The damage and devastation from a truck accident can leave you or a family member with long-term injuries or even permanent life changes. Serious scarring, complicated medical issues, and even paralysis can leave truck accident victims with expensive healthcare needs, lost wages at work, and substantial pain and suffering.
Getting these damages compensated in full is something that is hard to do without legal help. Having a lawyer on your side can give you access to the experienced counsel and legal know-how to fight with trucking companies and their insurers to get you the payments you need for a car accident.
Contact Howe Law’s truck accident attorneys at (844) 876-4357 today for a free review of your potential truck accident case.
Dealing with Injuries After a Truck Accident in Cleveland, TN
You do not have to deal with the injuries from your accident alone. Our truck accident lawyers can help you understand what damages should be covered by the other driver’s insurance and what you can do to get the rest of the damages you need if the trucker or the trucking company involved in your case was responsible for your injuries.
Filing an Insurance Claim
Insurance policies in Tennessee are required for all drivers, especially commercial truckers. These policies ensure that there is money there to sue for if you were injured by the other driver’s negligence behind the wheel. So, when you are injured in a truck accident, you can often file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver to get you damages.
However, insurance companies are often reluctant to pay in full. They may opt to offer you a low settlement that covers only some of your expenses in the hope that, by accepting it, you will end the case quickly for them. In many cases, this is practically a trick, and the insurance company will be hoping that you accept the settlement because it will end your case then and there and stop any claims for additional damages.
If the settlement offer misses out on coverage for any of your damages, you should immediately stop talking to the insurance company and call our lawyers for help negotiating a better settlement. In fact, if you can avoid talking to the insurance company at all until you have a lawyer at your side, it can put you in a better position to get damages paid in full.
Suing the Trucker
In most cases, the trucker will be a normal person without the financial means to cover your injuries – except for the fact that their commercial driver’s insurance should have a high limit and should be able to cover excessive damages. In a lawsuit against the trucker, their insurance policy should kick in to pay damages if you win your case.
Even so, if they were working as an employee of a trucking company at the time of the accident, you might not need to sue the driver as an individual. Instead, laws might allow you to sue the trucking company that they worked for.
All in all, a lawsuit is necessary only when negotiations break down and the insurance company refuses to cover your damages in full. Our attorneys can keep you informed as to how negotiations are going and advise you on when to file and when to settle a lawsuit.
Suing the Trucking Company
Often, trucking companies have additional funds and resources – as well as additional insurance – to cover damages in a trucking accident. If their driver was an employee performing their job tasks when the crash occurred, the company should be liable for the driver’s negligence under Tennessee’s vicarious liability laws. This allows you to sue the trucking company instead of the individual driver in many cases.
The trucking company could also be liable for its own actions that contributed to the crash. This can include regulatory violations dealing with truck weight, equipment and maintenance issues, hiring and retention mistakes, and other managerial issues. In some cases, trucking companies have even been found to push their drivers to speed, make dangerous decisions, and break regulations in the name of faster deliveries and more cargo. These dangerous orders can even potentially lead to punitive damages against the trucking company.
What Damages to Claim in a Truck Accident Case in Cleveland, TN
If you were hurt in an accident, you should be able to claim three main areas of damages against the driver or trucking company: medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, there are other ways of breaking down these damages as well.
Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages
Damages can more broadly be broken down into “economic” and “non-economic” damages, with medical bills, lost wages, and vehicle repair bills falling into the “economic” category. Some other miscellaneous expenses – like medical transportation or the cost of a babysitter while you are in the hospital – could also be covered under the category.
Non-economic damages are more or less the same as pain and suffering, and they pay for any and all negative experiences you cannot prove with pay stubs and receipts. This includes things like emotional distress as well as compensation for the actual pain of an injury.
It is not particularly important that you fully understand the difference between these damages, as our lawyers can help you understand what evidence is needed to prove each category of damages and advise you on how much you should claim for your damages in your case.
The damages discussed so far are known as “compensatory” damages in that they compensate or pay you back for a harm you suffered. Aside from these damages, punitive or “exemplary” damages are sometimes available not to pay you back but to punish the defendant for what they did. Dangerous trucking companies with repeat violations are often forced to pay punitive damages – potentially resulting in higher payments to you – to hopefully stop them and other trucking companies from doing the same things again.
Call Our Truck Accident Lawyers in Cleveland, TN Today
For a free review of your case, call (844) 876-4357 to speak with the truck accident attorneys at Howe Law.