Protecting Your Rights After a Fatal 18-Wheeler Wreck
When a loved one dies in a truck accident, the grief and shock can paralyze you emotionally and mentally. It’s imperative that you take certain steps to protect your legal interests, so that you can pursue compensation to cover some of your losses. Here’s a checklist of things to do in the immediate aftermath of the wrongful death of a family member in an 18-wheeler, semi, tractor-trailer or big rig accident.
Hire Experienced Legal Counsel
Your first inclination may be to contact your insurance provider, but it’s always in your best interest to retain qualified legal counsel first. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses with a vested interest in minimizing any payout to you. Your attorney, on the other hand, is committed to maximizing your recovery. Your lawyer can be your advocate with insurers and make certain that all policy provisions are honored. Your lawyer also will know the precise measures to take to fully protect your interests.
Gather All Necessary Evidence to Support Your Claim
A wrongful death claim has two primary components—establishing liability and determining the measure of damages. There are ways to help your attorney prepare the most compelling case for your full financial recovery.
Though it may be difficult, try to get basic information while still at the scene, including the names and contact information of parties and witnesses to the accident. If possible, take pictures of everything, including vehicle damage, weather conditions, and any roadway defects or skid marks.
Under state and federal motor vehicle safety rules and regulations, over-the-road truckers and trucking companies are required to maintain two specific logs: a log that documents the driver’s time on the road, and a log that shows all maintenance performed on the rig. Your attorney will request a copy of those logs to determine whether driver fatigue or negligent maintenance of the truck caused or contributed to the crash.
Many modern trucks also have a “black box” similar to the ones that have been in commercial airplanes for decades. Your lawyer can subpoena the information contained on the black box. That data may show the truck’s speed before and at the time of the crash, use of brakes, and other critical information.
Document All Your Losses
- Loss of financial support – Gather information to show the deceased’s income using paystubs, bank accounts, and other information.
- Unreimbursed medical expenses before death – If your loved one survived the accident but died of complications from the injuries sustained, there may be final medical expenses to be paid.
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of services provided – You can seek compensation for housekeeping, childcare, laundry, maintenance, or other services provided by your loved one.
When you file a wrongful death lawsuit, you have the right to pursue compensation for a wide range of losses, including:
Contact the Proven Wrongful Death Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we understand the devastation when a family member dies in a commercial truck accident because of someone else’s negligent or wrongful act. We know that, while no amount of compensation can make up for the loss of a loved one, you suffer real losses and have a right to hold careless or inattentive parties responsible for their actions.
We provide a free initial consultation to anyone who has lost a loved one in an 18-wheeler, big rig, semi or tractor-trailer accident. To set up an appointment with an experienced wrongful death attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at 844-402-2992. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.