Any accident on the roads in Mississippi can cause serious injury but, with semi truck accidents, the likelihood of severe and life-altering injuries is increased.
Because of the sheer size of commercial trucks (frequently over 80,000 pounds) and the huge forces involved in semi truck accidents, many victims need costly long-term medical care and lengthy rehabilitation from such accidents.
Unfortunately, the compensation that victims deserve from the at-fault party isn’t always forthcoming. With serious legal representation, your chance of getting what you really deserve — rather than what the insurance company believes you deserve — increases.
If you’ve been involved in a semi truck accident in the Biloxi area of Mississippi, the trucking accident lawyers at Rushing & Guice, PPLC can help you recover maximum damages.
What are the common causes of trucking accidents?
The most common causes of semi truck accidents in Mississippi are the following:
- Driver fatigue: truck drivers are often pushed hard by their employers and drive longer shifts than permitted by the regulations. Long driving hours and loading/unloading heavy loads is a poor combination that can affect driver alertness, increasing the chance of errors of judgement and accidents.
- Driving under the influence (DUI): under Mississippi law, commercial drivers must not drive with a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.04 (that’s half the limit for standard drivers). Driving under the influence of prohibited drugs is also illegal.
- Poor weather conditions: heavy rain or fog is another common cause of truck accidents, making it hard to see the road and reducing the reaction time available.
- Jackknifing: breaking issues, especially at high speeds, can cause large vehicles to skid along the road and jackknife: this is a very dangerous situation that can cause serious injury and loss of life.
- Reckless driving: truckers are trained professionals and mostly follow the road rules. If they drive recklessly or while distracted (e.g., while using the phone), the consequences can be worse than for other drivers — so they are rightly held to higher standards.
Common truck accident injuries
The likelihood of serious injury in a semi truck accident is even greater than for most other vehicles on the roads. Typical injuries include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord and neck injuries
- Head trauma
- Loss of limbs
- Bad scarring
- Broken bones
How does a semi truck accident claim work?
After a semi truck accident, your first thoughts will be to tend to your injuries and begin the recovery process.
Depending on your condition, you may need some time in hospital but even if you seem relatively uninjured, you should seek a full medical checkup to ensure that you have no internal injuries and to document your accident. Do this immediately or as soon as you’re able to after the accident — no delays!
Determining if you have a claim
Your thoughts will eventually turn to how you’re going to pay for everything. It’s important at this stage (or even before) to seek legal advice as you’ll need to determine if you have a valid compensation claim.
It’s best to contact a lawyer with specific experience in trucking accident claims because these cases usually work differently from other personal injury cases. You’ll likely need to claim from the driver’s employer’s insurance company.
Even if you have the money to pay for your care or think you may have been partially at fault for the accident, don’t leave it too long before contacting a qualified lawyer as there is a time limit of three years (“statute of limitations”) in Mississippi, within which you must file your claim.
One of our trucking accident lawyers can discuss your situation, determine whether you have a valid personal injury claim and provide you with your legal options from there.
If we determine that you have a valid personal injury claim and you wish to proceed, our lawyers will begin an investigation to gather evidence and prove liability.
This is crucial to securing the maximum possible compensation for your injuries as the insurance company often tries to shift some (or all) of the blame onto another party to avoid liability.
Semi truck accidents can have many causes, as you’ve seen. We will survey the accident scene, gather police and medical reports, talk to witnesses and check the black box records and trucking company records in detail. In personal injury cases, we need to prove on a preponderance of evidence that the truck driver (or trucking company) was at fault.
Once the insurance company realizes that we can prove liability, a favorable compensation deal is more likely. Few cases end up at trial as the insurance company generally wants to avoid the legal fees and the possibility of a judge awarding even more than the negotiated sum.
What can you claim?
In Mississippi semi truck accidents, you can claim both economic and non-economic damages as follows:
- All medical expenses now and in the future
- Lost earnings from time missed at work (now and in the future)
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
Mississippi follows the laws of pure comparative negligence when compensating victims of truck accidents. This means that even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you can still claim compensation for your injuries.
If, for instance, you were 25 percent at fault for the accident and the semi truck driver was 75 percent responsible, you would receive 75 percent of any sum awarded by a court.
If you were more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, you would not have a valid claim.
Truck accident claims are invariably complex and time-consuming — and an especially tough process if you’re trying to recover from your injuries. Most victims choose to appoint a personal injury lawyer and avoid having to handle the process alone.
Don’t delay your initial discussion with a qualified lawyer and never discuss anything with the insurance company of the at-fault party — no matter how hard they pressure you. Don’t provide a recorded or written statement if they request one.
If an insurance loss adjuster calls, politely refuse their questions and refer them to your lawyer.
Remember, the insurance company is not looking out for your interests. It is protecting its own. Our role as your lawyer is to redress the balance and look out for your interests.
If you’ve been involved in a semi truck accident in the Biloxi area of Mississippi, contact a trucking accident lawyer for legal advice.