The Hurdles Faced by People who Choose to Represent Themselves
Pursuing a claim against those responsible for your Laredo truck accident injury isn’t like filing an insurance claim after a typical car wreck. This isn’t something you can do by yourself. It’s impossible for a layman and challenging for a novice attorney. The typical trucking company insurance policy is 50 times more expensive than a regular car insurance policy. Because these policies are so significant, the litigation surrounding them can be highly intricate and complex. If you choose to go it alone, you could make the biggest mistake in your life. That might seem like an exaggeration, but it’s not. If you do not have legal help, you can about guarantee you will lose your case. And once that happens, you will be on the hook for any medical expenses you’ve accumulated. And all those lost wages? You’ll never get that back unless you have an incredibly generous employer. What if you can’t ever work again because of the accident? You get one chance at prosecuting this kind of case. If you lose, you’ll never again have the chance to get compensated for lost potential future earnings. Think about that long and hard before setting off on this course by yourself.
There are several reasons you cannot try this by yourself. Some of them are: satisfying the burden of proof, dealing with insurance company operatives, self-insured trucking companies, and truck drivers who choose to lie. We detail all of these reasons below.
Satisfying the Burden of Proof
As we stated previously, in the State of Texas, the law does not require a defendant to pay a Laredo truck accident victim anything after being injured in a truck accident. The victim or plaintiff must prove the defendant owes him or her compensation. And in order to get that compensation, the victim has to produce compelling evidence to sway a judge or jury. Evidence still needs to be produced even when negotiating an out-of-court settlement; the defendant or the defendant’s insurance provider must be compelled to negotiate in good faith; that won’t happen if you don’t have evidence on your side. To meet the burden of proof, you must establish duty, breach, causation, and damages. These are detailed below.
Duty – The State of Texas has established that everyone owes everyone else a duty of care. In your case, you have to prove the defendant owed you the duty of providing for your safety by behaving in a responsible manner. Different levels of duty of care apply in different ways. In the case of motorists, all drivers owe all other drivers a duty of care to drive safely for everyone else on the road. In the case of a truck accident, this is a fairly easy element to establish.
Breach – You must next prove that the defendant (or defendants) breached that duty of care that you were owed. This breach typically occurs when a defendant places others in danger, either through an action that a reasonable person would not be expected to do or through an inaction where a reasonable person would be expected to do something. You have to produce evidence proving the defendant in your case ignored that duty of care through action or inaction. You will need a seasoned truck accident attorney adept at using evidence to convince a judge or jury that the defendant or defendants acted unreasonably.
Causation – To establish causation, you must prove that the injury you incurred directly resulted from the defendant’s breach of duty. There are, as noted previously, many potentially liable parties in a case involving a truck accident. Because of this, it takes highly compelling evidence to make the judge or jury believe that the defendant’s breach and the subsequent harm that occurred you have a causal relationship. That’s an important distinction because if you can’t, the defendant can defeat your case by shifting blame for your injury to another party. Most of the time, a defendant’s best chance at winning a case is to shift the blame to the plaintiff for causing his or her injuries through his or her negligence.
Damages – Successfully establishing the three components mentioned above is not enough to win your case. You must also prove the damages owed to you by the defendant for the injury you have suffered. “Damages,” from a legal standpoint, do not refer to destroyed property or injuries. The term instead means the monetary value assigned to those injuries or property damage. A plaintiff can seek damages for lost wages, pain and suffering, lost potential earning capacity, property damage, and other losses incurred by the plaintiff due to the accident.
But you can’t just show up to court, stick out your hand, ask for a bagful of money and get it. Again, you must bring forth rock-solid evidence that proves the losses you have incurred and how you calculated the value of the damages. Usually a defendant will fight that amount and will provide their own estimated value of damages, and that will obviously be a lesser amount – at least that’s the case the vast majority of the time. However, to prove that the defendant is attempting to shortchange that amount of damages, you must present unassailable evidence to establish those calculations are legitimate.
Determining the value of those damages can be highly perplexing for novice lawyers and basically impossible for the layman. Damages such as loss of future earning potential and pain and suffering are basically a matter of opinion, and very much open to interpretation. It’s very, very hard to put a price tag on pain and suffering, and it’s extremely difficult to estimate lost potential earnings – especially when you try to consider potential raises in future years and inflation. Again, you get one shot in court to calculate this amount, just as you have but one chance to win the case as a whole. The truck accident lawyers with our Law Office have been accurately determining the value of damages for 20 years. We have dealt with enough cases similar to yours to make an accurate estimate of damages, thereby helping you get the compensation you have coming to you.
If you fail to meet any of the standards associated with any of the four elements as mentioned above, you will lose your case. And with it, any chance you’ll ever have at getting fair restitution for all the physical and emotional trauma you have experienced. There is no alternative – you must obtain legal representation. Our attorneys have years of experience pursuing legal action regarding truck accidents, and over those years have learned how to formulate a solid plan to meet all the necessary standards and compel any judge or jury to decide in your favor.