Truck accidents are by far the most complex types of personal injury cases. If you’ve been injured by a commercial box truck or delivery truck then you need to be very careful and deliberate as you choose your lawyer.
From the beginning this case will have twists and turns, and all of them will be designed to keep you from recovering the money you need to be made whole after your accident.
Who is responsible?
The company who owns the truck and employs the driver of the truck will be responsible. Which is why trucking companies, or major corporations who run their own trucks, may try to classify their driver as an “independent contractor.”
That “independent contractor” may be, functionally, an employee. That trucker might have also assumed the company was covering him with a commercial auto insurance policy, and so did not carry commercial coverage of his own. His standard policy usually won’t cover his trucking activities.
You’ll be left trying to recover from the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program, and you’ll be limited to recovering $200,000. You may also be able to get some coverage from your own insurance, but this situation is not ideal.
Proving the driver was not an independent contractor doesn’t mean we’ve found all responsible parties. There may be other corporations involved who can be held liable, for example.
What contributed to the accident?
In a standard car accident case, the facts of the the accident are usually all that’s taken into consideration. One driver made a left turn when they shouldn’t have, the other got hit, and that’s that.
In a trucking case there may be considerations far beyond the facts of the case.
For example, truckers are covered by certain regulations. They’re required to carry a safety fitness certificate. They’re only allowed to drive for so long. After accumulating 13 hours of driving time the driver must take 8 hours off. They must also stop after accumulating 70 hours of on-duty time over 7 days or 120 hours over 14 days.
These regulations also cover how the truck should be loaded.
A good truck accident lawyer will examine the logs to see if the driver was driving for too long. They’ll find the vehicle’s “black box” and they’ll examine inspection records. They will also look at the driver’s safety certifications.
Failures in hiring standards and trainings can be identified and can play into the determination of fault as well.
Meanwhile, the trucking company will be fighting tooth and nail to make it harder to get this evidence. The experienced truck accident lawyer has to be persistent and aware of how to get the required evidence.
There’s a Hard Legal Battle Ahead
Trucking companies are less likely to settle because they don’t want to see their insurance premiums go up. They also have deep pockets and will often try to “outwait” an accident victim who is desperate to get funds.