Serious truck accidents can have devastating consequences for victims and their families. The physical and emotional consequences of serious truck accidents can last a lifetime; and, when families lose loved ones too soon, there is simply no way to fill the void in their lives.
Due to the physical, emotional, and financial costs of serious truck accidents, it is extremely important that victims and families assert their legal rights. Victims and families will have claims for financial compensation in many cases, and asserting these claims can be essential for managing the financial and non-financial costs of coping and recovery.
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5 Steps Involved in Filing a Claim for a Serious or Fatal Truck Accident
There are five major steps involved in pursuing a claim for a serious or fatal truck accident in Louisiana. These steps are:
1. Investigate the Cause of the Accident
The first step is to investigate the cause of the accident. The on-scene investigation should take place as soon as possible, as skid marks, road debris, and other evidence can begin to disappear quickly.
When you hire a truck accident lawyer, your lawyer will send an investigator to the scene right away. Your lawyer will begin the process of gathering evidence from other sources as well. The truck driver’s phone records and driver log, the truck’s maintenance history, and various other sources of evidence may all point to the cause of the collision.
2. Identify the Company (or Companies) Responsible for the Accident
The purpose of conducting an investigation is to identify the company or companies that are responsible for the accident. There are several possibilities, and correctly identifying the at-fault company (or companies) is essential for asserting your legal rights effectively. In serious and fatal truck accident cases, the companies that may be liable for victims’ and families’ losses include:
- The trucking company
- The truck driver’s insurance company (if the driver is an owner-operator)
- The truck’s manufacturer (or a component manufacturer)
- A maintenance shop, repair shop, or dealership that worked on the truck
- The government contractor responsible for building or maintaining the road
- The insurance company of another negligent driver who was involved in the crash
3. File Your Claim (or Claims)
After collecting the available evidence and determining what company or companies are responsible for your losses, your lawyer can then file your claim (or claims) on your behalf. While car accident claims are typically handled through the insurance companies, pursuing a truck accident claim can be a much more complicated process. As a result, it is important to have a lawyer on your side who has specific experience representing truck accident victims and their families.
4. Document Your Accident-Related Costs
As your truck accident claim progresses, you will want to thoroughly document your accident-related costs. This includes financial costs such as medical bills and lost income as well as non-financial costs such as pain and suffering. The amount you are entitled to recover is directly related to the costs you have incurred (and will incur in the future), so the more documentation you have, the better. Your lawyer can assist you with this as well.
5. Negotiate for a Fair Settlement (and Go To Court if Necessary)
After filing your claim (or claims) and calculating your losses, your lawyer will negotiate for a fair settlement on your behalf. Most successful truck accident claims are resolved through out-of-court settlements. Depending on how the negotiations go, your lawyer may need to take your claim to court; and, if you don’t receive a fair settlement offer while your lawsuit is pending, your lawyer will need to fight for justice at trial.
Additional Considerations for Protecting Your Legal Rights After a Truck Accident in Louisiana
Along with understanding the steps involved in pursuing a truck accident claim in Louisiana, there are some additional considerations involved in protecting your legal rights as well. For example, if you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident in Louisiana, you should:
- Take Care of Your Medical Needs – Whether you need treatment for broken bones, severe burns, or psychological trauma, it is important to take care of your medical needs. Not only is this important for your health, but it is also important for protecting your legal rights. If you don’t take care of your medical needs, the insurance companies will blame you for causing your own pain and medical expenses.
- Follow Your Doctor’s Advice – In this same vein, once you seek treatment, you should follow your doctor’s advice. If you have concerns about your doctor’s advice, seek a second opinion. The more you do to take care of yourself after your (or your loved one’s) truck accident, the easier it will be to collect the financial compensation you and your family deserve.
- Work Closely With Your Lawyer – From calculating your losses to making informed decisions about settlement, you should work closely with your lawyer throughout the process. Ask your questions when you have them, and provide timely responses to your lawyer’s inquiries.
- Be Patient, But Be Persistent – Successfully resolving a truck accident claim requires patience. Each step in the process takes time, and each step is essential for maximizing your chances of a full financial recovery. But, persistence is important as well, and you should be prepared to work with your lawyer to fight for the compensation you are rightfully owed.
- Let Your Lawyer Do the Talking – Finally, while your truck accident claim is pending, you should let your lawyer do the talking. Rely on your lawyer to deal with the insurance companies on your behalf, and stay off of social media. Saying or posting the wrong thing could jeopardize your claim (or claims), and the insurance companies will not hesitate to use your words or photos against you.
Do You Have a Truck Accident Claim in Louisiana? Contact Us for a Free Consultation
Have you been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident in Louisiana? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly for a free consultation. Call 318-413-6731 or contact us online to speak with attorney Chris J. Roy in Alexandria as soon as possible.