Truck Accident FAQ
A Millburn, NJ attorney who can help you find answers
Your life can get very complicated when you’ve been hurt in a truck accident. You need medical treatment and may not be able to return to work for some time. It’s normal to have a lot of questions about what happens next. How will you pay your medical bills? Can you sue? How would you even go about filing a lawsuit?
Attorney David Leigh of The Leigh Law Firm, P.C. understands this is a difficult time for you and your family. He fights for the injured in Millburn and throughout Essex and Union counties by building strong cases insurance companies have to take seriously. He is dedicated to making a difference by helping clients recover the compensation they need and deserve.
Some common questions people have about truck accidents include:
- Are truck accidents more complicated than car accidents?
- Who can be found negligent in a truck accident?
- What should I do after a truck accident?
- How much money can I get in a truck accident settlement?
- Can I ask the insurance company for more money?
- What if the truck accident was partly my fault?
- How long do I have to file a lawsuit?
- Do I need a lawyer after a truck accident?
- What if I will need more medical treatment in the future?
- How long will it take to resolve my claim?
If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident in Northern New Jersey, we can help. Learn about your legal options for recovering compensation and get answers to other questions you have during a free consultation at our Millburn office. Or attorney Leigh can meet you at your home, hospital room, or other location. Contact us to schedule a time that works for you.
Are truck accidents more complicated than car accidents?
Generally, yes. There are often multiple parties involved in a truck accident. These include the driver, the trucking company, the owner of the trailer, the owner of the cargo, the company that loaded the cargo, and in some cases, the manufacturer of the truck or parts on the truck. Some of these parties may be located in another state. And each of these parties may have policies with different insurance companies and have their own lawyers.
There are also various state and federal laws and regulations that drivers and trucking companies need to follow. Also, insurance companies aggressively fight claims for compensation after a truck accident because there is a lot of money at stake. An attorney can investigate your accident to identify negligent parties and build a strong case for compensation.
Who can be found negligent in a truck accident?
There can be several parties who may have been negligent in your accident. A truck driver may have been speeding or texting behind the wheel. A trucking company may have failed to properly maintain or repair a truck. Another company may have improperly loaded the cargo, creating a dangerous situation. Or the manufacturer and distributor of defective tires or brakes can be found negligent. An experienced attorney can help you determine which parties were negligent and hold them accountable.
What should I do after a truck accident?
There are steps you can take – if you are able to do so – that can help protect your health and safety, as well as your right to recover financial compensation. For example:
- Call the police. They will secure the scene and complete an accident report that contains important information about the crash.
- Get medical attention. See a doctor even if you feel OK. A doctor can diagnose any injuries you have and begin treatment. There will also be documentation of your injuries.
- Gather information. This includes the name, contact information, insurance company, and employer of the truck driver in the crash. Also, get the names and contact information of any witnesses.
- Document the scene. If you can, take photos and videos of the accident. Get photos of the damage to both vehicles, as well as any visible injuries you have.
- Write down what happened. As soon as you get a chance, write down your account of the accident. Include every detail that comes to mind.
- Call a lawyer. It’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible after your accident.
How much money can I get in a truck accident settlement?
There is no clear answer to this question, as every case is different. Many factors can influence the amount of compensation you can recover in a settlement or jury verdict. These include the circumstances of the crash, the type and severity of your injuries, the amount of lost income, the total cost of your medical expenses, insurance policy limits, and other factors. An experienced attorney will determine all of the damages you have suffered and fight to recover as much compensation as possible.
Can I ask the insurance company for more money?
Yes. At some point during the claims process, an insurance company may contact you with a settlement offer. They may say it’s the best that they can do but will promise quick payment. It can be very tempting to accept their offer – medical expenses may be adding up quickly and part of you may just want the whole thing to offer. But keep in mind that the insurance company is looking for ways to save money. Their offer may fall far short of covering all of your damages. It may be appropriate to ask for more money in that case.
Remember, once you take the insurance company’s money, that’s it; your case is settled, and you can’t go back for more. That’s why you should always get legal advice before accepting any settlement offer.
What if the truck accident was partly my fault?
Under New Jersey’s modified comparative negligence system, parties who are found to be as much as 50% at fault for an accident can still recover compensation. But their amount of compensation will be reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, a jury awards someone $100,000 in a truck accident but finds that person to be 40% at fault for what happened. That person would recover $60,000. Insurance companies know how this system works. That’s why they may try to put as much blame as possible on you. An experienced lawyer will have the resources to investigate and gather evidence that proves another party’s negligence caused the accident.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit?
In New Jersey, the statute of limitations (legal deadline) for taking legal action if you’re injured in a truck accident is generally two years from the date of the accident. If you lost a loved one in a fatal truck accident, then the statute of limitations is two years from the date of death.
That may seem like plenty of time, but the longer you wait, the more difficult it may be to recover the compensation you deserve. It can take several months to gather evidence to build a strong case. And much of that evidence is controlled by the trucking company. This includes hours of service (HOS) logs, information from the truck’s event data recorder (EDR), maintenance records, and employment records. Also, witnesses may forget important details as time goes by. That’s why you should get legal advice as soon as possible following a truck accident.
Do I need a lawyer after a truck accident?
There is no requirement to have legal representation when filing a claim for financial compensation after a truck accident. But remember that insurance companies handle claims every day and they have the advantage. Their goal is to pay you as little as possible. They use many tactics to try to justify paying you less.
An attorney can investigate the accident to gather evidence that proves another party was negligent. An attorney can also deal directly with the insurance company and negotiate a settlement that meets your needs or fight for you in court. Insurance companies have lawyers representing them. It’s a good idea to have your own lawyer to look out for your best interests.
What if I will need more medical treatment in the future?
The injuries suffered in a truck accident can be very serious and may require future surgeries or other treatment. An attorney will closely monitor the progress of your recovery and carefully review your medical records. You have the right to seek compensation for the future medical expenses you will be facing for your accident-related injuries. That’s why it’s helpful to have a lawyer who can determine your total damages and fight for the compensation you deserve.
How long will it take to resolve my claim?
It depends on many different factors. Truck accidents can be complicated. It may take time to identify the negligent parties, build a strong case that proves negligence, and negotiate with insurance companies on compensation. Because the policy limits involved can be high, insurance companies will often aggressively fight claims following a truck accident. In some cases, it may be possible to resolve a claim within several months. But in more complex cases, it may take years. An attorney can give you a better idea of what to expect in your situation.