How to get financial compensation after an 18-wheeler accident
Collisions involving 18-wheelers are often devastating when it comes to personal and financial loss. According to the FMCSA, the average outlay for a heavy truck accident is $148,279. That number rises to $331,108 when someone is injured. Fatal incidents usually cost millions.
In July 2018, an oil services company in Texas paid out $101 million after their driver tested positive for banned substances. More recently, the same state reached an $80 million verdict for an employee whose company forced him to alter his logbook and exceed federal working hours.
In addition to hefty expenses and disabling injuries, victims also have to deal with complex legal cases. Reaching an appropriate settlement is especially challenging when you’re pitted against a trucking company. Enlisting the help of an experienced attorney is paramount to getting compensated fairly. Here’s what you need to do.
Of course, your health is the top priority. Whether it’s simple cuts and abrasions or major broken bones, aim to get the necessary medical care as soon as possible. This is important for protecting your legal rights.
The insurance provider will review your records when filing a claim for injuries. If there’s a significant period of time between the accident and when you were treated, the claims adjuster can contest the extent of the damages.
Insurers are known to take advantage of longer delays to reduce the settlement, as the assumption is that you would have sought immediate help if you were seriously injured.
Exchange basic contact and insurance details with the operator of the 18-wheeler. Try to get information on the driver’s employment as well. Your claim could be made against the trucking business or other associated entities, such as the manufacturer of the vehicle if mechanical issues played a role in causing the accident.
Make sure to collect as much evidence as you can from the scene. This may include:
- Pictures and videos of the surrounding area
- Traffic signs and signals
- Obstacles to visibility
- Witness contact details
- Security footage from nearby cameras
Consult a Lawyer
You’ll need to partner with a reputable Houston truck accident lawyer to effectively handle the claims process. They have the resources and expertise required to conduct a thorough investigation of the incident. Your attorney will also prepare the necessary documentation and negotiate with the insurer.
Lawyers in this field know the tricks that insurers use to low-ball or deny settlements. Moreover, they can handle the complicated litigation process, raising motions in your favor and defending those brought by the trucking company. Compensation is determined by the court and paid out in increments over a specific period of time.
Avoid Making Statements
While it helps to notify the trucker’s insurance company, you should never give out any statements when requested. Your best interests are not their priority and discussing the accident or your injuries can help the insurer work against you as the victim of the accident.
From medical expenses to loss of income and more, you are entitled to an appropriate payout for your 18-wheeler accident. Having the right people by your side will go a long way in ensuring that the claims process goes smoothly.