One of the biggest risks to motorists is that they often share the road with drunk drivers. Those dangers increase exponentially when the intoxicated driver is operating a large truck. When a truck driver is driving under the influence, the consequences are often deadly.
At the Morelli Law Firm, we know how DUI truck crashes can leave victims facing lifelong consequences. Having an experienced truck drunk driving accidents victim lawyer in Philadelphia working for you is critical to get the compensation you need to recover from your injuries and move on with your life after a wreck.
Is a Drunk Truck Driver Always Liable?
When you plan to file a lawsuit after a truck accident, you must first establish who is liable for the damages. Often, in a truck accident, determining liability can be quite difficult. However, if the truck driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, things tend to get much more clear-cut.
The drunk truck driver will almost always be the party primarily at fault in these accidents. At the same time, the company that employs the driver may also hold a level of liability. If the company was negligent in its hiring practices and employed a driver with a history of drunk driving, they could be found to be partially responsible for the damages.
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Stricter Regulations for Truck Drivers
Because large trucks pose a greater danger than other vehicles on the road, the safety standards to which drivers of these vehicles are held are also higher.
To operate the majority of large trucks, a standard driver’s license is not enough. Drivers of these trucks must obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Depending upon their cargo, they may also need several certifications.
Truck drivers must follow strict rules regarding their hours of service. Additionally, they face a lower legal limit when it comes to blood alcohol concentration (BAC). For most drivers, the legal limit for BAC is .08%. However, for truck drivers operating vehicles that require a CDL, the limit is lowered to .04%.
Even the slightest dulling of reflexes can be quite costly when operating a large truck. Due to their weight and size, these vehicles are slow to stop and difficult to maneuver, so truck drivers must be vigilant at all times.
What a Philadelphia Drunk Truck Driver Accident Victims Lawyer Will Do
When you hire a truck drunk driving accidents victim lawyer in Philadelphia, they will immediately launch an independent investigation into your accident. This investigation will likely include:
- Visiting the accident scene and taking pictures
- Speaking with witnesses
- Consulting experts
- Reviewing the hiring and operational practices of the trucking company
- Obtaining a copy of the official accident report
- Reviewing your medical files
The aim of this investigation will be both to determine all liable parties and gather evidence in support of your compensation claim. With the information they obtain, your lawyer will assess all the damages you have suffered and calculate the full value of your claim.
After that, your attorney will prepare all the required paperwork and file your lawsuit with the court. They will then go through all the pre-trial procedures before finally representing you in the courtroom, if necessary.
Throughout the process, your lawyer will be in negotiation with the opposing counsel attempting to reach an agreement for a fair settlement deal. Your lawyer will keep in constant contact with you, updating you on the status of your case and relaying any settlement offers that they receive.
Compensation You May Be Able to Claim After an Accident
After a drunk truck driver accident, you may be eligible to claim a wide range of damages. The specific damages you can claim depend upon the particulars of your case. These compensation claims can generally be divided into economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are the simpler of the two types. These are the things that have a direct financial cost for an accident victim, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Reduced earning capacity
- Property damage
Calculating the amount of money a person might miss out on due to reduced earning capacity can be a bit tricky. However, the loss is still a financial one, and there are algorithms that can help determine a fairly accurate number. Compensation for economic damages aims to directly replace all the money the accident has or will cost the victim.
Non-economic damages are things that cannot be measured in dollars and cents. Some of the most common non-economic damages are:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Lowered quality of life
- Loss of companionship
The loss of companionship that an accident victim must face after a loved one is killed in a car accident is a type of damage that can never be made right. No amount of money can properly compensate an accident victim for non-economic damages. Unfortunately, money is the best our justice system has to offer in these cases.
Since these damages go beyond money, the amount awarded for them is often quite high. Non-economic damages generally make up the bulk of a compensation payout.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Drunk Truck Driver Accident Victim Attorney?
Hiring an experienced Philadelphia truck drunk driving accidents victim attorney can greatly increase your chances of recovering fair compensation after an accident. However, you may be concerned that you can’t afford to hire a lawyer. The truth is, though, that you can’t afford not to.
Reputable personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. That means that they only get paid if you get paid. On average, those who hire an attorney end up with a far greater compensation payout than those who represent themselves. Even after your attorney’s fee has been deducted, you will likely be in a much better financial position by hiring legal counsel.
When your attorney is working on a contingency fee basis, you can also feel confident that they will work as hard as possible to ensure you receive compensation. Since your lawyer’s fee is typically a percentage of your final settlement, you can feel confident they will push for as big of a payout as possible.
How Long Do You Have to File a Lawsuit in Pennsylvania?
The statute of limitations for filing an accident claim in Pennsylvania is generally two years from the date of the accident. In certain situations, though, this period can be dramatically reduced. By hiring a drunk truck driver accident victim lawyer quickly after an accident, you can assure that you don’t miss your window to file.
Even if you have the full two years, it is always best to get started as soon as possible. Delays tend to be costly. Evidence can become lost or corrupted, and the value of witness testimony drops with each passing day.
You should hire an attorney quickly and gather and preserve evidence, including recording witness testimony while the memory is still fresh. However, in a case involving a drunk driver, you may be better off waiting to file your lawsuit.
If the driver of the truck was under the influence, they will also be facing a criminal trial. If they plead guilty or are convicted by the court, you may be able to use that as evidence in your civil lawsuit. Your truck drunk driving accidents victim attorney in Philadelphia can advise you on the best time to file.
Should You Go to Court or Take a Settlement?
Taking your case to court could potentially result in a larger payout than the amount you would receive in a settlement agreement. However, you could also end up with nothing. The risk is rarely worth the reward. Even if your case seems airtight, the unpredictability of the courtroom can cause leaks.
Going to court is also a lengthy process. You may find that it takes years to get the compensation that you desperately need. If your attorney is able to negotiate a fair settlement deal, it is typically in your best interest to take the offer.
Despite this, you should always be willing and prepared to go to trial. This will put pressure on the opposition to agree to a fair deal. It also puts you in a position to win your case in the courtroom if a deal cannot be reached.
Hiring a Truck DUI Victim Attorney in Philadelphia, PA
The greatest tool you have at your disposal when fighting for compensation after an accident is an experienced legal professional. The Philadelphia drunk truck driver accidents victim lawyers at the Morelli Law Firm have a proven track record of getting fair compensation for our clients.
Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our legal team today by giving us a call or filling out our online case evaluation form. We will review your case and advise you of your options for protecting your rights and recovering the compensation you deserve.