If you are hurt in a truck wreck in North Mississippi it is important to remember that trucking accident cases are specialized claims that often require very different handling than the average car wreck. These accidents are far more complex and require a far more aggressive investigation. Attorneys handling trucking accident claims must be familiar with state and federal transportation rules and regulations as well as the unique insurance issues that arise in the trucking industry.
Trucking cases are also more complex because there are almost always multiple defendants that must be investigated ranging from the company where the load originated, who loaded it, the trucking company itself to the equipment manufacturers.
The most important thing to remember about a trucking accident claim is this: The trucking company or its insurance company will be on the scene gathering evidence within hours of a serious accident and this means they have a head start, doing everything they can to make sure they pay as little as possible. This also means that they might approach a victim or their family with a settlement offer while the family is still in shock and before they have had an opportunity to investigate and learn the true value of their case.
No amount of money can ever replace a loved one but there is no reason to allow an insurance company to run over you or your family when you are at your weakest moment. If you or a loved one is injured in a Mississippi trucking accident, we recommend that people Identify a trusted friend or family member who is a little removed from the grief to help you make sure the investigation is started and the right attorney is hired to go to work protecting your interests. Time is of the essence after any accident but especially an accident involving a heavy truck.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Mississippi
The causes of trucking accidents are numerous and unpredictable but there are a few things that we commonly see here around Batesville, Holly Springs, Oxford and Pontotoc. It is extremely important that you track down all the contributing factors to the accident that you can. This is because each contributing cause could mean liability for one or more companies or people. You will want to track down every single person that is responsible for the death or injuries. For example, the company loading the truck may have overloaded the trailer making it impossible for the driver to stop in a reasonable distance. The company who maintained the truck may not have properly maintained the brakes causing them to fail. The tire company is another example of a potential avenue of recovery for a victim or their family. Other instances we see in North Mississippi trucking accidents are:
- Too many hours on the road
- Equipment failure (breaks or tires)
- Load shift
- Impaired driving
- Distracted Driving
At Fault Passenger Cars
We would be remiss if we did not discuss the fact that trucking accidents are often caused by careless passenger car drivers. Simply put, it is not always the truck drivers fault and we are very aware of this. We have represented numerous truckers over the years and U.S. truckers are some of the safest drivers in the world. The most frequent type of accident we see that is caused by the passenger car drivers is when the passenger car cuts a truck off and the truck does not have room to stop. Drivers must understand, trucks take a substantial amount of distance to stop when fully loaded. DO NOT cut off a truck and give them plenty of room. This will help prevent accidents and save lives.
Common Injuries After a Truck Accident
Just like the causes of these accidents, there are numerous types of injuries we see after a trucking accident including death. As one would expect, when a heavy truck is in an accident the potential for serious injury or death is far more likely than when you are dealing with a passenger car accident. Most of the trucking accidents we see in here North Mississippi occur between Batesville and Southaven on Interstate 55, between Clarksdale and Tupelo on Highway 6 or 278 and of course between New Albany and Olive Branch on highway 78. We see many different types of injuries in these accidents but some of the more serious ones include the following:
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Broken Bones
- Chemical Exposure
Often, the types of injuries in trucking accidents will be determined by the type of load a truck is carrying. For instance, if a truck is carrying fuel, there is the potential for fire and if the truck is carrying hazardous material, the chances of suffering a chemical exposure injury like a burn or lung damage are increased.
Differences Between Car and Truck Accidents
As we discussed earlier in the article, trucking cases are far more complex than your average passenger car accident. The attorney in these cases will need to be familiar with state and federal transportation rules and regulations and be familiar with National highway Safety Administration rules and record keeping. Some of the areas one will need to be prepared to investigate after a trucking accident are:
- Black Box Download
- Log Books (record of driving time)
- Electronic Log Books
Why Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer After a Truck Accident?
Time is not on your side after an accident and it is much less on your side after a trucking accident in Mississippi. The reason for this is simple. Trucking companies and their insurance companies will be on the scene in no time after a serious wreck. They will be gathering statements, collecting evidence and doing everything they can to get ahead of the narrative and controlling the story and the facts. They want to do this in order to reduce the amount they have to pay after an accident. The sooner you get assistance, the less effective the insurance company will be at limiting their liability in an unfair way.
The sooner you get someone involved the more likely they will be able to preserve important evidence. For example, in one recent case, involving a serious trucking accident near Jackson, Mississippi, we were unable to immediately locate the truck. When we finally located it, a week after the wreck, much of the equipment that was on the truck at the time of the crash had already been replaced. This is an example of why it is extremely important to get your case investigated right away. Evidence disappears and stories change.
How Long Does a Truck Accident Claim Take?
Trucking cases tend to take longer than car wreck claims because the injuries are often worse and the victims take longer to recover. We do not attempt to negotiate a settlement with a trucking company or their insurance company until after our clients have reached maximum medical improvement. This allows us to know the true extent of the person’s medical bills and damages. The last thing you want to do in a trucking case is to settle too early, before you know the true value of your case. This happens all the time when insurance companies swoop in early after a wreck and offer pennies on the dollar to people who are not prepared to negotiate. Insurance companies take advantage of people’s inexperience all the time and save the insurance industry billions of dollars a year. Don’t let this happen to you or your loved ones. Get the fair settlement you deserve by calling our office. The consultation is free and there is never a fee unless we collect for you or your family.
How Much Compensation Can I get After a Truck Accident Claim?
Like other accidents, trucking cases are based upon the injuries, pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages, among other things. However, there is usually a lot more insurance when a heavy truck is involved. Generally speaking, heavy trucks traveling through Mississippi will carry at least $1,000,000.00 in coverage. Depending on the seriousness of your injuries, you will want to be sure you have compiled every penny’s worth of the evidence proving your harms and losses before you discuss settlement.
Settling too early can be a disaster because you simply don’t know the lay of the land. At Roberts Wilson, P.A. Injury Lawyers, we know the lay of the land, what to expect and the right questions to ask.
Some of the damages we include in every case are as follows:
- Hospital bills
- Punitive damages
- Quality of life
- Missing work
Can I Still be Compensated if I was Partially at Fault?
This is an important question in Mississippi trucking accident claims and the answer is yes. IF you are partially at fault in a Mississippi trucking accident, you can still recover. This is called comparative fault and it means that if you are 10% at fault because you were speeding, could not stop quickly enough or some other reason, you can still recover a settlement or judgment. It will just be reduced by 10% because that was your level of fault in the accident. We see this in many different accidents and it is something we are prepared to deal with in every case in which it arises.
Should I Accept the Insurance Company’s Offer After a Truck Accident?
NO! Not unless the case has been investigated by a competent attorney who is familiar with handling trucking cases. If a person does not know what they are doing, they can literally leave hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table by not properly investigating a trucking claim. We know what to investigate and we know what questions to ask. At Roberts Wilson, P.A. Injury Lawyers, we know what your case is worth.
You must remember that the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company and insurance companies and their shareholders care more about the bottom line than anything else. Simply put, the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company, not you or the other victims.
One of the worrisome things about going it alone is we see adjusters try and get people to say things like, “I’m going to be ok”, “I’ll be ok” or other speculative sounding things we all like to believe when we’re hurt. The truth is, these statements can be used against you later on so it is extremely important to get advice before giving a recorded statement. Other things we see adjusters do is to try and take recorded statements when someone is on pain medication or in the hospital, repeating questions over and over to see if someone will answer differently, etc.
The problem we see with folks talking with the insurance company on their own is the victim does not usually have a good understanding that the company is NOT on their side. The insurance company must be treated as an adversary from the beginning or you will regret it. Everything you say can and will be used against you if it will help the insurance company save money.
I’ll say it one more time, they are not on your side, they are on the side of the bottom line of the company they work for which means they want to do all they can to save the company money.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?
At Roberts Wilson, P.A. Injury Lawyers we work on a contingency fee basis which means:
“There is never a fee unless we are successful, and we advance all expenses on behalf of our clients. If there is not a recovery, the client will owe us nothing.”
Benefits of Hiring Roberts Wilson to Handle my Truck Accident Claim
At Roberts Wilson, P.A. Injury Law, handling accident and injury claims is all we do. All day, every day, our attorneys and staff are helping accident victims in their claims against careless drivers and their insurance companies. Because this is all we do, we get plenty of practice and we are good at it.
Another important factor in our practice is that we are local. With all the attorney advertising on television and everywhere else these days, it’s sometimes hard to tell whether or not a lawyer is from your community or from out of state. Roberts Wilson, P. A. Injury Lawyers has attorneys licensed in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee but our primary geographical area of practice is right here in North Mississippi. Based in Oxford, we are centrally located to serve our North Mississippi community and can be there before the dust settles when you need help. Our primary service area includes but is not limited to the following areas:
- Holly Springs
- Water Valley
Some important reasons to hire a local attorney:
- A local attorney will be more accessible
- You can ask your friends about us!
- We know the value of your case in your community
- We have a working relationship with local claims adjusters
- We can more easily investigate local accidents because we are “here”
- We can more easily file a lawsuit when it is necessary.
The most important thing about a trucking accident is to get the investigation started as quickly as possible before memories fade and evidence disappears. Roberts Wilson, P.A. is right here in your community and can begin investigating any accident within 24 hours. And when it is necessary, we can dispatch a crash reconstructionist to the scene to process the evidence and make sure it is cataloged and organized for use in your case. To get our team started on investigating your car or truck wreck, call 662.533.9111 or take advantage of our online receptionist and internet chat by clicking below.