Phoenix Truck Accident Lawyer

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Phoenix Truck Accident Attorney

A truck accident is a scary experience. Their size means they can do some significant damage, both to you and your vehicle. Truck accidents carry heavy costs in terms of medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and psychological costs. Working with a Phoenix truck accident lawyer can be critical in helping you use the legal system to seek the compensation that you deserve.

Whoever is responsible for the accident is legally responsible for those costs as well, and the injured victims in these accidents have the civil right to collect compensation for these costs. Collecting these costs can be difficult, though, as those responsible don’t always want to pay easily.

At the Bleaman Law Firm, we work exclusively in personal injury law matters in Phoenix and, as a result, have developed extensive knowledge and experience in truck accident claims and related cases. We are ready to put our skills to work for you, no matter your circumstances.

What Is Compensated in a Phoenix Truck Accident?

The things compensated in a truck accident claim are the costs that can be traced directly to the accident. Part of a court case will involve your truck accident lawyer needing to prove that connection.

The compensation is divided into three different categories:

  • Economic Damages – The costs that have a clear financial component are compensated through economic damages. This includes medical bills, including doctors’ visits, diagnostic tests, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. It also includes the cost to repair or, as is often the case in a truck accident, replace your vehicle or other property damage.

If your injuries caused you to miss work, lost wages are also included in economic damages. In cases where the injuries are so significant that you will require long-term medical care, those future costs will be estimated and part of the package. Likewise, if the injuries won’t allow you to return to work in the same capacity or at all, that could be included in economic damages.

  • Non-Economic Damages – The costs of the injuries that you suffer in a truck accident will often extend beyond the financial ones. At a minimum, injuries can lead to pain and suffering. There are also a host of emotional and psychological issues that may be affecting you. Things like mental anguish, loss of enjoyment in life, or loss of use of a body part are all things that you can’t fix with money.

While those things are given value and then compensated through non-economic damages, the hope is that this will not necessarily solve those issues but reduce other concerns in life, thus leaving room for you to better manage these concerns.

  • Punitive Damages – A third set of damages could be awarded, but it has less to do with what the plaintiff has had to endure and more with what the defendant did. If the defendant’s actions were egregious, then it’s possible that punitive damages may be handed down as a punishment.

However, the threshold for this tends to be significant and will often require malicious or overly reckless behavior on the part of the defendant. While this is possible, it is unlikely to apply in most cases.

If the truck accident resulted in the death of someone, then a wrongful death case may be appropriate and our wrongful death lawyers in Phoenix may help. The compensation in these cases covers many of the same costs, but additionally, things like funeral and burial costs may also be included.

Could My Compensation Be Capped or Reduced?

Arizona doesn’t have any damage caps that reduce the payout you receive in a truck accident case. However, the payout could be reduced by Arizona’s pure comparative negligence rules. These rules allow for the defendant’s lawyers to argue that the plaintiff’s negligence contributed to the accident and their injuries. To prove this, the burden of proof is flipped, and the defendant’s lawyers must prove all the components necessary for proving fault.

If the plaintiff is shown to have some responsibility for the accident, then the court will determine what share of fault all the parties involved had. This share will determine the damages payout. The potential damage award will be reduced proportionately to the share of fault. Therefore, a plaintiff determined to be 30% at fault on a $1 million award will receive $700,000.

In other states, when the plaintiff has more than 50% of the share of fault, they are prevented from collecting damages altogether. In Arizona, though, even if someone is 99% at fault, they can still collect 1% of damages.

Should I Settle My Case or Go to Court in Phoenix, AZ?

One of the things that those injured in a truck accident in Phoenix, AZ must often decide is whether to accept an offer to settle the case or to take the case to court. What is going to be a better option is highly subjective based on the particulars of each case. However, there are some general principles that tend to hold true in almost every circumstance.

A settlement is reached through a negotiation with the defendant. Typically, this means that both sides concede a little. In the case of the plaintiff, this likely means getting a bit less of a payout than they might by taking the case through the full legal process. However, what the plaintiff gains is that they will receive the funds they need much sooner than having to go through a claim that could take months and even years.

Settling also has the benefit of a guaranteed payout. Going to court, even in the strongest of cases, can be a bit of a gamble. There’s a chance that you may not get a ruling that you’re hoping to get. A settlement, though, guarantees you will get a particular compensation package without being subject to the whims of the court. However, what option is optimal for your case will depend on a variety of factors specific to your case.

Who Might Be Liable in a Phoenix Truck Accident?

It’s not always just the truck driver who is liable in a truck accident. There are many different parties involved in a trucking operation, and any one of them could be at fault either entirely or just partially.

One of the important tasks for a Phoenix truck accident lawyer is investigating the accident and discovering where exactly there may be some level of liability. Some of the parties who could potentially be liable include:

  • The Truck Driver – In most cases, the truck driver will have done something that makes them at fault for the accident. Whether a failure to follow traffic laws, reckless driving, or some kind of mistake, there are a number of ways they could cause an accident. Additionally, there are a number of regulations regarding how many hours and days on the road a truck driver can have and how long they must rest before getting on the road again. Failure to follow these properly could lead to being liable in an accident.
  • The Truck Driver’s Employer – There are a number of things the employer of a driver might do that could cause them to be liable, including failure to provide proper training, failing to maintain the truck, or having unreasonable delivery expectations.
  • The Company Responsible for Loading the Trucks – It’s important that trucks be loaded properly, as things like being overweight or improperly balanced could lead to an increased likelihood of an accident, leading to the company responsible for loading the truck being liable.
  • The Owner of the Freight – If the owner of the freight fails to properly identify what’s being shipped, it could lead to hazardous and dangerous materials not being properly labeled and handled. That could result in the freight owner being held liable for the accident.
  • Another Driver in the Accident – There are times when a truck might be involved in an accident, but the truck driver is not the driver who caused the accident. Another driver may have initiated the accident and, thus, be liable. It’s also possible that a driver with no direct involvement in the accident may have caused an accident by driving recklessly and erratically, forcing others to take measures to avoid them. Those evasive measures could end up initiating an accident. However, it may be the erratic driver who is at fault.
  • A Parts Manufacturer – There are some circumstances where the failure of a part could lead to an accident. If the part was defective or manufactured improperly, that manufacturer may be at least partially liable for the accident.
  • A Maintenance Provider – If maintenance was improperly done or not done as the provider claimed, or if parts were installed incorrectly, it’s possible that these things could lead to an accident and possible liability for the maintenance provider.
  • Government – Governments are usually responsible for ensuring functional roads, appropriate signage, and working traffic signals. If a failure in one of these areas was the cause of an accident, then it’s possible that the government may be liable.

Proving Liability in a Truck Accident in Phoenix

Proving liability in a truck accident can often be more complex than in a standard car accident in Phoenix. This is often because of the potential parties and the complexity of industry regulations involved.

To prove liability, your Phoenix truck accident lawyer will need to show that the defendant was negligent in their behavior. They may rely on a variety of forms of evidence, including photos and videos, eyewitness testimony, and expert testimony. Proving the negligence will require demonstrating three components:

  • Duty – The first thing that your lawyer will need to be able to show is that the defendant had a duty of care in the situation in which the accident was involved. They must show how the defendant had a responsibility to be careful about how their actions would affect others. Given the power and potential damage that a truck can cause, this duty is generally simple to prove in the case of a truck accident. Those who are in any way involved with trucking have a duty to take reasonable precautions to prevent unnecessary risk.
  • Breach – Once that duty has been established, your lawyers must then demonstrate that there was a breach of duty. This means demonstrating that they, in some way, failed to behave with an appropriate level of caution and carefulness in the situation involved. Proving this breach can involve proving a couple of different elements. Your lawyer must prove what the defendant did or didn’t do in a given situation. Not acting may be a breach if certain actions were required in order to ensure a proper level of precaution was taken. In that case, your truck accident lawyer in Phoenix must describe what should have been done instead. Depending on the complexity and unfamiliarity of the situation involved, it can be helpful to call on an expert witness to describe these things. Having someone familiar with similar situations testify as to what’s reasonable to expect in those circumstances can help the court better understand the nature of the breach.
  • Cause – For the defendant to have been negligent, the breach must have been a direct cause of your injuries. Only with that direct causation does the defendant become liable for the costs associated with that injury. Showing this cause, again, requires proving two things. First, the breach must be shown to be the cause of the accident. There may be breaches that have nothing to do with an accident. For instance, a defective headlight on a truck is a breach but obviously not a factor if someone rear-ends the truck. Therefore, there must be a direct line by which, if the breach didn’t happen, then the accident likely wouldn’t have happened. Then, it must also be shown that the accident directly caused the injury. This might seem straightforward, but there have been occasions where people have exaggerated their injuries or attempted to pass off pre-existing injuries or injuries that happened after the accident as a result of the accident. Your truck accident lawyer, then, will need to be able to demonstrate both the source and severity of the injuries you suffered.

What Can a Phoenix Truck Accident Lawyer Do for Me?

The job of a truck accident lawyer is to see that the victims of a truck accident receive fair and just compensation for what they’ve had to suffer in Phoenix. In service of that goal, they will take on a number of different jobs and roles.

The first thing a Phoenix truck accident lawyer will typically do is a thorough investigation of the situation surrounding the accident. They will be looking to understand all of the potentially liable parties in the situation and for evidence that can support the argument for their negligence. That, though, won’t be the only evidence that they are seeking.

They will also consider how the case may be made for your negligence and evidence that can defend against those accusations. This is critical for keeping your damages from being reduced under pure contributory negligence rules.

Your lawyer can also represent you in negotiations with the defendant or insurance companies. This can help your negotiation in a number of different ways. Firstly, it protects you from accidentally saying something that might be used against you. Anything you say that might be construed as taking responsibility may be used to argue that you’re at fault. A lawyer can help ensure that those things aren’t said.

Having a truck accident lawyer negotiate on your behalf also lends a certain level of credibility to your situation. Insurance companies, in particular, know that it is more difficult to push around a lawyer who understands what is and isn’t a reasonable offer in a given circumstance. When a lawyer negotiates, it also carries the implicit threat of going to court. That tangible threat may make the other side a bit more willing to negotiate from a reasonable position.

It’s also possible that, even after negotiations, the only viable option is to take the case to court. If this is the case, it’s your lawyer’s job to represent you and advocate for you through the process. They will make the case for negligence on the part of the defendant, as well as defend against any accusation of negligence on your part. They will also make the case for you to receive damages for all the costs associated with your injuries.

What to Do After a Truck Accident in Phoenix?

If you’ve been in a truck accident, there are a few different things you can do that can help your case and preserve your right to collect damages. These things include:

  • Getting Medically Evaluated – There are two kinds of medical evaluations that are important to get after a truck accident. The first is to get checked out by paramedics at the scene of the accident. There are often traumatic injuries you may not notice as a result of the shock and adrenaline that come from a significant accident. Paramedics are trained to recognize these kinds of injuries and treat them, so it’s important to let them evaluate you at the scene. The second kind of medical evaluation that you’ll want to receive if your injuries aren’t severe enough to end up in the hospital is a full examination by your doctor. Because the paramedics are looking for traumatic injuries, they could miss something more mundane that your doctor may later notice. Additionally, you may have noticed an injury days or hours later because the adrenaline has had time to wear off, and you’ve noticed a new pain. It is critical, though, that you get this examination done soon after the accident, or the delay may be used to question the seriousness or validity of your injuries.
  • Document What You Can – A critical component of helping your case is the process of documentation, as it can provide your truck accident lawyer with a variety of evidence that they can use. The process begins with the scene of the accident. Obviously, the extent of your injuries may limit your ability to take photos and videos of the scene of the accident. Even if you must rely on the help of someone else, though, it can be helpful to get pictures of the scene, damage, skid marks, and anything else pertaining to why the accident happened. Documentation is not just important at the scene but throughout the process, particularly as related to medical issues and any other costs that you face. Keep bills, receipts, doctors’ notes, and anything else relevant that can help strengthen your case. In general, it’s a good idea to document more than you think you might need, as the important information can always be extracted later by your lawyer.
  • Don’t Say Too Much – It’s important to remember that the lawyers on the opposite side will always be looking for some way to point the fault for the accident at you. That’s why it’s critical that you be careful when talking about the accident, especially when communicating with the insurance companies. Allowing your lawyer to represent you and communicate on your behalf is one of the better ways to avoid these kinds of problems. Contact a Phoenix truck accident lawyer, like Marc Bleaman, to get the protection you need as soon as possible.

Contact Our Skilled Truck Accident Lawyer in Phoenix

A truck accident is among the most significant you can have. The sheer size and power of a truck can often lead to devastating injuries and substantial damage to a vehicle. As much as anyone, those who have been injured in a truck accident need the compensation that covers their costs.

The medical bills, property damage, and intangible costs weigh significantly on a person. These things are the responsibility of those liable for the accident and should be compensated, usually by their insurance provider.

What many people find, though, is that insurance companies have a tendency to be less forthcoming with compensation than they should be. It frequently becomes necessary to leverage the tool of a civil claim against them in order to get the compensation you’re owed. To do that, it’s a good idea to work with skilled legal guidance like that we offer at the Bleaman Law Firm.

When you work with us, it can often lead to a more willing negotiating partner because the possibility of legal action looms. If an agreement can’t be reached, we are ready and willing to go to court to get what you deserve. If you’ve been in a truck accident, contact us today.


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