Nearly all truck accidents result in severe injuries or even multiple fatalities. Unfortunately, passenger car occupants bear the brunt of the crash more than truck drivers. This is mainly due to the difference in the size of both vehicles. Trucks also take a longer time to come to a stop compared to normal cars, which increases the chances of an accident.
If you or your loved one has been injured in a truck accident, there are several things you need to know before initiating the claims process.
1) Truck Accident Laws Are Different from Car Accident Laws
In a normal car accident, the attorney scours the accident scene to find any form of evidence that will support your claim as the injured person. Evidence includes video surveillance, witness statements, a copy of the police report, and photographs of the scene.
A truck accident case or lawsuit requires more evidence than this to prove liability.
First, the attorney collects evidence from the truck driver, such as necessary driving qualifications, inspection records, training files, and the total number of hours they had been driving prior to the accident.
Second, they examine the cargo for dispatch instructions, weight tickets, delivery documents, and trip envelopes.
Finally, the truck accident attorney checks the vehicle for inspection history, maintenance documents, onboard system downloads, and so on.
2) You Will Be Dealing with a Lot of Different Parties
Unlike a car accident where you deal with the other driver’s insurance company only, truck accidents involve a multitude of parties.
The key persons you will be dealing with depends on whether the driver works for a trucking company or an individual. Another factor that will determine the number of parties is whether the driver is riding without a trailer, an empty trailer, or a loaded trailer.
Freight forwarders, loaders, brokers, and shippers can also be found liable for the accident and become part of the case.
3) You Might Be At Fault Too
It is not unheard of for insurance companies to find a passenger car driver partially liable for the accident. When this happens, the insurer will assign you a percentage of fault which ultimately affects the total amount of compensation you will receive.
In some states, the insurance company deducts a sum equal to your percentage fault when awarding compensation. In other places, the injured victim might not receive compensation if found to be more than 51% at fault.
4) The Trucking Company Will Hire an Aggressive Insurance Company
Trucking accidents cause severe damages which are likely to require a hefty amount of compensation. On the other hand, trucking companies are not prepared to part with such huge amounts. As such, these companies are always ready with a fierce and aggressive insurance company to fight off any claims against their client.
This puts you at a slight disadvantage in various instances, but it is nothing to worry about. Hiring a truck accident lawyer levels the playing field because you have equally aggressive representation.
5) You Are Entitled to a Full Personal Injury Compensation
Truck accident victims are entitled to file a claim against the trucking company, and anyone else found liable, for damages caused by the crash. The company is likely to intimidate or trick you into settling for a lesser deal.
In other instances, the insurer will try and convince you that your claim has no merit or a likely future in the court. This is not true.If the truck driver was at fault, your attorney can help you prove that they were negligent by breaching their duty of care.