Some cases don't settle out of court, for any number of reasons. Therefore, these cases typically need to go to trial for you to win full compensation. Because commercial vehicle accident victims have the burden of proof in a lawsuit, you'll face a challenging task at your trial. To win, you have to present evidence for four different elements of your 18-wheeler accident claim. These elements are duty, breach, causation, and damages.
Proving duty means you have to show that the defendant in your lawsuit owed you the duty to act with enough caution to keep you from getting harmed. Proving duty is often a straightforward task since most people owe each other the duty to behave as a reasonable person would act so as not to harm others. This duty of care might involve refraining from doing unreasonably dangerous things, or it might involve taking affirmative precautions to prevent others from being harmed.
Second, you have to show the defendant's behavior was a breach of the owed duty of care. If the "reasonable person" duty of care applies in your case, for example, proving breach involves demonstrating that the defendant did something a reasonable person would have refrained from doing. To prove breach, you need to bring evidence into the courtroom that shows the jurors exactly what the defendant in your lawsuit did or failed to do. The jurors will think about all of the circumstances surrounding your big rig accident and will decide whether or not the defendant's actions counted as a breach of the relevant duty of care.
Third, you have to prove causation. It isn't sufficient just to show that the defendant breached the duty of care you were owed; you must continue by proving the defendant's breach of the care caused your injuries. In other words, you must prove the breach and your injuries were definitely linked. This requires extensive evidence. Many parties play a role in getting a commercial vehicle ready to undertake a haul, and any one of these multiple parties might have made a mistake that contributed to your crash. Because so many individuals or organizations could potentially be at fault, defendants named in the lawsuit will frequently try to shift blame for the big rig wreck onto someone else, or even onto you. Without enough evidence that pins the blame on the defendant, your lawsuit will fail.
Fourth and finally, you have to prove damages. The word "damages" means the money you are to collect from the defendant if you successfully prove the above three elements of your 18-wheeler accident claim. Damages are able to compensate plaintiffs for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical bills, loss of earning capacity, repair bills, and other types of losses they've suffered due to the 18-wheeler accident. To receive damages, you have to not only calculate how much you are owed, but you must bring evidence to the court to show your calculation of damages is reasonable and supported by the evidence. It's probable that the defendant in your case will also calculate their own figure for the damages, a number that's sure to be smaller than yours. It takes powerful evidence to convince a jury that you're not looking for a handout and the defendant is just trying to escape legal responsibility.
Calculating damages is usually a complex task. If your medical treatment is ongoing, for instance, it can be difficult to figure out by yourself an estimation for how much your bills will ultimately cost. Placing a price tag on ambiguous losses such as pain and suffering can be really challenging for non-lawyers, and reasoning out the damage amounts for loss of earning capacity can be very intricate once you start thinking about the time value of money and other factors such as potential raises. The experienced personal injury attorneys at our firm understand what it takes to calculate the damages for all kinds of losses. We've been figuring out damages for twenty years and counting. We can tell you what a jury is probably going to decide about the value of your case.
Whether your claim winds up settled out of court or decided upon in the courtroom, our 18-wheeler accident attorneys are here to help. We know how to pressure defendants on behalf of our clients who need fair settlements, and we know how to build a bullet-proof trail strategy for winning your claim in the courtroom.
Any litigation, early on, requires you to identify which defendants are blameworthy and liable in your case. This is a particularly complex task since, as mentioned above, the work of multiple parties goes into getting a commercial vehicle ready to make a delivery. Any one of these individuals or organizations, or a combination of them, can make a mistake behind the scenes that wound up leading to the wreck. If more than one individual or organization caused your collision, all of them can be named as defendants in your lawsuit.
In 18-wheeler accident cases, there are certain parties that are typically to blame for the errors that lead to wrecks. These parties are truck drivers, trucking companies, cargo-loading companies, and route-planning companies. In the following section, we'll talk about the role these parties frequently play in causing tractor-trailer accidents.TruckersDid You Know?
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Truck drivers are commonly among the defense parties most directly liable for causing an 18-wheeler accident. It's not uncommon for a truck driver to make a mistake on the roadway. They speed recklessly, roll through stop signs, make illegal turns, and make other careless driving mistakes that put others in harm's way. Also, truck drivers might skip their mandatory rest breaks to meet unrealistic delivery schedules. Skipping rest breaks means truckers are more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel and get involved in a wreck. No matter whether the truck driver in your 18-wheeler accident made a careless mistake or prioritized his delivery schedule above your safety, a reckless truck driver can be named as a defendant in your lawsuit.
Our experienced 18-wheeler accident attorneys have strategies for getting the truth out even in the face of lying truckers. Often, we're able to gather so much evidence that the trucker is discredited. When witness statements, video surveillance footage, and forensic testing all back up your version of the events, it's not likely that a jury or judge will think of the trucker as credible. In other situations, we take depositions to root out the truth. In a deposition, a lawyer can ask questions to the defendant's witnesses. The attorneys at our firm have conducted thousands of depositions in the past twenty years. We have perfected our questioning techniques, and we can use them to get lying truckers to tell the truth far in advance of the actual trial.