing that someone should be liable is only the first step of the process. Just because a party was negligent does not mean they will automatically pay for your losses. Instead, you must take proper steps to recover the compensation you deserve.
An important step is identifying all insurance coverage that may be available to pay for damages caused by the liable parties. This might include a driver’s personal insurance policy, commercial insurance policies, or even excess insurance policies that provide additional coverage for catastrophic losses. It is necessary to file timely claims with all insurance companies who might provide coverage to the liable parties in your case.
The claims process can be very complicated, as insurance companies will often do everything they can to limit payouts to injured persons. You want to have an experienced truck accident attorney in Biloxi, Mississippi to prepare the most persuasive claim possible, and gather evidence that will help you recover full and fair compensation for your injuries, losses, and damages.
If the insurance companies refuse to provide full and fair compensation for your losses, it might be necessary for your lawyer to prepare and file a personal injury lawsuit in a Mississippi civil court Litigation can be stressful and complicated, so it is important to have a lawyer fighting for you who you feel comfortable will work hard to protect your rights.
What is the value of my truck accident claim?
If you are currently dealing with the aftermath of a commercial truck accident, there is a good chance that your accident-related bills are piling up. Even a short hospital stay can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and the emotional and physical pain and suffering associated with a serious truck crash are often substantial.
In light of these facts, it is understandable that victims of truck crashes are concerned about how much compensation they will be able to recover for their losses. Many factors affect the value of your truck accident case. Some of the most common include:
- The extent and severity of injuries
- The extent and duration of physical pain and emotional suffering
- The extent to which the injured persons actively seek medical treatment for their injuries and comply with physician’s orders
- The injured person’s prognosis for recovery and estimates of required future medical care
- The injured person’s occupation and whether they will be able to return to work (past and future lost wages)
An experienced Mississippi truck accident lawyer can help you develop and gather the necessary evidence to demonstrate each of these factors.
Another factor that can greatly affect the value of your claim is whether you are found to be partially at fault for the accident. In Mississippi, the law requires Courts and Juries to apportion fault between all the parties involved in a truck wreck. If the injured person bringing the claim is found to be partially at fault, the amount of his or her damages is reduced by that percentage. So, if the amount of one’s damages were found to be $1,000,000, but they were found to be 40% at fault, they would only be able to collect $600,000 from the parties who were found to be 60% at fault. Hiring an experienced Biloxi Trucking Attorney early in the process can help ensure that those whose negligent or reckless conduct caused injuries and suffering are held most responsible for the resulting damages.
Should I accept an insurance settlement?
Many accident and injury cases are resolved by reaching a settlement agreement with the responsible party’s insurance company (or with your own insurance company if the responsible party is not insured) See our blog on Unisured Motorist: https://www.vancleavelaw.com/blog/how-underinsured-and-uninsured-motorist-coverage-works/).
This does not mean you should accept the first offer you receive, as insurance companies almost always start with offers that are far too low. Often, insurers will use tactics to try to get claimants to accept low offers, including:
- Promising to resolve the claim quickly if you accept an initial offer
- Waiting for the pressure of mounting bills to pile up before making a settlement offer
- Misrepresenting your legal rights
- Insinuating that this is an all or nothing offer (it almost never is)
If you accept an offer, you also sign away your rights to seek additional compensation later, whether through another claim or a personal injury lawsuit. For this reason, it is critical to know your rights and the extent of your injuries before you accept a settlement offer. It is a good idea to have an attorney review a settlement offer before you agree to anything. At Van Cleave Law, such initial reviews and consultations are always free.
Should I call an attorney after a truck crash?
An experienced Mississippi Truck Wreck Attorney can help you deal with what comes after a truck wreck in many ways, including:
- Advising you of your rights and available claims
- Identifying all responsible parties
- Identifying all available insurance to compensate your losses and damages
- Determining the value of your past and future damages and losses
- Preparing and filing claims with the responsible parties’ insurance companies
- Reviewing and negotiating settlements with the insurers
- Filing a lawsuit and litigating your case when needed
These steps can be complicated and time-consuming, and can take away from you focusing on what matters most – healing the physical and emotional wounds suffered by you and your loved ones as a result of the wreck. Mistakes in the process can result in cutting off your rights to the full and fair compensation you deserve. The bottom line is that calling a Mississippi Truck Accident Attorney for a free consultation can help you learn what your rights are, so you can make an educated decision about how you want to proceed with seeking compensation for your injuries.
Contact a Biloxi Truck Accident Attorney for Help
If a commercial truck crashes into your vehicle, the legal team at Van Cleave Law is ready to help. Call (228) 432-7826 or contact us online for a free case evaluation and to learn about how a Biloxi truck accident lawyer at Van Cleave Law can help.