Following some truck accidents, trucking companies or representatives of their insurance companies may send agents out to contact injured victims. Their job is to persuade you to sign forms that are presented as being standard orders of business but, in fact, restrict your ability to pursue injury claims. You should not sign anything or speak to anyone about your accident until you have a lawyer.
Another benefit of working with an attorney is that they are experts at dealing with insurance companies on your behalf. Many insurers will attempt to contact victims and may offer lump-sum settlements in hopes of quickly and cheaply making the case go away. These offers are usually for far less than what the truck accident claim is actually worth.
Your attorney will be able to accurately assess what the true value of your case is and then work to achieve a settlement that reflects that value. If an insurance company refuses to make a satisfactory offer, your lawyer can file a lawsuit to pursue your case in court.
It’s important to keep in mind that Kentucky limits the time you have to file a claim. The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in Kentucky is 1 year. After you’ve been involved in a truck accident, you should contact our office and speak with one of our qualified attorneys as soon as you are able to.
Paul Baker is admitted to the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky and state courts all over Kentucky. He is a member of the American Bar Association, Louisville Bar Association, and Kentucky Bar Association. He’s ready to put his knowledge and experience to work for you.
How Kentucky Truck Accident Cases Are Different
Commercial truck accidents are often much different from regular car crashes because the causes can be more complex, the injuries are often more severe, more money is usually at stake, insurance limits are often higher, and multiple parties could potentially be liable. Determining the cause of truck accident injuries can also prove to be more complicated than other types of injury claims.
Large truck crashes can occur for a variety of reasons. Some causes are similar to those in other motor vehicle accidents, but some causes are specific to the trucking industry. A few of the most common causes of commercial truck accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Driver fatigue
- Driver error
- Defective parts
- Failure to maintain vehicle
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Overloaded trailer
Another reason that large truck accidents are different is that commercial vehicles and their drivers must comply with strict state and federal regulations. Violations of some regulations may make trucking companies liable for damages in truck accident cases.
Subchapter B of Chapter III in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations covers Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. Regulations listed under this section of the Code of Federal Regulations include:
- Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing under Part 382
- Commercial Driver’s License Standards under Part 383
- Driver Qualifications under Part 391
- Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation under Part 393
- Hours of Service under Part 395
- Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance under Part 396
- Transportation of Hazardous Materials under Part 397
The sooner you contact our office, the quicker we can get work to uncover any possible violations of the truck driver and trucking company. In some cases, trucking companies and their insurers work quickly to cover up these violations.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Truck Accident in Kentucky?
One of the biggest differences between commercial truck accidents and other car accident cases concerns the potential liability. Whereas most car collisions in Kentucky usually involve one driver being at fault and insurance companies for the respective motorists sorting out the details of compensation, many different parties could be held liable with a large truck crash.
Some of the different parties that could be liable in these cases may include:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- Owner of the rig
- Owner of the trailer
- Owner of the cargo
- Maintenance company
- Truck part manufacturer
- Freight broker
- Warehouse owner
- Other drivers
Even when drivers are determined to be at fault, trucking companies may still be liable in some cases under a legal theory that holds employers liable for the actions of their employees. Truck drivers in most cases rarely have the personal automobile insurance limits or assets necessary to pay the size of judgments that may be involved in a truck accident case.
Trucking companies frequently use owner-operator agreements where their truck drivers are deemed independent contractors as a means to try to limit liability. This is exactly why legal representation can be so important in these cases. An experienced attorney will know how to deal with companies and individuals who deny their liability for a person’s injuries in a commercial truck accident.
The Paul Baker Law Office has decades of experience investigating commercial truck accidents and working to make sure negligent parties are held accountable. Our firm can identify every party from which compensation can be pursued and go after every dime you are entitled to.
Types of Compensation in a Kentucky Truck Accident Claim
Truck accident victims often suffer serious injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, back injuries, spinal cord injuries, neck injuries, and broken bones, that affect them for their entire lives. In many cases, the injuries are so severe that people are permanently unable to return to work and can’t enjoy the activities they used to. The costs of treatment, rehab, and ongoing care can frequently be staggering.
An attorney can negotiate with the insurance company for a settlement that covers all of the expenses you have already incurred and will continue to face. Insurance companies generally agree to settlement because it cost less than the possible expenses associated with going to trial.
When a truck accident case does go to court, the victim has the burden of proving the defendant was at fault. If successful, the jury may award you compensatory damages, which are usually a combination of economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are tangible losses that can be readily calculated and proven. Some of the most common kinds of economic damages include medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
Non-economic damages are more subjective and do not involve easily calculated dollar amounts. Some of the most common non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, disability or disfigurement or even the effects suffered by a family as a result of the victim’s injury.
In rare cases, a truck accident victim may also be awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish defendants for exceptionally reckless conduct and discourage others from engaging in similar conduct.
Filing for Disability Benefits After a Truck Accident in Kentucky
Certain truck accident victims could be entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. In order to be eligible for these types of federal benefits, a truck accident victim must be unable to work for at least 12 months.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) “Blue Book” is a listing of disabling impairments. Being diagnosed with a listed impairment is typically the easiest way to be approved for SSDI benefits. For many SSDI applicants, it can be difficult to prove a disabling condition to the satisfaction of the SSA.
The Paul Baker Law Office has been helping individuals throughout Kentucky with SSDI claims for decades. Our firm handles SSDI claims for all kinds of injury victims, and we can help prove the severity of the injuries you suffered in a truck accident that will keep you out of work for one year or longer. We understand how to effectively present medical records in order to achieve favorable outcomes.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Kentucky Truck Accident Lawyer?
Most truck accident victims face mounting medical bills while struggling with a lack of income because they can’t go back to work. Many people in these circumstances mistakenly assume there is no point in looking for legal help because they will not be able to afford it.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The Paul Baker Law Office represents clients on a contingency fee basis. That means you pay us only if and when you receive a monetary award. Our firm will cover all of the costs of your legal action and only collect our fee as a percentage of your award at the end of your case. You never pay us directly from your pocket.