How Do I File a Truck Accident Claim?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck wreck, trying to navigate the accident claim filing process on your own can be a daunting task. In this article, we’ll discuss the five main stages of the truck accident claim process and the importance of having an experienced accident attorney by your side every step of the way.
1. Hiring an Accident Attorney
After a truck wreck, turning to your insurance agency for help often seems like your best option. You might wonder, “My insurance agent can settle everything for me, so why do I need an attorney?” However, even if your agent seems sympathetic to your situation, it’s important to remember that their goal is to ensure their company’s profitability, not your fair compensation.
Therefore, hiring an experienced accident attorney should be your first step in filing a truck accident claim. Your attorney works for you and has only your best interests in mind. In the next few sections, we’ll explain how an accident attorney can help you at every step along the way — from preparing your claim to negotiating a settlement to taking the guilty party to court.
2. Evidence and Investigation
One of the most important steps in your truck accident claim process is collecting evidence and conducting further investigation into the accident. This evidence falls into a few different categories, which are outlined below.
Some evidence is gathered at the scene of the truck wreck and will appear in the police report for your crash. If possible, it is also useful to collect this information yourself in addition to obtaining a copy of the police report.
- Truck driver’s license number and personal information
- Truck driver’s company and insurance information
- Witness testimonies
- Pictures of property damage and the scene
An experienced accident attorney will help you collect additional supporting evidence and follow up with witnesses later to obtain more details.
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One of the most important things to remember after an accident is to seek medical treatment, even if you do not believe your injuries are severe. Medical records that prove you were injured and sought treatment will be strong supporting factors in filing a successful claim. An attorney can help you organize this evidence and work with your doctors to collect additional medical information to present.
Truck Driver Risk Factors and Company Negligence
An accident attorney is critical for obtaining additional information on the truck driver and freight company involved in your crash. This information helps prove the driver and their company are the negligent parties responsible for your crash and that they owe you compensation for your injuries and suffering. An attorney’s investigation may turn up information about whether the truck driver was:
- Driving while distracted
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Suffering from chronic fatigue, migraines, vision impairments, or other conditions making him or her not medically fit to drive.
- Involved in previous crashes
- Written up for work-related infractions
Not only can an attorney collect evidence about the truck driver to support your case, but sometimes there is evidence that the freight company who employed the driver shares some of the blame for your crash. Your attorney might also be able to discover if the freight company has a history of negligent hiring practices or unsafe truck driving policies.
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3. Filing Your Claim
The process for filing your truck accident claim will depend on the insurance agency with whom you are filing, meaning you will need to research the specific legal nuances involved in your truck wreck case. Accident attorneys have significant experience navigating the claim process and can research all the pertinent information about the insurance companies and claims for you. Working with an attorney will save you a great deal of time and trouble in addition to increasing the strength of your claim.
4. Negotiations and Settlements
Once the truck company and driver have received your claim and demands, the next step is to negotiate a settlement that will provide you with adequate compensation without having to go to trial. In most cases, this will involve a lot of back and forth counter-offers between the company and your attorney until you reach a settlement. Although most personal injury cases are resolved in the settlement phase, if you cannot come to compromise during negotiations, your truck accident case will go to trial.
5. Discovery Process and Trial
Even once settlement negotiations have failed, there is still a chance of resolving your case prior to going before a judge. After filing the details of your case with the appropriate courts, the process of discovery will begin. During this stage, witnesses provide statements under oath and documents are subpoenaed by both sides to discover additional evidence. Sometimes this evidence will prompt one party to agree to a settlement pre-trial.
When all else fails, your case will go before a judge and jury. Your attorney will then present the information and records collected during their investigation to support your case and help you get the compensation you deserve.
Call the Truck Accident Attorneys at Seattle Truck Law
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck crash, the attorneys at Seattle Truck Law can help. We will work with you every step of the way to help you file your truck accident claim and get the compensation you deserve.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.