How to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit

Published On: November 14, 2023
Categories: Truck Accidents

Did a truck driver or another party cause a truck accident that injured you? Understanding how to file a lawsuit can empower you to claim the compensation necessary to cover medical bills, lost income, and other unexpected costs. Take legal action for your truck accident case with a dedicated New Port Richey truck accident attorneys. Secure the compensation you deserve.

What to Do After a Truck Accident

Accident scene: Truck off-road, flipped on its roof.

If a truck accident injures you, you can protect your rights and position yourself for any future legal action.

Here’s what you should do:

  • Stay in regular contact with your medical providers and follow their treatment recommendations closely.
  • Contact a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your rights in a confidential consultation.
  • Notify your insurance company about the truck accident.
  • Obtain a copy of the accident report from your local police.
  • Get statements and contact details from any witnesses who saw the crash.
  • Preserve any physical evidence you might have, like torn clothing or personal items that sustained damage in the truck accident.
  • Document your injuries with photos and detailed notes.
  • Keep a diary or log of your recovery progress and any pain or limitations you experience as a result of the truck accident.
  • Save all medical records and documentation of all accident-related financial losses, such as medical expenses and income reductions.
  • Avoid discussing the accident or your injuries on social media.
  • Do not sign documents or accept offers without consulting an attorney.
  • Avoid giving recorded statements to insurance adjusters without consulting your attorney and having them present.
  • If the other party’s insurance company contacts you, direct them to speak with your attorney to avoid making statements that could damage your case.

How Soon After a Truck Accident Should You Contact an Attorney?

Time is of the essence after a truck accident. After a truck crash, contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Hire a personal injury lawyer early on in the process because truck accidents often involve multiple parties, including the truck driver, the trucking company, auto parts manufacturers, and insurers. The sooner you hire an attorney, the more time they have to investigate and reach out to these parties.

Second, evidence is vital in truck accident claims, and it can deteriorate or go missing over time. By conducting an early investigation, a truck accident attorney can identify and preserve valuable evidence, such as skid marks, vehicle damage, driver’s logs, and witness accounts.

Additionally, trucking companies typically have robust legal teams and insurance providers who immediately start investigating truck accidents to limit their liability. Having an attorney working on your behalf in the early stages can level the playing field in your favor.

Last, most states have laws that impose time limits on personal injury lawsuits, including truck accident lawsuits. Waiting too long to act could jeopardize your ability to sue for compensation. Hiring an attorney early in the process ensures you do not miss key filing deadlines and keep your case on track.

How Is a Truck Accident Case Different from a Car Accident Case?

Truck accident cases differ from car accident cases due to variances in vehicle size, regulations, and operations. Truck accident cases involve factors that set them apart from other accident cases.

Here are some key ways in which a truck accident case can differ from a car accident case:

  • Complex Liability: In car accidents, the fault typically lies with one or more of the drivers in the collision. However, in truck accidents, multiple other parties could be liable – including the trucking company, a vehicle manufacturer, or even a third-party maintenance provider.
  • Federal and State Regulations: Commercial trucks are subject to stringent federal and state regulations. Any violation of these rules could significantly influence the distribution of liability in a truck accident case.
  • Injury Severity: Due to the sheer size and weight of commercial trucks, truck accidents often result in more catastrophic injuries or fatalities than car accidents, often leading to higher compensation claims.
  • Documentation and Evidence: The law requires trucking companies to maintain extensive records, from driver hours of service (HOS) logs to vehicle maintenance records. This documentation can provide useful evidence in a lawsuit but is also often time-sensitive.
  • Insurance Policies: Commercial trucks usually have much larger insurance policies than personal vehicles. As a result, there’s often more money at stake in truck accident cases, which can influence how insurers behave.
  • Equipment Issues: Equipment issues stemming from manufacturing defects or poor maintenance, such as brake failures, are more common in truck accidents. If this type of issue causes a truck crash, a manufacturer or party responsible for maintenance could be liable.
  • Cargo-Related Issues: Overloaded trucks or improper cargo securement can contribute to or exacerbate accidents. In such cases, the parties responsible for loading the truck could also be subject to liability.

Who Could You Hold Liable in a Truck Accident Lawsuit?

Liability in truck accident cases is often complex due to the many different entities that operate, maintain, and oversee commercial trucks. Here’s a breakdown of the various parties that could be liable in a truck accident injury lawsuit:

Truck Drivers

The person behind the wheel often bears significant responsibility in a truck accident. Their actions, such as driving while drowsy or under the influence, can directly result in collisions. And violations of specific regulations, like drive time restrictions, can point to driver liability.

Trucking Companies

Trucking companies have key roles in the operation and oversight of commercial fleets. They’re responsible for hiring qualified drivers, ensuring regular vehicle maintenance, and complying with all federal and state safety regulations.

If they negligently hire an unqualified driver, ignore maintenance needs, or push their drivers to work beyond legal time limits, trucking companies could be liable.

Cargo Loaders or Shippers

The process of loading a truck goes beyond merely placing goods in a trailer. Loading teams must distribute the cargo evenly, secure it correctly, and check it for potential issues that might arise during transport.

If these teams overload cargo or fail to secure it appropriately, it can cause dangerous losses of balance and lead to spills. If this happens, shipping and cargo loading teams could bear responsibility.

Maintenance and Repair Entities

A truck’s functionality relies on regular and meticulous maintenance. If maintenance and repair technicians overlook obvious issues, use subpar replacement parts, or neglect thorough inspections, mechanical failures can occur on the road and cause accidents.

Mechanics and repair shops could be liable if brake failures, tire blowouts, or engine malfunctions contribute to accidents.

Truck or Parts Manufacturers

A truck’s construction, design, and parts can all affect how it operates. Manufacturers must uphold rigorous standards when producing trucks and their components. A manufacturer could be responsible if a truck or one of its essential parts has a design flaw or manufacturing defect that causes an accident.

Governmental Entities

Local or state governmental agencies typically oversee roads, highways, and infrastructure. These entities are responsible for ensuring roadways are safe, undergo proper maintenance, and have necessary signage.

If truck accidents occur due to potholes, lack of traffic signs, malfunctioning traffic lights, or other infrastructural issues, victims might have grounds to hold these parties responsible.

Other Motorists

Some truck accident cases involve multiple vehicles and drivers. In these cases, other drivers might share or even bear most of the fault. The dynamics of multi-vehicle accidents are complex, so it’s wise to work with a trusted lawyer to determine each party’s degree of fault in such scenarios.

How Do You File a Truck Accident Lawsuit?

If a truck driver hits and injures you, you might consider taking legal action to protect your rights, seek compensation, and demand accountability. This process usually begins with filing an insurance claim.

In no-fault insurance states like Florida, the process usually starts by filing a claim with your own insurance policy. Your attorney will notify your insurance provider of the accident and pursue compensation under the terms of the policy.

In the event that your crash injuries meet Florida’s severity threshold, your lawyer can file a third-party claim against the truck driver’s liability policy seeking compensation. Your attorney can evaluate the specifics of your case to determine whether a lawsuit is in your best interests, though the decision to sue or not is ultimately yours.

If you choose to press forward with a lawsuit, your lawyer can gather evidence, consult experts, prepare legal documents, and represent you in all discussions and negotiations. With their deep knowledge of the law and legal procedures, they can ensure compliance with every detail.

Trust an attorney to handle both your insurance claim and, if necessary, your lawsuit. This protects your rights and maximizes your chances of securing the compensation you deserve.

What Evidence Do You Need for a Truck Accident Lawsuit?

In a truck accident lawsuit, the weight of evidence plays a key role in establishing fault and determining the case’s value. Each piece of evidence supports your case by painting a picture of what transpired before, during, and after the accident.

Here’s a list of the potential types of evidence a lawyer might use to prove liability in your truck accident case:

  • Accident scene photos
  • Surveillance camera footage
  • Dashcam recordings
  • The truck’s electronic logging device (ELD) data
  • Witness statements
  • Police accident reports
  • The truck driver’s cell phone records
  • Truck maintenance logs
  • The driver’s hours of service (HOS) logs
  • Blood alcohol or drug test results from the driver
  • Expert witness testimonies
  • The truck’s GPS data
  • Black box or event data recorder (EDR) information
  • Cargo loading records
  • Bills of lading or cargo manifests
  • Skidmark analysis reports
  • Weather reports from the day of the accident
  • Medical records showing your crash injuries and treatments
  • Rehabilitation and therapy records
  • Entries from personal journals or pain diaries
  • Traffic signal or control data
  • Physical evidence from the accident scene (e.g., vehicle parts)
  • Diagrams or reconstructions of the accident
  • The truck driver’s history of traffic violations or accidents
  • The trucking company’s safety record
  • Truck inspection and maintenance reports
  • Dispatch records between the driver and the trucking company
  • Manufacturer details if truck or parts defects were a factor
  • The truck driver’s training and certification records
  • Any active recalls for the truck or its components

What Compensation Can I Seek in a Truck Accident Case?

Here are the compensable losses your lawyer could include in your truck accident injury case:

  • Medical Expenses: Costs of immediate medical care, hospitalizations, surgeries, medications, and any future care you require due to the accident
  • Lost Income: Any income you lose while you’re unable to work due to your truck accident injuries
  • Loss of Earning Capacity: Losses in your lifetime earning potential due to long-term truck accident-related disabilities
  • Pain and Suffering: The subjective pain and emotional distress you experience as a result of the truck accident and its aftermath
  • Loss of Consortium: The negative consequences the accident and your resulting injuries have on your relationship with your spouse or partner
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Losses in your ability to enjoy day-to-day activities, hobbies, or other previously enjoyable pastimes

How Long Does a Typical Truck Accident Case Take to Resolve?

 New Port Richey Truck Accident Attorney Martin Macyszyn
Martin Macyszyn, New Port Richey Truck Accident Attorney

The resolution timeline for a truck accident injury case can vary significantly based on factors like the number of liable parties and each party’s willingness to negotiate. Some cases might settle quickly, while others could take far longer, especially if they proceed to trial.

A quick resolution could mean compromising on the full extent of your compensable losses, possibly resulting in an inadequate payout. Insurance companies might offer enticing initial settlements, but these offers often fall short of what you could obtain with more thorough negotiations or litigation.

A skilled personal injury lawyer can strike the ideal balance of expediency and thoroughness for your case. They can employ strategies to speed up the process, such as efficiently gathering evidence, communicating with other parties, and handling pretrial negotiations. At the same time, they will prioritize maximizing your settlement by accounting for all of the harm you have suffered due to the accident and advocating fiercely on your behalf.