Trucks play an important role in the American freight industry. The trucking industry earned more than $875 billion in 2021. As of 2021, there are 3.5 million truck drivers and over 1 million for-hire trucking carriers. Hotels, retail, hospitals, and tons of other industries rely on trucks for their goods. Trucks are a vital part of the American economy and the average American’s everyday life.
But there are downsides to trucks as well. In 2020, light and large trucks were responsible for over 25,000 fatal crashes. The risk of fatalities, especially for the occupants of the other vehicle, is considerably high in truck accidents.
If you were one of the unlucky ones who was injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident, then this article is for you. The article explains the steps to file a claim after a truck accident. Seeking legal recourse is essential after a truck accident because you deserve compensation for the injuries and damages you have suffered.
Here are the steps to file a truck accident claim:
Step 1: Seek medical help
Receiving medical attention for your injuries is a priority in just about any accident case. This is because the analysis of a medical professional has the probability of revealing injuries or conditions whose symptoms may not otherwise appear. Timely treatment of such injuries is vital to recovery.
Another reason seeking medical attention is useful is to prove the seriousness of your injuries. Medical records are important documents that can be used as evidence to prove
- The severity of the injuries you sustained
- The expenses you incurred because of the injuries
This evidence will be useful when calculating the sum that you will receive as compensation for your injuries and the cost of hospital visits.
Step 2: Report to the concerned authorities
Authorities here refer to the police or any other emergency personnel who respond to emergencies. Reporting the accident makes it an official event, prompting the police to conduct a full-scale investigation. Once the investigation is complete, the officer who conducted it will produce a report. This report contains all the facts and findings of the case. The report will also be used as evidence by multiple parties, including insurance companies.
Step 3: Hire a lawyer
Your chances of a successful claim go down considerably when you try to tackle a truck accident case alone. Approach a lawyer and share the facts of the case with them. They will go through the details and the circumstances under which the case happened and decide whether you have a valid case or not.
Before signing an agreement with the lawyer, it’s best to do your research and find out whether the lawyer has the expertise and experience to handle your case. Also, check whether the lawyer works on a contingency basis.
Once you have signed an agreement, your lawyer will take care of all the communication for you. This includes communicating with insurance companies and the legal representatives of the at-fault party.
Step 4: Conduct an investigation
You currently have proof of injuries, proof of hospital visits, a police report, and a lawyer. You now have everything you need to aggressively push for compensation.
Your lawyer will launch an investigation of their own, using experienced personnel. They will thoroughly review the case, all the evidence you presented to them, and all the evidence they have gathered. Your lawyer will also conduct interviews with witnesses and rope in expert witnesses to recreate the accident.
Step 5: Send a demand letter
This is the initial push for negotiation. Your lawyer now has enough evidence, witness testimonies, and statements from expert witnesses to make a demand. They will draft a demand letter and send it to your insurance company or to the party/parties who were responsible for your injuries.
The demand letter contains all facts and findings of the case, including information like the severity of your injuries, the property damages you have incurred, evidence for pain and suffering, and proof of disability, disfigurement, or loss of life (if any).
The demand letter will also contain the expected compensation for the damages and injuries and a deadline for the defendant to respond.
Step 6: Choose either settlement or trial
Once you have sent the demand letter, the ball is now in the defendant’s/insurance company’s court. They can choose to accept your request and proceed with the settlement (highly unlikely) or challenge your request.
Based on their findings, the opposing party will send a counteroffer. If the plaintiff takes the counteroffer, the truck accident case will end there. However, counteroffers from at-fault parties are rarely fair. So, negotiations will carry on until both parties come to an agreement.
In the event that negotiations fail, the case will move to court, where it will be presented before a judge and jury. The legal representatives from both sides will put forth their arguments, and the judge and jury will make the final decision.
Those were the steps to filing a truck accident claim. Following these steps will be difficult without the help of an expert lawyer. With the right assistance and resources, you will get the compensation you need to treat your injuries and get back to your old life.