How you deal with trucking companies after a truck accident can affect the outcome of your case. If you were in a commercial vehicle collision in Ohio, you may have to interact with a trucking company, their insurer, and other parties who are legally liable for your accident and injuries.
Knowing what to do when you have to file a truck accident claim can help you get justice and recover the most compensation available based on the facts of your case. If you have questions or concerns or are fighting for a payout for significant injuries, a truck accident attorney can help.
Understanding Liability and Options After an Ohio Truck Crash
You may be wondering why you have to deal with a trucking company after a truck driver causes a crash in Ohio. This is because of a legal doctrine known as “respondeat superior.” Under case law in Ohio, employers are responsible for the negligent actions of their workers. This includes trucking companies that are vicariously liable for accidents caused by their drivers.
This type of liability has been affirmed by various Ohio Court of Appeals and Supreme Court of Ohio numerous times.
Therefore, financial recovery in your truck collision case will likely come from the corporate insurance policy held by the trucking company or from a lawsuit filed against the corporation – making how you deal with the trucking company after a crash even more important.
Be Aware of How the Trucking Company and Their Insurer May Try to Reduce the Value of Your Claim
It is important to remember that the trucking company will be the defendant if you sue based on your crash. They are not on your side. In fact, they are likely to try to reduce how much they have to pay you. For this reason, you should be aware of the tactics used by defendants and their insurers.
You should be especially careful about what you say and do leading up to settlement negotiations or court. They may try to get you to give a recorded statement, but you do not have to do so. If you do, make sure that you have an attorney representing you in the process.
They may try to get you to say things they can use to reduce the value of your claim, blame your injuries on other parties or incidents, or downplay the effect of your injuries. Only offer the basic facts of the case and do not discuss anything outside of when and where, if possible, and consider calling a lawyer.
Why They May Offer a Settlement
When a trucking company knows their driver caused a crash and they will be held legally responsible, they may offer a settlement in the first days following an accident. This may be an attempt to convince you to accept a payout that probably seems like a lot of money before you are aware of how much your case is worth.
They may not want you to realize how much your claim might be worth. If they wait until your injuries are healed and you have time to discuss your case with an attorney, you may demand more money. Since they want to pay out as little money as possible, they may want to get to you before you understand the value of your losses. To know the full value of your case, you must consider:
- Current and future medical bills related to your injuries
- Lost wages while you are out of work
- Reduced earning ability if you have lasting injuries
- Property damages
- Other related expenses and losses
- Pain and suffering and other non-economic damages
If you accept a settlement offer without knowing the value of each of these recoverable damages, you may agree to a payout that does not cover your full range of expenses and losses. An attorney can help determine the potential settlement value of your claim. You should talk to a truck accident lawyer before signing any settlement agreement.
Let an Attorney Handle Your Truck Accident Case for You
Most personal injury law firms provide free consultations and represent their clients on a contingency basis. You should not have to pay anything upfront for representation.
A lawyer can protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve but be sure to act quickly. There are time limits for suing a trucking company after a crash. In Ohio, this generally includes:
- Personal injury: Two years under Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10
- Wrongful death: Two years under Ohio Revised Code Section 2125.02
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Contact the Fitch Law Firm LLC for a free case assessment today. The team in our Columbus office is waiting to speak with you about your legal options. We also have locations in Dayton, Cincinnati, Marion, and Springfield.
To learn how one of our truck accident lawyers can help you, call (614) 545-3930.
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