Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Have the Answers You Seek
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Are trucking companies and truckers in Norfolk regulated by the Federal government?
Trucking companies and truck drivers play a vital role in transporting goods across Norfolk and beyond, keeping the economy moving. However, with their massive size and weight, commercial trucks can pose significant risks on the road.
To ensure safety and prevent truck crashes, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has regulations governing many aspects of the trucking industry. If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident in Norfolk or Virginia Beach, an experienced Norfolk truck accident lawyer at Tavss Fletcher can determine if violations of these federal regulations contributed to the crash and work towards securing the compensation you deserve.
Common FMCSA Regulation Violations Leading to Truck Collisions in Norfolk
The FMCSA enforces various regulations to ensure commercial trucks operate safely and prevent tragic wrecks that cause victims to suffer devastating injuries or be killed. Some common violations of these regulations that often lead to truck crashes include:
Hours of Service Violations
Truck drivers should comply with hours of service regulations limiting their driving hours to prevent trucker fatigue. Violations of these rules can lead to drowsy driving and reduced reaction times, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
The FMCSA prohibits truckers from using handheld mobile devices while driving. Truck drivers engaged in texting, talking, or other forms of distracted driving can lose focus on the road and cause serious accidents.
Lack of Proper Maintenance
Trucking companies must follow FMCSA rules on maintaining their trucks in safe operating conditions. Failure to perform regular inspections and necessary maintenance can result in truck crashes if mechanical failures occur while the trucker is on the road.
Truck drivers are expected to have proper training and qualifications to operate commercial vehicles. Inadequately trained drivers may struggle to handle unexpected situations, leading to collisions.
Driving Under the Influence
FMCSA regulations prohibit truck drivers from driving when intoxicated and establish strict alcohol and drug testing requirements for commercial drivers. Driving drunk or high on drugs can impair a driver's judgment, vision, and response time, resulting in a dangerous drunk driving collision.
Trucking companies must follow federal rules to hire qualified and safe drivers. Negligent hiring practices that lead to employing drivers with poor driving records or insufficient qualifications can contribute to accidents.
Truck drivers are required to accurately record their driving hours in a logbook to ensure compliance with hours of service regulations. Unfortunately, some truckers falsify or fail to maintain these records when driving more hours than permitted, often with the encouragement of the trucking company.
Should I retain a lawyer after a minor truck accident in Norfolk?
If you have been involved in a truck collision in Virginia Beach or Norfolk, you may wonder if you should retain an attorney. Even if you believe the truck wreck was minor, speaking with an experienced Norfolk truck accident lawyer at Tavss Fletcher is always in your best interests. Truck crashes are rarely minor, and hiring an attorney is essential to protect your rights.
Reasons You Should Hire an Attorney After a Minor Norfolk Truck Collision
You should retain a skilled lawyer after a truck accident for many reasons, even when you believe the damage to your vehicle was minor or that you suffered no severe injuries. Here are a few of the most important benefits of hiring an attorney at Tavss Fletcher.
Suffering More Severe Injuries
While the initial impact of a truck accident may appear minor initially, you may have suffered long-term injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries or back or spinal injuries, with symptoms that develop and worsen over time. A lawyer will work with your doctors to assess the long-term impact of the collision on your health, ability to work, and quality of life.
Valuing Your Claim
Calculating the value of your claim can be complex, especially when quantifying intangible damages such as pain and suffering. A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer can accurately determine the compensation you should receive in your settlement based on their experience settling and litigating truck wreck claims.
Communicating With the Insurance Company
Dealing with insurance companies can be challenging, as they may do everything they can to deny their liability to pay you or try to get you to accept less damages than you are entitled to. Your lawyer will take over all communication with the insurance adjuster, protecting you from making statements that could harm your case.
Negotiating Your Settlement
A dedicated truck accident lawyer understands the complexities of negotiating with insurance companies. They will leverage their knowledge and experience to advocate for your best interests and push for a settlement that reflects the true extent of your damages. If the insurance company is unwilling to offer you a fair settlement, your attorney will litigate your case and take your case to a jury trial if this is in your best interests.
What is a commercial truck?
There are many types of commercial trucks on our roads in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. If you suffer injuries in a crash, you must understand the type of truck that struck your vehicle because it could impact your claim against the negligent trucker. You also need to immediately retain an experienced Norfolk truck accident lawyer who will fight with the insurance company for the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Types of Commercial Trucks
A commercial truck is one used for commercial purposes. These motor vehicles are much bigger and heavier than passenger vehicles. There are many different types of commercial trucks, such as the following:
- Semi-trailer truck. A semi-trailer truck, also known as a tractor-trailer or big rig, consists of a semi-truck cab and a trailer connected by a fifth wheel. These trucks are used for long-haul transportation of goods, with the trailer providing ample space for cargo.
- Eighteen-wheeler. An eighteen-wheeler is another name for a semi-trailer truck, referring to the total number of wheels on the vehicle. These trucks can haul heavy loads over long distances and are often seen on highways.
- Tanker. Tanker trucks are designed to transport liquids or gases, such as fuel, chemicals, or other liquids like milk. These trucks feature cylindrical tanks, which are securely sealed to prevent leaks during transportation.
- Flatbed. Flatbed trucks have an open cargo area without sides or a roof, allowing for easy loading and unloading of various items. They transport construction materials, machinery, or large equipment.
- Box truck. Box trucks have an enclosed cargo area with walls and a roof. They are frequently used for local deliveries, moving household goods, or transporting perishable items.
- Delivery truck. Delivery trucks are often seen in urban areas and neighborhoods and are designed to transport consumer goods over short distances. These trucks range in size and can include vans and small box trucks.
Why It Matters if a Commercial Truck is Involved in a Collision
When a truck is involved in an accident, this can affect a victim’s claim for compensation for their injuries. Here are several unique issues that arise in these cases:
Commercial trucks are subject to strict federal regulations imposed by agencies such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Violations of these regulations, such as driver fatigue, improper maintenance, or exceeding weight limits, can significantly contribute to accidents and may indicate a trucker’s and trucking company’s negligence and liability.
Increased Risk of Serious Injuries
Due to the size and weight of large commercial trucks, occupants of smaller vehicles can suffer catastrophic injuries or death. This can increase the value of a victim’s claim. Unfortunately, the insurance company could fight longer and harder to deny their claim or pay them less money in their settlement.
Complex Insurance and Legal Issues
Commercial truck accidents often involve complex insurance policies and legal considerations. Determining liability, negotiating with multiple parties, and understanding the nuances of trucking regulations require the expertise of a knowledgeable truck accident attorney.
Is there a damage cap on the amount of compensation I can recover for my truck accident injuries in Virginia?
You may have suffered severe injuries if you were the victim of a truck accident in Norfolk or Virginia Beach and may be worried about your expensive medical bills when you have no income while you recover from your injuries. When pursuing your claim against the negligent trucker and truck company, you should understand the damage caps in Virginia. An experienced Norfolk truck accident lawyer can explain these laws and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Damage Cap on Punitive Damages in Virginia
A damage cap reduces the amount of compensation that you can recover. Virginia has a cap on punitive damages in truck accident cases. You would be awarded punitive damages to punish the at-fault trucker and trucking company, not to compensate you, and are rare in truck accident cases.
To be eligible for punitive damages, you must show that the truck driver or trucking company acted especially recklessly or outrageously when causing your truck wreck. You may also receive punitive damages if the trucker was intoxicated when they caused the crash. If punitive damages are awarded, the cap is $350,000.
No Cap on Economic and Non-Economic Compensation
Virginia does not have a cap on economic or non-economic damages in truck collision claims, such as pain and suffering. You can recover the total compensation for these damages, up to the total amount of your actual losses. Types of damages you can recover include the following:
- Medical expenses. The negligent trucker and trucking company should reimburse you for all past and future medical bills you incurred due to your injuries, such as hospitalization, surgery, doctor appointments, physical therapy, and medications.
- Lost wages. If you were off work because of your injuries, you should be compensated for your past and future wages in your settlement. If you can no longer work due to your injuries, you may also be able to recover lost earning capacity damages.
- Pain and suffering. Another type of compensation you can recover is damages for the physical pain, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life that resulted from the truck accident. You need the assistance of a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer to determine how much you should receive for your pain and suffering.
- Property damage. If your motor vehicle or other property was damaged in the truck collision, you should receive the cost of repairs or replacement.
Can I recover my paid time off if I was injured in a truck accident?
Truck accidents in the Norfolk and Virginia Beach areas can cause devastating injuries that leave victims unable to work for months or longer while they recover. If you had to use your sick or vacation time due to injuries sustained in a truck collision caused by a negligent trucker, you may be entitled to recover your paid time off (PTO). You are more likely to obtain all the PTO you deserve if you retain an experienced truck accident lawyer to settle your claim with the insurance company.
When Can You Recover PTO in Your Truck Crash Settlement?
If you suffered injuries in a truck wreck, you might be able to recover compensation for your injuries from the negligent trucker and trucking company under Virginia law. As part of your wage loss claim, you can ask to be reimbursed for the paid time off you had to use while you were recovering from your injuries. Here are situations where you may be entitled to PTO compensation:
- Recovery time at home
- Doctor appointments
- Calls and meetings with the insurance company
- Court hearings
- Appointments with your lawyer
How Do You Document the PTO You Took Due to Your Truck Collision Injuries?
You must prove your right to recover your PTO as part of your settlement with the insurance company. A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer can explain when you can recover your paid time off and help obtain the evidence you need to document the time you took off work. Documentation can include the following:
Letter From Your Employer
A letter from your boss listing your salary and the PTO you took while recovering from your injuries can help you prove your right to reimbursement of your PTO. If your case is decided at a jury trial, your employer may need to testify about the paid time off you took.
Employee Handbooks and Policies
Your employee handbook may outline how PTO is accrued and how it can be used. This documentation can help support your PTO claim.
Records of Any Appointments
If you had to take time off work for medical appointments, meetings with the insurance company or lawyer, or court hearings, you should keep records of these appointments. This documentation can help establish that you took time off work because of your injuries and not for other reasons, such as a vacation or a doctor’s appointment for a non-related medical condition.
Should I represent myself in my truck accident case?
You may be tempted to represent yourself when filing a truck accident claim with the insurance company for the negligent truck driver and trucking company in Norfolk. You may think you are saving the cost of paying attorney fees.
While it may seem like a good idea at the time, representing yourself can harm your case and reduce your compensation for your injuries. If you want to win your case and receive the maximum recovery in your settlement, you should immediately retain an experienced truck accident lawyer.
Five Reasons Not to Represent Yourself in a Truck Accident Case
For many reasons, it would be a bad idea for you to try to represent yourself when negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. Here are five ways you could hurt your right to compensation:
Lack of Legal Knowledge and Experience
One of the most significant reasons you should not represent yourself when filing a truck accident claim is the lack of legal knowledge and experience. Truck accident claims often involve complex legal issues and violations of federal regulations. You may miss critical details or make mistakes that could harm your case if you do not hire a skilled attorney.
Difficulty in Gathering Evidence
You need to collect evidence to prove your case, which is more complicated in a truck crash case. The trucking company would have some evidence you need, such as the trucker’s personnel file, truck inspection reports, and black box data. A lawyer can identify the evidence you need and send the trucking company a spoliation letter notifying them of your claim and demanding they provide the documents and other evidence you may need to win your case.
Difficulty in Negotiating With Insurance Companies
Negotiating with insurance companies can be daunting, especially if you are unfamiliar with the process. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, and they will do everything in their power to deny your claim or pay you as little as possible. An experienced lawyer can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
Filing a truck accident claim can be a time-consuming process. You must gather evidence, file paperwork, negotiate with insurance companies, and potentially go to court. If you are recovering from injuries sustained in a truck accident, you may not have the time and energy to take care of these tasks. A lawyer can handle the legal aspects of your case, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
Risk of Losing Your Case
Finally, representing yourself in a truck accident claim comes with the risk of losing your case. If you make a mistake, miss a deadline, such as the statute of limitations, or fail to provide sufficient evidence, your case may be dismissed. This can result in you receiving little to no compensation for your injuries. A lawyer can help you avoid these pitfalls and handle your case correctly.
What should I do if the trucker offers me cash at the scene of my truck accident?
If you accept the cash, you could waive your right to file a claim with their insurance company. You should not accept any settlement until you retain an experienced truck accident lawyer. Here is what you should do if you find yourself in this situation to protect your rights.
Why the Truck Driver Could Be Offering You Cash
Understanding the trucker’s motivations for offering you cash can help you see why accepting the offer is such a bad idea. Possible reasons the driver may offer you money include the following:
- Have a bad driving record and do not want another traffic citation added to their record.
- Do not want to report the accident to the trucking company or their insurance company because it could jeopardize their job and cause insurance rates to increase.
- May be trying to pay you substantially less money to settle your claim.
- May not want to contact the police if a warrant is out for their arrest or other criminal cases are pending.
- Could be intoxicated due to drug or alcohol use and are afraid they will be arrested for DUI. They could lose their commercial license and ability to work if this happens.
What to Do if the Trucker Tries to Pay You at the Crash Scene
You need to take several steps to protect your rights if the truck driver pressures you to accept their offer of money. Important steps to take immediately include:
- Say no. Politely refuse to accept the cash.
- Call the police. Contact the police at the collision scene and obtain a copy of the police report. It could contain helpful information that will assist you in proving the trucker’s negligence caused your wreck.
- Get prompt medical care. Obtain medical care within 72 hours—even if you do not think you were hurt. This protects your health and avoids disputes with the insurance company.
- Obtain contact information. Get the contact information for the trucker, trucking company, insurance company, and any witnesses to the collision.
- Take photos. Use your cellphone camera to take pictures of the damage to the truck and your auto, the crash scene, your injuries, and anything else helpful to your case.
- Retain a lawyer. You should hire a knowledgeable truck accident attorney immediately. They can collect the evidence you need to win your case and go up against the insurance company for all the compensation you deserve.
How much insurance coverage must a truck driver have in Virginia?
How Much Insurance Coverage Must a Trucker in Virginia Have?
Truck drivers must carry a certain amount of liability insurance coverage under Virginia and federal law. Here are the amounts they are required to have intrastate under Virginia Code §46.2143-1:
- For a truck having a gross weight over 7,500 pounds, the trucker must carry at least $300,000 in liability insurance.
- If the truck has a gross weight in excess of 10,000 pounds, the truck driver must have a minimum of $750,000 in liability coverage.
If a trucker drives interstate, they must comply with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules regarding how much insurance coverage is required. The minimum insurance coverage they must carry is:
- They must have at least $300,000 in liability coverage if the truck’s weight is less than 10,000 pounds or $750,000 in liability coverage if the truck’s gross weight is more than 10,000 pounds when they are transporting nonhazardous materials.
- If carrying hazardous materials, they must carry at least $5,000,000 in insurance coverage.
Why Do You Need to Know How Much Insurance Coverage the Truck Driver Has?
It is always crucial to know how much insurance coverage the truck driver and any other liable parties, such as the trucking company, shipper, and trailer owner, have so that you know how much money there is to compensate you for your injuries. You should never settle your claim until you find out how much insurance coverage there is and consult with a skilled truck accident lawyer about the settlement offer.
Were you or a family member injured in a truck crash that was not your fault in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Our experienced truck accident attorneys can collect the evidence you need to win your case, find out the insurance coverages for all liable parties, and fight so that you obtain the compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law. Call our Norfolk office at 757-625-1214 or complete our online form to schedule your free initial consultation today to learn more about how we can assist you.
What happens if a health care provider files a lien in my truck accident case?
Your medical care providers may place a medical lien on your settlement when providing you with the medical care you need while you wait for your settlement. You need to know what a medical lien is and how to deal with them in your case.
What Is a Medical Lien?
In Virginia, you are responsible for paying your medical bills while negotiating your settlement with the insurance company. However, if you are like most truck accident victims, you do not have the financial resources to pay these expensive medical expenses.
Health care providers may agree to treat your injuries and wait to receive their payment until you settle your case if you allow them to place a medical lien on your settlement. The lien would enable them to be paid what they are owed when you receive the settlement check from the insurance company.
The general rule is that health care providers are not entitled to claim a lien against a truck crash settlement in Virginia. However, many exceptions based on federal laws permit a provider to assert a lien.
In addition, a health care provider can enter into a written agreement with you to allow them to assert a lien in your case. You most likely cannot avoid agreeing to this to obtain the medical treatment you need for your injuries. Health care providers who may claim a lien on your settlement include:
- Ambulance services
- Physical therapists
Will the Medical Care Provider Negotiate Their Medical Lien?
Yes, your health care providers may be willing to negotiate a settlement of your medical liens. However, you would be at a serious disadvantage if you tried to work out an agreement on your own.
You should retain a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer to negotiate your settlement with the insurance company and the payment of medical liens. A lawyer is likelier to get medical care providers to accept a reduced price. This can save you substantial money and allow you to keep more of your settlement proceeds.
Were you hurt in a truck crash that was not your fault in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Do you need help negotiating a settlement of medical liens with your health care providers? Our experienced truck accident lawyers are here to help. Call our Norfolk office at 757-625-1214 or fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free initial consultation today.
Is the insurance company right when they say I don’t need an attorney to negotiate my settlement?
#1: A Lawyer Knows the Law
A skilled truck accident attorney knows the Virginia laws and federal regulations governing truck drivers and trucking companies that apply to your case. They will not accept the insurance company’s misrepresentations about the laws that apply to your case, which they may make to deny your claim or pay you less compensation than you deserve. They will use their knowledge to protect your rights and win your case.
#2: An Attorney Knows How to Value Your Claim
Another reason the insurance adjuster does not want you to hire a lawyer is that they want to try to convince you that their lowball settlement offer is a fair one. However, a lawyer will know the value of your claim and go up against the insurance company so that you receive the maximum recovery under Virginia law.
#3: A Lawyer Can Prove Your Case
You will need to establish that the trucker and trucking company’s negligence caused your truck crash, the seriousness of your injuries, and the amount of compensation you are entitled to to be compensated for your injuries. An attorney can collect the evidence you need to prove your case. They will also have strategies to defeat the insurance company’s arguments about why they are not liable to pay you, which you would be unable to do if you try to settle your claim on your own.
#4: An Attorney Is on Your Side
The insurance adjuster knows that you may be vulnerable if you are injured and struggling to pay your medical bills and daily expenses when you are off work with no income. They would take advantage of your vulnerabilities and try to convince you to accept a settlement of far less than you deserve.
If you retain a lawyer, they will be on your side and would be looking out for your best interests. You are much more likely to receive a higher settlement if you are represented by a lawyer—which is why the insurance company does not want you to hire one.
#5: A Lawyer Can Litigate Your Claim
If the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement or the statute of limitations, which is the deadline to sue, will expire soon, you will need to file a lawsuit against the trucking company and truck driver. An attorney licensed in Virginia can file the complaint and litigate your case for you.
Were you injured in a truck collision in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas? Call our Norfolk office at 757.625.1214 or fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free initial consultation to learn how our dedicated truck accident lawyers can assist you.
Why won’t my doctor treat me after my truck accident?
Reasons Your Doctor May Not Treat You
It is not uncommon for primary care physicians to refuse to treat injuries caused by a truck accident. Common reasons your doctor may not want to see you include:
- Insurance company. Your doctor may not want to get involved in billing one or more truck insurance companies for payment of their bills. It can be complicated and time-consuming to deal with these insurance companies for payments than a health insurance company.
- Litigation. Your physician may not want to be an expert witness in your case, have to give a deposition, or testify in court if your claim has to be litigated.
- Complicated injuries. Primary care doctors are trained to treat common medical conditions or minor injuries. Your doctor may not have the expertise to treat the severe injuries you could suffer due to the truck collision.
How to Obtain the Medical Care You Need After a Truck Accident
If your doctor refuses to treat you, you will need to find another physician to treat your injuries. Here are some options for getting the medical care you need:
- Get a referral. Your primary care physician may be willing to refer you to a specialist who has experience treating your injuries. Before you schedule an appointment, be sure the specialist accepts truck accident victims.
- Find a doctor. You can also find another physician who treats accident victims’ injuries like yours. They will know what treatments will help you recover and will be able to document the seriousness of your injuries and the medical care you need to help you prove your right to compensation for your injuries.
- Retain a lawyer. Another good option is to hire a knowledgeable truck accident attorney immediately. They will most likely know qualified physicians who accept truck collision victims and who could be an expert witness in your case.
Were you injured in a truck crash that was not your fault in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas? Is your doctor refusing to treat your injuries? Our experienced truck accident lawyers are here to help. Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free initial consultation to learn about your rights and how we can assist you.
Can I file a claim if I can’t remember how my truck accident happened?
Reasons for Memory Loss After a Truck Crash
There are several reasons victims do not remember how their truck accident happened. The emotional trauma of being in a terrifying truck collision can cause a person’s brain to shut down to avoid dealing with the memories of what happened—especially if someone suffered catastrophic injuries or was killed.
Victims also might not remember their truck accident if they suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A common symptom of a TBI is memory loss. Even a concussion can prevent a person from remembering how the truck collision occurred.
Types of Evidence to Collect if You Cannot Remember the Truck Accident
You can collect other evidence to prove how your truck crash occurred and that the truck driver was the negligent party. Types of evidence that can help you include:
- Police report. A police report can provide valuable information, such as the details of how the accident occurred, the truck driver and witness statements, the officer’s conclusions as to who was at fault, and whether any traffic citations were issued.
- Eyewitness statements. Eyewitnesses can give a written statement and testify in court if necessary about how the trucker caused your crash. Third-party witnesses who have no stake in the outcome of your case can be especially persuasive witnesses.
- Photos. Photos of the damage to the truck and your vehicle can help a knowledgeable truck accident attorney or an accident reconstruction expert determine the cause of your wreck.
- Black box data. The truck’s black box data can contain helpful information, such as the truck’s speed, braking, and steering.
- Surveillance video. A traffic camera or business surveillance camera may have recorded your collision. You need to obtain the footage as soon as possible before it is destroyed or taped over.
- Accident reconstruction expert. An accident reconstruction expert can review all the evidence and determine the cause of the crash. They may also be able to create a computer-generated reenactment of the collision to show to the jury.
Were you injured in a truck crash caused by a negligent truck driver in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas? Our experienced truck accident lawyers are here to collect the evidence you need to win your case and fight for your right to damages for your injuries—even if you do not remember how your crash occurred. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about your options and how we can assist you by calling our Norfolk office at 757-265-1214 or filling out our convenient online form.
Should I talk to the insurance company after a truck accident?
What Are the Dangers of Speaking to the Insurance Company?
If you were not at fault in causing your truck accident, you may expect the insurance company to treat you fairly and pay you all the damages you are entitled to under Virginia law. Unfortunately, they may not be looking out for your best interests. They will try to save money by denying your claim or paying you less damages in your settlement. Here are the dangers of talking to them on your own:
- Your statements. Even if you are careful and know that the insurance adjuster is not your friend, you could say something that could be misconstrued as an admission of fault in causing your truck crash.
- Recorded statement. The insurance company will try to convince you to give a recorded statement, which is a question and answer session that is transcribed into a written document. The insurance adjuster is trained to ask confusing questions designed to get you to make damaging statements they can use against you.
- Medical release. The insurance company may also attempt to get you to sign their medical release. Their form is often a blanket authorization to obtain all of your medical records. The insurance adjuster would search your records for another incident or injury they could claim caused your current injuries. Do not sign any documents until an attorney reviews them for you.
- Quick settlement. If the insurance company knows that you suffered serious injuries, they could offer you a quick settlement of your claim. However, it is most likely an offer for far less compensation than you are entitled to. You should not accept any settlement without consulting with a lawyer to ensure the settlement is fair.
What Should You Do if the Insurance Company Contacts You?
It is not uncommon for an insurance company to call a truck accident victim within a few days of the collision. If the insurance adjuster contacts you, you should politely refuse to discuss the collision or your injuries with them. Get their contact information and your claim number. Then inform them that you will have your attorney contact them.
Were you or a family member injured in a truck crash in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free initial consultation to learn how our dedicated truck accident lawyers can assist you.
I was in a truck accident that was not my fault. Can I file a claim with the trucker and trucking company’s insurance company if I didn’t have auto insurance?
What Are Your Options for Recovering Compensation?
Virginia is a fault state. This means that you must prove that the truck driver and trucking company were negligent in causing your truck collision to have a right to damages from them. Assuming that you can prove this, the fact that you did not have auto insurance at the time of your crash should not impact your right to seek the compensation you deserve. You have two ways to accomplish this:
- File a claim. Your first step would be to file a claim with their insurance company and negotiate a settlement with them. It is best to hire a skilled truck accident lawyer to file your claim and negotiate your settlement so you are not taken advantage of by the insurance adjuster and receive all the compensation you deserve under Virginia law.
- File a lawsuit. If the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement or the statute of limitations to file your lawsuit will expire soon, you will need to file a civil complaint and litigate your claim. You will need an attorney licensed to practice law in Virginia to file your lawsuit for you.
If you had insurance, you might be able to file a claim with your own insurance company under collision, uninsured, or underinsured coverage if you did not receive a full recovery from the insurance company for the trucker and trucking company. Unfortunately, this would not be an option if you were uninsured.
Were you injured in a truck crash that was not your fault in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas? Was your car uninsured? Our experienced truck accident lawyers are here to collect the evidence you need to win your case and fight for your right to damages for your injuries. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can assist you by calling our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or filling out our convenient online form.
What should I expect to happen at a free initial consultation?
How to Prepare for Your Initial Appointment and What You Can Expect
An initial consultation would be your first meeting with a lawyer. There are a number of goals to accomplish at your appointment.
What Is the Purpose of an Initial Consultation?
- Determine if you have a claim against the negligent trucker and trucking company
- Get your questions answered
- Find out if the attorney has extensive experience handling truck collisions cases and whether they are the right lawyer for you
- How much they charge for their services
You should schedule a free initial case evaluation with the top two or three lawyers you are considering hiring. Your first appointment will typically be for 30 minutes to an hour. The time will go fast, so it is important to come to your meeting as prepared as possible.
How to Prepare for the First Appointment
- Collect the documents, such as the police report, your auto insurance policy, and medical bills. You should also collect photos of the crash scene and the truck driver, trucking company, and witness contact information.
- Prepare a list of questions to ask the attorney about their experience settling and litigating truck accident cases and what you can expect them to do for you if you retain them.
If you have never filed a personal injury claim before, you probably do not know what will happen at your initial free consultation.
What You Should Expect at Your Free Initial Meeting
- Details of your crash. The lawyer will want you to explain the details of how your truck wreck occurred and will briefly review the documents you bring to your appointment.
- Advice on your claim. Once the attorney obtains information about your truck crash, they will give you general advice on whether you have a claim and what you can expect to happen after you file it.
- Explanation of attorney fees. The lawyer should also explain how they would charge their attorney fees and costs if you decide to retain them. At Tavss Fletcher, we handle truck accident claims on a contingency fee basis, which means that you would not owe us any attorney fees until we settle your case.
- Interview of the lawyer. At the beginning of your appointment, you should tell the attorney that you have prepared questions for them to answer. It is important that you interview them because this will help you determine if you can trust them to look out for your best interests if you hire them.
Do you need to file an insurance claim for injuries you suffered in a truck accident in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk area? Fill out our online form or call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 to schedule a free initial consultation today to learn about our track record of success helping other truck collision victims and how we can assist you.
What should be included in the insurance company’s Release of All Claims form?
You should not sign the insurance company’s release or any other document without first consulting with a skilled truck accident lawyer. In addition, it is important that you understand the key provisions that you will be agreeing to before you sign it.
What Is a Release of All Claims Form?
A release is a legal document that states the terms of your settlement with the truck driver’s or trucking company’s insurance company. It is a legally binding agreement. The release would relieve the insurance company from further liability in exchange for their payment to you.
Provisions Contained in a Release Form
There are a number of provisions that are typically in a release. It is important to understand what they are since they affect your right to compensation for your injuries caused in the truck collision. Your release should contain this information:
- Details of how your crash occurred
- Identification of all the parties to your settlement
- Your claims for compensation, such as for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damages
- Amount of your payment and how it will be paid
- Law that governs your agreement
Additional Provisions in a Release That Give Up Important Rights in Exchange for a Settlement
- Obligation to pay. By signing the release, you are agreeing that this is a final settlement of your claim and that you are waiving your right to receive future payments for your injuries. This means that you cannot pursue a new claim if you later discover that your injuries are more serious than you thought.
- Right to sue. You would also be waiving your right to file a lawsuit against the negligent truck driver, trucking company, and their insurance company.
- No admission of fault. The agreement will provide that no party is admitting fault for causing your truck accident. You are waiving your right to claim that the trucker’s and trucking company’s negligence was the cause of your injuries.
If you suffered injuries in a truck collision that was not your fault, our experienced truck accident lawyers are here to fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or fill out our online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today to learn more about how we can help you.
Should I notify my insurance company of my truck accident if I didn’t cause it?
However, it would be a big mistake not to notify them of your truck collision. Here are some reasons it could hurt your case and result in you receiving less compensation than you deserve for your injuries.
#1: You Are Required to Notify Your Insurance Company
When you purchased auto insurance coverage, you entered into a contract with your insurance company. One of the requirements in your policy is that you notify the insurance company of any accidents within a certain time period. If you fail to comply with this requirement, the insurance company may deny a claim you later decide you need to file.
#2: You Are Not Filing a Claim
When you contact your own insurance company to inform them of your truck crash, you are not filing a claim. You are simply letting them know about the collision and are protecting your rights under your insurance contract with them.
#3: They Can Help You With Repairs to Your Vehicle
It could take you a long time to settle your property damage claim with the negligent trucker’s insurance company. However, you need your car repaired quickly so you can drive it.
If you purchased collision coverage, it may make more sense for you to file a claim with your own insurance company. They will help you to obtain immediate repairs to your vehicle.
#4: You May Need to File a Claim With Your Insurance Company
Even though the truck driver is fully responsible for compensating you, this does not mean that you will receive all the damages you deserve from them. Here are a few reasons you may need to file a claim with your own insurance company:
- If the trucker had no insurance, you would need to file a claim under your own uninsured motorist coverage.
- If the truck driver had insufficient coverage to fully compensate you for your injuries, you could file a claim under your underinsured motorist, MedPay, and collision coverage, depending on the coverages you purchased.
Were you or a family member injured in a truck accident? Even if you are filing a claim with your own insurance company, you need the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer. They will file your claim for you and negotiate your settlement with the insurance company so that you receive the maximum recovery you are entitled to. Fill out our convenient online form to schedule your free consultation to learn about your options and how we can assist you.
How can I find out what caused my truck accident?
How Will a Truck Investigation Help Prove How a Truck Crash Occurred?
You may not know the cause of your truck accident right after it happened. There could have been many contributing negligent actions of the truck driver, trucking company, shipper, and others that caused it. You will need to conduct a thorough investigation and collect evidence to prove your case.
Because truck accident claims are so complex, you should not try to conduct an investigation on your own. It is best to retain an experienced truck accident lawyer right away. Here are some of the ways a lawyer can help determine why your truck collision happened:
- Obtain a police report. Your attorney will review the police report because it can contain helpful information, such as the officer’s conclusions as to the cause of the crash, who was at fault, and whether any traffic citations were issued. However, a knowledgeable lawyer will know this is only one step in the investigation.
- Investigate the collision scene. Your lawyer will review any pictures or videos taken at the accident scene and interview witnesses and obtain their statements. They may also want to look at the crash scene if it appears that the trucker’s negligent driving or a road condition caused your accident.
- Send spoliation letter. Even if the trucker was speeding, engaged in distracted driving, or driving unsafely in another way, lack of truck maintenance, violations of hours of service regulations, or other violations of federal regulations could have contributed to the crash. Your lawyer will send the trucking company a spoliation letter notifying them of your claim and not to destroy or modify documents that could help prove how the trucker’s and trucking company’s negligence caused your wreck.
- Check for hours of service violations. Under federal hours of service rules, a truck driver is only allowed to drive for a certain number of hours before taking a break. Your lawyer will need to examine the log book, receipts for gas and food, and other documents to determine if these regulations were violated.
- Review trucker’s personnel file. Your lawyer would obtain a copy of the trucker’s personnel file from the trucking company. They would review it to determine if the driver was licensed to drive a truck, had medical conditions that affected their driving, or had a drug or alcohol problem. They would also inspect their driving record.
- Trucking company records. The trucking company is also required to conduct a background check of truckers, properly maintain the truck, and test drivers for drugs and alcohol use. A lawyer would review the trucking company records to determine if the trucking company’s negligence also caused your truck collision.
Were you injured in a truck accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Do you believe the trucker’s negligence caused it? Call our Norfolk office or fill out our online form to schedule a free case evaluation to learn how can investigate your claim and fight with the insurance company so that they fully compensate you in your settlement.
What should I do if the insurance company denies my claim?
You are entitled to compensation if you were injured in a truck accident caused by a negligent trucker. However, even if you have a strong case, the insurance company for the truck driver and trucking company could deny your claim. Fortunately, you have options to protect your right to damages for your injuries.
Why the Insurance Company May Deny Your Claim
There are many reasons why an insurance company could deny your claim. Some are legitimate reasons, while others are just excuses to try not to pay you. Here are some top reasons:
- Liability disputes. The insurance company could claim that you were partially or completely at fault in causing the truck accident or that another incident caused your injuries. They may raise these issues, even if they are not valid, in order to deny your claim or try to pay you less money in your settlement. This is the most common reason that victims’ claims are denied.
- Policy exclusions. The insurance policy will have a number of exclusions of coverage. The insurance adjuster could claim that the trucker’s or trucking company’s actions fell within one of these exclusions and that the truck crash is not covered under their policy.
- Lapsed coverage. If the trucker or trucking company did not pay their insurance premiums on time, the policy would have lapsed and not been in effect at the time of your truck collision.
- Failure to notify. The insurance policy would have a provision that the company must be notified of your claim within a certain amount of time after the accident. If you, the trucking company, or the truck driver delayed notifying them of your claim, this could be a basis to deny liability to pay you.
Steps to Take If Your Claim Is Denied
You should not give up on obtaining the compensation you deserve if your claim is denied. The insurance company should send you a written notice of the denial that states why they are denying your claim. You should read the letter carefully. Then you should take these steps:
- Hire a lawyer. If you have not already done so, you need to retain an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible to fight the denial of your claim.
- Submit evidence. Your lawyer will conduct an investigation into the cause of your truck collision and into the issues raised by the insurance company to deny your claim. They will collect additional evidence to submit to the insurance company and may hire expert witnesses to help resolve any disputes so that your claim can be settled.
- File a lawsuit. If the insurance company will not reverse its decision to deny your claim or refuses to offer you a fair settlement, your attorney will need to file a lawsuit and litigate your claim. You will most likely settle your case at some point in the litigation process.
Do you need to file a claim following a truck accident? Did the insurance company deny your claim? Our dedicated truck accident lawyers will go up against the insurance company so that you obtain justice and the compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law. Fill out our online form to schedule a free case evaluation to learn more about your options and how we can help you.
What happens if I reject the insurance company’s settlement offer?
If a trucker caused your truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries from the trucker and trucking company. However, the insurance company will most likely not offer you all the damages you deserve when you file your claim. Here is what you need to know about your options if you are not happy with their offer.
Can You Reject a Settlement Offer?
Yes, you have the right not to accept an offer to settle your claim if you do not believe it fairly compensates you for your injuries. It is very likely that the insurance company’s initial offer will be a low-ball offer to try to get you to accept a quick settlement of your claim for far less money than you are entitled to under Virginia law. They may make other offers that also do not sufficiently compensate you. You have the right to reject these offers too.
What Happens After You Reject a Settlement Offer?
You should never accept a settlement offer from the insurance company or sign a legal document without first consulting with an experienced truck accident attorney. A lawyer can advise you on your rights and the reasonableness of the insurance adjuster’s offer. If it is in your best interests to reject the offer, they can notify the insurance company of this. Here’s what else you can expect to happen:
- Counteroffer. Your lawyer will put together a written counteroffer when rejecting the insurance adjuster’s offer. They will include a detailed explanation of the insurance company’s liability to pay you, the seriousness of your injuries, and how much compensation you are seeking. They may go through several rounds of negotiations, offers, and counteroffers before your claim is settled.
- Collection of evidence. If the insurance company raises legitimate disputes about your claim, your lawyer may need to collect additional evidence or hire expert witnesses to help resolve these issues.
- Litigation. If the insurance company refuses to be reasonable or the deadline to sue, referred to as the statute of limitations, will expire soon, your attorney will file a civil lawsuit on your behalf. It is likely that settlement negotiations will result in a settlement at some point in the litigation process.
Were you or a family member injured in a truck accident caused by a negligent truck driver? Call our Norfolk office or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation to learn about your options and how we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries.