Jorge, a professional truck driver, was traveling north on I-95 when a car decided to brake suddenly in front of him for no apparent reason. With as much effort as humanly possible, Jorge did his best to stop his tractor trailer. He was able to slow down considerably, but did hit the back of the car. The car driver was fine, but got several tickets. Jorge received no tickets. However, he sustained two broken wrists and other cuts and bruises. His wrists took months to heal after the surgery.
In our modern world, there are more cars and trucks on the roads than ever. And this means more traffic accidents. Thankfully, truck manufacturers have made huge steps forward in safety and truck drivers are often protected from serious injury. However, not every accident can be prevented and not every injury can be avoided.
Time off from work to heal, visit doctors, chiropractors and therapists can eat away at the income of a trucker quickly. With no income coming in, but the bills still piling up, it’s easy to get upside down quickly. Even so-called minor soft tissue injuries may require extensive medical attention and can inhibit a truck driver’s ability to work.
Generally speaking, in order to be successful in a personal injury case, a trucker must be able to prove two things:
1. Prove Liability
If you’re the victim of an accident and you take your case to court, you’re called the plaintiff. As plaintiff, you must prove the other side’s at fault. This can be done through admissions of the bad driver, witness testimony, police reports, etc. Many trucks also have dash cams which clearly point to the negligent party and cause of accident.
Unfortunately, ads on TV often portray truck drivers as the bad guys rather than professional drivers. Is this because many transportation insurance policies have million-dollar liability coverage and are easy targets? It often seems like truckers are unfairly blamed because of the deep pockets of their motor carriers or insurance companies. However, statistics show that truckers are the innocent party in approximately 85% of traffic accidents.
If liability is disputed (the other side says they’re not to blame), make sure you have clear evidence that will stand up in court. Just remember, you could have a million dollars in damages, but if you can’t prove the other side’s at fault, you get nothing.
2. Prove Damages
Once you’ve proven fault, it’s important to show how your body and finances were damaged. It’s extremely important to obtain a medical evaluation and treatment as soon as possible after an accident. This medical diagnosis and follow up treatment will be vital to prove and negotiate a settlement of your personal injury claim. Be sure to save all medical bills, out of pocket expenses and records of lost work due to your injuries.
Remember, every case has a time limit called a ‘statute of limitation’. You must bring your case to the court timely, or it may be dismissed. If hurt in an accident, or have questions about next steps to take, contact an attorney who understands transportation law and the losses associated with being unable to drive for an extended period of time.