Answers to 5 Common Questions Victims Ask After a Truck Accident
According to the Department of Transportation, nearly 150,000 people were injured in the U.S. in truck crashes in 2016. The number of injuries and deaths involving truck crashes has been steadily rising for several years, and not nearly enough is being done to regulate the industry further and keep our roads safe.
If you’ve been the victim of a truck crash, there are probably quite a few questions on your mind; chief among them, how can I recover my losses? Working with an experienced truck accident attorney is the best way to ensure you receive compensation for your losses, but it’s also important to understand how personal injury claims and compensation work.
In this article, we answer the five most common questions victims ask after a truck crash and provide advice on how to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
1. How Do I Know If I Have A Personal Injury Claim?
If you’ve been the victim of a truck crash, you are likely wondering whether you can recover compensation for your injuries and property damage. To do this, you’ll need to file a personal injury claim, but how do you know if you have a case? There are three main requirements for a truck crash personal injury claim:
- The truck driver displayed negligent or careless behavior
- This negligent behavior caused your injuries
- Your injuries resulted in bills and intangible pain or suffering
If you and your attorney can prove all three of these requirements, you’ll have a decent shot at receiving fair compensation for your damages.
RELATED ARTICLE: How Do I Know If I Have A Truck Accident Case?
2. What Is Negligence and What Does It Mean for My Claim?
As mentioned above, one of the critical components of a personal injury claim is proving that the truck driver was “negligent.” Negligence is a legal term used to describe behavior in which someone fails to exercise reasonable or prudent care. Negligence comes into effect in cases dealing with accidents rather than situations where someone means intentional harm. Examples of negligence in truck driving crashes may include:
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Working extra hours or driving while fatigued
- Distracted driving
- Negligent hiring
- Unsafe company policies
Sometimes it’s easy to prove that a truck driver is negligent. Speeding or running a red light are both obvious behaviors to which witnesses and traffic cameras can attest. In other cases, however, proving negligence can require more in-depth investigation into the truck driver or company to uncover. For example, if a truck driver fudged his driving log and worked extra hours or if a company hired a driver with a known drug problem, you would need an experienced personal injury attorney to step in to conduct additional investigations.
3. Who Is Responsible for My Crash? The Driver or the Truck Company?
The driver of the truck is often at least partially to blame for your crash, but not all truck crashes can be blamed solely on the driver. Sometimes the truck company who hired the driver is also partly responsible. The only way to know if you can hold both the driver and the company liable for your injuries is through a personal injury lawyer’s investigation. Your attorney will be able to inspect the company’s hiring and training processes for negligent or intentional corner-cutting.
RELATED ARTICLE: Who Is Liable in a Trucking Accident, the Trucker or the Company?
Oftentimes, companies don’t want to put the time and effort into hiring responsible drivers, or they try to save money by encouraging their drivers to work longer hours against federal regulations. In these examples, while the driver is still largely to blame for your crash, the company has created the situation.
4. If Insurance Says I Am Partially At-Fault, Can I Still Recover Damages?
Insurance agencies are notorious for trying to get out of paying insurance claims. One of the tactics they often use is attempting to prove that the injured party is also at fault for the crash. In some states, this is enough to negate your eligibility to receive compensation altogether. Fortunately, Washington has a modified comparative fault rule.
RELATED ARTICLE: Why You Can’t Trust the Insurance Company After A Truck Accident
Under this rule, you can recover damages from a crash as long as you are less than 50% responsible. So even if an insurance company (or the truck driver’s lawyer) attempts to lay some of the blame on you, you can still receive compensation. However, under modified comparative negligence, if you are found to be 10% at fault, you are only entitled to 90% of your total damages. Fighting inaccurate at-fault accusations is another reason having an experienced attorney at your side is so important.
So, the short answer is yes; you can still recover damages as long as you can prove that you are less than half responsible for the crash.
5. Can I Receive Compensation for Lost Wages?
Most truck crash victims expect to recover expenses such as medical bills or property damage, but these are only some of the costs that can result from your crash. If you have medical documentation that proves you had to miss work due to hospitalization or at-home recovery, you may also be entitled to receive both past and future lost wages.
RELATED ARTICLE: Understanding the Types of Damages in a Truck Accident Case
In addition to lost wages, other damages you may receive compensation for include:
- Physical therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Legal fees
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
Call Seattle Truck Law If You’ve Been the Victim of a Truck Crash in Washington
Navigating personal injury claims and understanding negligence and compensation can be difficult. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a truck accident, the attorneys at Seattle Truck Law are here to answer all of your questions and provide advice about your best path forward.
Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2017. (2019, March). U.S Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Retrieved from https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/safety/ data-and-statistics/452366/ltcbf-2017-early-release-3-13-2019.pdf
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.