Our Jacksonville truck accident lawyers know that tractor-trailer wrecks can happen anywhere in the area. Large trucks travel on local roads such as US-258 and US-17 that are not as wide as interstate highways. Cars need to share the road with fully loaded tractor trailers, whose drivers are not always trained and sometimes cut corners.
If you have been injured in a truck accident on these roads or other thoroughfares, such as state routes 24 and 53, we can help. Contact the attorneys at Horton & Mendez for dedicated legal representation in your truck accident case. We offer free consultations to prospective clients.
Liable Parties in a Truck Accident in Jacksonville
The most usual party that you can sue is the trucking company. When a truck driver gets behind the wheel, they become an agent of the trucking company. So long as what they do is within the scope of their job, the trucking company assumes liability for their actions.
The trucking company is the one with the insurance coverage. Federal law requires them to cover at least $750,000 in insurance. If a trucking company is prudent, they would have more coverage because their assets are at risk.
If the driver was an independent contractor, they would be liable themselves. Even an independent contractor usually would have at least $1 million in insurance coverage.
You may be able to sue other parties in a truck accident case, including:
- Any third-party contractor that the trucking company hired to perform its duties (including a maintenance company or a cargo loader)
- A company that sold or manufactured a defective truck part
- A construction contractor if the accident occurred in a work zone that was poorly signed
Your Jacksonville injury attorney can perform a complete investigation of the accident and help determine who you may sue. If more than one party caused your injuries, they would each be jointly and severally liable.
What Evidence Is Important in a Truck Accident Investigation?
In order to receive a settlement offer, or win your case in court, you need to prove that someone else was to blame. There may be a government investigation of the crash, but you cannot count on it to prove liability.
One of our truck accident attorneys would need to conduct a wide-ranging investigation into the crash. They may gather some of the more “standard” evidence that can include:
- Testimony from people who saw the accident
- Pictures from the scene of the accident
- The police report (which can only be used in an insurance claim)
- Video or dash cam footage
- Testimony from an accident reconstruction expert who uses principles of math and physics to reach their opinion of what happened
What makes a truck accident case different is that there are more sources of evidence that can help prove liability. For starters, trucks built after a certain date are required to include electronic data event recorders — also known as a black box. This recorder stores data such as the truck’s:
- Hours of operation
- Sudden movements
Then, you may also obtain evidence from the trucking company in the discovery process which includes the driver’s records and maintenance files. Horton & Mendez can move quickly to notify the trucking company that it needs to preserve all evidence in anticipation of litigation. The trucking company wants to make it as hard as possible for you to get the proof that you need to hold them liable.
How Much Your Truck Accident Case May Be Worth
There is a wide variety of outcomes in a truck accident case. The value of your case is directly tied to your injuries, along with the potential for punitive damages based on the truck driver’s actions.
Truck accident cases tend to be worth more because:
- You are likely injured worse in a truck accident because a fully loaded tractor-trailer unleashes a tremendous amount of force.
- The trucking company has a large policy to cover damages
In any truck accident settlement, you would be paid for the following:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
It is up to you to know the value of your case and to negotiate a fair settlement. The insurance company will throw up every barrier that they can. Our job as experienced Jacksonville personal injury attorneys is to cut through the red tape and get you the money to which you are legally entitled.
Will Your Truck Accident Case Go to Trial?
You are in the driver’s seat more than you think in a truck accident case. The trucking company and their insurance provider have every reason to fear you. While they may act like they have power over you, the ultimate leverage that you have is taking the case to trial.
If the truck driver or trucking company’s actions were extremely careless or reckless, a jury may punish them severely. Punitive damages are a trucking company’s worst nightmare. Some have even been put out of business by very angry jurors.
If the insurance company will not make you an acceptable offer, you can take your case through to the end. While there is always a risk that you may not win, you may also get far more than you have been offered in a settlement. The insurance company is often playing with fire when they try to press their luck too much in a truck accident settlement negotiation. If you are not getting an adequate settlement offer that shows the insurance company is serious, you can and should take your case to court.
How Our Truck Accident Lawyers Help You
When you have been injured in a truck accident, there is little in the legal process that you can and should do on your own. You are at a natural disadvantage to the insurance company.
We can promptly review your case and explain the legal options in front of you. We then get to work to aggressively pursue evidence on your behalf. Once we file your insurance claim or lawsuit, we passionately advocate for you along the way, whether it is to the insurance company or a jury.
Contact a Jacksonville, NC Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Truck accident cases require the knowledge and expertise of an experienced attorney, so you can get everything that you deserve. You will need to undertake a difficult legal process, but it is one that you must go through if you want a check for your injuries. The Jacksonville truck accident lawyers at Horton & Mendez are determined advocates in your time of need. We never lose sight of the goal.