You’ve probably gone through the process of dealing with insurance companies after getting hit by an automobile on the road. But what if you were hit by a semi-tuck? How do you handle that situation? Is it any different?
Truck accident claims are conducted differently than car accident claims for several reasons. Due to the commercial nature of the trucking industry, there are many factors, parties and liabilities involved in the accident. For instance, many truck companies employ drivers not as employees, but as independent contractors. This allows them an additional buffer against being liable for accidents, which only serves to make things more difficult for you if you’re trying to get a settlement. Trailers and their merchandize are owned by different companies than the trucks themselves.
Semi-truck accidents are not and should not be treated like regular car accidents. They include a greater likelihood of serious injuries or deaths. As opposed to car accident claims, claims against trucking companies can include negligent hiring, inappropriate supervision, careless maintenance, and failure to follow federal and state truck driving regulations.
Most semi-trucks are federally regulated by the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration. And this creates a complicated overlap of state and federal regulations.
Usual Accident Causes
Driving a semi-truck on limited rest is a danger to other people on the road, and this may increase the value of a case settlement if this information is discovered. Other truck accidents occur due to excessive semi-truck loads, breaking defects, tired drivers using drugs to meet deadlines, drug and alcohol use, worn out tires, overweight trucks, speeding, reckless driving, falling asleep, improper driver training, and not performing routine maintenance on trucks.
All of these are considered forms of negligence and could be used in favor of the victim in court.
What Happens After the Accident?
Due to the numerous liabilities and factors involved, trucking companies hire immediate response teams who appear onsite to take pictures, collect evidence, and interview witnesses to build a case for their defense. These teams can consist of former police investigators, insurance adjusters and private investigators. When the accident happens, the truck driver calls their dispatcher, and their dispatcher calls the response team who then rushes to the accident scene to start their investigation. The evidence the team gathers will be used against you.
Why do they go through the trouble of hiring a team of experts? Well, truck insurance costs a lot more than auto insurance. It’s not rare to see deductibles of $500,000 for a semi-truck. Using a response team, the company can save money that would otherwise go to paying their deductible or the case settlement for a victim.
Use an Expert Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer
An experienced lawyer will be able to guide you through the complexities of the litigation process and properly present your case to a judge or jury. He or she also uses state-of-the-art techniques such as accident animations to give jurors a good portrait of the accident scene, and will also investigate if the trucking company violated any federal and state laws regarding truck safety. They know the laws regarding these cases and will use them for your benefit.
Semi-trucks are held to higher safety standards than cars. Knowledge of industry standards and federal trucking laws and regulations is essential for achieving a successful litigation in court. An attorney who’s experienced in semi-truck accidents will be able to greatly help you. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to win the case in court.