Stages of a Truck Accident Case
Most people have never been involved in a lawsuit before, so the legal process is naturally very foreign to them. If you have been injured in a collision with a large commercial truck, you may not know how to start in seeking compensation from the truck driver or their employer. Truck accident claims can involve complex legal questions and highly technical evidence, so pursuing a claim can require resources, time, and knowledge that you do not necessarily have. Fortunately, a skilled Florida truck accident attorney will have the resources you need and can lead you through every single step of the legal process.
The following is some basic information about every step of the truck accident claim process.
The first step after a truck accident is to discuss what happened with an experienced truck accident lawyer who can evaluate your situation and determine whether negligence was involved on the part of another party. If you cannot prove that someone else was negligent, you will not have the right to financial recovery for your medical costs and other losses. However, if there is evidence that the truck driver or another party was negligent in some way, you can pursue your claim. Common examples of negligence in truck accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Fatigued driving
- Poor maintenance of trucks
- Intoxicated driving
- Improper cargo loading
- Aggressive driving
- Violating Florida traffic laws1 or FMCSA regulations2
If you can hold the truck driver and/or trucking company responsible, generally the first step is to file a claim with the company’s insurance company. Trucking companies are required to carry a certain amount of insurance. However, this does not always mean that the insurance company will always offer you what you deserve for all of your past and future losses. In fact, settlements can often be grossly inadequate as insurance companies are trying to limit liability whenever they can. It is very important to know that as soon as you accept a settlement, there is no turning back and requesting more compensation. For this reason, it is imperative that you have an attorney review any settlement offer before you accept one and your lawyer can negotiate to try to obtain the settlement you deserve.
In addition, because truck accidents can result in such devastating injuries, sometimes your losses can exceed the insurance policy and an adequate settlement is simply not possible. An attorney can identify whether this is the case in your situation.
Filing a Claim
If an insurance settlement is not sufficient, you will have to file a claim for personal injury in Florida court. This requires carefully drafting a complaint that meets all legal requirements and filing with the courts in line with state procedural rules. The trucking company and any other parties then have the opportunity to refute your claims based on legal arguments.
If your claim succeeds past any answers from your opponents, you will move into the next phase of the litigation process called discovery. This phase involves collecting evidence from the other side in a variety of ways and build a case to support your claims. This can include requesting documents, engaging in depositions, and asking questions of the other party. Through this process, each side can get an idea of the evidence the other party has so you know where you stand in the case.
Once you gather evidence to support your claims, your attorney can use that evidence to engage in settlement negotiations with the other party. If the other party sees that you have a strong case, it will likely want to avoid a trial by offering a favorable settlement. The large majority of accident cases settle before they ever get to trial.
If you are unable to reach an adequate settlement agreement, your case will go to trial. Your attorney and the attorney for the other party will present each case in front a jury, who will then decide whether you deserve to recover and, if so, how much compensation you deserve.
Contact an Experienced Florida Truck Accident Lawyer for Help Today
The legal process has many rules and procedures that must be followed so that you can achieve the most favorable result in your truck accident case in the most efficient way possible. If you have been injured, please call a truck accident attorney at the Dolman Law Group for a free consultation today.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765