Being involved in any automotive accident is a traumatic experience.
Unfortunately, the process can drag out much longer after the accident when you’re dealing with insurance companies, court battles, and just trying to obtain compensation you deserve.
Due to many of the legal and fundamental complexities involved with commercial trucking, this process is even more complicated if you’re in an accident with a semi-truck.
Although the trucking industry is heavily regulated by the federal and state governments, and there are often many parties involved in the settlement process, you don’t have to fight these battles on your own. Obtaining a qualified attorney with experience dealing with trucking companies and insurance carriers can help you navigate many of these complex areas, and ensure that you are fairly compensated, and your rights are protected.
In this article we discuss many of the differences between being in an accident with a commercial truck versus a passenger vehicle, and why it is so important to engage an experienced attorney to help you through the process.
Heavy Regulation and Different Laws That Apply
One of the main differences between commercial trucking and passenger vehicles is that the former is heavily regulated by complicated laws sanctioned by both the federal and state governments.
Truckers must register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation, which have the following requirements as minimum safety precautions:
- Annual inspections
- Driver log books
- Standards for driver qualifications
- Standards for vehicle maintenance
If you are involved in an accident with a commercial truck, it can often be difficult to determine all of the factors that may play a role in your case. All truckers and trucking companies are required to meet the numerous regulations set by governing entities, and those that cannot show they have met these standards may be liable for any resulting accident or injury.
Unfortunately, many trucking companies will go through painstaking efforts to show that their vehicles and their drivers are in compliance, when in fact they are not.
An experienced attorney knows these regulations and knows what to look for if a company or driver may not be in compliance, resulting in an accident.
Multiple Insurance Companies and Difference Policies
Another significant difference between being involved with a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle in an accident is the number of insurance companies and the different policies involved.
Generally, when you are in an accident with a commercial truck there will be multiple insurance companies involved, including:
- The company that hired the truck
- The truck driver (personal insurance)
- The truck itself
- The cargo onboard (likely to be insured by a different company)
Having this many insurance companies involved in any accident claim can be very overwhelming. As you may expect, each company will be fighting to limit their liability and place blame on other parties — including you.
This may not only slow down any compensation or legal process, they may drag the process on until you feel the fight just isn’t worth it. This is where an experienced attorney can help.
An attorney that is used to dealing with multiple insurance companies and knows the nuances of the vehicle accident legal process can help ensure these companies don’t unfairly complicate the situation. They can help with managing the different insurance policies and resulting paperwork, leaving you to focus on recovery from your injuries.
The Lure of a “Fair” Settlement
Every vehicle accident requires a thorough and extensive fact-finding investigation. This is even more important when your accident involves a large commercial truck. These investigations are important to understand who is liable for what, and to determine any root cause of the accident.
This can be dangerous for heavily regulated truckers. Indeed, the more intense the investigation, the higher the likelihood they will be found liable and their insurance companies will have to pay out.
Insurance companies, truckers and their trucking companies know this. In an effort to limit any resulting investigation and pay out as little as possible, and as quickly as possible, insurance adjusters are typically quick to the accident scene to offer you a “fair” settlement in order to make the case go away.
Don’t be lured by this quick offer.
An experienced attorney that knows the common settlement tactics can negotiate with these companies on your behalf, and ensure that you don’t accept a quick check for much less than you deserve.
If you refuse the unfair settlement the insurance companies will try to force on you, you can fight for compensation for your accident that can include compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Future medical expenses
- Punitive damages
- And more
Contact Wright Gray to get started on your case
Don’t get lured into a “fair” settlement. Contact the qualified and experienced attorneys at Wright Gray to fight for you and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.