Frequently Asked Questions About Trucking Accident Lawsuits
Lancaster | Taylor has litigated trucking accident claims for decades. We understand the trauma and chaos that result from an accident with a commercial truck. The legal process for filing a claim in an accident involving a commercial truck is much different than other types of injury claims. Listed below are some of the common questions we hear from clients involved in these types of accidents.
What are some of the common causes of trucking accidents?
The causes of trucking accidents fall into two general categories; driver error and equipment failure. Truck drivers often suffer from fatigue or may be under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs that slow their reaction time. Distracted driving among truck drivers is also an increasing cause of accidents.
Trucking accidents may also be the result of manufacturing defects or failure to maintain the vehicle. Depending on where the equipment failure is traced, it may involve the truck’s manufacturer, the mechanic who worked on the truck or the truck owner’s negligence in maintaining the truck.
Is there a time limit on how long after the accident I can file a claim?
The limit on the amount of time you have after an accident to file a claim is called the statute of limitations. In Mississippi, that statute of limitations for filing a trucking accident claim is three years after the day of the accident. After that point, you no longer have the right to file a claim. However, you should always file a claim as soon as possible.
Why is it important to file a claim quickly after the accident?
To preserve evidence from the scene of the crash, you have to act quickly. Because accident scenes are public roadways, debris and evidence of the crash are cleaned up quickly, meaning evidence is easily lost and sometimes destroyed shortly after the accident. The longer you wait to call an attorney, the harder it is to gather evidence. Ideally, you should start gathering evidence right after the accident happens.
What should I do right after the accident happens?
If you are able, you should take pictures at the scene of the accident. Get pictures of both vehicles and as many pictures of the area as you can. You will also want to talk to as many witnesses as you can and get their names and phone numbers if possible. Document anything that you think might be relevant to the cause of the accident.
Should I accept trucking companies’ insurance settlement offer?
No, not without consulting with an attorney first. Trucking companies usually have teams of lawyers and investigators that act quickly to try to reduce or eliminate the trucking company’s liability. Their goal is to make your settlement check as small as possible. Depending on the size of the truck and what the truck is carrying, federal law requires truckers to carry $5 million or more in insurance coverage. If you accept their offer without consulting with an attorney first, you may be settling for less than you are entitled to. You may also be giving up your rights to any further compensation.
Who gets sued in a trucking accident case?
The focus of a trucking accident lawsuit depends on what the accident investigation determines to be the cause. Once fault is established, any person or entity responsible for the vehicle may be sued. This includes the truck driver, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, or any person or entity responsible for the safe operation of the truck.