Commercial accidents typically involve trucks carrying goods or equipment. The National Safety Council mentions that 10% of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes were large trucks. Personal injury attorneys that focus on commercial crashes are seeing more business lately. Yet, not all victims of truck accidents are searching for a lawyer. They might not consider their minor injuries with with the going to court over. In many cases, they don’t see the need for having a lawyer. It’s an additional expense and o ne that they don’t see as worth it. However, there are some unique benefits to having a commercial lawyer on your side in these types of accident cases.
Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Car accidents that involve a truck or another commercial vehicle are commercial vehicle accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), trucks typically weigh as much as 20 to 30 times that of the passenger vehicles they collide with. In commercial vehicle accidents, the forces can quickly lead to a passenger suffering debilitating physical injury. Fatalities in these cases can be high, and the injuries that result may linger for many years. These injuries include broken bones, nerve damage, potential brain injuries, and many more.
In a truck accident, you might be tempted to focus on the at-fault driver. While this makes sense, since Texas is an at-fault state, you might need to reconsider your focus. The driver may have been responsible for the crash directly, but there may have been other factors affecting the incident. The trucking company, for example, may have some liability since they are responsible for the conduct of their employees. Contractors that load the trucks might be complicit in the crash by not balancing the load correctly, leading to a situation where the truck would be difficult to handle. The truck’s manufacturer may have defective parts within the vehicle, causing it to fail at a crucial moment leading to the crash. A truck accident is unlike another motor vehicle accident. Discussing these factors with an experienced commercial accident attorney can give you insight into where you should look for redress.
The Role of Insurance In A Commercial Accident
Insurance companies for commercial trucking companies are where you’d typically file your claim. However, commercial claims tend to carry heavy limits on them. As a result, insurance companies hire accident law firms to defend these claims with a lot of effort. Texas requires that most drivers carry insurance that fits a certain degree of coverage. They must have $30,000 coverage for personal injuries, $60,000 total for a crash, and $25,000 for property damage. However, federal law requires that insurance companies cover their commercial clients for much more. Some coverage limits routinely reach six figures.
Because trucks can cause such catastrophic injuries to people on the other side of an accident, the coverage must be broad. Settlements for claims, including pain and suffering, wrongful death, and damages, need to come out of these settlements. However, insurance companies will do their utmost to prevent having to pay for these injuries. Luckily for insurers, there are many loopholes they can exploit to limit the volume of losses incurred from a successful commercial accident claim. The Modified Comparative Negligence Rule is fascinating. If the victim in a truck accident case seems to hold more than 51% of the blame for the accident, they aren’t entitled to any compensation. Because this is such an open-ended rule, insurance companies will try to use it to ensure they don’t have to pay.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Commercial Vehicle Accident?
Trucking companies invest lots of money into their insurance firms. As a result, those insurance firms have a vested interest in keeping their clients safe. Since transportation companies can leverage legal teams to deal with any problems they encounter, the average person is at a disadvantage. While it’s unnecessary to get a commercial accident lawyer, you should consider it an option.. Having a lawyer against their legal team might allow you to get a settlement.
Commercial vehicle accident settlements vary in the amount of time it takes to go through them and what the victim might get out of it. Payments may take some time to settle, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Settlements that take longer may be in your best interests if you have ongoing pain and suffering to deal with. You may notice insurance companies operate differently after they realize you’ve hired an attorney. Before hiring a truck accident lawyer, you might be on excellent terms with the insurance adjuster. Their attitude will change when they know you’ve taken on legal counsel. But why would you want to add legal counsel to your side of proceedings if it complicated matters? There are several crucial reasons you need to have a professional standing in your corner.
As mentioned before, the trucking industry may involve several stakeholders that have their own input into each journey. One or more of these may be at fault in the case of a commercial vehicle accident. The employer might be liable for charges if they didn’t follow the regulations for changing shifts for their workers. Additionally, if something they did during their driver’s employment negatively affected their ability to drive, they may also share the blame. When employers hire drivers, they must ensure that they are certified to drive the type of truck they’re assigned to. Small details like this can be easily missed by people who aren’t aware of the different licensing classes in trucking.
Trucks are complicated mechanical systems, and something may go wrong without warning. If the accident happens because of a mechanical malfunction, then the driver may not be to blame. However, the responsibility may fall solely on the shoulders of the trucking company or the vehicle manufacturer. A vehicle with faulty parts or which may have been damaged in the manufacturing process presents a safety hazard. If the vehicle’s malfunction was due to poor maintenance, then the blame shifts to the trucking company. With Texas’ Modified Comparative Negligence Rule, these parties may be responsible for a different percentage of the blame, depending on their input.
Building a Strategy
If you’re intending to claim for damages in a commercial vehicle crash, you will need to build a strategy against the insurance company. If the case goes to court, you’ll need to present your case in front of a jury. Based on what they determine, the trucking company may be held responsible for the crash and required to pay you compensation.
Professional personal injury attorneys have a system in place for collecting evidence and ensuring that the right parties are held responsible for the collisions. An experienced attorney will study your case, then find witnesses and records associated with the case. This may include the other driver’s records, police reports, and medical records that detail your injuries. Finally, they will build a case against the company, based on the information they collected. Without the experience that a lawyer offers you’ll need to investigate the situation yourself. Most people’s lives are too busy to spend time investigating these incidents. Thus a lawyer may be the ideal solution.
Negotiating a Settlement
It’s rare that truck accident cases get to court. In most situations, the insurance company prefers to settle out of court. The experience of going through compensation negotiations can be difficult. Accidents can leave indelible imprints on people’s lives. However, insurance companies usually don’t care about the victims of the crash. Instead, they prefer to settle for as little as possible.
The first payment they may offer to a victim wouldn’t be considered fair compensation. The insurance police may not allow them to pay out a fair amount to the injured parties. As a result, they try to make the settlement attractive, without breaking the bank. Having an experienced truck accident lawyer comes in handy at this juncture. The insurance company’s team will try to fight back against your proposals to limit their losses. However, they don’t take into account medical costs and other bills you may have to deal with. The cost of medical care in the US can be massive. Your personal injury claim should address the cost of your medical care.. Your lawyer will ensure that this is highlighted in their negotiations.
Gathering Vital Evidence
The strength of your personal injury claim comes from the evidence that you have to support it. This evidence may come from eyewitness accounts at the accident scene or even police reports that have been filed relating to the incident.. The average driver doesn’t have the resources to dedicate towards finding the evidence necessary to deal with insurance companies’ legal teams Without that evidence, your truck accident lawsuit may hit a roadblock.
The experience that a truck accident attorney has can help make this task easier. Their proven methods for locating information can help them track down witnesses. Personal injury lawyers usually have channels that they can rely on for police reports as well, saving you the hassle of locating it yourself. An insurance firm will take every opportunity to use loopholes to deny your personal injury claim. That’s why your evidence must be strong enough to warrant a solid compensation package.
Knowledge In the Field
Your experience as a victim counts for a lot. The impact that accidents can have on victims lives can’t be understated. However, your lawyer’s experience in dealing with trucking companies may be more important at this juncture. For example, the non-specialist wouldn’t know that a truck driver isn’t allowed to drive for more than a certain number of hours without sleep. Additionally, any driver the company hires needs to go through rigorous alcohol and drug testing regularly.
State and federal laws regarding truck drivers and their experience vary. It would be nearly impossible to figure out what could have gone wrong between an accident and a hearing for compensation from the insurance firm. That’s notwithstanding the knowledge that you’d need about trucks, particularly the model involved in the accident. Manufacturing defects could be just as much to blame as poor maintenance leading to collisions. A truck accident attorney has this information at their fingertips and would be more than willing to use it to help you with your case.
Additionally, there is a period of time that you’re allowed to file your truck accident claim. Each truck accident attorney knows the statute of limitations for filing for damages after a trucking accident. The insurance companies are also acutely aware of the statute of limitations. Any filing done after the window is closed will be ignored. Consulting a truck accident attorney will help you figure out if you’re still able to file for compensation.
More Efficient Case Resolution
An experienced truck accident lawyer can help your case proceed more smoothly. Extensive experience ensures that your filing and each step along the way is streamlined. Their representation can help you file papers within deadlines, locate evidence (as discussed previously) and articulating yourself in front of a judge and jury.
Medical records that may explain your physical pain as an accident victim may go a long way towards proving your case. When yous eek medical attention for your truck accident injuries, the attending physician would record the injuries found and treatment delivered. This medical attention can prove crucial in your case, since it shows that you were actually hurt in the incident. The records can be valuable for validation purposes.
Getting on the phone with an experienced truck accident counsel will ensure that your case is dealt with quickly and you get the compensation you want out of it.
Damages are calculated based on several factors. Payments may refer to economic or non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to the earning potential of the injured person. Non-economic damages refer to damages for pain and suffering. Among the factors affecting are:
- Loss of Income: If you’re unable to work because of your pain or other injuries, you may be due compensation from liable parties.
- Medical Costs: Medical costs associated with a trucking accident could mount up. The negligent party may be required to cover these as part of the agreement.
- : In the event of Semi-truck accidents, injury victims may experience significant pain and suffering. The at-fault party should pay for their discomfort.
- Wrongful Death: Trucking accident lawyers routinely deal with wrongful death cases because of how prevalent they are in such incidents..
- Punitive Damages: As a warning to the at-fault party and any other who may want to emulate them, punitive damages may be leveraged as a preventative measure.
- Loss of Companionship: The relationship between individuals may change as a result of traffic accidents. The liable parties may need to pay for this change in life.
The settlement that you get will usually be within the limits of the company’s insurance policy. The insurance company’s legal representation will try their utmost to limit the amount they have to pay. Having an auto accident lawyer that knows how to maximize settlements is in your best interest..
Expert Witness Testimony
As part of your representation, you may need to leverage the testimony from expert witnesses. These may be medical experts, or people who are versed motor vehicle collision analysis. Medical professionals and legal professionals also fall into this category.
The expert witness may reveal details about substantial injuries, and cover all severe injuries they witness from the accident victim. From traumatic brain injuries to mental anguish, each of these may play a part in a desirable outcome for your personal injury lawsuit. In most cases, these payments are necessary for the individual to have a semblance of a normal life after the accident.
Choosing an Experienced Trucking Accident Lawyer
With semi-truck accidents becoming such a prevalent outcome, it’s no wonder people are seeking legal representation that they can trust. Personal injury law firms are best poised to help their clients with their trucking accidents, and they’re just a phone call away. Contacting a lawyer might be the best way to secure yourself against the predation of a trucking company’s insurance.