The affects of a commercial trucking accident can be devastating, both physically and financially. However, a St Louis truck accident lawyer can help you to recover from these damages by seeking compensation for the losses that you incurred.
Before filing a St Louis truck accident lawsuit, it is important that you take the initial steps to build a strong case in your favor.
These steps include:
- Mitigating injuries
- Gathering evidence
- Determining liability
- Assessing damages
Your St Louis truck accident lawyer can help you to accomplish each of these steps once have hired an attorney to represent you.
The first step is to mitigate the damages of your accident. Mitigation is the process of limiting the losses, costs, and injuries that result from an accident.
The most important part of mitigation is seeking medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident, no matter how minor your injuries may seem. You should follow your doctor’s orders and, if possible, get more than one medical opinion for any injuries diagnosed.
You should also have an assessment of property damage conducted as soon as possible after the accident. Do not further damage your property after the accident and make sure that you get everything fixed before using it again. For example, do not drive your car after the accident until it has been worked on by a mechanic.
Finally, do not try to exaggerate your injuries or other losses. Be honest and up-front about your damages.
The gathering of evidence in the aftermath of a truck accident is imperative to a future claim. This is one of the most important steps of the civil lawsuit process. While most of the leg work will be done by your St. Louis truck accident lawyer, there are a few things that can be done immediately following the accident, if you are able.
Document when and how the accident occurred. Take pictures of the accident, including any other objects hit such as parking barriers. Record the names, licenses, and insurance information of anyone involved. Obtain a copy of the police report, along with the names of responding law enforcement officers.
After discussing your case with a St. Louis trucking accident lawyer, they will begin the process of documenting evidence which will potentially include a number of things.
- Data from the “black box” installed in every truck
- Logbooks required to be maintained
- Radio recordings
- Driver and accident reports
- Tire or skid marks in the roads
- Pictures from the scene of the accident
- The trucker’s driver and medical histories
- Truck inspection reports
While the evidence is not limited to those listed, it provides a baseline for the kinds of things you can expect to be gathered and investigated. Each case is different and varying factors are involved warranting different evidence.
Trucking accidents can be confusing because there may be more than one liable party. Depending on what caused the accident, the liable party may be in question. The following are common parties, often more than one, that can be held liable in a trucking accident:
- The driver of the truck
- The company that employs the driver
- The company that loaded the truck
- Parts manufacturer
Pure Comparative Fault Rule
In St. Louis, the courts follow the pure comparative fault rule. Essentially, a jury will decide how much of the accident was your fault and reduce the damages awarded by that percentage.
For example, a jury may decide you were 10% at fault because of your failure to reduce speed in wet conditions, but the driver of the semi-truck was 90% at fault for the accident. If the jury awards you $50,000 in damages, you will only be eligible to receive $45,000 because 10% was deducted because of your 10% responsibility in the accident.
It is not uncommon for the trucking and insurance companies to use the St. Louis liability laws to their advantage by attempting to place at least some blame on another party – resulting in a lesser payment for those companies and less compensation for the victim. For that reason, it is important to hire a lawyer who will fight for your case and fight to help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Assessing Your Trucking Accident Damages
Your damages are the total losses that you incurred as a result of your accident.
Your damages can include costs related to physical damages, emotional damages, property damages, and future costs.
Your St Louis truck accident lawyer will be able to help you determine what your total damages are valued at. This will help you come up with a demand for compensation to cover the costs of your accident.
You can use evidence to help prove your economic and non-economic damages. Receipts, bills, paychecks, property damage estimations, medical records, and other documents used as evidence are often-times used to prove the severity of your losses.
Depending of the specifics of your case, your attorney may choose to try to gain compensation in the form of both compensatory damages and punitive damages.