If your truck is in an accident with an independent contractor, read this before you make your next move.
Every year in the USA there are almost 400,000 truck accidents. Larger vehicles are harder to handle, heavier, and difficult to see around. This makes them statistically more likely to become involved in an accident. If you become injured because of a truck accident with an independent contractor, who is it that is liable for the damages? Are you to blame? We recommend hiring the legal services of an expert Chicago truck accident lawyer to help determine liability in truck accidents involving independent contractors. Read on for details on what to do next.
Who is liable – the contractor or the company?
The liability might fall to multiple parties however, the process you will go through remains the same either way. It just changes how many parties you sue.
For example, the independent truck driver may have overworked his allowance of hours for the week. That contractor might not know that the company he is hauling for overstocked his truck and he is overweight. The driver could be in a brand-new truck, with a faulty front wheel he doesn’t know about. All three parties would be liable. Here’s what to do next.
After the accident…
After you suffer the accident, see both the police to make a report, and the hospital to have your injuries examined. This creates a paper trail of evidence that the accident took place. Next, gather witness statements and contact details of anyone who saw the crash. You should return as soon as you can to the scene, where you can take pictures to document the vehicles, their directions, and any other details of the incident.
Performing these small tasks gives you the best evidence to support your case. Your truck accident lawyer will help you with this.
After you submit your evidence…
After you submit all your evidence in your sworn statement, the judge will determine who is to blame for the accident. The opposite party will submit a similar file. The judge might assign the blame in percentages. If you are not 100% at fault, you can claim compensation from the third party’s insurer. In truck accidents it is common to sue multiple parties.
After the judge decides who is at fault, your truck accident lawyer will enter negotiations with the other party. These negotiations are essential to determine a settlement sum. This is where the phrase “don’t accept the first offer” comes from. If you enter negotiations without a skilled attorney, you will leave with far less than you bargained for. The opposition will absolutely hire representation to protect themselves. You can read an interesting paper on truck crash causation here.
The Truck Accident Settlement Process
Once the judge decides fault and you enter negotiations, let your lawyer advise you on what to do next. If the third party does not pay out as much as your lawyer expected, they may advise you to hold on for a better offer. If a better offer doesn’t come, they will take your case all the way to court. This could result in a bigger pay out for you, but court is both exhausting and lengthier. For a swift resolution, it is better to settle out of court. Many insurers prefer this method of settling to save themselves the further expense of a lengthy court battle. On the other hand, lawyers often offer a no win, no contingency fee policy. This protects you from the costs of going to court unless they win your case.