Getting into any type of car accident can be a terrifying, dangerous, and even catastrophic experience, but when the accident involves a commercial truck, then the outcome can be even more serious. This is simply owed to the fact that there is an enormous size difference between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles, meaning that even at low speeds that would have been a fender bender between two similarly-sized vehicles could cause serious, and even fatal, injuries to the people in the smaller vehicle.
In addition to the damage that this type of accident can cause to both person and property, there are many more complexities with the insurance claims process when dealing with a commercial insurance policy and the strict regulations that truck drivers are required to adhere to. These policies often have liability coverage of $1 million or more, which is great news on one hand, because there is more money available under the base policy to compensate you. However, the complexity that comes with reaching a settlement agreement can be overwhelming.
Find a DC Personal Injury Attorney For Your Truck Accident Today
Balkin & Mausner are experienced and proven attorneys who are ready to take your case as soon as possible. Trying to find an attorney during this stressful time may lead to additional anxiety when you should be focusing on recovering from your injuries and getting your life back on track. Let us give you a free consultation and take over legal matters for you.
Read more below to get a better idea of how an attorney can help you as you seek compensation for your accident, and contact Balkin & Mausner now. The sooner you have legal representation, the sooner you will be able to focus on your own needs without having to worry about the legal process.
The Differences Between a Car and Truck Accident in Washington DC
No two accidents are alike, meaning that it is impossible to list all of the differences between two different types of accidents. However, there are some significant and obvious differences between an accident with two passenger vehicles and an accident with a passenger vehicle and a truck.
The most obvious difference is that a semi-truck, 18-wheeler, or other commercial truck is significantly larger than a passenger vehicle. That means that even at low speeds, a commercial truck can cause significant damage to a passenger vehicle, and therefore, it can cause significant injury to the passengers inside the smaller vehicle. In addition to the damage that can be caused in this type of accident, the accident itself can be extremely terrifying when a victim is in a smaller vehicle and goes through the experience of having such a large vehicle collide with them.
Commercial Trucking Regulations
Commercial drivers are subject to much stricter regulations than a passenger vehicle driver, beginning with a Commercial Driver License (CDL), as well as a range of specific certifications that a driver is required to have and maintain in order to carry certain types of cargo, operate certain vehicles, and more.
In addition to the specific certifications that a driver must carry, there are strict regulations about the amount of time that they are allowed to drive in any given day, week, or other designated period. Drivers are required to keep logs of their travels in order to verify that they have stayed within these constraints, known as the Hours of Service Regulations.
Complex Maintenance Requirements
Since a commercial truck carries such large loads over long distances and is in service for many more miles than the average passenger vehicle, they require additional maintenance and inspections to ensure that the vehicle is road-worthy and safe. Drivers, trucking companies, and anyone else responsible for the maintenance and inspection schedules are required to keep meticulous notes of these details and will be referenced during the claims investigation to identify any possible indications of what went wrong.
Commercial Liability Coverage
As mentioned before, commercial trucks have very high premiums for their liability coverage, which means that there will likely be enough money in the standard policy to cover most reasonable situations. However, this also means that the insurance company is used to dealing with high-stakes claims and high-value settlements, and employ aggressive legal teams in order to protect their financial interests as effectively as possible. When you file a claim with a commercial insurance company, you can be nearly certain that you will be dealing with highly experienced—and highly aggressive—attorneys.
Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents in Washington DC
The following are just a few of the questions that you will be able to find an answer to with the help of a Balkin & Mausner attorney. The answers provided are intended to give you a general idea of your own situation, but in order to get a specific answer relating to your own case, you will need to work with your lawyer.
How much is my truck accident claim worth?
In order to determine how much you deserve after a truck accident, you will need to first calculate the economic damages that you have suffered, including things like your medical bills, impacts to your earning capacity and financial stability, and more. Once you and your attorney have identified all financial impacts, you will then need to set out calculating your non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are more complicated to calculate since they apply to things like pain and suffering, and other issues that are difficult to quantify, and do not have financial values associated with them.
Keep in mind that once your attorney has calculated your estimated damages, you will then need to determine a reasonable “middle ground” so that you can aim to settle out of court instead of going through a costly and time-consuming legal case.
Do I need a lawyer to file a claim with a commercial trucking insurance company?
You do not need an attorney at any point during a personal injury claim, However, attempting to work directly with an insurance company on your own is not advised for a variety of reasons. Insurance companies strive to limit the amount that is paid out for any single claim, meaning that their business model is built around paying you less than what you deserve.
In addition to the fact that you will benefit from having an experienced attorney negotiating on your behalf, another major factor to consider is the level of stress that you will need to handle if you are going through the process alone. Stress has a significant impact on physical recovery, so each task that your attorney handles on your behalf is one less roadblock to recovery.
Will my truck accident claim need to go to trial?
Very few personal injury claims ever see trial, but this is not the same as a guarantee that yours will not need to go to court. Experienced personal injury attorneys are expert negotiators, and will handle a series of aggressive negotiations with the insurance company in an attempt to reach an agreement without relying on the courts. In the event that you are unable to reach an agreement, the next option might need to be a trial.