Due to the severe nature of accidents with large commercial vehicles, victims and their families often face mounting medical bills and emotional stress. Companies will often try to settle truck accident claims quickly. A fast payout to ease the financial strain is tempting.
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While a quick settlement might seem great in the short term, it should not be the goal. Instead, victims should focus on getting the full amount of compensation they are owed. Accepting an early offer could mean leaving a significant amount of damages unpaid.
Although the process may take a bit longer, involving a personal injury attorney in negotiating a truck accident settlement often results in higher compensation.
Potential for Higher Compensation in Truck Accident Claims
Due to the size and weight of commercial trucks, accidents involving them tend to be more catastrophic. Large vehicles take longer to stop, have large blind spots, can tip or roll over, and may result in underride collisions where a car is wedged underneath.
Injuries from truck accidents are often more severe, requiring extensive (and expensive) medical treatments as well as long-term or permanent disabilities, emotional trauma, PTSD, lost wages, and diminished quality of life. These can all be physically, emotionally, and financially draining and have a significant impact on the victim and their family for the rest of their lives.
Hoping to minimize their losses, trucking companies and their insurance companies will typically make a minimal offer soon after the incident. The full extent of the victim’s injuries may not be apparent yet. A fair truck accident settlement should seek to address the full extent of the victim’s losses and suffering because once a settlement is accepted, there is no going back for additional compensation.
Damages should include not only immediate medical treatment but also rehabilitation, medication, and follow-up or long-term care. A personal injury attorney can help you calculate the full extent of your medical expenses.
Lost Wages and Future Earnings
Whether losing just a day or two of work or having a temporary or permanent disability, victims deserve compensation for lost wages or diminished earning capacity. An experienced attorney will consider current and potential future earnings and career opportunities when settling a truck accident claim.
Pain and Suffering
Damages from a truck accident often result in physical pain, emotional distress, and reduced quality of life. Personal injury attorneys understand how to quantify these intangible damages and settle a truck accident claim to include pain and suffering.
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Truck Accident Laws in New Mexico
Truck accident cases in New Mexico involve Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) that set the standards for commercial vehicles. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney in New Mexico will be well-versed in these complex laws and can ensure they are appropriately applied to your truck accident claim. Untangling these complicated regulations can take time, but is likely to result in a better settlement.
Compliance With Federal and New Mexico Regulations
Establishing liability to settle truck accident claims requires obtaining accident reports, collecting medical records, interviewing witnesses, consulting with experts, reconstructing the accident scene, and performing other necessary tasks to build a persuasive case on your behalf. A truck accident attorney will also investigate whether any FMCSRs were violated. These laws cover aspects that may have played a part in the crash, such as driver qualifications, impaired driving, hours allowed behind the wheel, and truck maintenance.
Federal and state regulations do not just apply to the truck driver. The company that hired the driver, the freight company that owns the truck, a parts manufacturer, or even a third party responsible for the truck’s maintenance can all share in the liability for a crash. A portion of responsibility could fall on the city, county, or state for poor road conditions. Any or all of these parties may be held liable for a portion of the truck accident settlement.
The fact there could be multiple at-fault parties, and therefore multiple insurance companies to deal with, makes commercial truck accidents complex. Victims will need to have a skilled personal injury attorney to navigate the legal landscape, build a compelling case, and negotiate to settle the truck accident claim. While their expertise in these matters significantly increases the likelihood of achieving full compensation, it is likely to take longer than a typical car crash between two individuals.
Prioritizing a Fair Settlement Over Speed
Settling truck accident claims involve numerous factors, such as investigating whether regulations were violated, determining liability, and assessing current and future damages. Rushing the settlement process may overlook critical details that could impact the outcome of the case. Taking the necessary time allows your attorney to thoroughly investigate the accident, gather evidence, and build a strong case that increases the likelihood of a fair settlement.
Prioritizing a fair settlement over speed will result in the following:
- An accurate assessment (and dollar value) of the full extent of injuries, damages, and losses—physical, emotional, and financial—both short- and long-term.
- Ample time for a personal injury attorney to negotiate with insurance companies.
- Time to strategize and file a lawsuit and litigate if necessary.
- Makes it clear to those liable that you are determined to hold out for the compensation that will make you whole and that you rightfully deserve.
While the immediate financial burdens following a truck accident may tempt victims to settle quickly, it is usually best to pause and consult with a personal injury attorney. Legal representation ensures that your rights are protected and increases the likelihood of a more favorable outcome. Obtaining the compensation you deserve should be the goal. It may take time, but the outcome is well worth the wait. If you have been involved in a truck accident in New Mexico, contact Kane Personal Injury for a free review of your case.