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commercial truck accident lawyers

Why Should I Hire an Attorney After My Accident with a Big Rig?

Most people have a fairly high chance of getting into a motor vehicle accident at some point in their lives. But when a big rig is involved, the results are nearly always devastating. In the wake of such a collision, how can you be sure that you are being treated fairly by the insurance company?

“The Insurance Company Is Offering Me a Fair Settlement”

If you believe that an insurance company is offering to settle your case for a fair amount, it’s a near certainty that you are selling yourself short and haven’t considered the true value of your damages. Over the years, our firm has heard clients come to us repeating some of these statements from insurance companies that might sound familiar:

“There’s no reason for you to hire a lawyer.”

“We accept full responsibility. Why would you want to share settlement proceeds with a lawyer?”

“You don’t need a lawyer. We can work this out.”

If an insurance adjuster has tried to convince you of this, there’s a good reason. They want you to believe that hiring an attorney is not in your best interests when the truth is exactly the opposite. It’s noteworthy that the truck accident victims that hear these statements the most are the ones who have complex cases where the damage amounts can be significant.

Settlements are legal contracts that, once signed and approved by the courts, cannot be reversed. Many accident victims fail to understand the long-term consequences of agreeing to a settlement that may not be in their best interests.

Assuming you were hit by a big rig, you may have injuries that will require lifetime medical care, prevent you from returning to work, and cause significant pain and suffering. Placing a fair value on these damages takes experience, and large insurance companies didn’t get to be that way by voluntarily paying reasonable values on serious claims.

In short, the insurance company representative doesn’t want you to hire an attorney because they hope to save money and close their file as quickly as possible. If your case is serious, they may well be forced to pay as much as ten times what you’ve been offered, so it’s always to your benefit to speak with a qualified truck accident attorney.

Why You Should Hire a Lawyer After a Truck Accident

Big rigs can weigh as much as 40 tons, and accidents with these trucks can lead to severe and lasting injuries. As soon as a commercial truck is involved in a crash, the trucking company generally gets notified and springs into action.

If the truck driver or trucking company is at fault, they have a big incentive to take any steps necessary to protect their financial interests. This might include cleaning up the accident scene, removing the truck, taking control of defective parts or the black box, and hiding or destroying other evidence.

There are also additional regulations that apply to the trucking industry that may impact your case. For example, commercial truckers are subject to a series of regulations that require them to document their hours of driving and rest. Trucking companies must keep documentation relative to background investigations of drivers, drug testing programs, and regular maintenance on vehicles.

If you want the best chance of holding these parties accountable, it’s vital that you speak with an experienced truck accident attorney as quickly as possible after the crash. Your legal counsel can independently investigate the crash, and get court orders to preserve evidence.

There may also be more than one party responsible for your harm. For example, the truck driver might be at fault, but a defective piece of equipment could have also contributed to the crash. When you work with a skilled personal injury attorney, you’ll get the information and assistance you need to maximize your recovery.

Speak with an Experienced Mobile Truck Accident Attorney

As a general rule of thumb, the more serious the accident, the more likely it is that the victim needs strong legal counsel. In all our years of handling personal injury cases at Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C., we’ve yet to see a reasonable settlement offer from an insurance company on a serious truck accident case when a personal injury attorney wasn’t involved in the negotiations.

Besides the protection from unfair insurance company representatives, hiring an attorney also gives you peace of mind knowing that you will have the best opportunity to settle your case for maximum compensation. In addition, our personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t pay us a dime until we settle your case.

Contact our Mobile office today at (251) 260-3815 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation and options.

commercial truck accident attorney in mobile alabama

What Must I Prove to Win My Truck Accident Case

Of all of the motor vehicle accident types that affect drivers in the state of Alabama, truck accidents are some of the most tragic. When a truck accident occurs that involves a smaller passenger car, the smaller vehicle almost always sustains the lion’s share of the damage, and those within the smaller vehicle almost never walk away without moderate to severe injuries.

If you have suffered serious harm in a truck accident–or if you have a lost a loved one to a truck accident–you can file a civil action to seek compensation for damages. However, in order to win your suit, there are four elements that you must prove. Consider the following overview about liability and what you need to prove to win your truck accident case.

Identifying the At-fault Party

Before you can even file your truck accident case, you’ll need to identify the at-fault party. In a truck accident claim, this can be especially complex as there are typically multiple parties who could be to blame. For example, fault may fall on the shoulders of the truck driver, the trucking company, a vehicle manufacturer, or another third party.

Elements You Need to Prove to Win Your Truck Accident Claim

Once you have identified who is to blame for your accident, you’ll need to collect evidence to prove the four elements listed below. Note that it’s very possible that you are naming multiple defendants in your claim; if so, you will need to prove the first three elements listed for each individual party.

  • Duty of care. The first element that you must establish in a truck accident claim is that the party (or parties) against whom you’re filing the claim owed you a duty of care. Usually, this duty is implied. For example, all drivers owe others on the road a duty of care to operate their vehicles safely and within the confines of the law; truck drivers have a heightened duty as commercial carriers.
  • Breach of duty of care. The second element is much more difficult to prove than the first – breach of duty of care. A breach of duty of care means that the party against whom you’re filing your claimed violated the degree of care that they owed to you. This is also referred to as negligence, or the failure to act with the same degree of care that another party in a similar situation would. In a truck accident claim, the “breach” could be anything from operating a truck while intoxicated or distracted to hiring a driver with a poor driving record to failing to perform proper truck maintenance and more.
  • Causation. The third element of an injury claim is causation – that the defendant’s negligence/breach of duty of care was the proximate cause of your accident and injuries. Another way to think about this is that you have a duty to prove that your injuries would not have occurred but for the defendant’s actions.
  • Damages. Finally, you must prove that you have suffered actual damages, economic or noneconomic or both, as a result of the accident and injury. Examples of common damages in a truck accident claim are property damage expenses, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages.

What is the Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Claim?

It’s important to know what the burden of proof is in a personal injury claim, or the degree to which you have to prove the four elements listed above. Unlike a criminal case, which adheres to the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard, you only have to prove the above elements by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This is an easier, lower standard than is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” and essentially means that you must prove that it is more likely than not that what you’re alleging is the case or that what you’re saying has a greater than 50 percent chance of being true.

How Our Alabama Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help

You are likely facing serious losses and economic hardship if you have been in a truck accident or have lost a family member in this type of accident. At the law offices of Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C., our lawyers can guide you through what you need to prove in a personal injury claim and how to prove each element successfully. We work on a contingency fee basis and have the experience and reputation you can count on.

To schedule your free consultation, please reach out to our law firm by calling us directly at 800-574-4332, visiting our office in person, or sending us a confidential message today.