Going to Trial After a Truck Accident
Victims of car accidents involving trucks face tough hurdles. First is the initial accident in which, if one is lucky, there are no fatalities. A truck accident lawyer is always recommended to guide you through the process of getting compensated and even going to trial. Often times a truck accident case is settled out of court if the company agrees to compensate the victim, but trucking companies staff experienced professionals on their accident investigation and insurance teams, and sometimes a trial is necessary.
A civil trial following a truck accident will almost always include the testimony of several witnesses, including an expert investigator. Such professionals with experience in this field are able to examine evidence, often at the scene of the accident itself, to determine just who may have been at fault. Most trucking companies have teams ready to go as soon as an accident occurs, so you need to get an investigator on the case as soon as you can. Accident reconstructionists, computer graphics technicians, forensics experts, and other specialists in trucking safety can better present the case in your favor.
In this situation, your truck accident lawyer is your best friend. They understand the laws and regulations governing the truck industry, as well as how to conduct a trial. A lawyer is also good at presenting each piece of evidence clearly to a judge or a jury if one is present. If a quicker settlement is desired, the trial can be conducted without a jury, which is known as a bench trial. This involves just the opposing parties convening before a judge. Individuals, groups, or corporations can be involved in a civil trial, while in a criminal trial it is the state versus an individual or group.
Truck accidents account for about a third of fatal traffic accidents in the United States. Wrongful death or potentially murder cases are the biggest type of damages sought, but typically a civil trial is more in order for such incidents. Damages are usually economic and include not only compensation for damage to the car, but for medical care, loss of employment, and loss of expected earnings. You can also receive damages for pain and suffering and even disfigurement. If the truck driver exercised bad judgment, you can seek punitive damage, and the compensation can sometimes be multiplied if the trucker was driving while drunk or high on drugs.
While a truck accident lawyer is needed to present the evidence and ensure the maximum amount of damages is awarded to the victim, there are limitations within which the attorney must work. Most states have a statute of limitations when it comes to truck and automobile accidents. This means you must file your claim within a certain amount of time. Settlements can also be limited based on the jurisdiction where the accident and the trial take place. With an experienced legal counsel and professional accident investigation, you stand the best chances of being compensated for any losses as a result of a truck accident.
Laura Ruhl Genson, Anita M. Kerezman, Truck Accident Litigation, Second Edition, 2006, Google Books., http://books.google.com/books?id=o4iWvKZ817EC&pg=PR31&lpg=PR31&dq=how+a+truck+accident+trial+works&source=bl&ots=4xod1dYjgu&sig=bO7l_-v1uvAcjZPXOPObm5obyFk&hl=en&ei=pJeDTbKVN_SC0QHO66DgCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CEcQ6AEwCDgK#v=onepage&q=how%20a%20truck%20accident%20trial%20works&f=false
Legalinfo.com, "Stages of a Criminal Case Trial", http://www.legalinfo.com/content/criminal-law/stages-of-a-criminal-case-trial.html (accessed March 15, 2011).
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Sherrie Bennett, "Trucking Accidents", http://personal-injury.lawyers.com/trucking-accidents/Trucking-Accidents.html (accessed March 15, 2011).