A truck accident can leave a person in a dire situation. Therefore, it is essential to seek professional legal services when you are a victim of a car accident. Most truck drivers have remarkable legal representatives who can easily make one lose a lawsuit when claiming compensation after a truck accident. Clay County Personal Injury Attorney has an established reputation of offering credible legal services to its clients seeking compensation after a truck accident in Clay County, FL.
How to Win Your Truck Accident Case
The process of winning a truck accident is quite extensive. It involves a lot of consideration right from the time of the accident. As the plaintiff, you should take the necessary steps to maximize the possibility of winning the case. Here are detailed considerations that you should consider to win your truck accident case.
What You Should Do Immediately After the Accident
As discussed above, the process of winning your case starts from the scene of the accident. At this point, you have the opportunity to collect relevant information that is essential for your situation. This should be considered if you are safe enough from any injuries, and the emergency medical team has cleared you. Otherwise, you are expected to seek medical attention and have the rest taken care of by the police officer. However, if you are safe enough, you should consider doing the following.
Call the Police
It is always essential to call the police once you are involved in an accident. The police will file a report that will offer significant assistance in your lawsuit. Also, they have the authority to restrain any movement of the tuck accident until all relevant information is collected. The officer will make this decision if the causative truck does not interfere with the traffic.
Please note, in Florida, you will be expected to call the police officer or involve the Florida Highway Patrol if there was death or injuries associated with the accident. Other considerations are a hit and run accident, an accident caused by an intoxicated driver, and if the total damage incurred amounts to $500 or more.
If the truck accident that you were involved in does not meet the criteria needed to require police officers, you will have to file a crash report with the Florida Department of Motor Vehicle. You should record the report within ten days after the accident and must be completed by you, your insurance agent, and the attorney.
To file a crash report, you will have to give the following information:
- The location and time of the accident
- The license plate number of the driver involved in the accident
- The name, address, and date of birth of all the drivers and victims involved in the accident
- The license plate number of all the vehicles involved in the accident
Gather Evidence from the Scene of Accident
There are several ways to gather evidence at a scene of the accident. Here are the different ways that you can gather evidence from the scene of the accident.
Taking Photographs of the Scene
If you are in an excellent position to take pictures once you have been involved in an accident, you can continue collecting the evidence. Fortunately, nowadays, it is easier to take pictures using our smartphones. Therefore, you do not have to get a special camera for this task unless your phone has been damaged.
When you are taking pictures of the scene, you should take photos from all directions, including close-ups and images from a further distance. At the moment, you do not have the time to take pictures at the best angle to illustrate the accident. That’s why it is recommended to take as many pictures as possible to get detailed information about the scene accident.
Some of the details that you need to capture are the skid marks, traffic control devices, and the view of the accident scene.
Take Pictures of the Truck Involved in the Accident
The pictures of both your vehicle and the truck can be suitable for your case. You should take note of the areas that were damaged, both close-ups and afar. The damages will inform the juries a lot about the accident and prove that your injuries resulted from the accident.
Contact Information of the Driver and Witnesses
You should not allow the trucker to leave the scene of the accident without identifying him or herself. If the trucker is a hit and run, you do not have to chase him or her. All you need to do is get their license number and leave the rest to the police officers. However, if the trucker stops, you should check his or her driver’s license. You should also get other information such as credit card information, car registration insurance card, and the name and address of the driver. This should apply to the witnesses involved in the car accident.
Seek Medical Attention
Seeking medical attention is a critical procedure in preparing for your lawsuit in two ways. It keeps you alive to ensure that you are in a position of testifying the events of the accident at the court trial and provide medical records to solidify your claims.
Treatment Immediately After the Accident
You should get treatment immediately after the accident. This will help you get the records that will establish the relationship between your accident and the injuries that you suffered. The doctors who will be attending to you during the emergency are viewed as more credible compared to hired medical experts. The judges and jury usually consider hired medical experts as being monetary stimulated to give an opinion that will be paid for.
If the victim does not seek medical treatment immediately after the accident or does this after getting advised by the attorney, the jury might find it challenging to identify the relationship between the injuries and the accident. Also, the defense might argue that the victim had a pre-existing injury and relate it to the medical attention that you get after that.
Follow-up Treatment and Rehabilitation
Once you have received the initial treatment after an accident, a personal injury victim should continue treatment for a specific time. They can also undergo rehabilitation treatment if the injury is too extensive. The victim should strictly follow orders from the doctor related to the follow-up treatment that he or she should take. Also, the victim should strictly follow the instruction provided to participate in daily activities. Failing to consider this will interfere with your recovery, and the defense can raise concern that you did not take the necessary steps to recover from your injuries.
Medical records are crucial evidence in a personal injury case. The medical records should contain all the information regarding your accident, injuries, and treatment. For instance, the documents should show that you commenced treatment once you were involved in a motor vehicle accident. This will establish the relationship between the accident and your injuries and will give you an upper hand in your settlement claim.
Unfortunately, some doctors develop a reputation for associating with personal injuries and particularly personal injury law firms. When there are medical records derived from one of these practices, they might not appear credible. It can appear to be orchestrated by the law firm. Therefore, in litigation, the defense and jury will closely examine the doctor to determine the credibility of the results.
Another issue that might arise from the doctor of your choice is seeking medical attention from non-physicians, such as massage therapists, chiropractors, and acupuncturists. The defense attorney would not give much credence to such types of treatments.
If you have to seek medical attention from non-physicians, you should find recommendations from your doctor to ensure that the respective specialist is trustworthy and credible.
Not every medical record is perfectly scribed and provides relevant information. However, your injury attorney can discuss the records of your treatment with your doctor through your permission. This will help determine any medical records and lost information that your doctor would have left out. It does not necessarily have to be information provided by the doctor, but could also include information provided by the medical assistants or nurses.
Hire a Professional Attorney
Hiring the right attorney for your case is another essential aspect of winning your case. Having a professional attorney at your side will increase the possibility of winning the case by finding relevant evidence that would help in your case. A defendant should consider several factors to hire a professional attorney. Here is a detailed view of the factors that you need to consider.
Decide Whether to Hire a Public or Private Defender
The first decision in hiring an attorney is deciding whether to pick a public or private defender. A private defender is always the better option due to several factors. For instance, public defenders are usually busy, lack enough resources and experience in specific legal areas.
Therefore, it is recommended to rely on a professional private defender since they have enough time to concentrate on your case and will offer the best legal services that you deserve. Also, you are in a position of evaluating them based on their performance in a specific situation.
Know Who You are Dealing With
Many lawyers specialize in a particular area of law. In this case, you need to check whether your attorney is dedicated to personal injury cases. At the same time, you should check whether the attorney has enough experience in the personal injury law cases. This should be affirmed through recommendations from friends and co-workers who have undergone similar situations and manage to achieve what they wanted. If not, you can check with the local bar association or get recommendations from a close attorney.
Communication is a vital aspect of your relationship with your attorney. You will need to communicate with the attorney since you are precisely hiring him or her to deliver your case to the judge, the jury, or the defense attorney. Also, you will need to understand every aspect related to your case to understand them in detail.
Before you begin working with the attorney, you should check their service charges. According to Florida state ethics, an attorney is expected to maintain reasonable fees. The American Bar Association expects attorneys to explain their prices, preferably in writing within a reasonable time before beginning to represent you.
Please note, an expensive attorney does not necessarily mean that he or she is reliable enough or a cheap one guarantees poor services. All that matters is the credibility of their services and how well their fees reflect the kind of services they can offer.
You need to know how your relationship would be with your attorney. Having a good relationship usually increases the possibility of winning your case. A good lawyer-client relationship should be based on understanding and trust. This will create an atmosphere that both you and the attorney can relate well and be successful with your legal procedure.
Your injury lawsuit involves testimonies from expert witnesses to be successful. The possibility of getting reliable expert witnesses depends on the kind of professional networks that your attorney has. Dealing with an experienced attorney will help you find professional expert witnesses who will deliver excellent results in your case. This will put you at an advantage compared with the perpetrator.
Your Best Interest Interest
If an attorney does not have a personal interest in your case, you should consider hiring a different attorney. Your attorney should remain upfront and honest as a way to prove that he or she has the best interest in the success of your case.
Determine Who is Liable for the Truck Accident
When one establishes who is liable for the truck accident, it is much easier to handle the case at hand. Technically, the truck driver is usually the first culprit of a truck accident, but there are other parties associated with the situation. A driver only becomes liable for the case when he or she is an independent contractor rather than an employee of a company.
An independent contractor should have used his/her truck, furnished his or her gas, and purchased a liability insurance coverage. The insurance coverage should cover repairs per route basis and should not receive any employee benefits. Also, the company that the driver is delivering goods should not be in charge of the driver’s paycheck or should not instruct how the deliveries should be done.
Another aspect that determines the driver’s liability is whether the actions that led to the accident were done within the scope of employment. It can be challenging to determine whether a particular act was done within the scope of work, but the court usually checks on the following.
- The intention of the employee during the accident
- The nature, place, and time of the driver’s conduct
- The kind of work that the employee was expected to do
- Incidental actions that the employer would reasonably expect the driver to do
- The extent of freedom that the diver has while performing his or her duties
- The amount of time that the driver spends doing personal activities
For instance, if the truck driver engages in an accident when delivering goods to a warehouse, this would be an accident within the scope of work. However, if the driver stopped by a stadium to watch a baseball match and ended up causing an accident at the stadium’s parking lot, he or she will be held liable for the accident.
Apart from the driver, other parties that can be held liable for the accident include:
- The trucking company
- The truck owner
- The truck repair company
- The truck manufacturer
Please note, the nature of the accident determines the liability of the above-stated parties. The essential consideration that your attorney and investigators should make is to establish the negligent actions associated with any of the parties to establish your case successfully.
Check the Course of Actions that Led to the Accident
Apart from establishing whether a driver is liable for an accident, you need to determine the factors that led to the accident. This means that you must know the exact reason behind the accident to build a case against the defendant successfully. Most truck accidents result from driver errors. Here are a few factors that can lead to a truck accident as a result of the driver’s negligence or actions.
Truck drivers are usually under high pressure. They are required to deliver their goods to particular destinations within a limited timeline. In that case, they usually find themselves driving for long distances with little break time.
In that case, they experience fatigue, which slows down their reaction time whenever an unforeseen situation arises.
Another common factor that leads to a truck accident is distracted driving. Distractions are everywhere, starting with mobile phones, radios, and eating. While a driver is distracted by all these factors, he or she cannot put enough attention on the road and can end up causing an accident.
You probably think that truck drivers do not take alcohol or drugs, but they usually do. Some truck drivers take medications such as amphetamines and cocaine to keep them awake, whereas such drugs can significantly impair their driving judgment.
Speeding and Overtaking
Sometimes drivers are unable to deliver their goods on time. Therefore, they resolve to over-speeding and careless overtaking. As a result, they end up crashing into other vehicles on the road when they cannot manage to stop their trucks on time or make the wrong judgment when overtaking.
Know the Kind and Value of Your Damages
Whenever you are filing a personal injury lawsuit, you must be aware of the damages that you will be claiming from your at-fault party. It is recommendable to be cautious of the kind of damages to consider since not all types of damages apply in every personal injury lawsuit. For instance, you can request for punitive damages, whereas you cannot establish that the accident resulted from the driver’s gross negligence.
Once you have established the kind of damages that you should be compensated for, you need to determine the value of the loss. If you expect to be paid for your medical expenses, you must be sure of the total costs incurred through your injuries. It is quite easy to decide on the value of economic damages compared to non-economic ones. However, the law firm that you choose should be in a position of using credible methods to determine how much you should be compensated for your non-economic damages. The most common techniques employed in such types of damages include the multiplier and the Per Diem method.
Avoid Various Mistakes that You Might Engage in
Above all the recommendations provided above, you might engage in some mistakes that might end up compromising the possibility of winning your case. Such errors do not only decrease the chances of winning your case but can also prompt the court to dismiss your case. Some of these mistakes are as follows.
- Waiting long before hiring an attorney
- Hiding your injuries from the attorney
- Getting a doctor referral from your attorney
- Misrepresenting your activity level
- Exaggerating your injuries
Take Note of the State of Limitation
Just like any other state, Florida has a Statute of Limitation that limits the period that one has to file a lawsuit in a civil court. In Florida, the law of limitation for personal injury remains in effect four years from the date of the accident. Therefore, if you are involved in a truck accident, you have four years to file the case or risk the dismissal of your case in court.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
The process of filing a personal injury lawsuit and winning it is not as simple as it appears. There are a lot of considerations that play into effect to be successful in your case. That’s why it is recommended to seek professional legal intervention to increase the chances of winning your case. Clay County Personal Injury Attorney has the experience and professionalism required to represent a client in a personal injury case. For more information about us, reach out to us at 904-494-8242 for a case evaluation.