Trucks and Trucking Companies are a Lot Bigger Than You
An 18-wheeler truck weighs about 20 times as much as a car. Your chances of getting seriously injured in an accident involving a car and a truck are much greater than your chances of getting seriously hurt in a collision involving two cars.
If you decide to sue the trucking company that employed the driver that hit your car, you need someone knowledgeable to represent you. Trucking companies have enough money to compensate you for your injuries, but they also have a big budget to spend on legal representation so they will not have to. Without a personal injury lawyer, you are truly an underdog in a personal injury case.
The Insurance Company Might Not Offer You Enough Compensation
“Do not sign” is practically a cliché in personal injury law. You might even have heard personal injury lawyers in television commercials say this, but what does it mean? After an accident, the insurance companies gather information from the drivers involved and consider police reports and other evidence. They decide who is at fault and how much the other party should be compensated; then they send a letter offering you the amount of compensation they deem appropriate. If you sign the offer letter, you lose your right to file a lawsuit about the accident. Even if the amount the insurance company offers seems like a lot, you should consult a truck accident lawyer before you sign. Many times injuries take time to manifest and you should not settle your claim until you fully understand the extent of your injuries.
You Will Not Have to Worry About Saying the Wrong Thing
When an accident results in costly damages, you sometimes get multiple calls from insurance companies, asking you to give them more details. This can be stressful, since you worry that what you say might give the insurance adjusters the idea that the accident was your fault. In fact, a good adjuster will get you to say the wrong thing on purpose when you had no idea what just occurred. It is even more stressful if you are also trying to deal with serious injuries and the financial losses that come with them. If you have chosen a lawyer to represent you in your truck accident case, then just tell anyone who calls that they should call your lawyer instead. A truck accident lawyer can give you peace of mind even before your case is resolved. Your problems become our problems.
There Might Be More to the Story Than Just a Mistake by the Truck Driver
According to Missouri law, you have the right to seek compensation from any party whose negligence caused the accident in which you were injured. You must show that this party had a duty of care not to put other people in danger and that they breached that duty of care by creating unsafe conditions. For example, the trucking company might have breached their duty of care by not providing proper training for the truck driver, allowing him or her to work longer shifts than those allowed by federal and state law, or failing to conduct a background check that would have revealed a history of unsafe driving or recent substance abuse.
The trucking company is the most obvious defendant, but it is not the only possible one. The truck manufacturer might be liable if a part in the truck malfunctioned because of a manufacturing defect; the legal term for this is product liability. (If it malfunctioned because of poor maintenance, that is the trucking company’s fault; it is the trucking company’s responsibility to inspect and maintain their trucks.) The loading company might be liable for overloading the truck or loading it unevenly. The city might even be liable if there were dangerous, but preventable, conditions on the road; this is called premises liability in legal terms. Some injured plaintiffs file lawsuits against more than one defendant for the same accident.
A Truck Accident Injury Lawyer can Help You Recover Non-Economic Damages
There is a chance that the insurance company might offer you a big enough settlement to pay all your medical bills associated with the accident. Even if they do, do not sign. Your losses in connection to the accident are much bigger than just medical expenses, even if the medical bills add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you file a truck accident lawsuit, you might also be able to recover damages for the income you lost when you were unable to work after the accident. If you still cannot work by the time your case settles or goes to trial, you might be able to get compensation for future lost income, as well. If the accident left you permanently disabled and unable to do your previous job, this money will enable you to train for a new career, or even to support your family without working.
Those are just the economic damages. Plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits can also be awarded non-economic damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of companionship (in cases where the plaintiff’s close family member died or was seriously injured in the accident). The amount of non-economic damages is not capped in Missouri so it is up to a jury to decide the amount of non-economic damages. We regularly ask juries for more non-economic damages than economic damages. based on how much the accident changed your life for the worse in non-financial ways.