Getting into any type of accident can be terrifying and dangerous, but when you are in a passenger vehicle and get into an accident with a commercial truck like an 18-wheeler, the results can be catastrophic. Simply considering the size difference between these two types of vehicles is enough for you to understand the difference in the accident, but the reality is that the differences go far beyond the physics of the crash. When you file a claim with a commercial insurance policy, you will quickly come to recognize that the process is far more complicated than a passenger vehicle insurance claim.
Contact 1-800-Injured To Connect With a Truck Accident Attorney Today
1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service. Our team is available to connect you with a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible, who is ready to take your case and help you fight for the money that you truly deserve. After a serious accident like this, the last thing that you should need to do is try to navigate the complexities of these types of insurance claims and the extensive requirements and requisites that will factor into determining things such as fault, cause, and more. Truck drivers are held to a very high standard in the United States, starting with a Commercial Driver License and extending to things like driving hour restrictions, certifications for certain cargo types, and more.
Read more below to get a general sense of the differences between a truck accident insurance claim and a passenger vehicle accident claim. Contact us as soon as possible to be connected with truck accident lawyers for a free consultation. During this consultation, the attorney can provide you with even more clarity and specific advice for your situation.
The sooner you are working with a lawyer, the sooner you can focus on your recovery without being overwhelmed by this complex legal process.
Filing a Commercial Truck Accident Claim Is Complicated
After an accident with a tractor-trailer or semi-truck, you can expect a range of differences when compared to a commercial accident claim or other personal injury claims process. This stems from the fact that a large commercial truck poses a more significant risk of serious injuries, and accident cases often have many more damages to account for. Commercial motor vehicle policies have higher limits and many more regulations and requirements, all of which can benefit a victim while working with an experienced truck accident lawyer but can quickly overwhelm them if they are on their own.
The key to understanding what to expect during this claims process is to understand the major differences between consumer and commercial insurance policies and some of the specific regulations pertaining to truck drivers. The following are just a few examples, but once you are connected with an attorney through 1-800-Injured you will be able to learn far more, in greater detail, as it pertains specifically to your case.
Higher Policy Limits
Trucks pose a bigger threat than passenger vehicles simply because of the enormous difference in size between big rigs and the passenger vehicles that they share the road with. In addition, trucks are carrying large amounts of valuable cargo and are on the road far more than an average private vehicle. These factors, and more, lead to many commercial insurance policies having coverage of $1 million or more. The good news is that a higher policy limit may mean that the compensation you deserve is within the standard limits, but this does not mean that your third-party insurance claim will go any smoother. Insurance companies want to save as much money as possible, higher limits or not.
Since truck drivers are on the road much more than private drivers and are carrying enormous loads in massive vehicles across long distances, there are many more regulations that a truck driver must adhere to. This begins with their CDL but goes beyond that into strict maintenance schedules, driving limits, and cargo restrictions such as weight and material. Each of these regulations and requirements introduces an additional factor that could contribute to determining fault in the accident but requires the victim to take an in-depth look at all of the available information. At the accident scene, the responding police officer will perform an investigation into what they believe the cause of the accident was, but large truck accidents require a deeper look into the driver’s logs to gather all relevant information.
More Aggressive Insurance Representatives
As you can imagine, when there are much higher policy limits and settlements on the line, the insurance company is more motivated to protect their financial resources and limit their payment amounts. Since these policies have much higher limits, the good news is that there is more money available to cover your injuries and damages; but, you are going to need to work to get it. When you hire an experienced truck accident attorney, they can take on the insurance company while you focus on tackling the most important aspects of your accident, like recovering from your injuries and getting your life back on track.
More Liable Parties
In some cases, it may turn out that the crash was caused by faulty maintenance that the truck company should have been responsible for. In this case, you will file a lawsuit or claim against the truck company’s insurance, not the driver’s. In other instances, the crash may have been the result of driver fatigue due to an overworked truck driver, which could result in a claim against the driver’s policy. There are many possible combinations of liable parties when dealing with a commercial trucking company, but fortunately, your experienced truck accident attorneys will be able to sort out these details while you focus on your own personal needs and recovering from your injuries.
More Serious Injuries
Truck accident injury cases must often account for more significant injuries than may have been sustained in an accident between like-sized vehicles, simply due to the fact that a big rig is so much larger than a passenger vehicle. While this is not always the case, one of the reasons that an operator is required to carry additional certifications for an 18-wheeler or semi-truck is due to the fact that a semi-truck accident can be so much more dangerous. An experienced accident injury attorney will be able to ensure that you are fairly compensated regardless of whether or not the size of the tractor-trailer played a factor.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
The following are just a few of the many possible causes of a semi-truck accident. Whether or not you see your own accident listed below, contact 1-800-Injured to connect with an attorney who is experienced with helping truck accident victims get the money thy deserve.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets forth restrictions on the hours a trucker can operate their semi-truck over the course of a day or period of days. These restrictions are known as the Hours of Service, and while they limit the issue of tired tractor-trailer drivers due to work-related fatigue, there is no guarantee that a driver isn’t tired behind the wheel due to their personal lives. If you believe that your truck crash was caused by a tired driver, be sure to tell your personal injury lawyers as soon as possible.
Many people are guilty of speeding on a daily basis, but in some cases, a truck driver can be incentivized to speed when the trucking companies they work for hold them to strict delivery schedules. Speeding in a massive tractor-trailer can lead to a crash if the trucker loses control or is unable to stop on time. Speed is a factor in many types of truck accidents. If you are involved in a truck accident caused by excessive speed, connect with a law firm as soon as possible to partner with an attorney and get the compensation you deserve.
Commercial trucks are complicated machines, and whether a trucking professional works for a truck company or on their own, someone must maintain the vehicle to ensure that a mechanical failure does not lead to an avoidable accident or wrongful death. It can be extremely frustrating for a truck accident victim to realize that they may not have been involved in a truck accident had the driver or trucking company had simply followed maintenance guidelines. Maintenance information will be available in the driver’s logs that they must maintain while operating a commercial vehicle.
When a driver engages in aggressive behavior like tailgating, “brake checking,” or other intimidating actions, the surrounding drivers are at an increased risk of an accident. When the aggressive driver is operating a large truck, this already-dangerous behavior can be even more risky and intimidating. If you are in a truck crash caused by an aggressive driver, your attorney may decide to go straight to a lawsuit in the hopes of punitive damages being awarded by a judge or jury.
If you are in an accident involving foul weather like driving rain, gale winds, or frozen roads, determining who may be liable for the injuries can get more complicated. Fortunately, working with an experienced injury lawyer or team of lawyers can give you the clarity and guidance you need in order to file a comprehensive claim and seek the money you deserve after your truck collision. Trucking requires that cargo is delivered no matter the weather, meaning that an operator can’t simply stay home if the weather is disagreeable.
Driving Under the Influence
An unfortunate number of accidents across the United States involve alcohol or other mind-altering substances, and drivers operating commercial trucks are not exempt from playing a role in these alarming statistics. CDL drivers, while operating commercial vehicles, have an even stricter BAC limit of 0.04% as opposed to the federal limit of 0.08% for drivers operating passenger vehicles. There is also a zero-tolerance policy for other substances. If you suspect that the driver is under the influence, be sure to tell the police officer as soon as they arrive at the scene.
Following a number of types of accidents, truckers may be required to submit to a blood test to confirm sobriety.
When a driver takes their eyes off the road and looks at their smartphone, eats lunch, or otherwise takes their eyes or mind off the task of driving their big rig, they are engaging in distractions and putting everyone on the road at an increased risk of trucking accidents. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if a driver of a large commercial vehicle is looking at their phone, but many commercial vehicles have on-board cameras that record the cockpit. This type of information can be very helpful with accidents involving commercial trucks, and your truck accident lawyers will understand the process of seeking this information.
Calculating Damages After a Truck Accident
One of the biggest benefits of working with experienced accident lawyers is that you have a truck accident lawyer focusing on calculating all damages you are owed. There are a number of damages that are fairly obvious, such as your medical bills, but trying to reach a fair value for something as subjective as your pain and suffering and other emotional injuries can be intimidating and confusing. Your attorney will handle this process on your behalf in order to ensure that you get the money you deserve after a truck collision, but the following is a general explanation of the two damages they will calculate: economic and non-economic.
Note that there is a third type of damage known as punitive damages, but these are only awarded by a judge or jury in particular accident cases at the end of a trial. Truck accident lawyers will not include these potential damages in out-of-court settlement negotiations, and if they believe that the driver or trucking company may be liable for these damages, they may choose to move your case right into the courts.
Economic damages are the most obvious and simple to calculate because they seek repayment for measurable costs and losses with set financial values. These include things like your medical bills, lost wages, and any services or products you need during your recovery. These services or products include things like assistive devices, handicap ramps, cleaners, shopping services, and even a driver.
There are many other economic damages that injury lawyers look for after an accident injury, and you can be certain that your attorney will take a close look at your entire life to gather all damages after your car accident.
Non-economic damages are more complicated than economic damages simply because they seek financial compensation for abstract impacts that have no dollar value associated with them. These types of damages include things like the pain and suffering a victim endures or the impacts of a brain injury on a trucking accident victim and their family. The trauma a victim endures after experiencing an accident with a tractor-trailer is significant damage in itself and one that lawyers know how to quantify. There are many other non-economic damages that injury lawyers know how to identify and calculate after a car accident or trucking accident and will then negotiate directly with the trucking insurance company for a fair settlement.
There are a number of methods for calculating non-economic damages after trucking accidents, and you can rest assured knowing that your accident lawyers will be working to maximize this portion of your settlement on your behalf.
Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents
The following are just a few of the many questions that an experienced trucking accident attorney answers during a free consultation and throughout the work they do with their clients. Whether or not you see your own question below, contact 1-800-Injured now to connect with a personal injury attorney who is ready to take your case today.
How can a trucking accident attorney help me?
Working with truck accident attorneys for a semi-truck accident case can make the difference between a low settlement that does not reflect the extent of your personal injury damages and a settlement that fairly compensates you for your suffering. Working with accident lawyers can also give you the emotional space you need to focus on your recovery without the additional stress of your legal issues. Stress is shown to negatively impact the recovery process, and it is important for victims to do everything possible to assist their recovery after truck accidents.
What should I do following a truck accident?
After a truck accident or car accident alike, the most important thing to do is to prioritize your health and safety. Call 911 as soon as possible, and avoid anything that could complicate or exacerbate your injuries. Truck accidents can be very scary, and it is likely that you adrenaline will be pumping in the aftermath — try not to let the excitement overwhelm you. Follow the lead of the first responders, who are familiar with accidents and helping victims, and make sure that you get the care you need. Once you have gotten medical care, the next step is to start thinking about lawyers who can help after an accident involving a commercial truck.
What are the leading causes of truck accidents?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the leading cause of truck accidents were decision-based, such as driving too fast for conditions, misjudging the speed of other vehicles, or following other vehicles too closely. Truck accident lawyers understand how to look at the details of accidents to get a better sense of what happened and whether or not the truck driver contributed to the crash.
What is the truck’s black box, and what does it track?
Once you are working with lawyers familiar with trucking accidents, you may hear the term “black box” as they look into the available data to get a better understanding of what went wrong. The “black box” is also known as an electronic control module (ECM) that records a range of data such as the driver’s speed, braking patterns, steering, and whether or not the trucker was wearing a seatbelt. In many cases, the information pulled from these units can help to add context to the accident and give the attorneys a better sense of what happened in the moments leading up to the crash.
Contact 1-800-Injured To Connect With a Truck Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you need legal help. 1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service that connects truck accident victims with truck accident lawyers.