What Does It Take to Win a Truck Accident Case in Maine?
Each year, thousands in the U.S. are injured or killed in accidents with large commercial trucks. If you are injured in a truck accident, as soon as you’ve received medical attention, schedule a meeting with a Maine truck accident lawyer to discuss your right to compensation.
Truck collisions can result in catastrophic injuries, permanent disabilities, and wrongful deaths. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, chest and head bruises, soft tissue injuries, and bone fractures are frequently sustained by truck accident injury victims.
What are your rights if you are injured because someone else was negligent in a truck accident? What steps will you need to take? How can you recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and related losses?
If you’ll keep reading this brief discussion of truck accidents and your legal rights, those questions will be answered, and you will also learn how a Maine truck accident attorney will fight for your compensation – and for the justice you will need after a truck accident injury.
Who Is Liable for Truck Accidents?
When a commercial truck is involved in an accident with injuries, even if the truck driver was clearly at fault, it may still be difficult to determine who has liability for damages. Can a trucking business – or another party – be held liable for a truck accident? In some cases, yes.
Under the legal principle of vicarious liability, an employer may be liable for the negligence of an employee, provided that the negligence wasn’t intentional and happened within the “course and scope” of the employee’s on-the-job duties.
Vicarious liability shifts an employee’s negligence and liability to his or her employer. Whether vicarious liability applies in a particular truck accident case will depend on whether the driver was acting “within the scope” of his or her duties.
As a general rule, employers are not responsible for the conduct of their truck drivers when they are coming to and from work. This so-called “coming and going” rule, however, has many exceptions. Ultimately, whether the trucking company is held liable depends on the specific facts of a given case
Might Other Parties Be Liable?
In truck accident cases, the truck driver and trucking company may not be the only parties who are liable. Sometimes, contractors, subcontractors, leasing companies, truck manufacturers, and parts manufacturers may also be held accountable for collisions and injuries.
For example, if the cargo on a truck was not properly loaded, if the tires or brakes were manufactured defectively, or if the truck was maintained improperly – or not at all – multiple defendants may be held liable for a truck crash and the resulting injuries.
After a Truck Accident, What Should You Do?
If you are injured in a truck accident, don’t admit to any fault or sign any insurance documents prior to consulting a Maine truck accident attorney. No attorney will be at the accident scene to advise you, so you must take these steps to protect yourself legally:
- First, get medical help.
- Next, contact the police. Ask the police when and how you can obtain a copy of their written accident report.
- Get names, contact information, and insurance information for everyone involved.
- Find out who owns the truck and employs the driver.
- Take photographs of the accident site, the vehicle damages, and your visible injuries.
- If there were any eyewitnesses, try to get their names and contact information.
If you’re not treated at the scene or taken to the emergency room after the accident, obtain a medical examination within the first 24 hours, even if you feel fine. Taking this step protects you if you’ve sustained a latent or hard-to-detect injury.
Contact a Maine truck accident lawyer as soon as you’ve been examined by a medical professional, and be sure that you make and store copies of all documents generated by the accident: the police report, insurance documents, and medical records and receipts.
If you are in a serious trucking wreck, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible, as he or she may need to send a “preservation letter” to the opposing party. A preservation letter is used to ensure that the potential defendant is on notice that it should not destroy any relevant evidence.
What Evidence Will You Need to Support Your Injury Claim?
If you and your attorney proceed with legal action, your attorney will investigate how the truck accident happened and identify the liable party or parties. In some cases, an accident attorney may also ask an accident reconstruction expert to assist with that investigation.
Your accident lawyer will examine evidence that may include the written police accident report, toxicology reports, your medical records, dashcam video or other video, photos, eyewitness statements, the truck driver’s logs, and the truck’s maintenance records.
Your truck accident attorney may also ask an accident reconstruction expert or a medical authority to provide testimony or a statement in support of your claim.
What Happens When More Than One Party Is Liable?
If your personal injury claim names more than one defendant, it may be complicated or impossible to resolve out-of-court. You and your attorney could conceivably go to trial against one or more defendants and settle privately with other defendants.
It sounds confusing. Truck accident cases always are. But with a personal injury claim arising from a truck accident – with more than a single defendant – you are more likely to recover the full monetary compensation you will need for long-term medical care.
When Should You Contact a Truck Accident Attorney?
Generally speaking, the statute of limitations – the deadline – for filing an injury claim arising from a truck accident in Maine is six years. Realistically speaking, you can’t wait six years to speak with an attorney. Don’t even wait six weeks.
Your attorney will need to examine any evidence from the truck accident before it deteriorates – or disappears – and your attorney will also need to question any eyewitnesses before their memories fade.
As soon as you have received medical treatment for your truck accident injuries, schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney who has a record of successfully representing injured truck accident victims.
How Will You Pay an Attorney’s Fee?
After a truck accident, you could be catastrophically injured and unable to work for months. You could even be permanently disabled. With no earnings coming in, and medical expenses piling up next to your monthly bills, how can you afford to retain a truck accident lawyer?
Accident attorneys work on a contingent fee basis. It’s contingent upon prevailing with your injury claim. If you and your lawyer move ahead with legal action, you pay no lawyer’s fee unless and until you recover the compensation you are entitled to by law.
Your first legal consultation is free and entails no obligation. You’ll find out how the law applies to your own truck accident case, you’ll receive sound legal advice, and you’ll be able to make an informed decision about moving forward with your injury claim.
If your attorney can prove that you were injured because a defendant was negligent, you may be compensated for your current and future medical expenses, your lost wages and projected future lost wages, and related losses. After you’ve obtained medical help, obtain legal help, and make the call to a Maine personal injury attorney as soon as possible.