It can happen in the blink of an eye. A semi-truck driver falls asleep behind the wheel or takes his eyes off the road to look at a text message, causing him to veer into oncoming traffic, fail to stop for slowed traffic, or run a stoplight. The mere moments of attention taken off the road can have catastrophic consequences. In fact, many truck accident victims are left with debilitating injuries.
These victims can experience a significant amount of physical and emotional pain and suffering, especially when their injuries limit their ability to function on a daily basis. Yet, there are very real financial ramifications, too. Those who suffer the most serious spinal cord injuries, for example, may see medical expenses and rehabilitation costs reach more than $1 million in their first year post-accident, with cumulative costs reaching nearly $5 million. These figures don’t even take into consideration other financial damages, like lost wages and lost earning capacity, that can really balloon a victim’s losses.
Many other types of injuries are costly in economic and non-economic terms, too, which is why those who have been seriously hurt in a truck accident need to know what they can do to obtain relief.
One option, of course, is to sue the negligent trucker who caused the accident. In many instances, victims are able to put forth evidence of neglect and how that neglect caused the accident in question. They’re also usually able to demonstrate to what extent they have been injured. But the truth of the matter is that, even if a victim succeeds on a personal injury claim, these truckers usually aren’t able to fully pay the judgments levied against them. The damages are simply too significant and their financial resources are too limited. Without further action, this can leave a truck accident victim in a serious bind.
Fortunately, in many of these cases further legal action is justified. This is because the law places some responsibility on employers to ensure that their employees act in a safe manner. This is known as vicarious liability. In a truck accident context, therefore, a trucking company may be held liable for the actions of a negligent trucker. A victim would only need to prove a few legal elements, including:
- the trucker was performing tasks that were recognized as part of his job when the accident occurred
- the trucker was not engaged in some sort of deviation from a mandated trucking route or any type of frolic that was unapproved by his employer
- the employer was receiving some sort of benefit from the work being conducted by the trucker at the time of the accident
Proceeding with a truck accident claim can be stressful. There’s not doubt about it. Victims are often inundated with settlement offers, too, which might sound tempting since it allows them to avoid the headache of prolonged legal action. However, jumping to resolution might leave a victim with more than he or she deserves. Therefore, it is in a truck accident victim’s best interests to fully assess his or her case, including its strengths, weaknesses, and potential for recovery before determining whether to settle a case or move forward with trial.
If you’re in this situation and want to fully assess your case, then you’ll need to engage in thorough discovery, which means gathering information from the other side and other pertinent parties. This might mean conducting depositions, requesting important documentation, interviewing police officers and accident reconstruction experts, and preparing doctors to discuss the ramifications of your medical condition.
If all of that sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. Competent legal professionals know how to build these cases from the ground up so that they can give their clients the best shot possible at succeeding on their claim. They don’t have to go to a big city to find that kind of representation either. Instead, they should consult with an attorney they feel is best for them, regardless of firm size or location.