How to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit

Wisconsin Personal Injury Lawyers » How to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit Personal Injury

If you’ve suffered a severe injury in an accident caused by a commercial truck, you may be wondering what to do next. The most important steps are to get proper medical treatment and then contact an experienced truck accident lawyer who can protect your rights and pursue fair compensation.

A lot happens before you might file a lawsuit, and below are some steps to take following a crash and how you might go about filing a truck accident lawsuit.

Seek Medical Care Immediately

Your health and well-being should be the top priority after any serious accident. Even if you feel okay at first, it’s wise to get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. Some severe injuries may not show symptoms right away.

Promptly seeking treatment ensures that all of your injuries are diagnosed and documented. This creates important medical records that will be valuable evidence in your legal case.

Tell your doctors about your symptoms and follow their treatment recommendations closely. Continue with all follow-up appointments and therapy sessions. Gaps in treatment can be used against you by the trucking company’s insurer.

Be Cautious When Talking to Insurance Companies

After an accident with a commercial truck, a representative from the trucking company’s insurer will likely contact you. They may ask for a recorded statement about what happened or pressure you to accept a quick settlement offer.

It’s best to avoid discussing the details of the crash with any insurance adjusters until you’ve spoken to your lawyer. Insurers focus on minimizing payouts, not ensuring you get fair compensation.

Anything you say can be twisted and used to undermine your case. Let them know you are still receiving treatment and will respond to their requests once you’ve retained legal counsel.

Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney

Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney

Truck accident cases are very complicated, with multiple potentially liable parties, federal regulations, and well-funded corporate legal teams on the other side. To level the playing field and give yourself the best chance at a good outcome, hire a skilled truck accident attorney as soon as possible.

Look for a lawyer with specific experience handling commercial vehicle crash cases and a track record of success. Most reputable firms offer free initial consultations, so you can get advice on your rights and options at no cost.

Your attorney will handle all communications with insurance companies and at-fault parties on your behalf. They will launch an immediate investigation to secure evidence like the truck’s black box data, driver logs, and vehicle maintenance records before it can be lost or destroyed.

A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer will identify all potential sources of compensation and build a strong case for maximum damages. With their guidance, you can avoid mistakes and make the best decisions for your physical, emotional, and financial recovery.

Investigating the Accident

Your lawyer and their team will conduct a thorough, independent investigation into the accident to determine liability and build a persuasive case.

This process involves:

  • Visiting the crash scene
  • Interviewing eyewitnesses
  • Reviewing police reports
  • Analyzing photos and surveillance camera footage
  • Consulting expert witnesses
  • Obtaining driver personnel files and company safety records
  • Examining data from the truck’s electronic logging devices
  • Researching the trucking company’s history of accidents and regulatory violations

During the investigation, your attorney will look for evidence of negligence such as:

Proving fault in a truck accident case often requires extensive legal and technical experience. An experienced lawyer will know how to uncover and leverage the evidence needed to demonstrate the full extent of the defendant’s negligence and liability.

Identifying Liable Parties

Truck accident cases are especially complex because multiple entities may be legally responsible for a victim’s injuries. Potentially liable parties can include:

The Truck Driver

How to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit I Truck Driver

In many truck accident cases, the driver bears some responsibility for the crash. Truck drivers must follow strict safety regulations and exercise caution behind the wheel. When they fail to do so, innocent people can get hurt.

Examples of driver negligence that commonly leads to accidents include:

  • Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
  • Distracted driving, such as texting or eating while driving
  • Fatigued driving from violating hours-of-service rules
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Failing to properly secure cargo loads
  • Making improper lane changes or turns
  • Tailgating or aggressive driving behaviors

If the truck driver’s careless actions caused your crash, you may have a case against both the individual driver and their employer. Your lawyer will investigate the driver’s history and conduct to identify all relevant evidence of negligence.

The Trucking Company

The trucking company that owns the vehicle and employs the driver can often be held liable for accidents. These companies have a legal duty to ensure their trucks are safe and their drivers are qualified. When trucking companies cut corners on safety, they put everyone on the road at risk.

Trucking company negligence that frequently contributes to accidents includes:

  • Negligent hiring of drivers with poor safety records or inadequate experience
  • Failing to properly train drivers on safe practices and company policies
  • Failing to conduct required background checks and drug tests on drivers
  • Pressuring drivers to meet unrealistic delivery schedules
  • Failing to inspect and maintain vehicles according to regulations
  • Encouraging or ignoring hours-of-service violations

A skilled truck accident attorney will investigate the trucking company’s safety record, hiring practices, and compliance with federal regulations to identify evidence of negligence. Sometimes, the company’s pattern of putting profits over safety can justify punitive damages.

Freight Broker and Logistics Company Liability

Many trucking companies coordinate shipments and routes with third-party freight brokers or logistics companies. These entities can be liable for accidents if their negligence contributed to the crash.

For example, if a broker fails to verify a carrier’s safety record or insurance coverage before hiring them, they may be responsible for any resulting accidents. Similarly, if a logistics company creates an unrealistic delivery schedule that encourages drivers to speed or skip rest breaks, they can be liable for a crash caused by driver fatigue.

Cargo Loading Companies

The company responsible for loading cargo onto the truck can be accountable if their negligence leads to an accident. Improperly secured/overloaded cargo can cause the truck to jackknife, roll over, or spill its contents onto the highway.

Federal regulations dictate how cargo must be distributed and secured for different types of loads. If the loading company fails to follow these rules, they may be liable for any resulting crashes.

Truck and Parts Manufacturers

Sometimes, accidents happen because of a defect in the design or manufacture of the truck or its components. Faulty brakes, tires, steering systems, or hitches can all cause the driver to lose control and crash. If a mechanical failure played a role in your accident, you may have a claim against the manufacturer.

Product liability cases involving large commercial trucks are highly complex and require extensive engineering expertise. Trucking companies must keep detailed maintenance records that can provide crucial evidence of a part failure. It’s best to work with a law firm with the resources and experience to thoroughly investigate potential manufacturing defects.

Maintenance Providers

How to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit I Maintenance Providers

Trucking companies are legally required to inspect, maintain, and repair their vehicles according to strict standards. Some companies outsource this work to third-party maintenance providers. If a contracted maintenance company fails to properly service the truck and an accident results, they can be held liable.

Maintenance issues that frequently lead to truck crashes include:

  • Inadequate brake adjustments
  • Failure to replace worn tires
  • Incomplete vehicle inspections
  • Improper trailer hitch maintenance
  • Failure to fix known mechanical problems

Government Liability for Road Conditions

In certain situations, government entities responsible for road design, construction, and maintenance can be defendants in truck accident lawsuits. Hazardous road conditions such as potholes, inadequate lighting, missing guardrails, or malfunctioning traffic signals can contribute to crashes. If the government agency knew or should have known about the danger and failed to address it, they may be liable.

Suing a government entity is complicated, with special rules and tight deadlines. Most states have a shorter statute of limitations for claims against the government and require plaintiffs to file a formal notice of claim first. Unique sovereign immunity and damages cap issues may also come into play.

An experienced truck accident lawyer will know how to bring a case against a government agency and fight to hold them accountable for negligently designed or maintained roads.

Calculating Damages

If you were seriously injured in a truck accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for both economic and non-economic damages, such as:Filing the Truck Accident Lawsuit

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost income and reduced future earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium

Punitive damages may also be available to punish the wrongdoer in cases of egregious misconduct.

Truck accident injuries are often catastrophic, leading to astronomical medical bills, extended time off work, and permanent disabilities. Experienced attorneys work with medical and economic experts to fully assess the long-term impact of the crash and pursue maximum compensation for victims.

Filing the Truck Accident Lawsuit

If negotiations do not result in a fair settlement, your lawyer may advise filing a truck accident lawsuit to take your case to civil court. Litigation begins with your attorney drafting and filing a complaint detailing your injuries, the defendant’s negligent actions that caused them, and the compensation you seek.

Each state has deadlines for filing personal injury lawsuits, known as statutes of limitations. For most truck accidents, the limit is two or three years from the date of the crash. However, certain factors can toll or extend this window. It’s wise to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to protect your right to compensation.

Once the lawsuit is filed, the discovery phase begins. During this process, each side requests relevant documents and information from the other through interrogatories, depositions, and subpoenas. Your lawyer will handle all of these complex procedures and filings for you.

Based on the strength of the evidence obtained during discovery, the defendant may make a settlement offer. Your attorney will review the offer with you and advise if it is fair or if you should proceed to trial. Ultimately, you decide whether to accept a settlement or go to court.

Going to Trial

The vast majority of truck accident cases are resolved through out-of-court settlements. However, if the insurance company refuses to make a reasonable offer, going to trial may be necessary. From selecting a jury to delivering closing arguments, your attorney will handle all aspects of courtroom litigation on your behalf.

Your lawyer will present a carefully crafted case based on solid evidence and expert testimony at trial. They will aggressively pursue the full and fair compensation you deserve.

Of course, going to court extends the legal process and comes with added costs. There is also no guarantee of a favorable verdict. Your attorney will give you a professional assessment of the strength of your case and your likelihood of success at trial so you can make an informed decision.

Hire an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer ASAP

If you or someone you know has suffered a severe injury in an accident caused by a negligent truck driver, you may be entitled to significant compensation. However, getting the full amount you deserve will likely require filing a lawsuit and facing off against a team of corporate insurers and lawyers determined to minimize or deny your claim.

The best way to protect your rights and improve your odds of a successful outcome is to hire an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after the crash. A skilled attorney will handle every aspect of your case and fight tirelessly for the justice and financial recovery you need to rebuild your life.

Don’t try to take on the trucking companies alone. Contact a Madison personal injury attorney today for a free consultation and get the legal guidance you deserve.

Related Articles

Can I Get a Settlement for a Car Accident Without a Lawyer?

Read More

Is It Illegal To Wear Headphones While Driving in Wisconsin?

Read More

Is Wisconsin a No-Fault Insurance State?

Read More