Companies that operate 18-wheelers, delivery trucks, and other big commercial vehicles move fast to protect their own interests following an accident. So do their insurance companies.
On the other hand, most victims of truck accidents do not know what to do after their accident and are left to play catch-up. By contacting an experienced Memphis personal injury lawyer at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC, you can help ensure your rights and best interests are strongly represented after an accident.
Contact our office for a free consultation today to find out how much your truck accident claim could be worth.
Determining Who is Responsible for Your Losses
One of the most significant obstacles in resolving a truck accident case is that you may be unaware of who all the defendants or responsible parties are. However, identifying each person who is responsible for your injuries is an integral part of getting you the fair and full compensation you are owed.
At Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, we have been helping clients identify the parties liable for their losses and holding them accountable for their negligence since 1970.
The parties responsible for your auto accident may include the following and more:
- Contractors and subcontractors
- Safety inspectors
- Maintenance technicians
- Vehicle and parts manufacturers
- Truck dealerships
- Commercial trucking companies
- The owner of the big rig
- Truck drivers
- Other negligent drivers
- Government agencies
- Other third parties
We strive to locate defendants who are liable for your losses and help you recover the full compensation to which you are entitled.
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Evidence to Prove Liability in a Memphis Truck Accident
Proving fault is essential in Memphis truck accident claims. Unlike criminal court, where the prosecutor needs to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, your attorney needs to meet a lesser burden of proof in civil court. Liability must be proven based on a preponderance of the evidence in civil court.
This means your attorney must show through the evidence presented that the defendant is more likely than not at fault for your injuries. With that being said, there are some types of evidence that are used to prove liability in Memphis truck accident claims more frequently than others. Some of these types of evidence include:
- Chemical blood alcohol test results
- Cell phone records
- Blackbox data
- Accident reconstructionist reports
- Injury reconstructionist reports
- Crash reports
- Police reports
- Safety inspection logs
- Maintenance records
- Employee records
- Communication exchanges
- Social media posts
- Expert witnesses
- Eyewitness testimony
- Forensic evidence
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How Tennessee Shared Fault Laws Could Impact Your Case
Many truck accident victims in Memphis hesitate to contact a lawyer for help when they believe sharing fault for their injuries will prohibit them from recovering compensation for the damages. Fortunately, the state of Tennessee does not operate under a pure contributory negligence system where sharing fault will prevent you from recovering compensation for your damages.
Instead, Tennessee follows a modified comparative negligence system. Here, injury victims can share up to 50% of the liability for the accident and still be compensated for the portion of liability that is not theirs. However, you can expect the defense to argue that you share fault for your injuries or causing the accident, as this will reduce their financial obligation.
Since your injury settlement will be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault assigned to you, the defense will attempt to capitalize on this. Your attorney will need to ensure liability is assessed accurately in your truck accident claim. Let’s look at an example of how Tennessee’s shared fault laws could have an impact on your Memphis truck accident claim.
An Example of Shared Fault
Ellie was struck by a commercial truck when she was not wearing her seatbelt. Despite the fact that Ellie was hit by a distracted truck driver, the judge found her 10 percent responsible for causing her injuries.
The jury awarded Ellie $1 million for her severe injuries. However, because she was 10% responsible for causing her injuries when she did not wear her seatbelt, her injury settlement was reduced by 10%. This means Ellie’s final injury settlement was valued at $900,000.
Over $500 Million
Recovered on Behalf
of Our Clients
Statute of Limitations for Memphis Truck Accident Claims
Truck accident claims must be filed within one year under Tennessee law. This statute of limitations is one of the most strict in the country. One year is a limited amount of time to build a powerful case against the liable party.
The sooner you get your truck accident attorney working on your case, the more likely it is that they will have the resources and opportunity to recover the evidence needed to prove liability in your case. If you are unsure when the statute of limitations expires for your case, be sure to contact your Memphis truck accident lawyer for help.
Although you might have assumed the statute of limitations will expire one year from the date of the accident, this deadline could be pushed back if you were not diagnosed with injuries until a later date.
Fighting for the MAXIMUM
Money for You
How to Get the Most Out of Your Truck Accident Case
If you hope to recover maximum compensation for your 18-wheeler accident, it is important that you be prepared to file a claim with the insurance company and bring your case to court.
Although you may have been hoping to avoid going to trial, in some cases, doing so could be the best way to recover your damages. Here is more about each of these legal options.
File an Insurance Claim
Filing a claim with the insurance company is one of the top ways truck accident victims in Memphis recover compensation for their damages. You can expect the insurance company to look for reasons to deny your claim wherever possible, as paying out on your claim is going to cost them money. Dealing with the insurance company is not easy.
Your attorney can handle the insurance company on your behalf so you can focus on recovering from your injuries. It is critical to keep in mind that insurance settlements rarely compensate victims for every loss. In fact, the amount of compensation you can recover through an insurance settlement will be based on the coverage purchased by the liable party.
If the defendant only purchased the minimum amount of coverage and your losses are far greater than this minimum amount, the insurance company will not be obligated to pay you for your remaining damages. Fortunately, you can seek the excess damages when you file your truck accident claim in Memphis civil courts.
Bring Your Case to Court
Since insurance settlements limit the amounts and types of damages you can recover, bringing your case to court may be the best way for you to recover your damages in full.
Though going to court may be overwhelming, when you have an experienced legal advocate on your side, you can feel more confident in your decision to pursue your case.
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Calculating the Value of a Truck Accident in Memphis
To ensure every loss is taken into consideration when your trucking accident lawyer in Memphis calculates the value of your claim, we will need to go over both your economic images and non-economic damages in great detail.
Economic damages are monetary and can be classified through financial records, receipts, bank statements, bills, and other documents. Some examples of economic damages you could recover in your Memphis semi-truck accident claim include:
- Costs of increased insurance premiums
- Medical equipment and hospital bills
- Future medical expenses
- Unexpected childcare costs
- Household upkeep and maintenance expenses
- Loss of income
- Loss of future potential earnings, including 401(k) or retirement savings contributions and bonuses
However, you also have the right to recover non-economic damages. These are not easily quantified, as they do not have a monetary value. Non-economic damages can affect each person’s life differently. Some of the more common types of non-economic damages you might be able to obtain compensation for include:
- Emotional distress
- Disfigurement, dismemberment, and skin scarring
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship and love
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of society, support, protection, advice, and guidance
- Physical pain and suffering
- Damage to your reputation
- Mental anguish
In addition to economic and non-economic damages, a small percentage of truck accident cases also qualify for punitive damages. Punitive damages are used to punish the liable party and are only administered when the at-fault party acted with gross negligence or deliberate intent to cause harm.
Doing Whatever It Takes to Defend You
Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi will act quickly to protect truck accident victims. Our Memphis trucking accident attorneys are available 24/7 to clients. When you hire us for representation, you can rest assured that you and your needs will always come first.
Why Accident Victims Need an Attorney
Truck accident victims may be entitled to financial compensation for their injuries, whether they are bicyclists, pedestrians, motorists, or anyone else. What many people do not understand is that, in some cases, they can take legal action against the truck driver even if they were partially responsible for the accident.
Accident liability is an extremely nuanced and complicated area of law. Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi knows that no two cases are the same. For these reasons, it is highly recommended that victims of truck accidents do not attempt to seek compensation on their own.
The Resources & Experience Required to Prove Your Case
A truck accident can be caused by a wide variety of factors, including a simple safety violation, a defective truck part, poor truck maintenance, driver fatigue, drunk driving, recklessness, and more.
Since evidence of fault could be anywhere — in electronic form on a truck’s black box, in the company’s maintenance records, in the driver’s logbook, or at the scene — proving what occurred and why it occurred are things that should be left to legal professionals.
Once you retain our firm, you’ll be putting accident reconstruction specialists, investigators, and lawyers with decades of experience in this practice area to work for you.
The Money You Need & Deserve
The sheer difference in weight and size between the vehicles involved in the crash means that many victims of truck accidents do not survive. Of those who do, many are left unable to care for themselves due to burns, paralysis, brain damage, or another type of permanent disability.
Our personal injury attorneys are familiar with the intricacies of catastrophic injury cases. We work closely with life care planners, accountants, medical specialists, and other experts to ensure we seek appropriate compensation on behalf of all our clients.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney in Memphis?
When considering hiring an attorney after a truck accident, one of your primary concerns will likely be the cost. Accident victims often neglect to hire legal representation over worries that they will not be able to afford their services. While it is true that many attorneys charge an expensive retainer fee and a high hourly rate, this is not the case with truck accident lawyers.
Truck accident attorneys and other personal injury lawyers typically work on a contingency fee basis. That means that your attorney will only get paid if you collect compensation from the liable party. Should your lawyer succeed in recovering damages on your behalf, their fee will be assessed as a fixed percentage of the money you receive.
This fee system ensures your attorney will have a strong incentive to recover as much money on your behalf as possible. After all, the greater the amount you receive, the bigger the payday for your attorney. Alternatively, if your lawyer fails to get you compensation from the at-fault party, they will not receive payment for their services.
Actions a Truck Accident Attorney in Memphis, TN, Will Take on Your Behalf
When you hire a truck accident attorney in Memphis, TN, to represent you, they will take a number of steps to ensure that your case is handled properly. Some of the main actions you can expect your lawyer to take include:
- Investigating your accident
- Calculating the value of your damages
- Filing a lawsuit or insurance claim
- Completing the steps of the pretrial process
- Arguing your case at trial
- Negotiating for a settlement deal
Investigating Your Accident
The first thing your attorney will do will be to investigate the accident and gather evidence such as police reports, witness statements, photos of the scene, and any other relevant information. They will also review the truck driver’s logbook and maintenance records to determine if there were any violations of safety regulations.
Additionally, they will review the truck’s black box to determine if there were any mechanical failures or other issues that may have contributed to the accident.
Calculating the Value of Your Damages
When calculating the value of your damages, your truck accident attorney in Memphis will take into account all of the medical expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident, including hospital bills, doctor visits, physical therapy, and any other related costs.
They will also consider lost wages due to time missed from work and any pain and suffering you have endured. Additionally, they will factor in any property damage that occurred as a result of the accident.
Filing a Lawsuit or Insurance Claim
After reviewing your options for pursuing compensation with you, your attorney will draw up all the necessary paperwork for the option you choose. They will then either file an insurance claim with the liable party’s insurance provider or submit a personal injury lawsuit to the court.
Completing the Steps of the Pretrial Process
Once a lawsuit is filed, the pretrial process begins. This includes filing motions, conducting discovery, and engaging in settlement negotiations. During this time, your truck accident attorney in Memphis will work to continue to gather evidence as they work to prepare your case for court.
Arguing Your Case at Trial
When your case goes to trial, your truck accident attorney in Memphis will present your argument to the jury and fight for a favorable outcome. They will use the evidence they have gathered to prove that the other party was at fault for the accident and that you are entitled to compensation.
They will also cross-examine any witnesses called by the defense and make closing arguments. Your attorney will work hard to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Negotiating for a Settlement Deal
While your attorney goes through all the steps mentioned above, they will also be in negotiations with opposing counsel on your behalf. They will work hard to ensure you receive a fair settlement that covers all of your expenses and losses.
If an agreement can be reached, your case will conclude, and you will get the money you deserve far quicker than if your case goes to trial.
The Majority of Truck Accident Cases Settle Out of Court
Most truck accident cases end up settling out of court. This is because the process of going to trial can be lengthy and expensive, and both parties often prefer to avoid the risks associated with a jury verdict. When both sides are willing to negotiate, it is usually possible to reach an agreement that meets the needs of both parties.
However, it is critical that you are always prepared to take your case to court if necessary. While a settlement may be the most likely outcome, there is still certainly a chance that the opposing party will be unwilling to agree to a fair settlement deal. If this is the case, a courtroom trial will be necessary to get the money you need.
The Insurance Company Does Not Have Your Best Interests At Heart
When you are involved in a truck accident, the insurance company will likely try to settle your case quickly and for as little money as possible. They do not have your best interests at heart and may even attempt to deny or minimize your claim. A common tactic these companies often use is to make a settlement offer before you even have a chance to file a claim.
The aim of this offer will be to get to you before you have a chance to speak to an attorney. The insurance adjuster will hope that you are feeling overwhelmed by the medical bills you are facing. They want you to view their offer as a helpful gesture and accept it before you have a chance to think twice.
If you accept the insurer’s deal, you will be unable to pursue further damages once the full extent of your losses becomes apparent. A truck accident lawyer in Memphis, TN, can help you negotiate with the insurer for the compensation you deserve. They will fight for your rights and make sure that the insurance company does not take advantage of you.
How Long Will It Take to Settle My Memphis Truck Accident Case?
Every truck accident case is unique, and the time it takes to settle a case can vary greatly. The length of time it takes to settle a case depends on many factors, including the severity of the injuries, the complexity of the legal issues involved, and how quickly both parties are willing to negotiate.
In cases where both parties are highly motivated to settle the matter and move on, a truck accident case can be resolved in a few short months or potentially even weeks. However, if your case ends up going to trial, you will likely be looking at years before you finally get a resolution.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney in Memphis for Help Today
Whether we travel to meet with you at the hospital or in your home, or you come to see us in Memphis, your consultation is always free. We also have a second office located in Olive Branch, Mississippi.
We handle truck accident injury and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency basis. Our Memphis truck accident attorneys at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC do not charge any legal fees unless we get a verdict or settlement for you.
When you are ready to get started on your case, fill out our secure contact form or call our office to schedule your no-cost, risk-free consultation. One of our experienced truck accident lawyers in Memphis is ready to explain your legal rights and answer any questions you may have.