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09/28/22   |   By

Do You Have to Go to Court After a Truck Accident?

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There are so many questions after being injured in a truck accident – how will I pay for my medical bills? How much will it take to repair or replace my vehicle? Will I have to be involved in a drawn-out court battle to receive compensation?

If you are asking these questions, we have good news. You will not necessarily have to face a courtroom lawsuit to collect the compensation owed to you following a truck accident. In the rare instance that you do, you have Regan Zambri Long on your side.

Only about five percent of personal injury cases end up in court. Negotiated settlements can help the victim avoid the stress of a trial and allow them to get back to normal more quickly. At Regan Zambri Long, our personal injury lawyers have deep knowledge of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC trucking laws and insurance policies. Our experienced partners have been practicing for over 30 years and have recovered millions for our clients, including a $15.2 million settlement for the family of a victim of a dump truck accident.

If your claim falls into the small percentage that ends up as a truck accident lawsuit, you can rest assured that a Regan Zambri Long truck accident lawyer will have the financial backing, and preparedness to see your case through until the very end.

Negotiating an Out-of-Court Truck Accident Insurance Claim

In the aftermath of a truck accident, the last thing on your mind is a personal injury lawsuit. You will be dealing with serious injuries, loss of income, trauma, emotional distress, and grief. The truck accident attorneys at Regan Zambri Long will take over insurance claim negotiations so you can turn your attention to a full recovery.

Before going into negotiations with the insurance company, your lawyer will collect the following information from your accident:

Police Report

This will be generated at the time of the accident. One of the main things to remember in the moments following an accident is to call the police. If the driver tries to persuade you not to call, do not listen. The police will be able to coordinate with medical personnel to provide immediate medical care where it’s needed. They will speak to witnesses to the accident, and they will do an initial investigation.

All the information gathered is extremely necessary to a claim and will be generated in the police report. The truck accident lawyer will use the information from that report to help secure damages in a truck accident lawsuit. So, if you only remember to do one thing right after you get into a truck collision, remember this: call the police immediately.

Medical Records

If you or your loved one were injured in a truck accident, be sure to seek medical attention. This will not only ensure that you are able to make a full recovery, but it will also be beneficial in the claim or lawsuit. Make sure you follow the doctor’s orders and keep detailed documentation of all expenses incurred.

The expenses include hospital stays, ambulance rides, ER visits, medications, rehabilitation, X-rays, and follow-up appointments. The truck accident attorney will use these records as evidence in your claim.

Having proof that you sought medical care immediately following your accident will help you stay out of court. If you do not seek medical attention, the defendant’s lawyer may argue that your injuries were not severe and you do not deserve compensation. This will make negotiations more difficult and lead to a bigger lawsuit.

Accident Documentation

taking picture of accident sceneIf your immediate medical needs are taken care of, then the next step following an accident is to document everything you can about the accident. This includes the location of the crash and any witnesses who saw what happened. If possible, take videos and photos of the damage to your car.

Note any aches and pains that you feel from the impact of the crash. Take down the name of the driver, the license plate number, and the name of the trucking company the driver works for. The more information your lawyer has during the negotiation process, the better.

Your truck accident lawyer will also work with medical professionals, expert witnesses, and a legal team to collect solid evidence and build a successful case against the defendant.

Many truck accident cases settle out of court

Truck accident cases are very different from typical passenger car accidents. Because the size and weight of the truck are so much greater than a passenger car, injuries are likely to be catastrophic. Truck drivers also have additional laws they must follow on the road. These factors can complicate the truck accident claim and make it go to court.

One key thing to keep in mind is that trucking companies want a quick settlement just as much as you do. Trials are costly for both parties involved. The trucking company’s insurance company will try to negotiate an out-of-court settlement.

However, there are several reasons the claim may end up going to court:

The insurance company denies the claim

As we talked about before, truck accidents are usually complicated cases. Truck accidents can happen for several reasons. Some of those reasons may have even occurred months before the crash. For example, if the maintenance crew failed to fix faulty brakes before the truck driver made the trip, then those personnel may be held responsible for the truck accident.

Another example would be if a tractor-trailer rolled over due to improperly loaded cargo. The liable party in that case could be the cargo loaders.

All potentially liable parties in truck accidents are:

  • The truck driver
  • The trucking company
  • Truck owners
  • Maintenance crew
  • Cargo loaders
  • Truck manufacturers

The trucking company’s insurance provider will want to see clear evidence that the liable parties are policyholders. When insurance companies deny the claim, it can very likely end up in court.

If your claim ends up going to court because of liability questions, the Regan Zambri Long truck accident attorneys will work tirelessly to prove that total liability is on the truck driver and the trucking company.

Contributory Negligence

Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC’s contributory negligence rules are a deeper question of liability. According to the contributory negligence rule, truck accident victims cannot have contributed to the accident in any way. To recover damages, the fault would have to entirely be on the other parties.

This is different from comparative negligence, which allows involved parties to collect compensation even if they are partially at fault for the accident.

Defense lawyers in the DC Metro Area jump to contributory negligence quickly to get their clients out of paying damages. If this happens and your case ends up going to court, your Regan Zambri Long personal injury lawyer will work to prove you bore no responsibility for the accident.

The insurer refuses to pay a fair insurance settlement

Man holding his head looking at computer and paperworkThere are a few reasons an insurance company refuses to pay a fair settlement in a truck accident case. One of the main reasons is simple: they don’t want to spend the money. Many insurance companies will send adjusters to speak to truck accident victims.

It is very important to remember that insurance adjusters work for the insurance company, not for you. This means they will do everything they can to save money for their employer even if it means not paying accident victims what they are rightfully owed. Insurance adjusters will manipulate the information of the truck accident case and try to speak to the victim during a vulnerable time to get you to accept a low settlement offer.

Before you speak to anyone at the insurance company, reach out to the Regan Zambri Long truck accident lawyers first. You are under no obligation to speak to the trucking company’s insurance provider until you are ready to do so. Make sure you have a legal advocate on your side who understands the adjuster’s tactics.

The truck driver does not have enough insurance

Another reason your claim may be denied and have to go to court is if the truck driver doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the costs of your truck accident injuries.

Please be aware that even if the truck driver is not properly insured, that does not mean you have to foot the bill. The lawyers at Regan Zambri Long firmly believe their clients should not pay for someone else’s negligence. We understand the insurance systems and will work to ensure you receive fair compensation even if the driver does not have adequate insurance coverage.

Identifying the at-fault party in your truck accident case

To avoid your truck accident case from going to court, your personal injury lawyer will avoid the reasons listed above and determine the at-fault party during negotiations. They will take evidence from the police report, medical records, documentation, and truck company logs to prove fault.

At-fault truck driver

texting while driving truck accidentThe driver could be at fault for the accident by engaging in:

  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Improper lane changes

At-fault trucking company

The trucking company could be at fault for the accident because they:

  • Have poor hiring practices
  • Forced their drivers to violate the federal hours of service regulations
  • Failed to train their new drivers properly
  • Failed to disqualify a driver who committed a serious traffic or criminal offense
  • Failed to have their trucks routinely inspected and maintained

At-fault maintenance company or cargo loaders

The maintenance company or cargo loaders could be held liable for the crash if:

  • Cargo was not properly loaded or secured in the trailer of the truck
  • Cargo was not properly inspected before the truck was sent out on the trip
  • Maintenance and repair records show scheduled service and repairs were neglected

If the responsible parties are clearly determined and proven during the initial negotiations with the insurance company, you will likely be able to reach a truck accident settlement out of court.

Regan Zambri Long Will Recover the Damages You Deserve

personal injury lawyer Victor E. Long at workWhen you partner with Regan Zambri Long, you will have a passionate lawyer who will fiercely protect your rights during the legal process. Your financial recovery is our priority and we will do everything in our power to ensure a fair settlement offer.

Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means you will not have to pay your lawyer until a settlement or verdict is reached in your favor. All expenses up front will be covered by Regan Zambri Long. We will only take a fee if we win.

If you or your loved one were seriously injured in a truck accident and want to take legal action, call today for a free consultation. You will speak with an expert lawyer who can guide you through the legal process and get your claim started immediately. Give yourself time to heal, to grieve, and to get your life back on track. We will take care of the rest.

Regan Zambri Long
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