Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents
Our law firm has answers you can trust
Any accident can be overwhelming, but accidents involving commercial trucks can be even more confusing. The injuries and property damage tend to be severe - and the idea of going up against a trucking company can be frightening. That's why so many truck accident victims end up being victimized again by the trucking company's insurance carrier.
That's why the Whaley Law Firm has prepared this list of questions and answers for truck accident victims. Don't let the trucking company push you around. Know your legal rights.
- What do I need to do at the scene of a truck accident?
- Should I see a doctor after a truck accident?
- Can I sue the trucking company?
- What if the trucking company is located out of state?
- How can an attorney help me with my truck accident case?
- How much will a truck accident lawsuit cost me?
- What is the average settlement for a truck accident case?
- Should I accept a settlement offer from the trucking company or their insurance?
Remember, these questions and answers are designed as a general guide to the process you'll need to follow after a truck accident, not as specific legal advice. We highly encourage you to contact us and meet with attorney Whaley for a free consultation. Call (866) 703-7575.
What do I need to do at the scene of a truck accident?
Unless you need to leave to seek emergency medical attention, remain at the scene. Call the police and make sure you get the investigating officer's name and badge number. Get the truck driver's name and license information as well as the name and address for the trucking company. You'll also need contact information for any witnesses to the accident.
Take pictures of the accident scene with your smartphone or camera. The trucking company will send investigators right away to collect the evidence they need, and any information you can collect will work to your advantage. Make sure you take pictures of damage to your vehicle and the truck, skid marks, any other property damage (such as guardrails) and any visible injuries.
Notify your insurance company promptly that you were involved in an accident, but don't go into too much detail. Stick to the facts of what happened and don't say anything admitting fault for the crash.
Finally, contact the Whaley Law Firm as soon as possible. We'll start investigating your accident on your behalf and handle all the interactions with the trucking company and the insurance companies from that point forward.
Should I see a doctor after a truck accident?
Your health and well-being should be your main concern after a truck accident. Many people assume they don’t need to see a doctor because they feel fine after their truck accident. But you may have injuries haven’t revealed themselves yet. With delayed symptoms or minor injuries, it is always highly recommended that you see a doctor as soon as possible.
Truck accidents involving semis and 18-wheelers can result in serious injuries. If these injuries are not immediately apparent, the only way to discover them is through a medical evaluation. This not only ensures you receive the appropriate care and treatment, but it will also provide a documented record of your injuries, which is vital when pursuing truck accident compensation through a lawsuit.
Can I sue the trucking company?
Generally, yes. But the laws surrounding the trucking company's liability for an accident can be complex. If the truck driver was a direct employee of the trucking company, then the trucking company can be held vicariously liable for the driver's actions while on the job - such as causing an accident. However, this vicarious liability may or may not apply if the trucker was an independent contractor, depending on the relationship between the trucking company and the truck driver.
The trucking company may also be held directly liable for your injuries if they did something to cause your accident. For instance, the trucking company may have failed to fix a maintenance issue with the truck that led to the crash. They may have inadequately supervised or trained the driver. Or they may have put pressure on the driver to exceed hours of service (HOS) laws and work through mandatory breaks, causing him or her to fall asleep at the wheel due to overwork.
There are many reasons why you may be able to sue a trucking company after your accident. And we're prepared to explore all of them to uncover the truth and make sure you receive the compensation you rightfully deserve.
What if the trucking company is located out of state?
Unfortunately, out-of-state trucking companies often take advantage of motorists by refusing to return calls or otherwise being uncooperative. That's why it's especially important to get the Whaley Law Firm on your side. We know how to hold out-of-state trucking companies accountable and take strong legal action to bring them to the negotiating table - or to trial.
Depending on the circumstances, we may need to hire a local attorney in the trucking company's home state to help us handle your case. If that happens, we'll split our fee with the other law firm so you won't end up paying extra. Your best interests always come first at the Whaley Law Firm.
How can an attorney help me with my truck accident case?
Much of the evidence required to pursue a successful claim against the trucking company belongs to the trucking company itself. Immediate legal action is needed to secure that evidence. For instance, as soon as you retain our firm, we'll contact the trucking company and make sure they don't destroy the truck's hours of service (HOS) log, a critical piece of evidence that may show the truck driver violated federal mandates. Without an attorney's intervention, the trucking company may be free to destroy that log after six months.
We'll also handle negotiations with the trucking company and their insurance carriers after the accident on your behalf. Remember, these companies aren't on your side; their goal is to find ways to reduce or deny your claim. By handling those questions on your behalf, we can protect your legal rights and increase your potential recovery while you focus on getting better.
How much will a truck accident lawsuit cost me?
If you are considering filing a truck accident lawsuit, it is normal to have concerns about the potential costs involved. That’s why we at the Whaley Law Firm operate on a contingency fee basis, which means pursuing legal action won’t cost you anything up front. You only pay us if you win your case.* You deserve to be compensated for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical bills, and other accident-related expenses. It is our goal to help you seek the compensation you deserve without adding to your financial stress.
* Per the Kentucky Bar Association advertising rules, we are required to state that court costs and related fees are the responsibility of the client. However, at the Whaley Law Firm, our policy is to waive these costs and fees in the event there is no award.
What is the average settlement for a truck accident case?
When it comes to truck accident settlements, it is important to note that each case is unique. Because of this, there is no specific “average” truck accident settlement that applies universally to all cases. The value of your truck accident settlement will depend on several factors including:
- Extent of injuries
- Impact on victim’s life
- Degree of fault
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Should I accept a settlement offer from the trucking company or their insurance?
Not without talking to an attorney first. You should always be wary of a settlement offer from an insurance company, especially soon after your accident. Their goal is likely to settle your claim early, for less than it is worth. With truck accidents, you need to be particularly careful because there are often multiple insurance companies involved, and accepting a settlement offer from one insurance company can affect the others' liability as well.
That's why we strongly recommend reviewing your settlement offer with attorney Aaron Whaley before accepting any money from the trucking company or an insurance carrier. Often, we can help you get significantly more than that initial offer - and that extra compensation will go a long way towards helping you rebuild your life.