Truck accidents account for a small portion of the total number of accidents on the road every year. These accidents, though, are still far too common. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that in 2017, large trucks and busses injured more than 170,000 people. While the number of truck accidents may be fewer, they are more likely to result in severe, life-altering injuries than a car accident. They are also more likely to result in death. For the families dealing with the aftermath of a truck accident, it can be a terrifying time. These difficult, complex cases will require the help of an experienced truck accident attorney.
How a legal team handles truck accident cases differs from how they will deal with a typical car accident case. If you or a loved one have been involved in a truck accident, then you’ll want to understand the differences and how they could impact your settlement.
TRUCK ACCIDENTS ARE OFTEN MORE SEVERE
Truck accidents are more likely to result in severe injuries. That can be primarily attributed to the massive size of these vehicles. Commercial trucks can be 20 to 30 times larger than the average passenger vehicle, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). That means the impact against a passenger vehicle is immense. It’s an accident scenario where no matter how good your car might be, you are vastly outmatched by the sheer size and weight of these commercial vehicles.
These accidents are also, unfortunately, more likely to end in the death of a person in a passenger vehicle. The IIHS reports that in 2018, there were 4,136 large truck crashes resulting in death. Of those cases, 96% of the deaths were people riding in the passenger vehicle. In these circumstances, the family of the victim may choose to make a claim of wrongful death due to the negligence of the driver or the company that owns the truck.
TRUCK ACCIDENTS ARE MORE COMPLEX
When you are in a car accident, you’ll likely deal with the driver and their insurance company. When your accident involves a large truck, though, there will be more people involved in the case. The driver, the company that owns the truck, the company’s insurer, and your own insurance company will be involved. Then you’ll need to add in the corporate lawyers, personal lawyers, and insurance lawyers. You’ll see why these cases are a lot more complicated from the start.
It’s not just the people involved, either. The laws surrounding large truck safety of complicated as well. Truck accidents also require a lawyer to present different evidence in court to prove liability. A personal injury lawyer will need to carefully investigate complicated records such as licensing requirements and driving logs to build a negligence case. Knowing what the courts need to see will help the legal team build the strongest case possible on your behalf.
COMMERCIAL INSURERS HAVE A BIG STAKE IN THE CASE
When dealing with an accident involving a commercial vehicle, you’ll be dealing with commercial insurers, too. These insurance companies have a big stake in getting cases to settle for as little as possible. They know that cases involving large trucks can be worth millions, and that’s money coming out of their profits. Plus, trucks carry a lot of insurance, and those policies are worth tens of thousands of dollars a year. So it’s in the interest of the insurance company to protect their client. To do that, they put their legal teams to work on the case immediately.
The insurance companies pay these lawyers to devalue your case. They will look for reasons the accident wasn’t their client’s fault and instead lay the blame at your feet. This is their full-time job, and they are good at it. So, you’ll need to find an experienced truck accident lawyer who isn’t intimidated by their tactics. A truck accident attorney understands how to build a strong case despite the insurance company’s efforts.
SAFETY RULES ARE DIFFERENT FOR TRUCKS
The safety rules for drivers and commercial vehicles are different from those for the driver of a standard passenger vehicle. For instance, according to the Texas Highway Patrol, drivers must have eight consecutive hours of rest before starting a shift within the Texas border. But they must have ten hours of rest if they are going to travel interstate. If they failed to observe these rules, it could help prove their liability and may indicate that they were driving while drowsy.
There are also safety rules regarding the maintenance and operation of the vehicle. Sometimes a truck accident isn’t the driver’s fault, but instead is the fault of equipment failure. In these cases, a lawyer will need to investigate maintenance logs and safety records. The investigation will require more research, but an experienced truck accident lawyer will understand how to gather this important information. Uncovering the truth behind the cause of the accident could help build the strongest cases possible. That means the best settlement possible, too.
THESE CASES NEED A QUALIFIED TRUCK ACCIDENT LAWYER
What lawyer you hire will have the single biggest impact on your settlement. Truck accident lawyers understand the severity and complexity of these cases and are ready to fight hard on behalf of their clients. Compared to car accident cases, these cases need more time and attention to get the best results.
Truck accident cases may be worth millions in damages, but that also means the cost of fighting these cases is significantly more than a car accident. The cost of the investigation and building the case will come out of the settlement, though, and not out of your own pocket. So, you can afford to hire the legal team you feel will do the best job with your case.
You need to make sure you have the best truck accident lawyer fighting on your behalf. Baumgartner Law Firm has worked with truck accident victims for more than 35 years. During this time, we’ve recovered millions of dollars in settlements for victims of commercial accidents.
If you or a loved one have been in a truck accident, get in touch with our team. We offer a free consultation to review your case, and there is no expense to you upfront. We only get paid when you get paid. We’re passionate about helping our clients recover the damages they deserve for their pain and suffering. Get in touch with us today to book your free consultation.
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