If you were seriously injured in a Virginia truck accident, you may already know that state laws allow you to pursue compensation for your injuries and damages if the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence. What you might not know is how to go about seeking that compensation and just how long it could take to recover the damages you deserve.
The experienced Virginia truck accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp are here to help you understand and protect your rights as a victim of another person’s carelessness or recklessness. We appreciate that the legal procedures that follow a personal injury claim are probably unfamiliar to you, and are here to advise you through every stage of the process.
Contact our Virginia Beach personal injury team today to schedule a free, no-risk review of your potential claim.
Determining Liability and Available Insurance Coverage
Where Virginia truck accidents are concerned, liability is not always straightforward. Although it may seem clear that the truck operator who struck you is to blame for your injuries, other parties may have played a role in your accident as well.
Some parties that could potentially be liable for your trucking accident include:
- The truck operator: Truck operators can be negligent in a lot of ways and are usually at least partially at fault for an accident. Some common forms of operator negligence include drowsy driving, distracted driving, driving under the influence, reckless driving, speeding, failure to yield, and unsafe lane changes.
- The trucking company: The trucking company may also shoulder some accountability for the crash. They could be liable if they urged their driver to surpass the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s hours of service limits, failed to properly maintain their truck, or were negligent in another way that caused the accident. If the driver was an employee, then the company would be vicariously liable for their negligence.
- The truck owner: In some instances, truck companies lease vehicles from a third party. If the owner of the truck supplied the company with a defective vehicle, then the owner may share in the liability for the collision.
- Third-party maintenance company: In addition to third-party vehicles, truck companies often employ third-party maintenance companies to conduct routine maintenance and inspections of their vehicles. If an accident happened because a third-party maintenance company was negligent in its duties, it could be found completely or partially at fault.
- Cargo loaders: If unsecured or improperly loaded freight trigged a Virginia truck accident, then a cargo loader could be held accountable. If freight is not properly loaded and secured, it can move around inside the trailer and displace the vehicle’s center of gravity. Unsecured freight could also fall off the trailer and cause a crash.
- Part manufacturers: In some cases, a mechanical defect contributes to a truck accident. For example, if the brakes stop working or the tow hitch fails due to a faulty or defective part, then the manufacturer could be liable for the ensuing accident.
If multiple parties are found liable for your truck accident, multiple insurance carriers will be involved in the claims process. Our reputable Virginia truck accident lawyers can accurately identify all possible sources of financial compensation and deal with the insurance companies while you concentrate on your recovery.
How Long Does the Insurer Have to Investigate My Claim?
In Virginia, there is no set deadline by which an insurer has to conclude its investigation. They are simply expected to make a good-faith effort to process the claim in a timely manner. Although there are a number of reasons why an insurance carrier might delay a claim, most investigations are wrapped up in about 45 days.
If the status of your claim has not been updated after 45 days, our Virginia truck accident lawyers will contact them for details.
How Are Virginia Accident Settlements Calculated?
Various factors are taken into account when calculating an insurance settlement. A few of the most vital include economic damages like hospital bills, lost wages, physical therapy, prescription medication, and more. Non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, are much more challenging when it comes to determining their worth, but are no less important in calculating a fair settlement.
Most insurance companies use a computer program or mathematical formula to calculate an accident settlement. For instance, the Multiplier Method multiplies the victim’s actual damages by a number between one and a half and five to determine fair compensation. The more severe the injuries and the impact on the victim’s quality of life, the higher the multiplier, and the higher the damages.
No matter what method an insurance company uses, you should be leery of any settlement they offer you before you have spoken to an attorney. In almost all cases, the initial settlement offer is far less than what you are entitled to; a fact of which the insurance company is well aware. Our experienced Virginia truck accident lawyers will be able to independently calculate your losses, quantify your non-economic damages, and negotiate for an appropriate settlement on your behalf.
Do You Need Legal Help With Your Virginia Truck Accident Claim?
If you were injured in a Virginia truck accident, contact the Virginia Beach truck accident lawyers from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp for a free review of your case at (833) 997-1774 or via our online form. We can conduct a thorough investigation of your accident and aggressively pursue the financial compensation the law entitles you to.