Prompt Investigation Is Key
If you want to get all the important evidence to identify all the key parties and prove your case properly after being hurt in a truck accident, then it’s important to do a quick and first-rate investigation. Numerous parties could have played a part in the wreck that injured you, so a diligent investigation will be done to figure out who’s at fault and their specific degree of negligence. It’s essential to locate proof to make the jury be swayed in your favor and rule for you, and evidence begins to disappear promptly after an accident. You need to have your truck accident lawyer searching for evidence immediately if you can. Every day you hesitate and don’t get a trustworthy lawyer the more permanent damage you’re inflicting on your case because the proof you want is disappearing – witnesses can relocate or their memories become fuzzy, videos will be copied over or deleted and the accident scene will evolve as well.
The truck accident lawyers at our firm have invested two decades in becoming experts at how to investigate accident scenes. Once we’re hired we go to the accident, free of charge to clients, so we can look for any evidence that strengthens our client’s case. We do what’s needed to discover the truth – securing and searching for all the mandatory vehicles, getting photos, searching for video evidence, scouring police records, taking measurements between skid marks and where the vehicles collided, conducting forensic tests, spotting and talking to witnesses and getting any other credible evidence that can be used later in court.
You need to understand you’re probably already well behind the case and investigation that’s been done by the defense. What happens is generally the trucking or insurance company quickly sends their investigators to the accident scene not long after the trucker phones it in. The defense investigators aren’t concerned with how the accident happened; they just want evidence that backs up that your injuries were a result of your own negligence. If you don’t have your truck accident attorneys at the scene undertaking their own investigation, you’ll not be able to see if there was any evidence tampering or if the defense’s investigation was done in an honest manner. If they can locate evidence that proves your negligence, then they can reject your insurance claim if they can show you were completely at fault, or have the damages lessened if they can show your negligence was a contributing factor.
One case we recently handled illustrates why you need to do a speedy and thorough investigation. In this matter, our firm was hired by the driver of an SUV after he was a part of a nighttime accident involving an 18-wheeler. The trucking company was trying to say our client had no headlights installed in his vehicle when the accident happened. Once we began working the case, our client’s totaled car had been removed from the accident scene and towed to a nearby salvage yard. When our attorneys located the car at the junkyard, they saw it definitely had no headlights. We were concerned about our client being able to get any compensation, but at that moment our investigators saw a surveillance system in the salvage yard and managed to secure some video footage. We were fortunate because this exact system was designed to record over its memory every 48 hours and we managed to get our hands on it before it was erased. The video revealed a worker from the trucking company coming in late at night, then illegally taking the headlights out of the car and leaving the premises with them. Once the trial started and the trucking company’s defense counsel attempted to say our client’s car had no intact headlights, we had physical evidence that serves as proof of the deception taking place and managed to get compensation for our client. If our client had waited much longer to hire us, the video would have been missing, the chances of receiving restitution would have ended and the trucking company would have managed to get away with felonious evidence tampering.
Our attorneys regularly encounter such lies and deception when it comes to truck accident cases, so you need to hire a lawyer and let them begin a speedy and thorough investigation as fast as possible. Sometimes there’s still a chance for our investigators to find the necessary proof well after an accident occurred, but the faster we can start an investigation, the better odds we have of securing the proof needed to get the compensation you deserve. Don’t hesitate any longer in discussing your case with a truck accident lawyer.
Common Obstacles Plaintiffs Must Overcome
You may have filed an insurance claim after your everyday car wreck, but that doesn’t instantly qualify you to work a truck accident lawsuit by yourself. Trucking insurance policies are deemed 50 times more expensive than a normal auto insurance policy. Due to the enormity of these insurance policies, litigation to handle truck accidents is way more complex than what you’ll find in normal passenger carcasses. Plaintiffs who attempt to save money on lawyer’s fees by handling their own case eventually cost themselves financially with lessened or totally denied compensation. People with no legal experience and lawyers fresh out of school wind up confused and puzzled when they attempt to file lawsuits following truck accidents because of many factors: showing the burden of proof, the huge size of insurance policies, companies that choose to self insure and truckers who lie.
Burden of Proof
Defendants don’t have to immediately pay you a dime after you’ve been injured in a truck accident, the law states unless you as the plaintiff are able to prove they need to. If you want to get the fair restitution you deserve for your injuries, you’ll have to submit rock-solid, credible evidence. Even when other types of negotiation are used to deal with a claim, evidence still needs to be submitted to the defense or insurance will work in good faith. You’ll have to show each of these four elements in a trucking accident case:
Duty – The first part of this long arduous process is having to show the defendant owed you a duty to maintain your safety by acting appropriately. The legal duty of care is set for certain issues and for each person – all based on the specifics of their relationships. In truck accident cases, showing this element is pretty easy, since every motorist has to operate their vehicle in a fashion that appropriately makes sure other drivers are kept safe, along with pedestrians and passengers on the road.
Breach – The next step if you’re hoping to prove your case is that you’ve got to show the defendant or defendants violated the duty of care you were owed. This happens when the defendant endangers others with actions that regular people wouldn’t have done, or inaction when regular people would be expected to take action. You’ll have to obtain evidence that proves the defendant ignored his or her legal duty of care through action or remaining inactive in hopes of proving this breach of duty happened. That’s why you’ll need a truck accident lawyer who knows how to use the evidence to properly persuade a jury that the defendant or defendants acted wrongly.
Causation – Along with being able to prove the defendant’s breach of a legal duty, you’ll also have to show your injuries were a result of this duty being broken. Keep in mind that several parties could have played a role or been completely responsible for a trucking accident, so it requires very solid, credible evidence to persuade a jury that a causal relationship existed between the defendant’s breach of their obligation to you and the resulting harm you sustained. If you can’t do this, then what will happen is the defendant will rip your case apart by moving the blame over to another individual for your injuries. Many times, the defendants tend to avoid blame by shifting attention to the victim for creating their own injuries with their negligence.
Damages – Once the first three parts have been established for a successful truck accident lawsuit, you finally have to show the damages the defendant owed for the injuries you’ve sustained. In the legal world, damages aren’t about your injuries and your property damages. Damages, in this case, refer to the compensation owed by the defendant due to the harm they’ve created. The plaintiff can pursue damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering lost earning capacity, damaged property and other losses that happened in the accident.
The challenging issue here is that you can’t just ask for compensation you feel you deserve from the court and assume you’re entitled to it. No, you’ve got to show evidence that doesn’t just include your losses, but also how you compiled the monetary value of those damages. Many times, defendants will contest the total amount of compensation the plaintiff is requesting and will come back with their own amount of damages owed that will shrink the monetary value of harm incurred by the plaintiff. If you hope to show the defendant attempted to short-change their damages, you have to provide inarguable proof that your numbers are spot on.
What is the true value of my case? Damages like pain and suffering or loss of earning capacity can wind up being subjective and open for debate, which means that damages can be very complicated for inexperienced people to deal with. It’s difficult compiling a price for issues like pain and suffering or determining lost earning capacity by including the potential value for raises and inflation. In court, you’ll only have one opportunity to total the amount of compensation you’re after. For the past 20 years, our truck accident lawyers have been totaling damages, and we have gained plenty of comfort by litigating cases similar to yours and we know how to include all your losses and come to an estimation of the compensation that adequately provides restitution you’re after.
If you’re unable to show any of these four elements, you can guarantee yourself that you won’t receive the compensation you’re seeking for the injuries you’ve sustained. You need the help of truck accident lawyers – definitely if you head to trial. All the years of litigating truck accident cases have allowed our lawyers to discover how to build a strong legal strategy to meet the burdens of proof and convince a jury to rule for you.