Being involved in a semi truck accident can turn your world upside down. Serious injuries can have far-reaching effects on you and your family members. The obstacles you face may feel insurmountable. The decision to pursue a semi truck accident lawsuit is an important step in being compensated for your injuries and medical bills. Navigating a trucking accident settlement in Georgia can be an unfamiliar process - and there are some things that must be done to maximize your compensation.
This blog post will explore 8 steps to winning your truck accident claim. One of the best things you can do to ensure success is to hire an experienced Georgia truck accident lawyer. When you hire a lawyer, you do not have to go through the claims process alone. Your lawyer can advocate for your legal rights and fight for the maximum financial compensation you deserve.
1. Get Immediate Medical Assistance
Your medical treatment record is a big part of any car accident or semi truck accident lawsuit. At some point in your truck accident personal injury claim, you will provide your medical record to the trucking company's legal counsel as part of your request for a settlement. If you did not get prompt medical treatment, or if you do not follow through with recommended treatment, the trucking company's insurance company may question the severity of your injuries or the legitimacy of your claim.
2. Collect Evidence At The Scene Of The Truck Accident (If Possible)
Following a collision, the trucking company will be notified of the accident immediately - before the driver even gets out of his vehicle. Someone from their "Go Team" will get to the accident scene as soon as possible to take possession of the vehicle. Within hours, the commercial truck may be towed hundreds of miles away, and evidence may be destroyed when the vehicle is either written off as a total loss or repaired. Collecting photo or video evidence at the scene can provide baseline, indisputable evidence of your accident. If you contact a lawyer soon after an accident, they can also assist in the preservation of evidence.
3. Prove Negligence
It is impossible to succeed in a personal injury settlement without proving the other party's negligence. Sometimes, the negligence of a truck driver is obvious, but in many accidents, the liability of the case is disputed. Utilizing experts on various aspects of your case can establish liability of multiple parties, including:
- The truck drivers
- The trucking company
- Cargo loading/shipping companies
- The manufacturer of the large truck
- Mechanics who repaired the commercial truck
- Government agencies responsible for maintaining roads or highways
- Drivers of other vehicles.
Some trucking accident victims are hesitant to file a claim because they were partially at fault. Georgia is a modified comparative fault state - which means that as long as you are less than 50% responsible, you can still file a claim.
4. Show That The Accident Caused Your Injuries
It may seem obvious, but the link between your trucking accident and your injuries must be established. Insurance companies love to make causation arguments - especially in court. If you had any preexisting injury at any time, the insurance company may argue that your injuries were caused by someone or something else other than the truck driver and the trucking company. Your medical treatment is the foundation of your claim and can establish:
- The extent of your injuries
- The future medical treatment that you will need
- The time required to treat your injuries.
5. Demonstrate The Extent Of Your Damages
Your damages are your medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. When your injuries are severe, the compensation you receive for your semi truck accident settlement will determine your quality of life.
When catastrophic injuries cause permanent disability or death, no amount of money can truly compensate you for your injuries or a loved one's wrongful death. At The Graham Firm, we work with some of the top damages experts in the country in demonstrating the effect of an injury - physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially.
6. Negotiate A Settlement
Negotiation is the back-and-forth process between your truck accident lawyer and the other party's legal counsel. This typically begins once your injuries have healed and your condition has stabilized. Your lawyer will start the process with a written demand letter providing evidence of an accident, the amount of money the victim has incurred, and the amount of money being sought. There may be a period of back and forth about parts of the claim or the amount you are requesting.
If you don't have an experienced truck accident lawyer representing you, an insurance company may tell you that a settlement offer is the highest and best you will receive, and then pressure you to accept it. When an insurance company knows that a case is being prepared for trial, they know that a "low ball" offer will promptly be rejected. Settlement negotiations are one of the many areas of a truck accident case where having a lawyer can result in a higher settlement.
7. Take Your Case To Court If Necessary
The vast majority of personal injury claims are settled outside of court. Because trials involve risk and significant expense, reaching a settlement is in the best interest of both sides. However, there are some situations where going to trial is the only way to obtain justice. Having a truck accident attorney that has the resources to go to trial will send a message to the trucking company that if they do not offer a fair settlement, a judge or jury will determine fair compensation, in court.
8. Hire An Experienced Semi Truck Accident Attorney
It absolutely pays to have an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney representing you. The trucking company's insurance company will not have your best interests at heart. They will look to settle your semi truck claim as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. A lawyer who understands the complex elements of truck accidents, and applicable Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations can advocate for the best outcome for your claim.
Contact The Graham Firm For a Free Semi Truck Accident Lawsuit Consultation
The Graham Firm helps victims of serious injury and wrongful death recover the full and fair damages that they deserve. If you hire our truck accident lawyers to represent you in your semi truck accident lawsuit, we are only paid if we recover money for you. Contact us for a free case review.