Stages of a Truck Injury Lawsuit
If you have been involved in a trucking accident and you believe you were not at fault, then you may have grounds to file a truck injury lawsuit. The point of such a lawsuit is to collect damages, or compensation for your injuries.
In a trucking accident, there are several types of damages you can recover, including money to pay for medical costs, money to compensate for pain and suffering, and punitive damages designed to punish the party at fault for the injury.
Truck accident cases are rarely resolved quickly, particularly if the case goes to trial. It can take years to come to a final decision. The following is an overview of the various stages a truck injury lawsuit goes through before finally reaching a resolution.
Your personal injury attorney will begin your lawsuit by collecting evidence to help build a case against the at-fault party.
There is a variety of evidence your attorney may seek to collect, including:
- The truck drivers personnel files
- Trucking logs
- The trucking companys safety record
- The trucking companys and the drivers phone communication records
- Documentation of the truck drivers training and qualifications
- Witness statements
- Photos of the accident site
Writing the Demand Letter
Once enough evidence is collected, your attorney will write a demand letter and submit it to the at-fault party.
The demand letter serves as a notice to the other party or parties of your intention to file a lawsuit. It details the reason why you are planning on filing suit, the damages you are seeking, the injuries you have incurred, and an amount you are looking for to settle the case, so you can avoid trial.
The other party then has an opportunity to respond to the letter. Oftentimes, the party will make a counteroffer. This amount will be less than the initial offer. If it is satisfactory, then you can accept the settlement offer, and your matter will be over. However, if the amount is not satisfactory, your attorney may have to continue negotiations with the other party.
If negotiations break down and no resolution can be made in the form of a settlement agreement, then your attorney will file a formal complaint with a court and initiate a lawsuit against the party or parties.
Truck Injury Trials
Often the trial will begin with jury selection. This is when either the judge or the lawyers select people to sit on the jury panel. The jury (or a judge in a bench trial held without a jury) will make the final verdict regarding the truck injury case.
Next, attorneys are given an opportunity to make opening statements. These statements are basically a way for the attorneys to preface their arguments before the court.
After opening statements, attorneys are given the opportunity to call witnesses and question them. Witnesses in a truck injury case are likely to include you and any other injured parties, witnesses to the accident, and the driver of the truck.
At the close of the trial, the attorneys are given an opportunity to make their final statements. These are the attorneys concluding thoughts and last opportunity to influence the jury or judge.
Finally, the jury or judge deliberates and comes to a decision. This decision is then shared with the entire court in the form of a verdict.