Trucking is one of the hardest and most skilled workforces on the road. Driving supermassive trucks, loaded down with anything from boxes filled with pillows to parts of prefab houses or airplanes or wind turbines. Nearly everything you can buy or use in the United States is transported at some point by truckers from its original location. The cargo in these trucks can range from a couple hundred or thousand dollars to well into the millions, which makes truck accidents extremely expensive. That's before you even consider the cost of a commercial truck and the repairs on them, physical injuries, and
The average 18-wheeler accident comes with a price tag of around $200,000, but they can go up into the millions, without even considering the cost of devastating injuries that are common in commercial vehicle accidents. If you get a lawyer for a truck accident you are setting yourself up for the best chance at a fair settlement without having to deal with the stress of researching and fighting for yourself. At Ktenas Injury Lawyers we have the knowledge and experience to ensure that your case comes to the best possible conclusion for accident victims.
What is the Process of Receiving a Settlement for a Truck Accident?
Unlike normal car accidents, there are more than just the drivers involved when it comes to truck accidents. Not only are all involved drivers, their insurances, and attorneys a part of the case but also the trucking company that employs the truck driver, their attorneys and insurance, as well as the company that owns the cargo that has been affected and their insurance and attorneys. This amount of people can make for a very complicated and confusing case, with lots of people to make whole again.
Once the courts decide who is at fault for the accident, then that party's insurance company steps in. The insurance will do their own investigation into the damages and injuries, and make settlement offers to everyone involved if they feel a settlement is needed. Insurance is rarely, if ever, actually involved in the accident scene, and only has evidence gathered by others to look over, and can be wrong. If you do not feel that the maximum compensation offered to you is fair, you can fight back against the insurance.
It's at this point that you will want to hire a personal injury attorney or experienced Chicago truck accident attorney to speak to the insurance adjusters on your behalf. While you know the situation that your accident has put you in better than anyone else, experienced attorneys know the law better than the average citizen and can argue better on your behalf.
Who Pays for Injuries When the Truck Driver is at Fault?
In most cases, truck drivers are considered "judgment-proof". What this means is that the court assumes, almost always correctly, that the individual truck driver does not have the money to pay for all of the property damage and injuries themselves. If the truck driver is found to be judgment-proof, the judgment falls upon the company they work for. Trucking companies normally have very expensive, and extensive, insurance on their trucks and drivers for this reason.
Since trucking companies are almost always found to be responsible for any accidents their truckers are found guilty of causing, these companies normally do everything they can to lessen the chance their truckers will ever be involved in an accident. This includes all kinds of things, from making sure their drivers are always obeying the law and their trucks are sound and in compliance with regulations, to requiring extra permits and training for all of their drivers.
What Happens if None of the Drivers Are Found at Fault?
Sometimes factors outside of the driver's control cause accidents. When natural occurrences, like weather, cause an accident, normally each drivers insurance pays for their own client and clients car, and the state decides how much of the property damage to road barriers and roads each party is responsible for.
Sometimes neither driver is at fault, but a third party can be found responsible. This party can vary. Sometimes the company that owns the cargo is found responsible. This can happen when the cargo on the truck was improperly packed for shipping, causing the weight of the truck to be off. Even the state could be held liable if road conditions such as potholes or damaged roads were found to be at fault.
What do I do if the Insurance Company Rejects My Personal Injury Claim?
When it comes to trucking accidents, and the price tag attached to them, insurance companies for the party found at fault will do everything they can to pay the least amount of money possible, especially since the price tag is already going to be so high for them. This means offering inadequate settlements, or no settlements at all. With a Chicago personal injury lawyer on your side, it's a lot more likely the insurance company will offer you a reasonable settlement.
If the insurance company does not offer you a reasonable settlement through mediation, you can then take the insurance company to court to sue for the settlement you believe you deserve. Your attorney will gather and review all available evidence and advise you during the mediation stage what an adequate settlement will be, and if that is not reached during mediation, they will advise you whether or not a lawsuit is a good idea.
When it comes to evidence for your case, the more the better. From medical records to your driving track record, to witness statements or video footage, the more evidence you have to support your claim the better it is for your case. A legal strategy used by some, especially those with more than enough articles of evidence, is sometimes to overwhelm the insurance adjusters with the sheer amount of evidence available so they understand completely and totally that they will lose in court, and offer up a fair settlement immediately to avoid further attorney costs associated with a court case.
Some people even hire accident reconstructionists, to use diagrams or digital videos to recreate the accident scene. This can help give insurance adjusters a better idea of what actually happened from the view of the injured party, as well as help judges in court, understand what actually happened in your commercial trucking accident case. With an experienced trucking accident lawyer on your side, there are many more options for building a case and evidence for truck accident victims than if they move forward alone.
Experienced lawyers know, on both sides, that the cheapest option for everyones clients is to reach a settlement without having to involve the courts or other government entities. Both your legal team and the insurance company's or liable parties' legal team will advise everyone as such.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Truck Accident Attorney?
Unlike many other types of attorneys, attorneys that take cases suing insurance companies over sustained injuries don't expect payment upfront. Instead, they will ask for a certain percentage of the settlement you receive. This percentage is normally somewhere around 30-35% of your settlement total but can reach up to 40% if you end up going to court to sue the insurance company.
This also means that if you don't receive any settlement at all, you are not responsible for paying your attorney. This is a risk that personal injury attorneys take when they accept a new case, and new client, which is why they vet their clients thoroughly and usually only take cases with a high probability of a reasonable settlement.
There are some fees you will be responsible for at the end of your case, whether or not you win any money. These are normal fees associated with going to court, such as filing fees and any costs sustained attempting to prove your case. This could include things like the price to hire a private investigator, etc. These fees are not much, normally around several hundred dollars. If you do receive a settlement, these additional fees will be taken from your settlement at the end of your case, but if you do not receive a settlement you will be personally responsible.
If you've been injured in a trucking accident, you should retain an attorney as soon as possible. With so many large players and companies involved, you don't want to find yourself being pushed aside while insurance companies argue over cargo and truck repair costs, which are very expensive. With an attorney on your side, your voice and pain will be heard and taken seriously.
At Ktenas Injury Lawyers we take every case, and client, seriously, every time. We know that without us, your voice can be lost in the hustle and bustle. Our goal is to always make sure that our client's needs and concerns always have a place at the table, and are taken seriously, and our clients are awarded the damages and maximum compensation they deserve. Call us today for a free initial consultation. Let us take the stress of mediation and court off of your shoulders, so you can focus on healing.