What If I Am Partly to Blame for the Trucking Accident?
You may recover compensation even if you partially caused a trucking accident in which you sustained injuries. In most states, the law allows partially at-fault truck accident victims to pursue compensation to recover some of their accident-related damages.
Do not give up on your legal rights if you think you might bear some responsibility for a truck accident. A skilled Irvine truck accident injury lawyer can recover significant compensation for your losses.
Here are some reasons why you can still file a claim:
Partial Fault for a Trucking Accident Does Not Bar You From Claiming Damages in Most States
Only a handful of states—Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia—and the District of Columbia prevent you from seeking compensation for your injuries and losses if you partly caused a trucking accident. In all other states, you can claim damages against someone else who caused the trucking accident, even if you bear some of the blame. Your recoverable damages will decrease by your established fault percentage.
Varying rules apply in the 46 states where you can still claim with partial fault for a truck accident. In 12 states, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington, you can pursue a damages claim even if you bear more responsibility for the trucking accident than any other party.
Most other states allow you to seek damages if the other party or parties (in combination) were at least 50 percent or more at fault than you.
An experienced truck accident lawyer can evaluate your situation and the relevant state’s trucking accident laws and advise you of your rights.
You Might Not Deserve as Much Blame as You Think
Assigning blame for a truck accident is rarely straightforward. It takes careful examination of complex evidence, a thorough understanding of trucking laws and regulations, and an experienced evaluator to assess the rationality of the liable party’s actions.
Liable parties may include those directly involved in the accident, such as motorists, and those indirectly involved whose actions or omissions were responsible for the accident or dangerous conditions, such as the truck owner, manufacturer, or a government entity.
As a trucking accident victim, you can not evaluate blame objectively and accurately.
Psychology researchers have shown that individuals who experience traumatic events tend to feel at fault despite having little or no role in causing the incident. The reason for this remains a mystery, but some believe it is an emotional coping mechanism. You may bear no responsibility for the trucking accident and your resulting injuries but feel strongly that you do.
To accurately determine the events leading to your trucking accident, you need an experienced and objective third party to evaluate the facts of the accident and the relevant state’s laws. An experienced trucking accident lawyer brings a wealth of knowledge about the potential causes of trucking accidents and how to establish fault.
You may find that a skilled and objective lawyer determines liability for the trucking accident far differently than you do and decides that you are less responsible for the accident than you feel.
Multiple Parties Other Than You Might Have Caused Your Truck Accident
An experienced lawyer may find the evidence from a trucking accident reveals multiple causes and parties with potential liability.
Every trucking accident differs, and no single party is always at fault.
After a lawyer analyzes a trucking accident case, they may conclude that responsibility falls on:
- A truck driver who speeds, drives while tired, or performs other reckless actions while behind the wheel, leading to an accident.
- A trucking company whose failure to train the driver or maintain roadworthy vehicles causes an accident.
- Any parties responsible for the improper loading or securing of the cargo on the truck, which leads to a loss of control and a collision.
- The truck manufacturer responsible for supplying the faulty parts that led to the accident.
- Other motorists failing to safely share the road with the truck, creating a dangerous situation.
- A government entity or private construction contractor if they are at fault for creating or failing to correct unreasonably hazardous road conditions.
These examples illustrate how you should never trust that your liability assessment is accurate if you are the victim of a trucking accident. Numerous parties, including those unclear to someone unfamiliar with the trucking industry, could face liability for contributing to the cause of your truck crash.
A skilled truck accident lawyer can carefully examine the record to identify all responsible parties and recover damages from them.
You May Have the Right to Receive Significant Monetary Damages
As a trucking accident victim, you may have the right to seek payment for the full scope of your physical, emotional, and financial harm, even with partial responsibility for the accident.
A skilled truck accident lawyer can build a solid case on your behalf, demanding compensation from at-fault parties and liability insurance companies for:
- Medical and other accident-related expenses.
- Lost income and job benefits due to missing work while recovering.
- Loss of future income or opportunities if a trucking accident leaves you temporarily or permanently disabled.
- Physical pain and discomfort from your injuries or medical treatments.
- Emotional distress and suffering.
- Diminished quality of life.
- Scarring, disfigurement, or loss of bodily function.
You may also demand punitive damages from the at-fault party. The accident must result from extreme negligence or malicious misconduct to claim punitive damages. Contact an experienced truck accident injury lawyer to learn about the damages you could claim in a trucking accident case, regardless of your level of fault.
Protecting Your Rights After a Trucking Accident
Your actions in the wake of a trucking accident—especially one you feel responsible for—can significantly influence your chances of receiving compensation. Following these steps can safeguard your potential claim.
Focus on Your Healing and Wellbeing
After a truck accident, don’t worry about the legalities and financial implications until you obtain prompt medical treatment.
Your medical records will play a significant role in establishing the extent of your injuries, the necessary treatment, and any treatment costs, all of which you need to determine the value of your claim.
Follow all medical advice and treatment plans from your healthcare providers. Your reasonable efforts to heal can show that you are actively trying to recover, positively influencing the outcome of your claim.
Never Blame Yourself Publicly
Inaccurately blaming yourself for a trucking accident can be costly. If you tell a police officer or insurance adjuster that you believe you are at fault, they will take your statement at face value and treat it as fact. This statement can have significant legal and financial repercussions. Depending on the location of your accident, a misjudged admission of fault could forfeit your rights to compensation entirely or result in you receiving much less than you deserve.
Beware of Quick Insurance Settlement Offers
Shortly after the accident, an insurance adjuster representing an at-fault party may offer you a quick claim settlement, even before you file a claim or speak with a lawyer. Although a speedy payout might seem attractive, you must be cautious. Insurance companies want to minimize their payouts, and their initial offers typically undervalue your claim.
Do not agree to any settlement or sign any documents without first speaking with an experienced trucking accident attorney. A lawyer can respond on your behalf and often negotiate a higher offered amount than the insurer’s initial settlement offer.
Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Retaining a truck accident lawyer promptly after your accident is critical to protecting your rights. A seasoned attorney can act quickly to gather crucial evidence and advocate for you in official investigations or other legal proceedings. A lawyer can also take all necessary steps to protect and promote your rights, preventing any missed deadlines from damaging your claim.
Contact an Experienced Trucking Accident Lawyer Today
Feeling responsible after a trucking accident is common, but your perception of the events is not always accurate. If you partially caused the accident, you can still seek compensation for your losses in most states.
If you or a loved one recently sustained injuries in a trucking accident, seek an experienced truck accident lawyer.
A skilled attorney can evaluate your level of fault and explain your right to compensation. The sooner you speak with a lawyer, the better your chances of receiving the maximum compensation you deserve. Contact a skilled trucking accident attorney today for a free consultation.