Whether you’re out on the open road or jam-packed in traffic, driving anywhere near a truck is a magnet for accidents. Due to their sheer size and massive cargo, trucks are prone to a lot of factors that may impact both people and properties. In fact, one of the most common causes of truck accidents is jackknifing. What is jackknifing a truck? It is a term used to describe when a truck trailer pushes or the front towing vehicles.
Although some road regulations may have been improved even further after years of consideration, the number of accidents won’t drop to zero at a simple snap of your fingers. Therefore, the following are legal options you can consider if you ever found yourself in a semi-truck accident:
1. Identify The Liability
In vehicle-related accidents, there will always be a party at fault. That’s why gathering any amount of evidence is valuable in constructing the basis for a compelling case. If you want some assistance in doing so, you can visit this link and other reputable online resources. However, before anything else, you should start by identifying:
- The identity of the people involved;
- The time (and weather);
- The location.
However, these are still within the grounds of your usual car accident. Despite being a vehicle, semi accidents have slight differences you must take into account for:
- Loading capacity and security. Although it’s certainly bigger than most vehicles, the amount of cargo a truck contains could influence its overall performance. This is mainly if the weight isn’t distributed correctly, making it difficult for the vehicle to maneuver. Besides that, poor loading security may also damage the cargo, ergo harming the vehicle and its driver if the materials are hazardous.
- Driver fatigue and/or distraction. The driver has complete control over what happens to the vehicle. Therefore, if they’re overwhelmed with fatigue, influenced by substances, or something distracted them, it can easily affect how the truck operates.
- Untrained driver. There’s a huge difference between operating a semi-truck and a simple convertible. However, some truck companies may take advantage of inexperienced drivers because of how cheap they charge in rates. In return, it increases the possibility of an accident, especially if these drivers don’t know how to identify road signs, too.
- Unfinished road construction. Driving on a road full of potholes or bumps could disturb the truck’s load. And if the packing team didn’t secure the loaded cargo properly, that might spell danger for the driver and other nearby vehicles or pedestrians.
- Improper truck maintenance. Trucks are considered the leg of many businesses. Since they’re tasked to deliver materials and products from Point A to Point B, truck drivers have to stick to a strict schedule. Despite undergoing training, as long as they push these vehicles to the limit for the sake of catching the deadline, they may still be prone to semi-truck accidents.
With these possible causes identified, hopefully, they’ll serve as markers you can use to identify the liability in the accident.
2. Claim Compensation
Compared to car accidents, semi-truck accidents are much more complicated because more parties are involved that may potentially be at fault. For example, the packing team could be liable for improper loading or the person responsible for making such a tight schedule. It can be difficult pinpointing who you need to claim compensation from, which sheds light on how important your personal injury lawyer is.
Once you’ve identified the liability, an insurance claim adjuster will represent them to negotiate the settlement on which both parties can agree. In this segment, be careful about what you say. Stick to how your evidence is connected to the lasting effects on yourself because the adjuster might talk in circles to have the settlement be in their favor. Make sure your lawyer is present while this happens. This way, they can steer the negotiation in your favor more.
3. File A Lawsuit
When you and the alleged party were unable to reach an agreement, you’re allowed to bring this case to court. Here is where your evidence will come in; the more you’ve collected, the better footing you have in winning this case. Even though you’re experiencing these effects months after the accident, as long as it’s within two years, you’re still eligible to file a lawsuit.
So, if you received any physical injury from the accident, use medical records to express how it left a lasting impact on your life and finances. The same goes for trauma; recount the sudden changes your way of life, mental health, your relationships have had for being involved in a life-changing event.
Given its mass, being involved in an accident caused by a semi-truck is guaranteed to be traumatizing. However, filing a case against whoever’s at fault may be just as big as the semi. Therefore, you must consider your legal options before diving straight into suing the people involved.