Getting help with a truck accident can involve relying on many people: your friends and family, your auto mechanic, doctors and hospitals, and insurance companies. However, you should be careful when relying on insurance companies, especially since they often try to undercut your damages or deny coverage entirely.
Instead, rely on an attorney. Your attorneys work for you and have a legal obligation to work in your best interests; the defendant’s insurance company does not even work for you. When seeking compensation, work with an attorney to help you understand what your case is worth, how fault is determined, and whether you have a strong case.
For a free review of your potential case, contact our truck accident attorneys today at Howe Law by calling (844) 876-4357.
Determining Damages in a Columbia, TN Truck Accident Case
The damages in your case will depend heavily on the specific circumstances of what happened to you and what expenses you faced. Each case will be different, and we must review your specific case before we can arrive at an estimate for the value of your case.
Generally, our truck accident lawyers can use your bills and financial statements to explain the cost of things like medical care and vehicle repairs. We can also use pay stubs and other financial information to account for the cost of lost wages and other economic damages.
Calculating non-economic damages requires us to look at how the accident impacted your life. This includes looking at the suffering you faced, the physical pain involved, the mental and emotional toll, and the struggle of dealing with a permanent injury – if applicable. These damages can be calculated using a couple of methods: one method selects a per-day cost and one uses a multiplier on the other damages you faced.
The money you receive can also include another possible area of damages: punitive damages. Unlike the “compensatory” damages discussed above, these damages are to punish the defendant instead of paying you back for your injuries. However, these damages are rare and require significant evidence.
Determining Fault in a Columbia, TN Truck Accident Case
To get compensation from the insurance company or a court, you have to show that the defendant was at fault for your accident. In a truck accident case, the defendant will often be the trucker, but you might also sue the trucking company that they work for. You can hold these parties responsible if you can prove the following things:
A trucker can be liable for a truck accident if they caused the crash through negligence. Negligence is present when the defendant committed some act or omission that violates a legal duty – usually one imposed by traffic laws. For example, drunk driving, speeding, or even failing to use a turn signal would each qualify as a breach or violation of the duty set by the relevant traffic law. Violations of duty can also involve objectively unsafe driving, even without a specific traffic violation.
In addition, you have to show that the violation was what caused your accident and your resulting damages. If something else caused the crash or the defendant could not have done anything to avoid the accident, then they cannot be held responsible. Additionally, if you suffered no damages, you cannot sue them or anyone else.
Vicarious Liability for Trucking Companies
Trucking companies can be held liable for their workers’ negligence under a legal principle known as “respondeat superior.” This is a “vicarious liability” setup where one party (the trucking company) is held liable for another party’s (the trucker’s) actions.
For this principle to come into effect in your case, you have to show that the trucker caused your accident through negligence while they were working within the scope of their duties as a trucking company employee. If they were off duty, if they were on some kind of personal jaunt, or if they were an independent contractor instead of an employee, that might prevent you from holding the trucking company liable.
When you use this kind of liability, you generally hold the trucking company responsible in the driver’s place, meaning that they pay damages instead of the driver.
Direct Liability for Trucking Companies
If the trucking company caused your crash through its own negligence, then it can be held liable in its own right. Trucking companies also have duties to follow – such as trucking regulations and general safety practices – and a violation of these duties can make them liable for a crash as well.
Trucking companies are often accused of overloading their vehicles, ignoring safety regulations, pushing drivers to speed, pushing drivers to violate hours-of-service restrictions, and more. If they are responsible for the truck’s upkeep and maintenance, issues with vehicle safety can also be held against them directly, potentially making yourself and the trucker both victims of the trucking company’s negligence.
Do I Have a Strong Truck Accident Case?
It is hard for us to determine the relative strength of your case without looking at the specific facts and damages involved. Nonetheless, the following are some factors that you can look at to determine how strong your case might be.
The strength and amount of evidence available in your case will be one important factor. For example, if you have dashcam footage of the driver causing the crash, that is stronger evidence than your testimony alone.
Cases are also stronger when there is less room for accusations of shared fault. If your car was legally stopped or the truck driver did something that was so obviously dangerous, it will be harder for them to pin any of the fault on you. Contrast this with a case where both drivers look somewhat responsible, which will be a weaker case.
In many cases, claims that look weak on the outside are still quite strong once you get into the details, and you should still consider taking your claim to a lawyer.
Call Our Columbia, TN Truck Accident Attorneys Today
For a free evaluation of your truck accident case, call our truck accident attorneys at Howe Law by calling (844) 876-4357.