How to Prove Your Truck Crash Case at Trial
Do you know what it takes to prove your truck crash case?
The nation’s #1 tractor-trailer accident lawyers explain how to win your semi-truck collision claim at trial
If there’s one thing we know at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, it’s how to win a truck crash case at trial. When it comes to personal injury law, only a small percentage of attorneys have the experience, resources, and qualifications to handle a truck accident case. Of those attorneys, only an elite few have the courtroom experience to win your truck case at trial. At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, we know how to prove liability and damages in order to get you the compensation you are rightfully owed.
Call today for a free, confidential consultation with one of the nation’s leading truck accident lawyers.
Why bring a truck accident lawsuit to trial
According to the most recent Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration report, there are 500,000 truck accidents in the U.S. every year. As every crash victim knows, a semi-truck collision can change your life in an instant.
Victims who suffer serious injuries will experience pain, and can take a long time to fully recover. You may miss time from work or find yourself unable to work altogether for an extended period of time. Even daily tasks like driving, caring for children, or taking care of oneself can become extremely difficult or impossible. Then there are the financial consequences: medical bills, ongoing treatment, lost wages, and more. Unfortunately, many people find that filing a lawsuit against responsible parties is the only path to financial relief. Often, insurance companies will not offer a sufficient settlement without a legal proceeding. If an appropriate settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, you’ll need a lawyer willing to bring your case to trial.
However, winning a tractor-trailer claim in court is no easy feat. The trucking and insurance companies and their defense lawyers are adept at denying claims and avoiding payouts. To win the compensation you deserve, you’ll need to know how to prove your truck crash case at trial. As a result, the nation’s best truck accident lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys are here to help.
How to win your truck crash case
America’s #1 semi-truck crash lawyers explain what you need to know about winning a tractor-trailer accident claim in court. If you are unsure about who or what companies you should be suing, check out our blog post about potential truck crash case defendants.
Proving negligence in a truck accident case
You might think your case against the truck driver or trucking company should be straightforward. Maybe the driver was even cited by police for speeding or reckless driving that lead to your crash. But proving liability and negligence and suing for damages can be more complicated than that.
In order to prove your truck crash case at trial, you need to understand exactly what you will need to show to win. While every state has its own laws, most truck law claims are injury cases and/or wrongful death cases. Although the laws concerning these case types vary state-by-state, the basic principles are the same everywhere. As such, you should understand the following four elements of a negligence case that you will need to prove.
First, you will need to establish that the defendant you are suing owed you a duty. “Duty” in this context is a special legal word. It means that someone had an obligation to conduct themselves with a certain level of care in order to protect others. Drivers of cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, and buses automatically have a duty to drive with reasonable care. They owe this duty to all people who could potentially become victims of their poor driving. Depending on where you are and the company’s structure, trucking employers may owe duties related to hiring, training, and maintenance.
Trucking companies can be considered common carriers, and common carriers have an even higher duty than regular drivers. A common carrier is an entity responsible for transporting passengers or goods for a fee. Common carriers must demonstrate not just reasonable care, but the utmost care and vigilance in order to protect the safety of the public.
Secondly, you must show that the defendant breached their duty. “Breaching” a duty means violating or failing to adhere to the level of care owed. In essence, it is the thing that the defendant did wrong. For example, a truck driver who drove drunk or sped above the speed limit during an ice storm and crashed breached his or her duty to drive carefully. Similarly, a trucking company that failed to perform a background check that would have revealed that an employee had many DUIs also likely violated its duty. The precise breach you allege will depend on the facts of your truck crash case.
Third, you must show that the defendant’s breach directly caused your injuries and other damages. While this sounds straightforward, many truck accident plaintiffs discover that this is the most difficult element to prove.
Finally, you will have to prove that you suffered damages as a result of your injuries. Damages can include financial losses because of medical bills and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages like pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of companionship.
You must prove each of these 4 elements “by a preponderance” of the evidence. As you can see, determining precisely how to prove your truck crash case at trial depends mostly on the details of what happened. To give yourself the best chance at winning, contact an experienced semi-truck accident lawyer. To speak with one of our award-winning attorneys, schedule your free consultation today.
Evidence in your truck crash case
In order to win your case, you will need to present evidence about the circumstances leading to your crash. In a truck accident case, evidence often includes:
Photographs of the accident scene – Photos of your vehicle, the truck involved, your injuries, and the accident scene will help the jury understand what happened to you, and provide visual evidence to support your claims. Understandably, you may not be in a position to take photos at the time of the crash if you are seriously hurt. If you do not have photos from the time of the crash, your attorneys can obtain photos of your vehicle, the truck, and the location where the accident took place.
The truck itself – The truck accident attorneys at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys know that the truck involved in your crash contains vital information about what happened that day. Large trucks contain a “black box” data recorder that captures data about vehicle speed and more.
The truck driver’s cell phone – One of the other most important pieces of evidence will be the truck driver’s cell phone. It is important to hire a truck accident lawyer who will act quickly to obtain and preserve the cell phone data before it can be cleared or destroyed. The cell phone data can tell us whether and in what capacity the truck driver was using his/her phone at the time of the crash.
Medical records – A significant portion of your case will focus on the injuries you suffered and the medical treatment you required and will continue to require going forward. Your attorney will work with licensed physicians and medical experts to review your medical records and calculate the full extent of your damages.
Police report – The police accident report will serve as the official record of the events surrounding the crash that left you injured. It will contain information regarding any citations issued that day as well.
Trucking company records – A savvy truck accident lawyer will know to investigate the trucking company who employed the driver involved in your crash. We will look for evidence of negligent hiring and training, as well as a lack of safety protocols. We know the regulations that govern commercial trucking and we will work to identify any violations that may have led to your accident.
Truck driver logbook – Truck drivers are required by law to log their hours behind the wheel and document break periods. This is for the purpose of adhering to federal hours of service regulations that govern how long a truck driver can safely remain on the road without taking a break.
Select and prepare experts and witnesses
In addition to physical evidence that your lawyer will introduce at trial, you also need to prepare for who will testify. In most truck crash cases, it is commonplace to hire an expert witness. An expert witness is someone with a particular expertise who can help a jury better understand an important, but complicated, aspect of your case. For example, you may hire an expert in the trucking industry to explain the steps truckers should take to navigate a steep curve.
Truck accident trial process
Each personal injury case is unique, but there are a series of events you can expect during the legal process. Here are the steps involved in a truck crash lawsuit and trial and what you can expect during each stage.
Consultation – They say the hardest part of any journey is taking the first step; at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, we make that first step as easy and comfortable as possible. The first step toward getting justice is to schedule a consultation with a truck accident lawyer. Making that initial phone call can be intimidating if you’ve never had to hire a lawyer before, but it might be the most important call you can make. During the consultation, you’ll have the opportunity to tell your story about what happened. A truck accident lawyer will review the details of your situation, the circumstances of the crash, your injuries, the police report, and any medical records available. Based on all of this, they will explain your rights, and make a recommendation as to whether we can pursue a lawsuit on your behalf. This consultation is free of charge and there’s no obligation to take any action you’re not ready for. If you do decide to hire Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys to represent you, we will get to work right away to preserve crucial evidence and get your case moving forward.
Investigation – During the next stage, your legal team will perform a more in-depth investigation of the circumstances surrounding your accident and all possible defendants. This process can sometimes take months, but it is extremely important to be thorough, as this will form the basis of your entire lawsuit.
Filing a Complaint – The complaint is an official document identifying the parties involved in the lawsuit, detailing the plaintiff’s allegations against the defendant(s), and outlining the ways in which the plaintiff suffered harm. Your lawyer will file the complaint with the appropriate court.
Pre-Trial and Discovery – During the discovery phase, your lawyer will perform more in-depth investigations and take depositions of the opposing parties and any witnesses. A “deposition” is a legal term for a question and answer session under oath. During the pretrial phase, both sides of the lawsuit will appear in court at intervals to inform the judge of the proceedings and to set a trial date.
Negotiation – Your lawyer will issue a demand (the amount of compensation you are seeking) and negotiate with the insurance company and/or their legal team to reach a settlement.
Trial – If no satisfactory settlement can be reached, your attorney will take your case to trial. Stages of the trial include:
- Jury Selection
- Opening Statements
- Witness Testimony and Cross-Examination
- Closing Arguments
- Jury Instruction
- Jury Deliberation and Verdict
To win a truck case, choose the right truck accident lawyer
Above all else, you must understand that the most important determinant in your case is the lawyer you choose to represent you.
At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, we know choosing a lawyer can feel intimidating. A lot of law firms talk the talk; we prefer to let our client testimonials and our client results do the talking for us. To learn more about the record-breaking millions we win for our clients and how we can win big for you, call, text, message, or chat us. Today and every day, the consultation is always 100% free.
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Posted in Truck Accidents.