Truck accidents are often devastating. Trucks weigh up to 80,000 pounds and are often more than 50 feet long. Naturally, people involved in truck accidents end up with severe injuries or fatalities. As seasoned truck accident attorneys in Utah, we have seen too many such cases.
The Utah state is trying to curb such injuries and fatalities through various initiatives under the Zero Fatalities and Truck Smart program. However, according to the latest data, from 2019 to 2021, Utah experienced 91 fatal crashes and 232 severe injury crashes, totaling 323 crashes, over these three years. Out of these 323 crashes, 82% occurred on dry roads, with only 52 (18%) occurring on wet, snowy, slushy or icy roads.
In other words, accidents involving trucks continue to injure and kill Utahans. And when you are in one, seek legal advice from a seasoned truck accident attorney in Utah. But it’s best to know how a truck accident claim gets filed. It can help you prepare for this legal battle.
Here’s what you need to know.
Steps You Should Take at The Scene of Accident
You will need to take a few steps before you call a truck accident attorney in Utah. As you can imagine, the scene of the accident will be chaotic. Most Utah truck crashes can be distressing. You should take the following steps only if you can (physically) do so. If you are severely injured, it’s best to wait for help.
1) Get Medical Attention: The first step is to call 911 for medical help, especially if you see fatal injuries. Yours and everyone else’s health and safety should be your top priority. But you should seek immediate medical attention, even if you believe your injuries are minor. Medical records will be essential for filing a truck accident claim.
2) Report The Accident: Next, you should report the accident. In Utah, you must report the crash to the police if it caused more than $1,500 in property damage or if anyone was injured or died. However, you should file a report regardless. It can prove helpful in securing your truck accident claim.
3) Exchange Information: Exchange insurance information with the truck driver and any other involved parties. Don’t forget to collect names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance policy details from everyone involved in the crash. While doing this, don’t accept your fault or discuss anything else that may jeopardize your truck accident claim.
4) Document The Scene: If possible, take photos and videos of the accident scene, the vehicles involved, and any visible injuries. These visuals can help document the position of your car and the truck. That, in turn, may provide helpful in determining who was responsible for the crash.
How to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
After getting required medical attention, you can take the steps to file your truck accident lawsuit. It will involve tough negotiations, legal paperwork, and even court battles. Here’s what you will need to do.
1) Notify Your Insurance Company: Inform your insurance company about the accident. Provide them with the necessary information. However, insurance companies are eager to offer a lowball settlement. So, be cautious when speaking to them. Don’t accept any offers or admit your fault. Speak with a seasoned Utah truck accident attorney as soon as possible, which brings us to the next point.
2) Consult a Truck Accident Attorney in Utah: Consider hiring a personal injury attorney with experience handling truck accident cases in Utah. Your lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal processes with ease. Your attorney will also help you:
- Understand your rights
- Gather evidence
- File your claim
- Negotiate with insurance companies
- Take care of legal paperwork
- File a lawsuit if necessary
Just be sure to choose a reputed, skilled, and competent truck accident attorney in Utah. The more experienced they are, the better.
3) Collect Your Medical Records and Bills: You will need your medical records and bills to get your claim. Document and organize all medical records, bills, and receipts of your injuries and treatment. Sometimes, you may need long-term physical therapy. Truck accident victims might also suffer a temporary or even permanent disability. Make sure to keep all these medical records and bills. It’s the best way to get the desired compensation.
4) Calculate Your Damage: You need your lawyer’s help to calculate your damages. Typically, a truck accident claim involves the following damages.
- Medical expenses
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
Although Utah has a cap ($480,000 or three times the economic damages) on non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, it applies only to medical malpractice claims. There is no damage cap for other types of personal injury claims, including truck accidents.
5) File Your Truck Accident Claim: The next step is filing a truck accident claim. Usually, your attorney will send a demand letter to the insurance company. This demand letter will outline your injuries, damages, and a settlement amount you are willing to accept. It’s unlikely that the insurance carrier will accept your offer immediately. You will need to negotiate.
6) Negotiate a Settlement: Most personal injury cases, including truck accident lawsuits, will be settled. Trials are time-consuming and expensive. As far as possible, everyone will try to avoid trial. But in the rare event you fail to reach a settlement, be prepared to go to trial. Of course, your lawyer will prepare your case for a trial.
Things You Need to Remember
You will need to know a few things before filing a truck accident claim. Be aware of the following two critical factors.
1) Statute of Limitations: In Utah, you generally have four years from the date of the injury/accident to file a lawsuit, which includes crashes involving trucks. If not, the Utah court system may refuse to hear it. So, consult your Utah truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
2) Utah is a Comparative Fault State: Utah is a modified comparative negligence state with a 50% at-fault bar. This means you can receive 49% of the damage award if you are 49% at fault. However, if you are 50% or more at fault, you can’t recover any damages. In short, proving who was more at fault is necessary to recover the desired compensation. So, keep all the evidence and other documentation organized before filing a truck accident claim.
Ruck accidents are often life-altering. You will need enough compensation to help you reduce your financial burden. However, every truck accident lawsuit is unique. You may need to take specific steps depending on the circumstances of your case. So, consult a truck accident attorney in Utah as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you take the necessary steps.
Do you want to file a lawsuit for your truck accident? At Henriksen & Henriksen, we offer professional personal injury law services. Discuss your case today. Feel free to reach out for a free consultation!